Jose Victorian Gonzales-Perez, known as Juan Gris (*1887 Madrid ES | †1927 Boulogne-Billancourt FR) was a Spanish painter and sculptor whose work is closely associated with the innovation of Cubism in France.
Gris was born and raised in Madrid where he initially studied engineering and mechanical drawing at the Escuela de Artes y Manufacturas. In 1904, however, Gris turned towards painting and briefly trained under the artist José Maria Carbonero before moving to Paris in 1906.
Paris was the center of development for the modernist avant-garde, and Gris soon met Henri Matisse, George Braque, Fernand Leger, and most importantly Pablo Picasso. These artists were all interested in the deconstruction of space and experimented with rendering volume on a two-dimensional canvas from multiple viewpoints. These abstracted and geometric works became known as Cubism.
In 1911, Gris began to paint seriously and produced his first works in monochromatic and earth tones in a Cubist style. As his work developed, it became more colorful, in contrast to the theories of other cubists who felt color was subordinate to form.
Gris was very successful in the art world even within his own time, with his work being presented at several important exhibitions in Paris, Barcelona, and Berlin as early as 1912. As well as an artist, Gris was an important art theorist, writing several treatises and giving one of his most important lectures, 'Des possibilités de la peinture', in the Sorbonne in 1924.
Gris’ health failed him at a young age, and he passed away from renal failure in 1927 at the age of forty. Works by Gris can be found in the Kröller-Möller Museum, Otterlo; Center Pompidou, Paris; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid; among many others.