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Julio González, Pablo Picasso and the dematerialisation of sculpture

Left: Julio González, Maternity, 1934, iron and stone, 13.1 × 40.6 × 23.5 cm. Tate Acquisition, 1970. Photo: Tate. Right: Pablo Picasso, Woman in the Garden, Paris, spring 1930, welded iron and painted white, 206 × 117 × 85 cm. Musée national Picasso - Paris, Donation Pablo Picasso, 1979 © Sucesión Pablo Picasso. VEGAP, Madrid, 2022 Photo © RMN -Grand Palais (Musée national Picasso-Paris) / Adrien Didierjean / Mathieu Rabeau

The joint work of Pablo Picasso and Julio González has traditionally been considered the moment when iron sculpture was "invented" and, therefore, abstraction was introduced into sculpture.

The exhibition explores the collaboration between these two artists, friends since the days of modernist Barcelona, during the period from 1928 to 1932. Joint work that would lead to one of the essential milestones in 20th-century international art: the development of a new type of sculpture where mass and volume are replaced by compositions of open planes, new materials and techniques; and the void emerges as a new defining element.

It all begins when Picasso asks Julio González for technical help after receiving a commission to create a monument in memory of his friend Guillaume Apollinaire. This creative encounter was to bear fruit for both artists. González, who had researched metal sculpture as a natural byproduct of his trade as a goldsmith, would produce a series of dematerialised sculptures that would hold his focus for the rest of his career, and which would earn him posthumous recognition as one of the fathers of abstract iron sculpture.  And Picasso not only learned about forging and iron welding, but also created some of the most relevant sculptures of the 20th century, such as "Woman in the Garden".

General information

Sep 23, 2022 to Jan 8, 2023


Location and contact

Fundación Cultural Mapfre

Paseo de Recoletos, 23
28004 Madrid
Telephone  +34 916025221

Contact details

Practical information



2:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Tuesday to Saturday

Does not close at midday

11:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Public holidays and Sundays

Does not close at midday

11:00 AM to 7:00 PM


General: €5

Reduced: €3

Free admission

Mondays (except public holidays), from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Very interesting

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