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    Sale 7600

    Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale

    25 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 525

    Julio González (1876-1942)

    Don Quichotte

    Price Realised  

    Julio González (1876-1942)
    Don Quichotte
    signed, numbered and inscribed with the foundry mark '© R GONZALEZ C P VALSUANI 6/6' (along the leg)
    bronze with brown patina
    Height: 16¾ in. (42.7 cm.)
    Conceived in iron circa 1929-1930 and cast in bronze at a later date in a numbered edition of six with four additional casts marked 0, 00, EA, HC and a further cast marked M.E.A.C. Madrid for the Donación González


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    This exquisite sculpture by González of Don Quixote, the tragi-comic Spanish picaro, exemplifies the three dimensional Cubist construction of planar form, which he came to describe as a process of 'drawing in space'. With great virtuosity, the sculptor articulates empty space to inject his subject with a powerful physical presence. A sense of volume is achieved by counterbalancing rigidity with rotundity of line. The central void is delineated on the right side by the tall lance held proudly by the aristocratic figure's straight raised right arm and by the arc describing the arm on the left. Don Quixote's erect head and chin jut outwards into this space, as does the angled rectangular planar form of his chest. The overall effect is one of a compelling, harmonious modernist construction, rightly earning him the reputation, certainly in the eyes of American sculptor, David Smith, as the father of constructed metal sculpture.

    The conception of the present work coincided with his collaboration with Picasso, his childhood friend, which lasted from 1928 to 1931 on sculptures including Wire Construction (1928, Musée Picasso) and La femme au jardin (1929-1930, Musée Picasso). A trained metalsmith, as his father before him, Julio González came to Paris at the turn of the century and quickly became involved in the avant-garde scene. From 1928, as his sculpture became more experimental and modernist, so his prominence grew through the last decade of his life. While there may be conceptual and stylistic affinities with the open-form constructions of Lipchitz and Picasso, by the end of the 1920s González had successfully articulated his own vision, as the critic, Maurice Raynal, remarked on the uniqueness of his sculpture: 'in this gallery one encounters sculpture unlike those one sees elsewhere; they are the sculpture of González...audacity has pushed González to consider the hole not as kind of framed mirror, a lake set in the land, a sample of sky bordered by rooftops, but rather as a solid element on which one can build with impunity' (quoted in exh. cat., Julio González Sculptures and Drawings, London, 1990, pp. 10 & 22).

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    Provenance

    S. Tarica, Geneva.
    Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, 27 June 1995, lot 210.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.


    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that this work is also signed with the initials 'j.G' (on the back of the body).


    Literature

    A. Klerx, 'Le Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris rend hommage à Julio González - Ouvrier du Fer', in Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 15 November 1952 (the iron version illustrated).
    V. Aguilera Cerni, Julio González, Rome, 1962 (another bronze version illustrated pl. XXXIII).
    M.N. Pradel de Grandy, Julio González, Milan, 1962 (another bronze version illustrated pl. V).
    M.N. Pradel de Grandy, 'La Donation González au Musée National d'Art Moderne', in La Revue du Louvre, Paris, 1966, no. 21 (another bronze version illustrated p. 11).
    V. Aguilera Cerni, Julio González, Madrid, 1971 (another bronze version illustrated p. 36).
    V. Aguilera Cerni, Julio González, Itinerario de una dinastía, Barcelona, 1973, no. 201 (another bronze version illustrated p. 252).
    J. Withers, Julio González, Sculpture in Iron, New York, 1978, no. 23 (another bronze version illustrated p. 27).
    J. Merkert, Julio González, Catalogue raisonné des sculptures, Milan, 1987, no. 100 (another bronze version illustrated p. 80).


    Exhibited

    Venice, XXXII Biennale di Venezia, 1964, no. 398.