* 1876 Barcelona
† 1942 Arcueil
Julio González was born in Barcelona on 21 September 1876. At the age of 15 he and his brother started training as goldsmiths. Julio González visited evening classes at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Barcelona where he learned drawing. In 1899 his family moved to Paris where he made his first contacts with Picasso and other artists, and decided to become a painter. He met people that should play important roles in his later career, Picasso and Brancusi, but also the Spanish sculptor Pablo Gargallo. After 1908 González lived in almost complete isolation in Paris, the only people he kept contact with were Picasso and Brancusi. The reason for this break and mental crisis was the death of his brother. As a result of this Gonzáles gradually gave up painting and almost completely concentrated on metal plastics, since he was making a living as a metalsmith. Working with metal plastics finally brought González to start a training as a welder in 1918. There he learnt the method oxyacetylene welding which should become the technical basis for his later works.He created his first scupltures made of forged iron forming the human figure. These works were still very much dominated by traditional views. Picasso was very interested in his work and González taught him the art of metalworking. This led to a fruitful cooperation between the two artists after 1928. Due Picasso's influence González's works became more and more abstract. After 1935 the sculptures became more physical and massive. During the war Julio González had to restrict himself to drawing and modeling only with plasticine and plaster, because it had become nearly impossible to provide acetylene and oxygen. That was the end of the plastic works of the "First Master of the Torch". Julio González died in Arcueil near Paris on 17 March 1942.