- Julio González
- Masque My
Myriam Prévot-Douatte (acquired from the above)
Galerie de France, Paris
Acquired directly from the above by 1982
Frankfurt, Städtische Galerie im Städelschen Kunstinstitut & Berlin, Akademie der Künste, Julio González. Plastiken, Zeichnungen, Kunstgewerbe, 1983, no. 52, illustrated in the catalogue (as dating from circa 1930)
Marie N. Pradel de Grandry, 'La Donation González au Musée National d'Art Moderne', in La Revue du Louvre, no. 1, Paris, 1966, no. 19, pp. 1-16
Vicente Aguilera Cerni, Julio, Joan, Roberta González - Itinerario de una dinastía, Barcelona, 1973, no. 152, illustration of another example p. 212
Josephine Withers, Julio González, Sculpture in Iron, New York, 1978, no. 14, p. 44
Jörn Merkert, Julio González, Catalogue raisonné des sculptures, Milan, 1987, no. 91, illustrated p. 68
A unique iron sculpture executed in the late 1920s, Masque My dates from the period when González was instructing Picasso on the fine art of welding and metal work. It reflects the sleek, sophisticated aesthetic and dramatic abstraction for which the artist's best sculptures are renowned. While his well known collaboration with Picasso certainly influenced González's approach to sculpture, his development of form differed from Picasso's in the way each conceived of the medium. While Picasso collaborated with González to transform his drawings into sculptures, González's own works are much more deeply involved with the process of developing form through the relation of metal parts.
Margit Rowell wrote about the collaboration between the two artists: 'During the period between 1930 and 1932 Picasso and González worked on three more metal sculptures: Figure of a Woman, Head [fig. 1], and Head of a Woman. In each the improvised assemblage principle became more explicit, coupled with an almost exclusive use of scrap metal. [...] The drawings show that Figure of a Woman was not originally conceived as a sculpture in metal. However, perhaps the artist's recent experience of working with González combined with his discovery of a shoemaker's metal last were what changed its destiny' (M. Rowell, 'Julio González: The birth of modern iron sculpture', in J. Merkert, op. cit., p. 335).
Picasso' fascination with African masks and figurines left an impression on González, as evidenced by the present work and in another iron sculpture, Tête dite 'Le Lapin' (fig. 2). Margit Rowell wrote: 'If Picasso was looking at African art, this would explain certain obvious but unprecedented references in the work of González during the years 1930-31. Unquestionably, the Masque "My" and the Head in Polished Iron [...] allude to African models. Their austerely schematic and chiselled features set them apart from the rest of the artist's production of that time' (ibid., p. 335).
At a later point, Masque My was cast in bronze in an edition of 9 plus 4 artist's proofs. This mask appears to have been of particular significance for the artist, as in 1930 he painted three oils in which it is situated in the foreground of a landscape (J. Merkert, op. cit., nos. 91.D1, 91.D2 & 91.D3).
Fig. 1, Pablo Picasso, Tête, 1930, iron, brass and bronze, Musée Picasso, Paris
Fig. 2, Julio González, Tête dite 'Le Lapin', circa 1930, iron, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid
Fig. 3, González with Hans Hartung in his studio in Arcueil, circa 1938-39. Photograph by Marc Vaux, Archivio Julio González, IVAM, Valencia