Lot 3
  • 3

JULIO GONZÁLEZ | Tête au miroir

800,000 - 1,200,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Julio González
  • Tête au miroir
  • inscribed J. Gonzalez ©, numbered EA and with the foundry mark E. Godard Fondr
  • bronze
  • height (not including base): 56.4cm.
  • 22 1/8 in.
  • Executed in forged bronze circa 1934 and cast in bronze in 1986 in a numbered edition of 3 plus 4 casts marked 0, 00, EA and HC. This example was cast in 1986.


Estate of the artist Galeria Theo, Madrid

Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1989


'J. Gonzalez', in Cahiers d'Art, Paris, 1935, another cast illustrated p. 33 Leon Degand, González, Cologne & Berlin, 1956, no. 17, another cast illustrated

Vicente Aguilera Cerni, Julio Joan, Roberta González - Itinerario de una dinastia, Barcelona, 1973, no. 222, another cast illustrated p. 267

Josephine Withers, Julio González, Sculpture in Iron, New York, 1978, no. 80, fig. 71, another cast illustrated p. 69

Bernd Growe, 'Eiserne Dithyramben', in Weltkunst, Munich, no. 15, 1st August 1983, another cast illustrated p. 2005

Jürgen Beckelmann, 'Spaniens Kraft und Trauer', in Volksblatt, Berlin, 4th September 1983, another cast illustrated

Jörn Merkert, Julio González. Catalogue raisonné des sculptures, Milan, 1987, no. 153, another example illustrated pp. 154-155; the present cast listed p. 154

Julio González retrospective (exhibition catalogue), Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona & Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, 2008-09, the original forged bronze illustrated a photograph of the Julio González exhibition at Galerie Cahiers d'Art, Paris in November 1934, p. 24

Catalogue Note

The late 1920s and early 1930s constitute the single most important period of González’s career and the years in which he crystallised the unique sculptural language that he would describe as ‘drawing in space’. Influenced by his close collaborations with Picasso and the Surrealist movement that was beginning to gain ground among the Parisian avant-garde, González pioneered a style of sculpture in which volume is suggested through openness and by the interplay between linear forms; the figures and the space they are set in become inseparable. A playful blend of abstraction and figuration, Tête au miroir epitomises the artist’s mature style and relates closely to other key works from the period including the celebrated Femme au miroir of 1937 and the series of works known as Femme se coiffant, particularly in the distinctive metal fronds that indicate hair and the delicate curve that delineates the face. The joy of the present work is in its remarkable simplicity; using only a few formal elements, González nonetheless succeeds in conjuring his subject – a full head of hair – in a work that exudes character and energy.

The original model of the present work was acquired by Christian Zervos, who was one of the first supporters of the sculptor, regularly publishing his works in the Cahiers d’Art. Discussing this model in relation to other works of this period Brigitte Leal writes: ‘the series of linear sculptures created between 1930 and 1935 show how the artist, thanks to his great skill as a metalworker, invented a mode of expression specific to metal, a writing in space […] that produced hollowed-out forms, reduced to geometric and abstract outlines […]. The cluster of thorny hooks at the top of a perfect circle formed by La Chevelure (conceived as a distillation of the famous Tête miroir belonging to Christian Zervos) are striking for their formal perfection which are in the same vein as Miró’s ideograms whilst alluding to a world charged with a Picassian rapacity’ (B. Leal, in Julio González (exhibition catalogue), Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2007, p. 128, translated from French).