Musical motifs

In Paris, Juan Gris joins the group of artists around Pablo Picasso and becomes one of the foremost painters among the cubists. These artists have a distinct preference for musical motifs and are particularly fascinated by the shape of musical instruments.


In this painting, a powerful, bright blue is dominant. This blue could be the colour of the tablecloth. As with many objects in the still lifes of Gris, the guitar is represented by contours with white and black lines. The music paper, the guitar, the tablecloth, the curtain with yellow dots and the carpet are on the same level, while the table actually suggests space.


Given the perspective and the appearance of the wood, the table is painted quite realistically. The same applies to the music paper and a small part of the wood of the guitar. Gris thus explores the contrast between abstraction and the faithful depiction of reality. He says: ‘I work with the elements of the intellect, the imagination. That which is abstract, I try to make concrete’.