Juan Gris Biography

(Spanish Cubist Painter)

Birthday: March 23, 1887 (Aries)

Born In: Madrid, Spain

Juan Gris was a pioneering artist from Spain, who was one of the most celebrated exponents of cubism in the modern period and over the course of a career that did not last as long as many would have wanted he produced plenty of works that are appreciated by art enthusiasts in the present day. Although Juan Gris was born in Spain and trained as a painter in Madrid, he made the decision to move to Paris, the art capital of Europe, as a young man and that was when his career really took off. Gris was initially content with sending his work in to magazines in the hopes of getting them published and many of his works did in fact get published, which gave him a living. However, at a later date he decided to take his painting seriously and started producing painting sthat were exhibited at the leading galleries of the day. One of the most important things that need to be mentioned with regards to the career of Juan Gris is the fact that he was also one of the most commercially successful painters of his generation and one of the reasons for that was his association with renowned art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Some of his paintings have been sold for astronomical sums over the years at auctions and it goes to show the sort of appeal his craft holds to this day.
Quick Facts

Spanish Celebrities Born In March

Also Known As: José Victoriano González-Pérez

Died At Age: 40


Spouse/Ex-: Josette Gris

children: Georges Gris

Cubist Painters Spanish Men

Died on: May 11, 1927

place of death: Boulogne-Billancourt, France

Cause of Death: Kidney Failure

City: Madrid, Spain

Childhood & Early Life
Jose Victoriano Gonzalez Perez, better known as Juan Gris, was born on 23 March 1887 to Gregorio Gonzalez and Isabel Perez in Madrid, Spain. His father Gregorio was a successful and prosperous paper manufacturer. Juan Gris was the second youngest among fourteen children in the Gonzalez family.
In his early years Juan Gris was sent to the most well-known schools in his native city of Madrid and right from his childhood he showed a special interest in painting, as a result he went to the local art schools as well in order to learn the finer points of painting.
In 1902, Juan Gris took admission in Escuela de Artes y Manufacturas in Madrid and studied mechanical drawing till 1904. During this time, he made lot of humorous sketches which were published in various Madrid publications.
From 1904 to 1905, he studied painting under the guidance of the artist Jose Moreno Carbonero. In 1905, he adopted the name Juan Gris.
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In 1906, he fled his country to avoid being called up for military service and moved to Paris, then the go to place for artists,. In Paris, Gris became acquainted with artists like Henri Matisse, Fernand Leger and the young Pablo Picasso.
In his early years in Paris, Gris sent his paintings to publications in Paris like Le Rire, Le Charivari and others for publication. The theme was dark humour.
After working for different magazines and publications in Paris for a few years; Juan Gris decided to devote more time to painting in his personal capacity, in 1910, and started developing his ideas in cubism.
In 1911, he produced the painting titled ‘Tea Time’ and the following year his painting ‘Hommage a Pablo Picasso’ was part of the exhibition at Salon des Independants.
In 1912, Juan Gris’ work was exhibited at some of the better known exhibition galleries in Europe which included Der Sturm in Berlin among others. Gris’ work was also appreciated at the Societe Normande de Peinture Moderne in Rouen. It was around this time that the elite art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler signed him up on an exclusive contract.
Juan Gris developed newer styles of cubist painting around 1913 as he floated the idea of synthetic cubism and started using it in his own paintings. Over the subsequent years, Juan Gris’ work further evolved into a distinct style that borrowed a lot from the different geometrical theories and shapes. The painting ‘Woman with Mandolin after, Corot’ is one of his paintings that represents that change in approach.
Juan Gris also started applying his mind to design in 1924 when he created the ballet sets as well as the costumes for the famous Russian ballet promoter Sergei Diaghilev. In the same year, Gris delivered a lecture at the Sorbonne titled ‘Des possibilites de la peinture’ and at the same time his paintings continued to be exhibited at some of the better galleries in Europe. Some of his famous works like ‘The Red Book’, ‘The Checked Tablecloth’ and ‘Woman With a Basket’ were produced during this period.
Major Works
Juan Gris was one of the most important painters of all time who revolutionised the world of cubist art and over the course of his career he produced plenty of paintings that are still highly appreciated. Among his works, ‘Nature Morte a la Nappe a Carreaux’ or ‘The Checked Table Cloth’ was sold for a staggering $56.8 million at an auction at Christie’s in London, in 2014.
Awards & Achievements
Juan Gris did not win any major awards in his career.
Personal Life & Legacy
Juan Gris was married to a lady named Josette and the couple had a son, Georges.
Juan Gris suffered from illnesses like uremia, asthma and cardiac problems and on 11 May 1927 he died in the outskirts of Paris in an area called Boulogne-sur-Seine due to kidney failure.

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