Femme au miroir (Woman before the mirror), 1936-37
Wrought and welded iron
203.8 × 60 × 46 cm
Julio GONZÁLEZ (Barcelona, 1876-Paris, 1942)
The work of the sculptor Julio González is an essential reference in the period of the European artistic avant-garde of the interwar period. His commitment to the new values of humanism in the face of authoritarian tendencies continues to justify the IVAM dedicating one of its permanent rooms to his constructive achievements. He knew how to put his technical mastery of forging and welding at the service of an unprecedented vision of the shape that incorporated the expressive possibilities of vacuum. His three-dimensional work that defined how to “draw in space” never abandoned his interest in the human figure in all its emotional and existential complexity.
In 1936 and 1937 we witnessed the culmination of the proclamations of the new modern sensitivity, integrating the avant-garde advances of the first decades around surrealist concepts and abstraction. The World Fair and the exhibition dedicated to Origins and development of independent international art, both held in Paris in 1937, would provide two privileged settings to show the social impact and communication capacity of these ways of modernisation and progress. Julio González participated in both exhibitions. First, he thought about exhibiting his large-format sculpture Femme au miroir (Woman before the mirror) in the Spanish pavilion of the World Fair. However, the doubts of the organising committee convinced him to replace it with Montserrat, which was a more dramatic work. Fortunately, the critics led the sculpture discarded for the pavilion to end in the most specifically artistic context focused on independent international art and where the first systematic overview of the artistic trends of the first third of the last century was offered.