His earliest drawings at the turn of the century are very simple and beautifully executed studies from nature and life such as Maternité á la cloture de bois (1905-6) and Paysanne dans une prairie (1919-20).
As he became more immersed in the intellectual and aesthetic debates of the 1920s, his drawings take on a visual transformation of a reality of lines, combining gestures, movements, attitudes, volumes, surfaces and shade, over a course of several studies. Gonzalez was reducing his subject at this point to its expressive essence leading to the abstraction of his mature work, a dominant force of many artistic movements, such as the Constructivists, Abstractionists and the Surrealists at that time.
Another significant impact on his art was his acquaintance with Picasso. He also knew Brancusi and was connected by ties that went back to his youth in Barcelona, with Torres-Garcia. By 1929, the year of his breakthrough and a milestone in terms of his artistic career, Gonzalez had also become friends with Helion, and had made acquaintances with Mondrian, Arp, Ozenfant and Leger.
One of his first pioneering works in metal sculpture was Femme se coiffant, of 1931. He made many pencil sketches and preparatory studies for the finished metal sculpture of the same title. His studies and drawings translated this subject from a naturalistic pencil drawing into an abstract, forged and welded open form construction in iron. There was a huge transformation process between the sculpture and the drawings. This process has been summed up as “The point at which abstraction threatens complete unintelligibility, is the point at which the drawing is translated to metal” (Rosalind Krauss, the Pace Gallery, 1981)
Gonzalez holds a seminal position in the history of sculpture and his work had a huge impact on the direction that David Smith and Anthony Caro were taking after World War II.
The Artist's Estate
Connaught Brown, London
Private Collection, UK (purchased from the above)
Josette Gibert, Julio Gonzalez: Catalogue Raisonné, 1975, ill. p.59
This work is accompanied by the copy of a certificate issued by Viviane Grimminger and dated 16 May 2002.