'González, Picasso and Friends' - Exhibition at Gemeentemuseum focalizes on the sculptor's work and his association with Picasso | BLOUIN ARTINFO

'González, Picasso and Friends' - Exhibition at Gemeentemuseum focalizes on the sculptor's work and his association with Picasso

Julio González (1876-1942), Necklace, ca. 1908-1918, Embossed silver and glass, paste, 51 cm long
( Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Generalitat)

Opening on 25th  November 2017, the exhibition titled 'González, Picasso and Friends' reviews the works of González, his close partnership with Picasso and his friendship with other artists.

The association between Pablo Picasso and Spaniard Julio González (1876 - 1942) began when the former went to Paris to seek help from this talented artist to turn his two-dimensional design into a decorative metal piece. Following that visit, the duo worked together on a number of sculptures - González led Picasso to the discovery of a new means of expression, and González, the skilled metalworker was led to the journey towards a distinguishing artistic style.This show at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag focalizes on González’s trajectory from a craftsman to avant-garde artist.  With around 20 works by Picasso also on display, the exhibition is also a celebration of the friendship between the two men.

Julio González started his stint with metal works at an early age, back at his father's workshop at Barcelona. His job at Renault car factory helped him further attain mastery over metalworking techniques. González created a niche in the art world with his creations of decorative objects and jewellery and earned several accolades for it as well.It was, therefore, not a wonder, that Picasso called on his advice when it came to creating art with metal. From 1928 to the end of 1932, González and Picasso collaborated on a number of metal sculptures. These however, are now attributed to solely Picasso, and González remains the autonomous artist. The two men worked together on sculptures such as the more than 2-metres-high La Femme au jardin (‘Woman in the Garden’) (1929).

In the past, sculptures were carved from single blocks of stone or moulded in clay, that were later cast in bronze. González introduced to the artworld, the process of welding steel components together  - a highly distinctive and personal style that lay somewhere between Cubism, Constructivism and Surrealism, but invariably rooted in figuration despite its abstract air.Apart from his friendship with Picasso, the exhibition also brings to light, González’ association with artists like Constantin Brancusi, Pablo Gargallo and Hans Hartung.Although González moved to Paris around the turn of the century, the influence of his Catalan roots and the Spanish Civil War could be seen much in his work. His works, especially during the war and after General Franco seized power, depicted women with faces of distorted terror and screams.  The sculptures display similarities with the wailing figures in Picasso’s Guernica (1937). His sculpture of a Catalan peasant woman bearing a sickle and holding a child on her arm, is one of the most famous of his work. González’s more abstract 'cactus figures' of 1939 have similar gaping mouths, although at the same time they radiate great strength.

Julio González is one of the most important sculptors of the twentieth century, on a par with artists like Constantin Brancusi and Pablo Picasso. Though not a familiar name to the general public his works were of influence to post war artists like David Smith and Eduardo Chillida. Gemeentemuseum, with this exhibition, hopes to give Julio González the limelight that he so richly deserves.

The exhibition will run from November 25th 2017 through April 2nd 2018, at the Gemeentemuseum, Stadhouderslaan 41, 2517 HV Den Haag Den Haag.

For further information, visit http://www.blouinartinfo.com/galleryguide-venues/2163156/museum-overview

Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek of the exhibit