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Still Life with Guitar

Juan Gris, Spanish, 1887–1927
October–November 1920
Oil on canvas
Made in
Paris, Île-de-France, France, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 209
19 13/16 in. × 24 in. (50.3 × 61 cm)
framed: 31 in. × 35 1/4 in. × 2 3/4 in. (78.7 × 89.5 × 7 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
Interlocked in a harmonious geometric pattern, patches of subdued shades of brown, green, and blue give form to a guitar, a sheet of music, a bowl of grapes, a goblet, a carafe, and a table. Juan Gris developed a distinctive Cubist style, in which abstracted forms retain their volume through the integration of light and shadow. Here the areas that depict the grapes, table, and carafe suggest three-dimensionality, offering a dynamic balance between representation and abstraction.
1921 - 1925
Galerie Simon (Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and André Simon), Paris, France, acquired from the artist [1]

1925 -
Gottlieb Friedrich Reber (1880-1959), Lausanne, Switzerland, purchased from Galerie Simon [2]

Paul de Frassari Adamidi Bey Frasheri, Geneva, Switzerland; Nice, France, acquired from Gottlieb Friedrich Reber [3]

Galerie Moos (Georges Moos), Geneva, Switzerland

Galerie Alfred Poyet, Paris, France [4]

- 1940
Theodore Schempp, Brodhead, WI, USA, purchased from Galerie Alfred Poyet [5]

1940 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Theodore Schempp [6]

The main source for this provenance is Cooper’s catalogue raisonné, cat. no. 353 [Cooper, Douglas. "Juan Gris." Paris: Berggruen Éditeur, 1977]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] According to the Kahnweiler archives, the Galerie Simon acquired the painting directly from Gris in 1921 and sold it to Gottlieb Friedrich Reber in 1925. The painting had the stock number K6734 and was referred to as "Guitar and Bottle" [notes of telephone conversation between Quentin Laurens, Director of the Galerie Louis Leiris, Paris and Emmeline Erikson at the Saint Louis Art Museum, October 29, 2003, SLAM document files].

[2] See note [1]. In the decade before World War I, German businessman and collector Gottlieb Friedrich Reber devoted his collecting activities to Old Master paintings and works by the French school from Manet to Gauguin. In 1919 he left Germany for Switzerland, and in the 1920s, began collecting cubist works. He disposed of some of the paintings acquired before the war and bought large numbers of works by Braque, Léger, Gris and Picasso. He owned over seventy works by Gris, most of which were still life paintings. Beginning in the 1930s, Reber encountered financial difficulties and his collection was ultimately dispersed [Kosinski, Dorothy. "G.F. Reber: Collector of Cubism." Burlington Magazine CXXXIII:1061 (August 1991), p. 510-531].

[3] Paul de Frassari Adamidi Bey Frasheri was the son of the finance minister to the sultan of the Osmanic empire, Abdul Hamid II. Adamidi was good friends with Gottlieb Friedrich Reber, who may have influenced Adamidi's interest in cubism. Reber most likely sold several of his paintings by Gris to Adamidi around 1930 (but before 1938), as Adamidi was a frequent visitor to Reber's Lausanne chateau at that time, according to the Lausanne guestbook [notes of telephone conversation between Dr. Christoph Pudelko, grandson of Gottlieb Friedrich Reber, and SLAM provenance researcher Anabelle Kienle, January 17, 2004, SLAM document files].

[4] According to an invoice from Theodore Schempp, the painting had been in the collection of Mr. Adamidi, and was later owned by Galerie Alfred Poyet, from which Schempp acquired the work [invoice dated January 8, 1940, SLAM document files]. Theodore Schempp was an American art dealer, who worked with the French art dealer, Jacques Dubourg in the late forties and early fifties. Schempp did not have his own gallery, but sold works of art (usually small-size paintings) from Paris, Wisconsin, and New York [Ameline, Jean-Paul: "Nicolas de Staël." Paris: Centre Pompidou, 2003]. The catalogue raisonné supports most of this information, but erroneously indicates that Schempp acquired the painting from Buchholz Gallery in New York.

[5] See note [4].

[6] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, January 4, 1940.
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