Lot 5
  • 5

Juan Gris

700,000 - 1,000,000 USD
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  • Juan Gris
  • Compotier et fruits sur un guéridon
  • Signed and dated Juan Gris 1-1917 (upper right)
  • Oil on panel laid down on cradled panel
  • 21 3/4 by 18 1/4 in.
  • 55.1 by 46.2 cm


Léonce Rosenberg, Paris

Dr. Ismar Littmann, Breslau (acquired by 1933)

Sale: Max Perl, Berlin February 26-27, 1935, lot 2470 (involuntary auction of the estate of the above)

Private Collection, Switzerland

Otto Gerson, New York and M. Knoedler & Co., New York

Otto Gerson, New York

Virginia Booth Vogel, Milwaukee, WI (acquired from the above on September 1, 1949)

Acquired by descent from the above


London, Beaux Arts Gallery, Exhibition of Modern French Paintings (Ecole de Paris), June 1933, p. 4, no. 19, illustrated in the catalogue under the title Composition


Douglas Cooper, Juan Gris, Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint, Paris, 1977, vol. 1, p. 314, no. 211, illustrated on p. 315

Douglas Cooper, Juan Gris, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Paris, 2014, vol. 1, p. 364, no. 211, illustrated


The panel is sound and the work is in good and stable condition. As is typical for a wooden support, there are areas of stabilized, fine cracks which likely occurred before the work was affixed to a cradled panel. The losses to the cracks have been carefully retouched in some areas, visible only under blacklight.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Juan Gris's still-life from 1917, Compotier et fruits sur un guéridon, captures the exuberance of the artist's Synthetic cubist style. Following the muted tones and geometric weight of early cubism, Gris along with Picasso and Braque re-introduced color as a dominant factor in their still-life compositions. Gris was undoubtedly a master of Synthetic cubist compositions and his strongest works were executed in the years just before and throughout World War I. With brilliant tones of pink and green, Compotier et fruits sur un guéridon is a rare example of his unique continuation of the Cubist idiom. Gris presents an art historical trope of tilted table-top with decorative bowl and fruit but the objects and their surrounding space are fragmented into illogical planes. Though he brings his representation to the brink of abstraction, he allows the viewer just the right amount of clues necessary for reconstructing the subject. Gris painted several still-lifes on panel along these lines in early 1917, including La Chaise now at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

After his dealer, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, had been exiled from France at the outset of World War I, Gris developed an important friendship with another prominent dealer of Cubism - Léonce Rosenberg. A champion of Cubism, Rosenberg and his gallery in Paris played a vital role in the early stages of European Modernism. After passing through Rosenberg's gallery, the present work was acquired by Dr. Ismar Littmann. During a time when paintings of the avant-garde were not readily accepted by members of the bourgeoisie, the successful Dr. Littmann was a fearless collector. His collection ranged from Impressionist and Fauvist landscapes to Cubist still-lifes and masterworks of Neue Sachlichkeit. His foresight as a patron made his collection a target for the rising Nazi party in the early 1930s and his widow was forced to liquidate much of the collection after he took his own life.

Over a decade later, the work was acquired through Otto Gerson by Virginia Booth Vogel. Mrs Vogel was the daughter of Ralph and Mary Booth, prominent collectors in Grosse Pointe, Michigan who were instrumental in founding the Detroit Institute of Arts. She married William Dickerman Vogel in 1931 and later settled in Milwaukee. Mrs Vogel was a signficant benefactor to important institutions including the Milwaukee Arts Center and the National Gallery of Arts in Washington, D.C. Compotier et fruits sur un guéridon remained in family of Virginia Vogel and is being sold pursuant to a settlement agreement between the heirs of Dr. Littmann and the current owner.