Spring 1914 (200 Kb); Oil, papier colle and charcoal on canvas, 92 x 65 cm; Rijksmuseum Kroller-Muller, Otterlo, The Netherlands
The surfaces of collages such as Fruitdish and Carafe are nearly entirely covered with a wide variety of overlapping papers. These fragments, moreover, are deployed in increasingly complex ways: the shape of a piece of paper may correspond to the shape of the depicted object or it may itself provide a ground for figuration, whether drawn, painted, or in the form of additional, superimposed collage elements. And Gris continued to appropriate materials for their literal representational function as mere images, as he had in his earliest collages.
Gris also began to introduce fragments of paper for their descriptive or purely material value in the collages of 1914. In Fruitdish and Carafe, for example, Gris constructed a composite depiction of a carafe from a variety of partially superimposed materials. Sections of faux marbre and faux bois wallpaper, corresponding perhaps to the material substance of the table and wall, provide an already divided ground for the elaboration of further interpenetrating forms and material substances. Over this ground, Gris then glued several fragments of beige paper, which seem to denote various aspects of the inner circular structure of the carafe. And overlapping these fragments, Gris affixed a nearly transparent piece of paper (which he gave its own particular descriptive shape) to signify the carafe's transparency. Through this glazing, the viewer distinguishes the various layers of Gris's complex surface, which in places reveals even small portions of the canvas. A similar use of nearly transparent paper in numerous other collages of this period points to Gris's continuing concern with effects of light as well as to his growing interest in the expressive or inherent properties of materials.