School of Paris painter of still life and occasional figure subjects; one of the leading Cubists. Born in Madrid. Originally called José Gonzalez. Studied engineering in Madrid, then, from c.1904, painting. Moved to Paris in 1906 and went to live in the same building as Picasso. At first made his living by contributing drawings to L'Assiette au Beurre, Le Temoin and other illustrated papers. Began to paint seriously in 1910 and participated from 1912 in the Cubist movement, his work being noted for its classical purity and lucidity. Exhibited at the Section d'Or 1912 and signed a contract with Kahnweiler. Made a number of papiers collés 1913-15, then began to develop a more synthetic style, 'a flat pictorial architecture'. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie de l'Effort Moderne, Paris, 1919. Designed sets and costumes for Les Tentations de la Bergère and other Diaghilev productions 1921-4. Settled at Boulogne-sur-Seine in 1922, but spent most winters in the South of France. First illness 1920; increasing ill-health from 1925. Died at Boulogne-sur-Seine.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.339