This original sketchbook by Gunther Gerzso was drawn in 1943-46 when the young artist was strongly influenced by the circle of Benjamin Péret and the European artists exiled in Mexico during the 1940s.
The book presents a striking record of Gerzso’s close ties to the Surrealists in Mexico, including Wolfgang Paalen, André Breton, Remedios Varo, César Moro and Alice Rahon. Their interest in pre-Columbian art became the foundation for Gerzso’s eventual style, a version of geometric abstraction inspired by the landscape and ancient culture of Mexico.
This notebook consists of 54 original drawings done by carbon transfer, some augmented with India ink, frottage and colored pencils. In addition there is an actual drawing done on carbon paper, which was discovered in the artist’s studio along with the sketchbook.
The following is a selection of drawings from the surrealist sketchbook
Visit the Gallery to see recent acquisitions and selected inventory. The installation coincides with Latin American Art Week in New York and will continue through June 2014. Highlights include a striking 1955 painting by Matta that once belonged to Andy Warhol, a large 1986 painting by Guillermo Kuitca, and a 1930 Diego Rivera portrait of a little girl that was included in his first one man show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1931.
Kuitca’s paintings from the 1980s were often inspired by his interest in plays, films, literature, and popular music. In this painting Kuitca may have found his subject in the 1983 film “The Big Chill,” a movie about a group of friends who reunite in South Carolina for the funeral of a friend who committed suicide. Here the artist gathers figures in an expansive field for the burial of a loved one, while it seems that the suicide victim himself is depicted face down at a table. Works from this period are reminiscent of stage sets viewed from a distance, with tiny figures acting out mysterious and disturbing dramas. Themes of absence and disappearance are common in works from this period, which often depict overturned chairs and vacant, tousled beds.
MATHIAS GOERITZ (1915-1990) Crucifixion
gouache and ink on paper
15 1/8 × 19 3/8 inches (38.4 × 49.4 cm)
MATTA (1911-2002) Tendre Mie
oil on canvas
50½ × 37½ inches (128.3 × 95.3 cm)
signed, titled and dated on the reverse
This painting was once part of the personal collection of Andy Warhol. The theme of this work relates to Matta’s preoccupation in the 1950s with the devastating effects of World War II. By this time he had broken with the Parisian Surrealist group to investigate how he could tie his approach to Surrealism with his concerns about the atrocities carried out during the War. By the early 50s, Matta’s abstract paintings had evolved into ethereal and disturbing worlds populated by tubular humanoids and mythical totemic figures. These monstrous, insect-like beings represent victims of the dehumanizing effects of technology, social injustice, and political corruption.
GUNTHER GERZSO (1915-2000) Untitled (Beheaded Figure-Skeleton)
india ink on paper
8¼ × 10¾ inches (21.0 × 27.3 cm)
signed and dated ‘Cleveland, 1940’
GUNTHER GERZSO (1915-2000) L’ecartelé (El descuartizado)
oil on canvas
19 5/8 × 23 5/8 inches (50.0 × 60.0 cm)
signed and dated 1944
In 1944, Gerzso had met French Surrealist poet, Benjamin Péret, who was living in Mexico City with his wife, the Surrealist artist Remedios Varo. Gerzso was soon inducted into the group of European Surrealist expatriates who had traveled to Mexico City to escape the horrors of World War II in Europe. Gerzso, who was still at the beginning of his painting career, was fascinated by these artists’ works, and he began to experiment with different Surrealist styles. L’écartelé (El descuartizado) is one painting from this period that explores “the abstract biomorphic Surrealism associated with Max Ernst, André Masson and Matta” (Diana Du Pont, p. 94). The artist’s interpretation of the violence of World War II is reflected in the various body parts ripped apart and rearranged in a flowing composition of color, abstraction and dismembered human forms. In February 1944, André Breton reproduced this painting in vol. 4 [the final issue] of his Surrealist Magazine, VVV, and remarked to Gerzso, “Now you are one of us.”
GUNTHER GERZSO (1915-2000) Conversations with Benjamin Peret: Exquisite Corpse Drawing
pencil on paper
8 3/8 × 11 1/8 inches (21.3 × 28.3 cm)
In 1944, Gerzso met Benjamin Péret, the Surrealist Poet and political activist who moved to Mexico from France. In the 1940s, a number of European artists and writers, including Wolfgang Paalen, Alice Rahon, Max Ernst, Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo, moved to Mexico to escape the horrors of World War II. With his European heritage and extensive shared interest with the Surrealists, Gerzso naturally became part of the group. His friendship with Benjamin Péret, who played a leading role in keeping the Surrealists dynamic (in conjunction with André Breton in New York), greatly influenced Gerzso and his early works.
Living in Calle Gabino Barreda, Benjamin Péret regularly invited the Surrealists and Gerzso, who was the only Mexican. Gerzso was greatly appreciated for his notorious wit and artistic ability. He was also the only one with any money and therefore was the person put in charge of buying the wine for group parties (though Péret insisted on selecting it).
GUNTHER GERZSO (1915-2000) Anatomía
gouache on cardboard with moving parts
13¾ × 9 7/8 inches (35.0 × 25.0 cm)
signed and dated 1943
According to Diana Du Pont, curator of Risking the Abstract: Mexican Modernism and the Art of Gunther Gerzso, this work “is a direct quotation from Dalí and is the most clear-cut example from Gerzso’s early oeuvre of his immersion in the methods and Freudian-inspired theories of European Surrealism. It is based on Dalí’s Gradiva, 1931, which was reproduced in René Crevel’s publication Dalí ou l’anti-obscurantisme (1931), a copy of which Gerzso owned.” Gradiva was a fictional character conceived by Wilhelm Jensen, and adopted by Dalí as a representation of his wife Gala, both muse and femme fatale. In this work, Gerzso drew and collaged his own version of this figure.
GUNTHER GERZSO (1915-2000) Aigle: A double-sided drawing
pencil on paper
8 3/8 × 11 1/8 inches (21.3 × 28.3 cm)
signed and dated 1946 recto
In the sketch Aigle (“eagle” in French), Gerzso skillfully illustrates how a word can be converted into a surrealist bestiary figure. Comments documenting the artist’s mental process visually guide us through the study for his painting Aigle, 1947. The word eagle could be interpreted as “Surrealist time flies the way a bird does – with swoops and halts, soaring and gliding speedily in fits and starts; it does not follow the exact intervals typical of a Western clock” (Katharin Conley, Surrealist Ghostliness, 2013).
OLGA COSTA (1913-1993) El Duelo
oil on canvas
15¾ × 18 7/8 inches (40.0 × 48.0 cm)
signed and dated ’42
ALICE RAHON (1904-1987) Village Abandoned to the Ghosts
oil on canvas
8¼ × 11¾ inches (21.0 × 30.0 cm)
signed and dated ’48
LEONORA CARRINGTON (1917-2011) Winged Ram
gouache and gold leaf on tile
6 5/8 × 5½ inches (16.8 × 14.0 cm)
signed and dated 1959
MATHIAS GOERITZ (1915-1990) Maquette for Salvador de Auschwitz XII
22 inches (55.9 cm)
WOLFGANG PAALEN Ancestors to Come
oil on canvas
25¾ × 25¾ inches (65.4 × 65.4 cm)
signed with initials and dedicated “à Richard B. Freeman mon ami, 1949” verso
MATHIAS GOERITZ (1915-1990) Moses (Moises)
carved wood with metal nails
23¼ × 7 × 8¼ inches (59.1 × 17.8 × 21.0 cm) irregular
signed with initials
This work belonged to the artist’s wife, Gene Gerzso, from the day it was made. When Gerzso finished the painting Gene said that she loved it and Gerzso said he would give it to her. She declined, saying that she would rather purchase the painting from him, so that there would never be a risk that a collector would come to their home and pressure him into selling it. He could always say it didn’t belong to him, that it belonged to his wife, and it was not his to sell.
In every exhibition it is listed as “Collection of Gene Cady Gerzso, Mexico City.” In the retrospective show that was organized by the Santa Barbara Museum of art, not only is the work illustrated full page in the catalogue, but there is a photograph on p.110 of the painting hanging in the Gerzsos’ living room. Indeed Gene outlived Gunther and the painting stayed with her for 51 years.
GUNTHER GERZSO (1915-2000) Dos personajes (Two figures)
oil on wood panel
signed and dated; signed, dated and titled on the reverse
JEAN CHARLOT (1898-1979) Luz en buste
oil on canvas
27¾ × 21½ inches (70.5 × 54.6 cm)
signed and dated ’25
Luz Jiménez was an Aztec Indian who modeled at the art school in Coyoacán, Mexico, in the 1920s. She was recommended to Jean Charlot by Diego Rivera, who had featured Luz in many of his murals. During the 20s, 30s and 40s Luz was painted and photographed not only by Charlot and Rivera but also by Siqueiros, Orozco, Tamayo, Fernando Leal, Tina Modotti and Edward Weston. She appears in Rivera’s first mural in Mexico City (Creation,1922) and in Tamayo’s frescoes at the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City.
In our painting of 1925, Luz holds a child, possibly one of her charges. Charlot hired Luz to work for him whenever he could afford to. Besides caring for his children Luz taught Charlot to speak the Nahuatl language and invited him to accompany her to Aztec events usually closed to foreigners, such as the annual Indian pilgrimage to the sacred cave of Chalma.
DIEGO RIVERA (1886-1957) Indian Girl (Indita)
pastel on tan paper
13 × 10½ inches (33.0 × 26.7 cm)
DIEGO RIVERA (1886-1957) Niña endomingada
oil on canvas
23½ × 14½ inches (59.7 × 36.8 cm)
signed and dated 1930
JOSÉ CLEMENTE OROZCO (1883-1949) Acordada (Caballos y Zapatistas)
oil on canvas
26 × 32¼ inches (66.0 × 81.9 cm)
FRANCISCO ZÚÑIGA (1912-1998) Desnuda Reclinada (Reclining Nude)
21 × 12 × 7 inches (53.3 × 30.5 × 17.8 cm)
signed and dated
MARIA IZQUIERDO (1906-1955) Los caballos (The Horses)
watercolor on paper
8¼ × 11 inches (21.0 × 28.0 cm)
signed and dated ’38
ARMANDO MORALES (1927 – 2011) Dos Bañistas (Two Bathers)
Pastel and charcoal on paper
30¾ × 23¼ inches (78.1 × 59.1 cm)
signed and dated ’78
MIGUEL COVARRUBIAS (1904-1957) Untitled (Balinese Girl)
pen, sepia ink and pencil on paper
7¼ × 6 inches (18.4 × 15.2 cm)
signed with initials
FRANCISCO TOLEDO (b. 1940) Dos Armadillos (Two Armadillos)
12¼ × 12¼ inches (31.1 × 31.1 cm)
signed, dated ’75 and dedicated on the reverse
FRANCISCO TOLEDO (b. 1940) Big Head and Two Horses
watercolor, pen and ink on Arches paper
22¼ × 29 7/8 inches (56.5 × 75.8 cm)
ISABEL DE OBALDÍA (b. 1957) Dance of the Scorpions
sand cast glass, engraved with diamond bits
7¼ × 16¼ × 8¼ inches (18.4 × 41.3 × 21.0 cm)
LEONORA CARRINGTON (1917-2011) Untitled
watercolor and pen and ink on paper
16 1/8 × 13 5/8 inches (41.0 × 34.6 cm)
signed and dated 1973-Mexico
LEONORA CARRINGTON (1917-2011)
Untitled (Figures with Cats)
pen and ink on paper
14 7/8 × 12½ inches (37.8 × 31.8 cm)
signed and dated 1986
This two-day symposium at the Frick on public and private collectors of Spanish Colonial and Latin American art will feature presentations by experts from museums and universities in Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, New York, and Philadelphia. The keynote address will be presented by Edward J. Sullivan, the Helen Gould Sheppard Professor of the History of Art at the Institute of Fine Arts and the Department of Art History, New York University, and a leading specialist in the art of Latin America. Professor Sullivan will also interview Roberta and Richard Huber (Friday) and Patricia Phelps Cisneros (Saturday), collectors who actively acquire the art of the Americas.
Tickets for both days of the symposium are $50 ($35 for members); single-day tickets are $30 ($25 for members).
Mary-Anne Martin will give a talk titled How the Art Market Affects Collecting Decisions by Individuals and Institutions on Saturday May 17 at 11:35.
Please visit Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art at The Art Show put on by the Art Dealers Association of America at the Park Avenue Armory from March 5-9, 2013. The following is a selection of works that will be exhibited in MAMFA booth C2 at the fair.
As part of Master Drawings New York 2014, Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art will present 20 digital drawings created on the iPad by Mexican painter and muralist Elena Climent. Output as giclée prints, the works will be mounted side by side with actual iPads showing the step-by-step progression of the drawings from first outline to completed work. Climent, who is interested in the link between traditional methods of drawing and electronic drawing in the 21st Century, compares the ability of the iPad “Zoom” feature to show details not visible to the naked eye with Vermeer’s use of the camera obscura to investigate tiny visual details he later included in his paintings – details that can only be seen using a magnifying glass.
In the artist’s own words, “When making art on an iPad, you are creating a pure image with no physical weight or texture or temperature. You are not mixing colors on a palette until you find the exact hue; you are not thinning the paint with turpentine to make it more transparent; you are not interacting with the behavior of the surface, whether canvas, paper, wood, tin or any other. There is no drying time, no humidity factor, no cracking. Creating art on an iPad or computer is the closest I have ever felt to drawing or painting directly from my mind. I look, I think, I decide what color I want and I make it happen on the screen. I have learned to mix colors in my brain. My experience with iPad art has taught me that even something as seemingly cold, industrial and impersonal as a computer screen can become intimate, personal and poetic.”
There will be an opening reception at the gallery on January 24 from 4:00-8:00. The exhibition continues through Friday February 21, 2014. Please call for hours.
The online catalogue for Isabel De Obaldía: Metates is now available. The fully illustrated catalogue includes an introductory essay by Lowery Stokes Sims, curator of the Museum of Arts and Design, NY, and a scholarly article by Dicey Taylor titled, The Ancient Metates of Panama.
Print versions of the catalogue will be available at the gallery starting November 15, 2013.
For this exhibition the artist has created 13 new sculptures based on Pre-Columbian prototypes. The show will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with an introductory essay by Lowery Stokes Sims, curator of the Museum of Arts and Design, NY, and a scholarly article by Dicey Taylor titled, The Ancient Metates of Panama.
According to Dr. Taylor, an expert on Pre-Columbian art and archaeology, “The glass sculptures of Isabel De Obaldía evoke the ancient spirits of Panama’s rainforests and seas. Many of her pieces have rustic textures that infuse her powerful forms with a compelling force, echoing the volcanic stone sculptures of ancient times.”
This is De Obaldía’s sixth solo exhibition at Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art. In 2009 the artist was awarded the Rakow Commission from the Corning Museum of Glass and in 2011 she was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with any questions.
To accompany the current exhibition, Diego Rivera: The Italian Sketchbook, 1920-21, the gallery has published an online catalogue available for viewing here. The catalogue features high resolution images of individual sketchbook pages, historical photographs, and commentary and annotations by Rivera’s friend and fellow artist, Jean Charlot.
Master Drawings New York will return to the Upper East Side this year from January 26-February 2, 2013, with a preview reception on Friday, January 25 from 4-8 pm.
This year the gallery is exhibiting a 31 page original sketchbook by Diego Rivera, drawn from Winter 1920 to Spring 1921, when the artist traveled through Italy studying paintings and murals of the Renaissance. Rivera had requested this one last trip from his patrons in the Mexican government before accepting their request to return to Mexico to direct the Mexican mural movement.
This sketchbook was preserved by Rivera’s first wife, Angelina Beloff, and given to Rivera’s friend, the artist Jean Charlot. It is being presented in its entirety for the first time in 92 years. It provides a valuable art historical connection between the Italian Renaissance and the birth of Mexican and American muralism. The sketchbook contains studies of murals in Venice by Tintoretto, mosaics in Ravenna, a precise technical drawing of a scaffold, sketches of the Italian landscape and studies of street people in Rome, both high and low.
The exhibition at the gallery will continue through February 22. To learn more about Master Drawings visit the official website.
This short film documents the preliminary stages of the artist’s process for creating a group of large sand cast glass metates made at Wheaton Arts in Millville, NJ.
Film and original music by Pedro Joaquin Icaza.
“The work with the most direct visual links to Panama’s archaeological past is De Obaldía’s series of cast-glass metates, based on the Pre-Columbian stone ceremonial ‘thrones’ found in Panama and Costa Rica. Stone metates, used to grind maize and other foodstuffs, were probably incorporated into ancient rituals and the decorative quality of some Central American examples certainly suggests a ceremonial function. Carved from porous volcanic stone, they often have protruding animal heads and tails and are covered in geometric relief carving. Linked to rites of fertility, it has also been suggested that some of the larger and more ornate examples may have served as thrones for rulers.”
-Susan L. Aberth, “Emissaries from the Primordial Realms: The Presence of Pre-Columbian and Indigenous Art in the Work of Isabel De Obaldía”, essay from the catalogue for Primordial: Paintings and Sculpture by Isabel De Obaldía at Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southereastern University, 2011-2012
The Art Show takes place March 7 through March 11 at the Park Avenue Armory. There will be a Gala Preview on March 6 to benefit the Henry Street Settlement. To purchase Gala tickets please call 212-766-9200 ext. 248 or visit the Henry Street Settlement website. The fair, which is organized by the Art Dealers Association of America, presents exhibitions from the nation’s leading art dealers and galleries showcasing a variety of museum-quality exhibits ranging from cutting-edge, 21st century works, to masterpieces from the 19th and 20th centuries.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art. The gallery will be showing a special selection of works relating to Realism and Surrealism in Latin America. The exhibition with include important works by Latin American masters such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Wifredo Lam, and Matta.
Master Drawings New York will return to the Upper East Side for the sixth consecutive year from January 21-28, 2011, with a private viewing on Friday, January 20 from 4-8 pm. This year twenty-three exhibitions from the UK, France, Spain, Germany and the US will be on view, enabling connoisseurs to buy drawings across a broad range of price points at galleries all within walking distance of one another. The selection will include oil sketches, watercolours, drawings in charcoal, pencil and pen and ink. Be sure to visit Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art during this exciting event.