Google has transformed its home page to honor cubist painter Juan Gris. Today marks the anniversary of his birth, 125 years ago. The image is a mishmash of musical instruments, eyes and other cubist figures from Gris’ work.
Gris was born Jose Victoriano Gonzalez-Perez in Madrid, Spain on March 23, 1887, adopting the pseudonym Juan Gris around 1905. He studied technical drawing in school before moving to Paris in 1906. There he befriended cubist painters Fernand Leger, Georges Braque, and Pablo Picasso.
Picasso and Braque are considered the fathers of cubist style, but Gris made it his own, contributing greatly to the art form. His portrait of Picasso in 1912 is considered the first significant cubist painting not done by Picasso or Braque. While Picasso and Braque’s work was monochromatic, Gris chose bright colors and a more expressive style, in the manner of friend Henri Matisse.
Though widely recognized as a pioneer in cubism, he may have resented that description. Gris did not wish to be aligned with a specific movement, preferring his own creative process above all else. As stated in his “L’Esprit Nouveau” declaration, “Starting from a general type, I want to make something particular and individual.”
Gris will always be remembered as revolutionary in creative expression. He joins the likes of Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Leonardo da Vinci, whose work has also been featured in a Google doodle.