José Victoriano (Carmelo Carlos) González-Pérez (March 23, 1887 – May 11, 1927), better known as Juan Gris, was a Spanish painter and sculptor born in Madrid who lived and worked in France most of his life . Closely related to the innovative artistic genre Cubism, his works are among the most distinctive of the movement.
Gris was born in Madrid. Then he studied engineering at the School of Arts and Sciences of Madrid. There, from 1902 to 1904, he contributed drawings to local periodicals. From 1904 to 1905, he studied painting with the academic artist José Moreno Carbonero. It was in 1905 when José Victoriano González adopted the most distinctive name Juan Gris.
In 1906 he moved to Paris and became friends with Henri Matisse, Georges Braque and Fernand Léger. In Paris, Gris followed the example of another friend and compatriot, Pablo Picasso. He presented dark and humorous illustrations for magazines such as the satirical anarchist magazine L’Assiette au Beurre, and also Le Rire, Le Charivari and Le Cri de Paris.
Gris began painting seriously in 1910 (when he stopped working as a satirist), developing a personal cubist style at this time. In A Life of Picasso, John Richardson writes that Jean Metzinger’s 1911 work, Le goûter (Tea Time), persuaded Juan Gris of the importance of mathematics in painting. Gris exhibited for the first time at the Salon des Indépendants of 1912 (a painting entitled Hommage à Pablo Picasso).
“He appears with two styles,” writes art historian Peter Brooke, “In one of them appears a grid structure that clearly recalls Goûter and Metzinger’s later work in 1912.” In the other, Brooke continues, “the grid is still present, but the lines are not indicated and their continuity is broken, their presence is suggested by the heavy shading, often triangular, of the angles between them … Both styles are distinguished of the work of Picasso and Braque for its clear, rational and measurable quality “. Although Gris considered Picasso as a teacher, Gertrude Stein wrote in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas that “Juan Gris was the only person whom Picasso wished for.”
In 1912 Gris exhibited at the Cubist Art Exhibition, galleries J. Dalmau in Barcelona; the Der Sturm gallery in Berlin; the Salon de la Société Normande de Peinture Moderne in Rouen; and the Section d’Or Salon in Paris. Gray, in that same year, signed a contract that gave D.-H. Kahnweiler has exclusive rights to his work.
At first Gris painted the style of analytic Cubism, a term that he later coined himself, but after 1913 he began his conversion to synthetic Cubism, of which he became a firm performer, with an extensive use of papier collé or collage. Unlike Picasso and Braque, whose cubist works were practically monochromatic, Gris painted with brilliant harmonious colors in daring novel combinations in the manner of his friend Matisse. Gris exhibited with the Puteaux Group painters in the Section d’Or Salon in 1912. His preference for clarity and order influenced the purist style of Amédée Ozenfant and Charles Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier), and turned Gris into an important example of the post-war “return to order” movement. In 1915 it was painted by his friend, Amedeo Modigliani. In November 1917 he made one of his few sculptures, the polychrome plaster Harlequin.
The works of Gris from the end of 1916 to 1917 show a greater simplification of the geometric structure, a confusion of the distinction between objects and scenery, between the theme and the background. The overlapping and oblique flat constructions, which tend towards equilibrium, can best be seen in Woman with Mandolin, after Corot (September 1916) and in her epilogue, Portrait of Josette Gris (October 1916, Museo Reina Sofía).
The clear underlying geometric framework of these works apparently controls the finer elements of the compositions; the constituent components, including the small planes of the faces, become part of the unified whole. Although Gray certainly had planned the representation of his chosen theme, the abstract armor serves as a starting point. The geometric structure of the Juan Gris crystal period is already palpable in Still Life before an open window, Place Ravignan (June 1915, Philadelphia Museum of Art). The overlapping elementary planar structure of the composition serves as the basis for flattening the individual elements on a unifying surface, predicting the shape of what is to come. In 1919 and particularly in 1920, artists and critics began to write about this “synthetic” approach and affirm its importance in the general scheme of advanced cubism.
Designer and theoretician
In 1924, he designed ballet and costume sets for Sergei Diaghilev and the famous Ballets Russes.
Gray articulated most of his aesthetic theories during 1924 and 1925. He delivered his final lecture, Des possibilités de la peinture, at the Sorbonne in 1924. Gris’s major exhibitions were held at the Galerie Simon in Paris and the Galerie Flechtheim in Paris. Berlin in 1923 and the Galerie Flechtheim in Düsseldorf in 1925.
After October 1925, Gris was frequently ill with attacks of uremia and heart problems. He died of renal failure in Boulogne-sur-Seine (Paris) on May 11, 1927, at the age of 40, leaving a wife, Josette, and a son, Georges.
The maximum price of the auction for a job by Gris is $ 57.1 million (£ 34.8 million), achieved for his painting of 1915 Nature morte à la nappe à carreaux. This exceeded the previous records of $ 20.8 million for his Livre of 1915 Bodegones, tubes and verres and $ 28.6 million for the 1913 work Violon et guitare.
Juan Gris Paintings. Juan Gris Selected Works. Juan Gris Portrait of Picasso, Guitar and Pipe etc.