Among the small group of artists who invented Cubism in Paris in the early years of the 20th century, Juan Gris stands out for his faithfulness to that style, which he never left, and for his singular commitment to the genre of still life. And yet he was no conservative. Digging deep allowed him to explore ideas about representation, color, structure, language, and materials that were arguably as radical as any of those put forth by Picasso, Braque, or Léger. This lecture by Dr. Harry Cooper, from the National Gallery of Art, will be both an introduction to Gris’s art and an argument for its continuing relevance as one of the most challenging modern visions of what painting could be.
Harry Cooper is Senior Curator and Head of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. A native of Bethesda, MD, he earned his PhD from Harvard in 1997 with a dissertation on the paintings of Piet Mondrian. Cooper curated modern art at the Harvard Art Museum for a decade before joining the National Gallery in 2008. He has organized or co-organized exhibitions on the work of Mondrian, Medardo Rosso, Frank Stella, Stuart Davis, and Oliver Jackson. His current project, a retrospective of the art of Philip Guston, has been postponed until next year, but its catalogue, Philip Guston Now, is available. Other publications include The Cubism Seminars, which he edited and introduced for the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in 2017.
This talk is part of the Richard R. Brettell Lecture Series, endowed by Carolyn and Roger Horchow in honor of former DMA Director, and Founding Director of the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History, Dr. Richard "Rick" Brettell.
Image: Juan Gris, Fantômas, 1915, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Chester Dale Fund