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

Petite Venus

Julio Gonzlez (1876-1942)
Petite Venus
inscribed 'E.A VALSUANI. FON' (at the base)
bronze with dark brown patina
9 1/2in. (24cm.) high including base
7 7/8in. (20cm.) high excluding base
Conceived circa 1936-37l, and cast in a numbered edition of six plus four casts marked 0, 00, EA, HC and a further cast marked MAM Barcelona for the donacin Gonzlez, at a later date
J. E. Cirlot, 'El Escultor Julio Gonzlez', Goya, Madrid, January-February 1955, no. 4, pp. 206-212 (illustrated no. 11, p. 210). M. N. Pradel de Grandy, 'La Donation Gonzlez au Muse National d'Art Moderne', La Revue du Louvre, Paris 1966, pp. 1-16, no. 53.
V. Aguilera Cerni, Julio, Joan, Roberta Gonzlez - Itinerario de una dinastia, Barcelona 1973, no. 443 (illustrated p. 337).
J. Merkert, Julio Gonzlez, catalogue raisonn des sculptures, Milan 1987, no. 221 (illustrated p. 249).
Paris, Muse Nationale d'Art Moderne, Julio Gonzlez, February-March 1952, no. 88.
London, Tate Gallery, Julio Gonzlez, September-October 1970, no. 75. This exhibition later travelled to Montpellier, Muse Fabre, November 1970-January 1971, no. 62.

Lot Essay

Petite Venus is one of a number of strongly linear and highly distinctive figure sculptures that grew out of Gonzlez's passionate interest in modern dance.

Constructed from small iron rods welded together into a vertical progression of form, the thin cylindrical parts of the present work are held together in a spiralling line that ascends from the sturdy feet of the figure to delineate the forms of a charming female personality.

Inspired in the early 1920s by the more fluid and intuitive approach to dance pioneered by dancers such as Isadora Duncan, Gonzlez began in 1925 to make regular visits to Jeanne Ronsay's academy of dance where such radical new dance styles were taught. Observing the movements of the dancers, Gonzlez noted many of their more elaborate gestures and postures in a number of single line drawings which later were to form the basis of his series of filiform sculptures of dancers that he began in 1934.

Along with its sister sculpture, Grande Venus (1936), the present work represents a significant development from the filiform sculptures of dancers in the way in which the rhythmic forms of the figure have been honed down to a single and essentially abstract line that seems to carve the identity of the figure by incisively drawing into the space surrounding it.

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