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In a 1924 lecture Gris described painting as ‘a sort of flat, coloured architecture’, a conception reflected in the structure of these three small gouaches made that year. Visual reflections and rhymes are abundant in all three works. The bulbous body of the carafe in Bowl of Fruit echoes both the apple in the centre and the circular rim of the glass on the right, while the geometrical edges of the fruit bowl itself seem to reverberate across the folds of the tablecloth. In Pipe and Domino the spots of the domino, the bowl of the pipe and the rim of the small dish constitute an expanding series of circles. In Still Life with Guitar, the echoing ovals of the mouth of the carafe and the opening of the guitar offset the linear patterns of the sheet music and guitar strings. In addition, a deliberate spatial contradiction allows the fruit to nestle in the curve of the guitar as if in a fruit bowl, creating a sensory link between vision, taste and sound.

September 2004