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Julio González

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Drawing by Julio González, 1936

With moisture spots that have been treated and neutralized

Julio González was born in Barcelona on September 21, 1876. At the age of 15, González began an apprenticeship as a goldsmith together with his brother. In the evenings he studied drawing by taking courses at the Barcelona university of art. In 1899 the family moved to Paris, where Julio González first met Picasso and other artists and decided to become a painter himself.

His encounter with the Spanish sculptor Pablo Gargallo resulted in one of the influential contacts, which were to accompany González in his later career. When his brother died in 1908 Julio González fell into a deep emotional crisis and subsequently lived in almost total seclusion in Paris, maintaining contact only with Picasso and Constantin Brancusi.

Julio González then gradually abandoned painting, earning a living as an artist blacksmith and focused on metal sculptures. In 1918 Julio González trained as a welder and learned autogenous soldering, which became the basis of his future oeuvre. He produced his first sculptures made from wrought iron, from which he formed human figures, still based on traditional ideas.

In 1928 a cooperation with Picasso began, who was taught metalworking by Julio González. Under the influence of Picasso, Gonález’s artwork became more and more abstract.

From 1935 the sculptures became more massive. When acetylene and oxygen became scarce due to the war, Julio González was unable to continue his sculptural work and was left with drawing and modelling using plasticine and gypsum. Julio González died on March 17, 1942 in Arcueil near Paris.