“The truly novel works, which often look bizarre, are, quite simply, those which are directly inspired by Nature …”–Julio González
As a young man, Julio González apprenticed under his father in the decorative-metal trade of Barcelona. By the late 1920s, when he assisted his friend and countryman, Pablo Picasso, in translating a series of latticelike drawings into three-dimensional models, González had both 30 years experience as a master craftsman and 15 as an exhibiting visual artist. Unlike Picasso, González was not interested in the associations triggered by everyday objects and did not explore the possibilities of assemblage. Instead, he was interested in the development of a new aesthetic form he called the sculptural inscription of space.
Petit masque exemplifies González’s attempt to reconcile the use of cutout metal forms with an analytical conception of the figurative. The work’s title refers to González’s preoccupation with the idealized feminine in the person of La Montserrat–“her nobility, her cries against injustice, her suffering.”