Before going to La Llotja, the Barcelona School of Fine Arts, in 1893, he studied at several drawing academies, such as the ones run by Josep Mirabent, Martínez i Altés and L. Graner.
At the beginning of his career he did some highly popular cartoons for the newspaper La Vanguardia. His early paintings, which he did around 1896, are extremely luminous and have very vivid colours.
After a stay at Caldes de Boí with the painters R. Canals and J. Vallmitjana, he started to become interested in wretched characters and cretins. He exhibited the works from this period at the Exhibition Hall belonging to La Vanguardia and also in the Salon du Champ de Mars in Paris. He lived in Paris between 1897 and 1898, and then again between 1898 and 1900, when he shared a studio with Picasso, but he did not gain recognition there until later. Although based in Barcelona, throughout his life he exhibited his work every year in the Salon des Independents in Paris, where it was very well received.
He was one of the members of La Colla del Safrà (The Saffron Gang) of which he became the leader.
He held an individual exhibition at Els Quatre Gats (Montsió, 3 bis) in 1898 and, shortly afterwards, in 1902, another at Sala Parés (Petritxol, 5), where he showed a series of paintings of gypsy women and sad, desperate characters (Misèria [Misery], 1904; and Repòs [Rest], 1904; MNAC collection), a repetitive theme until 1907, although the later works on this theme display a lighter palette (Estudi [Study], 1908; and Figura ajaguda [Reclining Figure], 1908; MNAC collection). His exhibitions in Barcelona were not well received by either the public or the critics and he did not have much success as a painter due to the subjects he chose and his pictorial treatment of them, using a Post-Impressionist and Expressionist style, very much in keeping with the currents that were popular elsewhere in Europe.
During the last years of his life he drew satirical cartoons of society and the Church for the magazine Papitu.
He first achieved recognition at a large exhibition he put on at the Faianç Català gallery (Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 615; no longer in existence) in 1910, where he presented works with a lighter palette and a less tragic treatment of the subject matter (Solitud [Solitude], 1910; and Natura morta amb cebes i arengada [Still Life with Onions and Herring], 1910; MNAC collection).