This work by the Spanish painter Juan Gris in the winter of 1921 is part of a series of works that the artist dedicated to recreating the idea of an “open window”. And among all those canvases, one of the most complete is this one that is exhibited in Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid.
It is a fabric with a very complete and also quite complex image. The great protagonism possibly falls on the luminous maritime landscape that is seen through the window. Some views inspired by the place where he made the painting, the town of Bandol sur Mer, on the shores of the Mediterranean in the south of France, where he spent a few months.
Juan Gris open window
But completely independent of that landscape, we make out a still life in the foreground. With some of the usual elements in his many still lifes, such as the fruit bowl or the guitar. In addition to the sheets of a book of scores, reminiscent of his usual papier collier or collage that he used to include in his paintings, mixing newspaper clippings, magazines or paper with oil.
Between the sea view and the still life there is no relationship, between the two we distinguish with its own individuality the presentation of the window itself. Also as a differential and independent fact of what is seen inside and outside. That is the great characteristic of this work by Juan Gris, his ability to paint in asame space different environments and not relate them to each other. It is like an extension of his constant research into Cubism, since just like any object is painted from different points of view, this panorama from inside to outside through a window also has different angles, different perspectives and frames to give us as much information as possible.
If Picasso and Braque invented Cubism, Juan Gris soon joined them to continue their reflections, but also Gris continued all his life studying the formal and visual possibilities offered by that style. He never abandoned him, although it is true that he had a short life, since he died in 1927 in France at only 40 years of age, and also the illness in his last years had not allowed him to work as much as he would have liked.
However, despite his short life, his work as a painter and art theorist was widely recognized by the European avant-gardes, and perhaps where he was least valued was in his native country. Land that he had abandoned in his youth to settle in Paris and discover all of modernity. Something that he certainly achieved, and not only that, but he was also a very active part of it.