Art: Eminence Gris

Of the four painters who created the language of cubism in the early teens of this century—Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris and Fernand Léger—the first to die was also the youngest: Gris. His real name was José Gonzálèz, and he was the 13th child of a polyphiloprogenitive Madrid businessman. After a brief apprenticeship as a comic illustrator in Spain, Gris got to Paris in 1906 and installed himself as Picasso's neighbor in the now legendary Bâteau-Lavoir, a ramshackle cluster of studios in Montmartre. He painted nothing of importance until 1910, and uremia...