In 1916 Juan Gris decided to use some of Paul Cézanne’s best-known paintings as a point of departure. Unlike Pablo Picasso, once more, Juan Gris did not do groups of variations on a theme like those in Picasso’s greatest series, but rather made a thorough examination of Cézanne’s work in order to extract lessons that he could apply to his own drawings. As well as his copies of Cézanne and other masters, between 1915-1916 and 1921, Juan Gris mainly did still lifes and portraits of those closest to him, principally friends and family. These are mostly pencil compositions, usually without colour. The exceptions, which do use colour, are the gouaches done to illustrate the album Au soleil du plafond, by Pierre Reverdy (which Juan Gris was never to see in print) the frontispiece of which is this very collage: Moulin à café, tasse et verre sur une table (Coffee Grinder, Cup and Glass on Table).
Paloma Esteban Leal