Carlos Orozco Romero is considered one of the fathers of Mexican contemporary art as well as the founder of some of Mexico’s greatest cultural institutions. Working in post- revolutionary Mexico, Orozco Romero, who studied in Europe and New York, was disinterested in the nationalist grandiosity and historical thematic of the Muralist movement, preferring instead a more personal style influenced by Surrealism. In 1932, Orozco Romero, in partnership with Carlos Mérida, established the first exhibition space at the Palacio Nacional de Bellas Artes and opened the National School of Dance in its theatre, where both artists often designed costumes and stage sets. Orozco Romero later directed the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City and founded an art school where he taught for many years.
This Portrait Of Grusha is an exquisite and rare example of the artist’s transformative portraiture. The sitter was most likely Grusha Mark, a member of Anna Sokolow’s Dance Group from New York. The Group was initially invited to perform in Mexico City by Mérida and Orozco Romero, but Sokolow continued to work in Mexico for many years after that. In this painting, the features of the dancer Grusha are abstracted and stylized so that she is at once an individual and a symbol. The portrait hung in the dinning room of Gunther Gerzso, who when asked who it was of, would often reply “Oh, that is no one.” The formal qualities in this picture are so interesting- the almond shapes in black and red, the hat, veil and hair all rendered as one- that the identity of the sitter is almost beside the point. In this sense, Orozco Romero influenced the next generation of artists who rejected the Muralist legacy in exchange for more intimate but universal forms of expression.
- Galería de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City, 1941
- Gunther Gerzso, Mexico City
- Gene C. Gerzso 1999 Trust
- Acquired from the above
- Mexico City, Panoamericana, March 15, 1941, review of Galería de Arte Mexicano exhibition, illus. of Grusha, p. 7
- Nelken, Margarita, Collección de Arte: Carlos Orozco Romero, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1959, no. 43, illus. in black and white
- Teresa del Conde, “Pervivencia y renovación de una tradición a través de la obra de cinco artistas, en la sección anual de invitados,” Guillermo Meza, Luis Nishizawa, Carlos Orozco Romero y Francisco Zuñiga, México, Secretaría de Educación Pública, INBA, 1980, illus. in black and white p. 117
- Luis-Martín Lozano, “De propuestas y variaciones: la trayectoria artística de Carlos Orozco Romero,” Carlos Orozco Romero: Propuestas y variaciones, México, Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, INBA, 1996, illus. in color
- Du Pont, Diana C., Risking the Abstract: Mexican Modernism and the Art of Gunther Gerzso, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2003, fig. 33, illus. p. 88
- Mexico City, Galería de Arte Mexicano, Carlos Orozco Romero, February 1941
- Mexico City, Museo de Arte Moderno, 1968
- Monterrey, Museo de Monterrey, Carlos Orozco Romero y sus discípulos, 1979, no. 16, illus in color in the catalogue, n.p.
- Mexico City, Salon Nacional de Artes Plásticas, Fernando Castro Pacheco, Guillermo Meza, Luis Nishizawa, Carlos Orozco Romero y Francisco Zuñiga, Sección Anual de Invitados, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 1980, cat. 29, p.166
- Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle, Images of Mexico, Dec. 5 1987 – Feb. 28, 1987; this show traveled to Vienna, Messepalast, May 17 – July 31, 1988; Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art, Aug. 28 – Oct. 30, 1988, no. 191, illus. in the catalogue p. 301
- Monterrey, Jalisco: Genio y Maestra, May 20 – Aug. 26, 1994, no. 158, illus. in the catalogue p. 136; this show traveled to Mexico City, Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, Feb. – May 1995
- Mexico City, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Carlos Orozco Romero: Propuestas y Variaciones, July – September 1996, this exhibition traveled to Guadalajara, Instituto Cultural Cabañas, Oct.- Dec. 1996, illus. in color in the catalogue