Born into a family of metalsmiths, González’ work was not by any means revolutionary over the first thirty years of his career, in which he produced traditional, albeit beautiful, metalwork. In 1918, González worked at the Renault factory where he learned the technique of autogenous welding which he would later use in his celebrated iron sculptures. It was only in 1928, when Picasso asked González’ advice on welding a sculpture, that González would bring together Cubism and industrial welding—a departure from the solid mass of traditional sculpture. This led to four years of close collaboration between the two Spanish artists, and the development of a new visual lexicon for González. He created work that was not completely naturalistic nor totally abstract, with a playfulness that lent life to otherwise inert metals. The effect on Picasso’s work was equally important: sculpture came into its own in the artist’s oeuvre, no longer simply an extension of his painting (see fig. 1).
González work shirks the label of any art historical movement, synthesizing the two supposedly opposing movements of Constructivism and Surrealism. Discussing González’ remarkable accomplishments, Margit Rowell commented: "González transformed the face of twentieth century sculpture from an art of representational images to an art of invention: an art of formally self-referential objects evoking ideas. A subway was no longer a model to be imitated but a theme on which to compose autonomous formal variations. A material was no longer a medium in the literal sense but the basic determinant of form. A technique was no longer relegated to the hands of a master craftsman or technician but remained in the hands of the artist alone. In fact, it was through the artist’s direct realization of his work—the direct forging of metals—that the new vision of sculpture as we know it today was born" (Margit Rowell in Julio González, A Retrospective Exhibition (exhibition catalogue), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1983, p. 30).
Connections can be made between González’ revolutionary work and that of his artistic contemporaries Alexander Calder, David Smith and Picasso, and he was surely greatly influenced by these artists (see fig. 2). Recognized as the “master of the torch” by David Smith, the synthesis that González achieved was surely based on his unique knowledge of the medium, was his alone.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale