Juan Gris's use of well-defined angular outlines, of line rather than mass, and of maximum expression in his drawing, are related to the stylizations of Art Nouveau. He became aware of Art Nouveau in German magazines such as "Simplicissimus" and "Ueberbrettl," and through the popular graphic arts and posters of the French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
In 1906, a number of Gri's drawings appeared in the Spanish periodical, "Blanco y Negro." Gris's style in these works was influenced by Lautrec's treatment of form, as in the Cirque Fernando (The Equestrienne). Like Lautrec, Gris displays a detached and impersonal attitude toward his subject; both artists subscribed to the dictum "art for art's sake."
Between 1909 and 1912, Gris's work was influenced by German art and by works from English artists, e. g., Aubrey Beardsley's drawings, which utilize a thin and living line like the effect seen here in Gris's drawing. In "L'Invitation discrete," as in other works from this period, Gris transformed Lautrec's subtle, descriptive line into a highly expressive one. Maximum effect is achieved through the juxtaposition of tenuous, distorted lines and sharply contrasting outlines. In contrast to the languor of the earlier Spanish illustrations, this one of Gris's drawings and others of approximately the same date, such as "The Go-ahead Driver," 1912, "Society Conversation," 1909, and "At the Cabaret," 1911, are tense compositions, and they share the effects of works by Rudolf Wilke and other German artists.
Citation: Extract taken from research paper by Jan Scheinberg (1978); this extract by Alice Jonas (1979).
L'Invitation discrete, 1907 AD
|Medium/Material||India ink on paper|
|Dimensions||H-12 W-10 inches|
20th century AD
|Exhibition and Publication History||
*"Queens College Art Collection," 1960, #288.
*"Art From the Queens College Collection, Part I," Queens County Art and Cultural Center, NY, 1973, #19.
*"A Selection From the Queens College Art Collection," Klapper Library, 1979, #7.
*"20th Century Prints From the G-TM," Mattis Gallery, 1983, #7, p. 17. Rose Carol Washton-Long, Curator.
*"Goddess, Worker, Mother, Symbol," G-TM, 1994, #6, pp. 8-9 , ill. James Saslow, Curator.