Cactus Man by Julio González

Cactus Man by Julio González
Cactus Man by Julio González

This is one of the most emblematic works, along with his famous Head of Montserrat screaming, by the Spanish sculptor Julio González.

In this case we are talking about a work that is preserved in the Valencian Institute of Modern Art (IVAM) and that the artist made in 1939, using as a material wrought iron and welding.

Man-Cactus by Julio González

Man -Cactus by Julio González

In fact, this matter of the material and the work process makes him one of the most important artists of the sculptural avant-garde of the first decades of the 20th century, since thanks to him, iron was fully introduced as an artistic material, something that had an important impact on other later artists and even today.

Before Julio González, iron had hardly been used as an artistic material for sculpture, and at most it was used as handcrafted and ornamental elements for architecture, in the form of railings, fences or lattices, a type of resource that had begun to be widely used and valued during the Modernism architecture of the beginning of the century.

However, iron, compared to bronze, with a very long tradition as a sculptural material, was considered coarse, with little workability and it was also easy to rust.

But this was going tochange from now on, when the industrial process allowed for thin iron sheets or plates, or even hollow tubes, to be made raw, with which shapes could be modeled, cut, and even given a highly polished appearance, although in many cases the final rough appearance was positively valued. And even newer welding methods ensured more durable and hidden joints, if desired.

And it had to be precisely Julio González who took a series of definitive steps in this direction. Because González arrived late to sculpture, and before that he had been a goldsmith and also a painter. A character who had gone toParis, where he knew first-hand the historical avant-gardes, where he joined and where he was part of the circle of friends ofPablo Picassoand other cubist artists

However, his style is very personal, combining the most realistic and expressionist forms, with other creations like thisCactus Man. A type of works that have been described as abstract-figurative. An art that is based on the simplification of forms, so much so that it does not hesitate to leave gaps, so that it is the viewer who mentally completes them. Something that unites him with another of the great avant-garde Spanish sculptors, Pablo Gargallo, author of works such as Kiki de Montparnasse.

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