In the second half of 1919 and at the beginning of 1920 Gris simplified his compositions a great deal, while reaching a dynamic equilibrium between figuration and abstraction. An object was represented through a minimal sign, and this sign was important as a component of a general harmony. Black tones once again play an important role in these lyrical works, as "the fossils of shadows". During this period, Gris was very influential, not only in classicists and in purists, but also in Georges Braque, one of the creators of the Cubist language. In fact, the position of Gris as the spokesman of Cubism became consolidated from this time on.
Gris returned to the more complex vision of the beginning of 1919 at the end of the following year, but first he learned several lessons. Instead of showing the corner of a table sloping towards the space of the viewer, he made it parallel to the picture or something like an abstract surface. He recovered a more open system of proportions, generally using a ratio of three to five as a way to relate the parts to each other and to the overall format. His objects were unified with pictorial structures and in this period it often seemed that he parted from an "architectural" idea of the painting, something that would be an important feature of his subsequent artistic endeavours.


  • Title: Coffee Grinder
  • Creator: Juan Gris
  • Date Created: 1920
  • Style: Cubism
  • Provenance: Bought, 1999
  • Physical Dimensions: w810 x h600 mm
  • Original Title: Le moulin à café
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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