Juan Gris, original name José Victoriano González (born March 23, 1887, Madrid, Spain—died May 11, 1927, Boulogne-sur-Seine, France), Spanish painter whose lucidly composed still lifes are major works of the style called Synthetic Cubism.
Gris studied engineering at the Madrid School of Arts and
Manufactures from 1902 to 1904, but he soon began making drawings for
newspapers in the sensuously curvilinear Art Nouveau style. He moved to Paris in 1906 and settled at the Bateau-Lavoir, an artists’ dwelling where his compatriot Pablo Picasso lived. Gris was thus in touch with the evolution of Cubism, a style initiated by Picasso and Georges Braque
around 1907. Gris executed his first serious paintings in 1910 and
adopted the Cubist style the following year. In 1912 the prominent art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler agreed to purchase his entire artistic output.
1912 Picasso and Braque abandoned their abstract analyses of form and
began to synthesize images from found shapes and textures, a style that
is referred to as Synthetic Cubism. The following year Gris arrived at
his own personal and mature version of Synthetic Cubism. His works are
characterized by rigorously geometric compositions in which fragmented
objects and sharp-edged planes are articulated with maximum clarity. A
more theoretical painter than Picasso or Braque, Gris systematized
their discoveries, making their intuitions comprehensible and,
consequently, helping to spread the Cubist style. His version of Cubism
was more severe and classical, and less spontaneous, than theirs.
Between 1921 and 1927, however, Gris transformed his Synthetic Cubist
idiom so that his style became increasingly free and lyrical.