Art: Clear & Cold

Juan Gris was an artist who earned respect, if not popularity. His severely cubist paintings, on exhibition in a Manhattan gallery last week, were mostly classics of their kind. Gris's favorite props—wine bottles, clay pipes, books, newspapers and guitars—were crowded into compositions as slick and tight as nylon stockings. They were neither completely representational nor completely abstract, for Gris believed the two elements were like the warp and woof in weaving, inseparable.

Like his friends and fellow cubists, Braque and Picasso, Gris began,his pictures as abstractions. "Cézanne," he once wrote, "turns a bottle into a cylinder, but I begin with a cylinder...

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