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Chessboard, Glass, and Dish

Juan Gris (Spanish, 1887–1927)

A glass and a dish (the latter may be interpreted as a pedestal fruit bowl) sit to either side of a gray and green checkerboard. The green plane with a scalloped edge at lower left likely represents a piece of baize, a fabric commonly found on gaming tables. Highlighting gives the two vessels lightness and transparency, while the recessed planes that surround them produce a heavier and more sculptural effect, akin to relief carving. The systematic application of light and dark modeling was a regular feature of Juan Gris’s brand of Cubism. The use of mathematical proportions and underlying geometrical grids was another constant; the composition of Chessboard, Glass, and Dish is divided into symmetrical quadrants that hold the shifting planes together. This systematic approach put Gris in tune with a broader tendency toward order and logic that occurred in French avant-garde art in reaction to the upheaval of World War I.

Object Details

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