Yesterday I got to see an amazing Juan Gris exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Fine Art. Sadly he died at age 40 in the late 1920s and I wonder in what ways his work would have evolved if he had lived a longer life.
I have always liked his still life paintngs because they are abstract and the composition is very tight. The composition size is perfect for the size of the canvas, he doesn't have too much or too little negative space, and he balances color in each painting. He uses bright colors the way a Fauvist would and he also uses neutral colors in a way that reminds me of Morandi's still lifes.
This painting (Still Life with Flowers, 1912, oil on canvas) is my favorite from the show. The card by the painting said his use of horizontal and diagonal lines in the composition to direct where the viewer looked. The composition is rectangular and his placement of the top of the guitar to the upper left corner breaks up the flow and I like that a lot. This is a large painting and I like how he used a limited palette. Sometimes limited palettes make a painting look boring, unenthusiastic, and uneventful. In Gris's work, I feel calmness in his neutral pieces, a sense of balance, and quiet aliveness.