JosÃ© Victoriano (Carmelo Carlos) GonzÃ¡lez-PÃ©rez (March 23, 1887 â" May 11, 1927), better known as Juan Gris (Spanish pronunciation:Â [Ëxwan ËÉ¡É¾is]), was a Spanish painter and sculptor born in Madrid who lived and worked in France most of his life. Closely connected to the innovative artistic genre Cubism, his works are among the movement's most distinctive.
Born in Madrid, Gris studied mechanical drawing at the Escuela de Artes y Manufacturas in Madrid from 1902 to 1904, during which time he contributed drawings to local periodicals. From 1904 to 1905, he studied painting with the academic artist JosÃ© Moreno Carbonero. It was in 1905 that JosÃ© Victoriano GonzÃ¡lez adopted the more distinctive name Juan Gris.
In 1906 he moved to Paris and became friends with Henri Matisse, Georges Braque and Fernand LÃ©ger. In Paris, Gris followed the lead of another friend and fellow countryman, Pablo Picasso. He submitted darkly humorous illustrations to journals such as Le Rire, L'assiette au beurre, Le Charivari, and Le Cri de Paris.
Gris began to paint seriously in 1911 (when he gave up working as a satirical cartoonist), developing at this time a personal Cubist style. In A Life of Picasso, John Richardson writes that Jean Metzinger's 1911 work, Le goÃ»ter (Tea Time), persuaded Juan Gris of the importance of mathematics (numbers) in painting. Gris started painting persistently in 1911 and exhibited for the first time at the 1912 Salon des IndÃ©pendants (a painting entitled Hommage Ã Pablo Picasso).
"He appears with two styles", writes art historian Peter Brooke, "In one of them a grid structure appears that is clearly reminiscent of the GoÃ»ter and of Metzinger's later work in 1912." In the other, Brooke continues, "the grid is still present but the lines are not stated and their continuity is broken. Their presence is suggested by the heavy, often triangular, shading of the angles between them... Both styles are distinguished from the work of Picasso and Braque by their clear, rational and measurable quality." Although Gris regarded Picasso as a teacher, Gertrude Stein wrote in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas that "Juan Gris was the only person whom Picasso wished away".
In 1912 Gris exhibited at the ExposicÃo d'art cubista, galerÃes J. Dalmau in Barcelona; the gallery Der Sturm in Berlin; the Salon de la SociÃ©tÃ© Normande de Peinture Moderne in Rouen; and the Salon de la Section d'Or in Paris. Gris, in that same year, signed a contract that gave D.-H. Kahnweiler exclusive rights to his work.
At first Gris painted in the style of Analytical Cubism, a term he himself later coined, but after 1913 he began his conversion to Synthetic Cubism, of which he became a steadfast interpreter, with extensive use of papier collÃ© or, collage. Unlike Picasso and Braque, whose Cubist works were practically monochromatic, Gris painted with bright harmonious colors in daring, novel combinations in the manner of his friend Matisse. Gris exhibited with the painters of the Puteaux Group in the Salon de la Section d'Or in 1912. His preference for clarity and order influenced the Purist style of AmÃ©dÃ©e Ozenfant and Charles Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier), and made Gris an important exemplar of the post-war "return to order" movement. In 1915 he was painted by his friend, Amedeo Modigliani.
Gris's works from late 1916 through 1917, more so than before, exhibit a simplification of geometric structure, a blurring of the distinction between objects and setting, between subject matter and background. The oblique overlapping planar constructions, tending away from equilibrium, can best be seen in the artists Woman with Mandolin, after Corot (September 1916) and in its epilogue Portrait of Josette Gris (October 1916) Museo Reina Sofia.
The clear-cut underlying geometric framework of these works seemingly control the finer elements of the compositions; the constituent components, including the small planes of the faces, become part of the unified whole. Though Gris certainly had planned the representation of his chosen subject matter, the abstract armature serves as the starting point. The geometric structure of Juan Gris's Crystal period is already palpable in Still Life before an Open Window, Place Ravignan (June 1915) Philadelphia Museum of Art. The overlapping elemental planar structure of the composition serves as a foundation to flatten the individual elements onto a unifying surface, foretelling the shape of things to come. In 1919 and particularly 1920, artists and critics began to write conspicuously about this 'synthetic' approach, and asserting its importance in the overall scheme of advanced Cubism.
Designer and theorist
In 1924, he designed ballet sets and costumes for Sergei Diaghilev and the famous Ballets Russes.
Gris articulated most of his aesthetic theories during 1924 and 1925. He delivered his definitive lecture, Des possibilitÃ©s de la peinture, at the Sorbonne in 1924. Major Gris exhibitions took place at the Galerie Simon in Paris and the Galerie Flechtheim in Berlin in 1923 and at the Galerie Flechtheim in DÃ¼sseldorf in 1925.
After October 1925, Gris was frequently ill with bouts of uremia and cardiac 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 top auction price for a Gris work is $57.1 million (Â£34.8 million), achieved for his 1915 painting Nature morte Ã la nappe Ã carreaux. This surpassed previous records of $20.8 million for his 1915 still life Livre, pipe et verres and $28.6 million for the 1913 artwork Violon et guitare.
- Bottle of Rum and Newspaper (Bouteille de rhum et journal) at the Guggenheim Museum
- Cherries (Les cerises) at the Guggenheim Museum
- Fruit Dish on a Checkered Tablecloth (Compotier et nappe Ã carreaux) at the Guggenheim Museum
- Violin Hanging on a Wall (Le violon accrochÃ©) at the Guggenheim Museum
- Cowling, Elizabeth; Mundy, Jennifer. 1990. On Classic Ground: Picasso, LÃ©ger, de Chirico and the New Classicism 1910-1930. London: Tate Gallery. ISBN 1-85437-043-X
- Green, Christopher. "Gris, Juan." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Web.
- Gris, Juan. 1998. Juan Gris: peintures et dessins, 1887-1927. [Marseille]: MusÃ©es de Marseille. ISBN 2-7118-2969-3. (French language)
- Juan Gris, Joconde, Portail des collections des musÃ©es de France
- Juan Gris, Culture.gouv.fr, le site du MinistÃ¨re de la culture - base MÃ©moire
- Artcyclopedia - Links to Gris' works
- The Athenaeum - Extensive list and images of Gris' works
- Juan Gris in Artfacts.Net See actual exhibitions and related galleries and museums for Juan Gris