Juan Gris. The Painter’s Window. 1925. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Bequest of Saidie A. May, BMA 1951.306
In his short forty-year life, Juan Gris established himself (together with Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque) as one of the leaders of Cubism. His work can be distinguished by the tight geometry and bold patterns of his compositions, which always retain identifiable elements. In “The Painter’s Window”, the artist flattens and interlocks a guitar, fruit bowl, sheet music, palette, paintbrush, and playing cards on a tabletop as if they were pieces in an upright jigsaw puzzle. These typical Cubist props, which allude to the roles of chance, play, and the abstraction of music, are arranged in an innovative way. The sheet music mimics the strings of the guitar, while the angular spots of paint on the palette rhyme with the diamonds on the playing cards.
While the Cone sisters, Claribel and Etta, provided the foundation of the BMA’s collection of modern art, they did not collect Cubist works. Saidie May’s well-considered gift of this Cubist masterpiece, together with other significant purchases by Picasso and Braque, helped fill a major gap in the Museum’s collection of twentieth-century modernist art.
By Jan Ryan
The thieves made contact. He explained that he was in the market for lesser-known artists like The Painter’s Window. He wanted it but a stolen Renoir from a museum? Too hot. “Not going to touch it but try this guy, he’s an idiot,” and “this guy” was an idiot. He bargained with all the same reasons to not buy then paid cash and disappeared.
They were dealt a better hand. The thieves dyed their hair brown, left their whole stolen collection in Baltimore, went by new names and never returned.
Read the rest of the continuing story…