A sculptor and painter, Julio González is best known for his small-scale, abstract iron sculptures. González grew up working in his father’s metalsmith shop, where he learned the techniques of direct metal welding while attending evening art classes. In the 1890s, he met Pablo Picasso in a café, who would become a lifelong friend; during the 1930s he provided metal welding assistance to both Picasso and Constantin Brancusi. In turn, González was deeply influenced by Picasso’s sculptural work, and by both Cubism and Surrealism, using a variety of geometric forms, such as rods, planes, and spikes to convey metaphorical meaning. Works such as Maternity (1934) helped establish welded and forged metal as new sculptural idiom and had a major impact on the American artist David Smith.