Still Life with a Poem
Juan Gris (Spanish, 1887-1927)
On View

Born in Madrid, Gris settled in Paris, joining the avant-garde circle of his compatriot Picasso and becoming one of the principal exponents of Cubism. Like his fellow Cubists Picasso and Braque, Gris experimented with collage, incorporating bits of wallpaper, fragments of mirror, and pages from books in his paintings from 1914. Although this picture, which dates from the following year, is painted entirely in oils, it imitates a collage in the convincing faux-wood grain of the table and the fictive scrap of paper that appears pinned to the bottom of the composition. This detail betrays Gris’s admiration for the seventeenth-century Spanish paintings he would have seen on childhood visits to the Prado. The text it bears, however, is decidedly modern: a poem written by the artist’s friend Pierre Reverdy, for whose collection of abstract prose poems Gris painted a set of watercolor illustrations.


  • Artist Name: Juan Gris (Spanish, 1887-1927)
  • Title: Still Life with a Poem
  • Date: 1915
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 31-3/4 x 25-1/2 in. (80.6 x 64.8 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1968.08.1.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

[Léonce Rosenberg, Paris];
[Edmond Rosenberg, Paris, by November 192, sold 1938 to];
Mr. and Mrs. Henry C. Clifford, Philadelphia and Radnor, Pennsylvania.
[M. Knoedler & Co., New York];
Allan Bluestein, Washington, D.C. (sale, New York, Parke-Bernet, 3 April 1968, lot 19);
Norton Simon Inc. Foundation, Los Angeles;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

Juan Gris

  • Paris, Galerie Roland Balaÿ et Louis Carré, 1938-06-13 to 1938-07-03

Retrospective Loan Exhibition: Juan Gris (1887-1927)

  • New York: Jacques Seligmann & Co., 1938-11-21 to 1938-12-10

Masterpieces of Philadelphia Private Collections

  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1947-05-30 to 1947-09-14

Illusionism and trompe l'oeil

  • California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1949-05-03 to 1949-06-12

Juan Gris

  • Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), 1958-04-09 to 1958-06-01
  • Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1958-06-24 to 1958-07-24
  • San Francisco Museum of Art, 1958-08-11 to 1958-09-14

The Cubist Epoch

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1970-12-15 to 1971-02-21
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1971-04-07 to 1971-06-07

Selections from the Norton Simon, Inc. Museum of Art

  • Princeton University Art Museum, 1972-12-03 to 1974-07-17

Reinstallation of South Wing

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1993-10-07 to 1995-08-13
  • Art News, pp. 13-14
  • Cooper, Douglas, The Cubist Epoch, pl. 269 pp. 233, 288
  • Steadman, David W., Art Journal, fig. 15
  • Brommer, Gerald R., Discovering Art History, frontispiece
  • Costa, René de, Art Bulletin, fig. 12 pp. 674-692
  • Steadman, David W., The Connoisseur, fig. 6 pp. 227, 230
  • Frost, Rosamund, Contemporary Art: The March of Art from Cézanne Until Now, 1942, p. 58
  • Kahnweiler, Daniel-Henry, Juan Gris: His Life and Work, 1947, fig. 23 p. 139
  • Robb, D. M., The Harper History of Painting, 1951, fig. 458 pp. 836-838
  • Aznar, J. C., Picasso y el Cubismo, 1956, fig. 101 p. 167
  • Padgett, Ron, Art News Annual, 1957, p. 88
  • Cooper, Douglas, Juan Gris: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, 1977, no. 152 p. 229
  • Juan Gris (1887-1927), 1985, figs. 6, 7 pp. 48-49, 78
  • Roskill, Mark, The Interpretation of Cubism, 1985, p. 96
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, 1989, p. 189
  • Prinz, Jessica, Art Discourse/Discourse in Art, 1991, fig. 1.2 pp. 14-17
  • Buser, Thomas, Experiencing Art Around Us, 1995, fig. 6-6 p. 151
  • Gris, Juan, Correspondances avec Léonce Rosenberg 1915-1927, 1999, no. 5130
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 435 p. 297
  • Emily Braun, Elizabeth Cowling, Claire Le Thomas and Rachael Mustalish, Cubism and the Trompe l'Oeil Tradition, 2022, Fig. 8 pp. 21-22, p. 21 (ill.) pp. 28-29
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