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Julio Gonzlez (1876-1942)
Julio Gonzlez (1876-1942)

Tte de femme II

Julio Gonzlez (1876-1942)
Tte de femme II
inscribed with the signature 'j. Gonzlez' (on the upper side of the base)
welded iron
20 1/8in. (51cm.) high including base
15in. (38cm.) high excluding base
Executed circa 1931, this piece is unique
P. G. Bruguire, 'Julio Gonzlez: Les tapes de l'oeuvre', Cahiers d'art, no. 27, Paris, July 1952 (illustrated p. 30).
J. E. Cirlot, 'El escultor Julio Gonzlez', Goya, no. 4, Madrid, January-February 1955, pp. 206-212 (illustrated p. 207).
G. Metken, 'Plastiker der Eisenzeit', FR, Frankfurt am Main, 9.V.1970 (illustrated).
V. Aguilera Cerni, Julio, Joan, Roberta Gonzlez - Itinerario de una dinastia, Barcelona 1973, no. 150 (illustrated p. 211).
W. Schnell, 'Zeichnen als bidhauerisches Prinzip. Julio Gonzlez 1876-1942', Kunstforum International, vol. 66, Cologne, October 1983 (illustrated p. 150).
J. Merkert, Julio Gonzlez, catalogue raisonn des sculptures, Milan 1987, no. 122 (illustrated p. 105).
Paris, Muse Nationale d'Art Moderne, Julio Gonzlez, February-March 1952, no. 45 (titled 'Portrait').
New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Julio Gonzlez: A Retrospective, March-April 1983, no. 102 (illustrated p. 95 and titled 'Tte d'oncle Jean II'). This exhibition later travelled to Frankfurt-am-Main, Stdtische Galerie im Stdelschen Kunstinstitut, Julio Gonzlez 1876-1942 Plastiken, Zeichnungen, Kunstgewerbe, June-August 1983, no. 56 (illustrated p. 95) and Berlin, Akademie der Knste, September-October 1983.
Glasgow, Art Gallery & Museum, Julio Gonzlez, April-June 1990, no. 11 (illustrated). This exhibition later travelled to London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, June-August 1990 and Sheffield, Graves Art Gallery, August-September 1990.
Bern, Kunstmuseum, Julio Gonzlez - Zeichnen im Raum/Dessiner dans l'espace, June-September 1997, no. 90 (illustrated p. 139).

Lot Essay

Executed in 1931, Tte de femme II is one of an outstanding series of mask-like constructions that Gonzlez made shortly after his second collaboration with Picasso in 1930. More three-dimensional than many of the masks of this time, Tte de femme II clearly displays Gonzlez's developing interest with space as a real and vital building block of his work.

In this cleverly resolved sculpture, the angular features of the woman's face have been simply defined by three geometrically layered planes the subtly create the structure and depth of a stylised mask. This mask pivots on two heavy welds that join it to a flat sheet of iron cut simply into the shape of the figure's neck and shoulders. The three interconnecting planes of the mask suggest a measured progression of depth that is articulated by the empty space between each vertical plane and continues throughout the sculpture. This sense of progression is dramatically emphasised behind the frontal mask by the opening out of the head into a completely empty area that is bordered only by a flat disc which is somewhat halo-like defines the back of the figure's head. Around and through this surprising area of empty space that is pregnant with the suggestion of volume, Gonzlez has wound a thin metal bar that spirals through this void winding from the back of the work to and beyond the front of the face to form an exquisite link between the three key structural elements of the work.

Tte de femme II was for many years known under the title that Roberta Gonzlez mistakenly bestowed upon the work - Head of Uncle Joan II. The fact that this is not a portrait of Gonzlez's beloved elder brother Joan, but clearly that of a woman has been established by a drawing for the sculpture which shows that the curved line that the artist so brilliantly makes use of to dramatise the space of the sculpture was originally the outline of a headscarf. In addition the decorative curving flourish on the neck of the sculpture can also be identified from this drawing as referring to the pretty collar of the woman's dress. Recalling earlier motifs in Gonzlez's work that were heavily indebted to Pablo Gargallo's sculpture the delicacy of this decorative element here contrasts strongly with Gonzlez's bold and articulate use of abstracted form.

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