Date of Award

December 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Kenneth P. Bendiner

Second Advisor

Linda A. Brazeau

Committee Members

Kenneth P. Bendiner, Linda A. Brazeau


Cubism, Cubist Cityscapes, Juan Gris, Modernism, Montmartre, Picasso


This thesis examines the stylistic and contextual significance of five Cubist cityscape pictures by Juan Gris from 1911 to 1912. These drawn and painted cityscapes depict specific views near Gris' Bateau-Lavoir residence in Place Ravignan. Place Ravignan was a small square located off of rue Ravignan that became a central gathering space for local artists and laborers living in neighboring tenements. In these early Cubist cityscapes, Gris attempted to reinterpret Montmartre's architectural landscape in abstracted geometric forms. My stylistic analyses establish several contextual readings for Gris' cityscapes that first address his profound interest in earlier Cubist landscapes painted by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque from 1908 and 1909. Gris' Cubist views of Place Ravignan reference his dual relationships with each painter as an honorific means of celebrating their Cubist innovations. I also explore the sociological content of Gris' cityscapes in view of his personal experiences in Montmartre. My discussion references four illustrations Gris produced for L'Assiette au Beurre between 1909 and 1910, which present similar pictorial attributes to the cityscapes. The L'Assiette illustrations are significant to my discussion because they establish an accurate socio-economic and political context for Gris' initial Cubist cityscapes.