Juan Gris was born in Madrid on March 23, 1887. He studied drawing at the Escuela de Artes y Manufacturas in Madrid and painting with the academic artist José Maria Carbonero. In 1906 he moved to Paris, where he lived for most of the remainder of his life. His friends in Paris included Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, and Pablo Picasso and the writers Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, and Maurice Raynal. Gris began to paint seriously in 1910. By 1912 he had developed a personal Cubist style.
In 1922 the painter first designed ballet sets and costumes for Sergei Diaghilev. Gris articulated most of his aesthetic theories during 1924 and 1925. He delivered the lectures at the Sorbonne. 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 Düsseldorf in 1925. As his health declined, Gris made frequent visits to the south of France. He died in Boulogne-sur-Seine on May 11, 1927.