Bouquet de fleurs, c. 1920
b. 1887 Madrid, Spain
d. 1927, Boulogne-Billancourt, France
The Cubist painter and sculptor Juan Gris (né José Victoriano Carmelo Carlos González-Pérez) was born in Madrid, the thirteenth of fourteen children. As a young man, he studied illustration at the Escuela de Artes y Manufacturas in Madrid (1902–04) while submitting his drawings to the local newspapers. After graduating, he studied under the guidance of Spanish artist José Maria Carbonero. In 1906, he moved to Paris, and adopted the pseudonym Juan Gris. He rented a studio in the same building as Pablo Picasso, the Bateau-Lavoir in Montmartre, and along with Picasso, Gris soon became friends with other Cubists of Paris: Georges Braque and Fernand Léger. Whereas Braque and Picasso's intuition guided the development of their Cubism, Gris worked logically and mathematically. However, Gris gradually ceded his analytic process to that of intuition and developed his own unique Cubism, inspiring Guillaume Apollinaire to write of Gris: "Here is a man who has meditated on everything modern, here is a painter who wants only to conceive new entities."
In 1919, Léonce Rosenberg organized the first major solo show of Juan Gris at his Galerie de l'Effort Moderne in Paris, exhibiting around fifty of his works. However, starting in 1920, Gris began suffering the effects of pleurisy, and his painting suffered. In 1927, Juan Gris passed away at the young age of thirty-nine.