Spanish sculptor and painter, who pioneered sculpture in metal.
González came from a family of metalworkers in Barcelona. He originally intended to be a painter, and after studying drawing and painting in Barcelona moved in 1900 with his brother Joan to Paris; here he became a close friend of his compatriot Picasso and produced paintings and masks in hammered bronze.
The death of his brother in 1908 shattered González and he lived a more or less solitary life as an unsuccessful painter until 1927, when he began instead to work in wrought iron. Applying the lessons he had learned while working as an apprentice welder for the Renault car company in 1918, he first produced metal masks reminiscent of African sculpture. He worked with Picasso and taught him his technique; in turn Picasso's influence on him inspired González to move towards abstraction. He produced more open skeleton-like structures, which he thought of as ‘like drawings in space’, and then surrealist constructions of welded pipes and sheets. His mature style is represented by such works as Angel (1933), Woman Combing her Hair (1936), and Cactus People (1930–40). During World War II he began to work in plaster owing to the shortage of iron. He died in Arceuil.