Juan Gris, pseudonym of José Victoriano González, (Madrid, 1887 - Boulogne-sur-Seine, France, 1927) is one of the most representative Spanish artists of the twentieth century. The present exhibition shows an important facet of his most unknown work which was an essential part in his later career as a painter. Accordingly, a hundred drawings made between 1904 and 1912, mainly illustrating the initial periods of the artist's production, are exhibited together with the ninety publications that they were drawn for. Along with them, other unpublished drawings, as well as general documents related to the facet of Gris as press illustrator are also exhibited.
Between 1902 and 1904, Gris studied at the School of Art and Industry in Madrid. In 1904 he left school and began to receive classes by academic painter José Moreno Carbonero, while he begins to publish drawings in magazines of the time such as Blanco y negro.
In 1906 the artist emmigrates to Paris, where the painter Daniel Vázquez Díaz welcomes him and introduces him to the famous Bateau Lavoir, place of residence and regular meeting spot for painters and writers. There he became friends with Pablo Picasso and the writers Guillaume Apollinaire, André Salmon and Max Jacob. Soon after, through Picasso, Gris meets Georges Braque and critic Maurice Raynal, with whom he enters a deep friendship. At this time the artist publishes illustrations and drawings in magazines such as Le rire, Le charivari, Le témoin, as well as in Papitu from Barcelona.
Gris begins to draw satirically, which at this time has many qualified representatives doing the same in Paris. In fact, the role of laughter, humour and caricatures have great relevance in the genesis of avant-garde art. During the early years in Gris’ career he produces over six hundred and fifty drawings and typographic vignettes, and collaborates with twenty-two different newspapers; nine Spanish and thirteen French. This stage begins in 1904, when the artist is seventeen, with the first two literary magazines Papel de estraza (1904) and Renacimiento latino (1905) with whom he works under his pseudonym.
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía has contributed to the recognition of the painter in Spain with the acquisition of a splendid collection of paintings and drawings, which were shown at the 2001 exhibition at the Museum: Juan Gris 1887-1927. Obras de la colección del Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
Palacio Episcopal de Málaga (January 30 - April 4, 2004)