- Julio González
TÊTE DITE 'LE POMPIER'
Andrew Carnduff and Jane Ritchie, Canaan, Connecticut
Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 1976-77
Bern, Kunsthalle, Sculpteurs contemporains de l'Ecole de Paris, 1948, no. 75
Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Julio González, 1952, no. 63
New York, Museum of Modern Art and Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Julio González, 1956, no. 26, illustrated in the catalogue
New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Julio González. A Retrospective, 1983, no. 135, illustrated in the catalogue
Frankfurt, Städtische Galerie im Städelschen Kunstinstitut and Berlin, Akademie der Künste, Julio González, Plastiken, Zeichnungen, Kunstgewerbe, 1983, no. 77, illustrated in the catalogue
Anatole Jakovski, 'Inscriptions under Pictures', in Axis, London, 1935, no. 1, p. 13, illustrated
Léon Degand, 'Julio González' 1876-1942', in Art d'aujourd'hui, Paris, January 1950, no. 6, illustrated
Julio González (exhibition catalogue), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Kunsthalle, Bern and Musée des Beaux-Arts, La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1955, illustrated
Léon Degand, González, Cologne and Berlin, 1956, illustrated
David Smith 1906-1965. A Retrospective Exhibition (exhibition catalogue), Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1966, p. 63, no. 76, illustrated
Vicente Aguilera Cerni, Julio, Joan, Roberta González, Itinerario de una dinastía, Barcelona, 1973, p. 264, no. 218, detail illustrated
Josephine Withers, Julio González, Sculpture in Iron, New York, 1978, p. 59, fig. 49; p. 162, no. 63, illustrated
Jörn Merkert, Julio González, Catalogue raisonné des sculptures, Milan, 1987, p. 146, no. 148, illustrated
Tête or ‘Le Pompier’ is one of only eight sculptures González executed in silver, and is a magnificent example of the artist’s increasing move towards abstraction that characterised his work of the first half of the 1930s. In his series of small silver heads executed in 1932-33, to which the present work belongs, González developed his technique of ‘drawing in space’, resulting in a number of remarkable sculptures constructed of simple geometrical elements, put together in such a way as to subtly suggest a human form.
González himself explained his technique of ‘drawing in space’: "The real problem to be solved is not only wanting to make a work that is harmonious and perfectly balanced – No! – But to achieve this result by the marriage of the material and space, by the union of real forms and imaginary forms, obtained or suggested by fixed points or perforations, and then, according to the natural law of love, to let them blend and to make them inseparable from one another, like body and spirit. To project and draw in space with the help of new devices, to use this space, and construct with it as if it were a newly acquired material – that is my endeavour" (J. González, ‘Picasso Sculpteur et les Cathédrales’, reproduced in J. Withers, op. cit., p. 134).
Most of the other silver sculptures by González are now in renowned public collections, such as those of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Museo de Arte Moderno, Barcelona, Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo, Madrid (fig. 1) and Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris. The present work was originally in the collection of Roberta González, the artist’s daughter, who later married Hans Hartung, and was an artist in her own right. At one stage it was in the possession of Andrew Carnduff Ritchie, who was the longest serving director of the Yale University Art Gallery, between 1957 and 1971.
Fig. 1, Julio González, Tête dite 'l'entonnoir', circa 1932-33, silver, Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo, Madrid
Fig. 2, Pablo Picasso, Tête de femme, 1929-30, iron, sheet metal, colanders and springs, painted
Fig. 3, Photograph of González's studio, 1937