T01608 Visage sévère
(Stern Face) 1936
Inscribed 'J.G. | 1936' b.l.
Pen and watercolour on off-white paper, 9 1/2 x 6 1/4 (24 x 16)
Presented by Roberta González 1972
Lit: Josette Gibert, Julio González Dessins: Projets pour Sculptures: Figures (Paris 1975), p.89 repr.
This is from a large series of drawings of stylised heads done in 1936-7, of which some thirty or so are rather similar in treatment to this work, with block-like forms and cubic, angular planes (see Gibert, op. cit., especially pp.64-8 and 90). All those most closely related are dated 1936 and some, probably done a little later than this and showing a more abstracted stage, have a precise date between 20 and 25 October.
González made about thirty-five sculptures of heads in the 1930s in various media, including stone carvings, welded iron sculptures, and pieces modelled in plaster or plastilene for bronze casting. The ones closest to this in treatment are 'Small Silver Mask', in silver, and 'Small Reclining Head', in plaster for bronze casting, both made in 1935-6.
[All the drawings by Julio González given to the Tate are authenticated on the back by his daughter Roberta González and inscribed with a title and date, or approximate date. The titles are used in the catalogue entries, but the dating has been made more precise wherever possible. (Julio González's drawings are usually dated from about 1934 onwards, but the great majority of the early drawings are undated).]
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.317, reproduced p.317