When I turned on my PC this morning, I was met by a comical image. This image.
I found the new Google doodle interesting, and decided to guess at its meaning before clicking on it. So I looked at it closely and saw a guitar and a book, a mandolin perhaps and what looked to me like the scroll of a violin. Also, just right of center, I saw what either appeared to be two letters “f” or quite possible the f-holes of a violin. The stylized “f’s” made me think of something French, but I decided they must be f-holes since I’d noted the scroll as well. Guitar and violin. Possibly “French” in some way. One last detail – the doodle was in the cubist style. Aha! Violon et Guitare. Juan Gris!
Sure enough upon mousing over the image there it was. Google was celebrating the 125th anniversary of the birth of Juan Gris.
Juan Gris has been one of my favorite artists for some time for many reasons. For sentimental reasons I am proud to say he was born in Madrid. Even if Madrid didn’t entirely shape him, even if he left for France to join Picasso and Braque and the other luminaries of this intellectual, bohemian Paris, Madrid still ran in his veins. Further his art – simple in some respects, youthful in others – and his cubism appeal to my need for order and restraint.
What strikes me most about this artist was that he became most creative at one of the most difficult times in modern history. I suppose it is precisely during times of hardship that most artists become creative. I imagine it awakens a need to create in them, even when life around them is being dismantled.
Well, Juan Gris, feliz cumpleaños. Thank you for your contribution to art, to cubism, to Madrid and to me.