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Artists Julio González
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Julio González

Spanish Draftsman

Movements and Styles: Cubism, Surrealism, Modern Sculpture

Born: September 21, 1876 - Barcelona, Spain

Died: March 27, 1942 - Arcueil, Paris, France

Julio González Timeline

Quotes

"The age of iron began many centuries ago by producing very beautiful objects, unfortunately for a large part, arms. Today, it provides as well, bridges and railroads. It is time this metal ceased to be a murderer and the simple instrument of a super-mechanical science. Today the door is wide open for this material to be, at last forged and hammered by the peaceful hands of an artist."
Julio González
"To produce in space and to draw with new means, to include space and to construct something out of it as if it is a newfound material, this is my whole intention."
Julio González
"One will not produce great art by drawing one's inspiration from New York skyscrapers. The truly novel works, which often look bizarre, are, quite simply, those which are inspired by Nature."
Julio González
"Each, with his abilities, must try to raise himself up to the level of the work of art. This must be insisted upon, even many times. That's what I have often done..."
Julio González

"This new art: To draw in space."

Julio González Signature

Synopsis

Despite Julio González's late start and short creative period of work, marked by poverty and war, he realized key works that capture his radical approach to sculpture. The strong ties to the local craft traditions in Barcelona informed his image of form and his choice of material with the formidable training and his acquired welding skills during WWI allowed him to combine fully contradictory concepts of the modern - from Cubism, Surrealism, Constructivism, to various forms of abstraction - in his sculptures. And especially influential was González's intensive collaboration with Pablo Picasso. Although González never gained broad popularity, he is known as the father of iron sculpture and is consistently included among the famous modern sculptors of the 20th century, such as Brancusi, Giacometti, Laurens, and Picasso.

Key Ideas

González chose iron as his metal of choice, because of his objection to its modern uses for munitions and for society's mechanized, scientific environment. He aimed to transform this metal into evocative forms. The method of collage informs his process of welding together disparate pieces of metal, even found scraps of metal and bars, creating arabesque-like delineations in space to capture the human experience of beauty and defiance.
González, inspired by Rodin, left visible the process of making, such as chasing the subject out of the metal, the marks of beating the metal into shape, or showing the skeletal elements used in welding a piece together. The material's unfinished, rough surface or scrap iron pieces expressed the object's corporeality and lent it an emotive quality, which was intended to shape the viewer's perception of the work. For the first time, González used welded metal as a new medium and technique for sculpture.
Influenced by Picasso's revolutionizing attitude toward the dialogue between painting and sculpture, González began to depict forms in space in his own sculptural work. He therefore understood space as a new material to manipulate and to construct with. This led eventually to González's own invention of drawing in space, which meant using the given lines and surfaces in the material to create open constructions in and with space suggestive of the female figure or human body.
Drawing provided González with the opportunity to try out his ideas and even occupy himself, when sculpting materials were scarce. They reveal his sense of color and the importance of light and shadow in the composition of spatial form.
González's Catalan roots led to his deep connection with the Republican cause in Catalonia and Spain's defiance against the fascist threat. His pessimism toward the Spanish Civil War colored his political sympathies, which can be seen in his drawings and sculptures.

Biography

Julio González Photo

Childhood

González was born Julio González Pellicer in Barcelona to a family descended from a long line of metal smiths. As a child, he began learning decorative metal working in his father's workshop. His father, Concordio González, was a part-time sculptor, and his mother, Pilar Pellicer Fenés, came from a long line of well-known artists, her father having been an important 19th century Catalan illustrator and designer. As the youngest of four children, González was particularly close to his mother and to his older brother, Joan. As his family loved music, he learned to play the mandolin at an early age to accompany his singing. He attended a Catholic school that followed the educational model of medieval craft guilds, where technical training was highly valued.

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Julio González Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Julio González
Interactive chart with Julio González's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Francisco GoyaFrancisco Goya
Luca Cambiaso
Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso

Personal Contacts

Constantin Brâncu?iConstantin Brâncu?i
Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso
Pablo Gargallo
Juan GrisJuan Gris
Manolo Hugué

Movements

ImpressionismImpressionism
Art NouveauArt Nouveau
CubismCubism
SurrealismSurrealism

Influences on Artist
Julio González
Julio González
Years Worked: 1893 - 1942
Influenced by Artist

Artists

David SmithDavid Smith
Anthony CaroAnthony Caro
William Tucker
Carel Visser
Jean TinguelyJean Tinguely

Personal Contacts

Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso

Movements

CubismCubism
SurrealismSurrealism
Abstractionism
Constructionism

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Content compiled and written by Rebecca Seiferle

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Rebecca Seiferle
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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