Juan Gris


Artist Biography:

Juan Gris was born in 1887 in Madrid, where from the age of 15 he studied at the Escuela des Artes Y Manufacturas. His great skills as a draughtsman led to commissions for illustrated newspapers, during which time he also tried his hand at painting. By 1906 the lure of Paris was strong and Gris followed in Picasso’s glorious trail. He settled near his compatriot in Montmartre and stayed there for fifteen years. Gris joined the Cubist movement, despite finding the technique far too analytical, he wanted to express form in the simplest way possible. His main themes were rhythm and composition. The aim of the movement was to develop a new way of seeing which reflected the complexity of the modern age. Artists would combine different viewpoints of a subject in the one image. This technique can be seen clearly in Gris’s Work. Gris’s most successful period was between 1915 and 1919. Before 1915 his still life was somewhat stiff and stylised and after 1919 his work lost strength and liveliness and began to lack emotional warmth. In the last four years of his life Gris endured continued ill health but found the strength to meet several commissions from Sergei Diaghilev for the sets and costumes of ballets. With experience and confidence, Gris handled the flat compositions and coloured surfaces and showed an almost scientific skill in expressing himself.

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