Gunther Gerzso (Mexican, 2000)

Gunther Gerzso (Mexican, born June 17, 1915–died April 21, 2000) was a painter and set designer best known for his abstract paintings based on architectural relationships and geometric structures. Born in Mexico City, Gerzso began building sets for a local theater in 1934, and established his career as a stage designer by working with legendary film directors such as Luis Buñuel and John Ford. Gerzso’s early paintings show the influence of Surrealist artists, including Wolfgang Paalen, Diego Rivera, and José Clemente Orozco, as well as European artists such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.

In the 1950s, when he began to devote his time exclusively to painting, Gerzso moved toward abstraction. His mature paintings—often referred to as “architectonic abstractions”—synthesized the geometric style of architect Le Corbusier with motifs found in Pre-Columbian art; works such as Landscape at Papantla (1955) and Verde-Azul-Blanco (1978) are reminiscent of Mayan temples and the lushness of the Mexican landscape. Gerzso has held solo exhibitions at several museums, such as the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and his work has been exhibited at the Musée Picasso in Antibes, France, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Timeline

1915
Born in Mexico City, Mexico
1927–1931
Attended school in Lugano, Switzerland
1934
Graduated from the German School in Mexico City, Mexico
1936–1939
Staff Set Designer at the Cleveland Playhouse, Cleveland, OH
1940
Started his avocation as a self-taught painter, Cleveland, OH
1942–1962
Designed sets for 250 films
1973
Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship
1978
Received National Award for Arts and Sciences, Mexico
2000
Died in Mexico City, Mexico

Exhibitions

2004
Gunther Gerzso: Defining Mexican Abstractionism, ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries, Coral Gables, Florida, February 6-April 30
Risking the Abstract: Mexican Modernism and the Art of Gunther Gerzso, Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Chicago, March 19-June 27
2003–2004
Risking the Abstract: Mexican Modernism and the Art of Gunther Gerzso, Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City, November 12-February 22
2003
Risking the Abstract: Mexican Modernism and the Art of Gunther Gerzso, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California, July-October 2003
2000
Gunther Gerzso, In His Memory, Mary-Anne Martin/Fine Art, New York
Gunther Gerzso, The Last Decade, Galería Lopez-Quiroga, Mexico D.F.
1996
Gunther Gerzso, Latin American Masters Gallery, Beverly Hills, California
1992–1996
The Gelman Collection (travelling exhibition), Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporaneo Mexico, D.F.
1995
Gunther Gerzso 80th Birthday Show, Mary-Anne Martin/Fine Art New York, NY
Gunther Gerzso: Prints and Sculpture, The Americas Society, New York
Gunther Gerzso. Obra Receinte, Galería Lopez Quiroga,Mexico, D.F.
1994
Gunther Gerzso. Pintura, Grafica y Dibujo, 1949-1993, Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico, D.F.
1993
Gunther Gerzso. Pintura, Grafica y Dibujo, 1949-1993, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Oaxaca Oaxaca, Mexico
Gunther Gerzso. Pintura, Grafica y Dibujo, 1949-1993, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
1990
A New Antiquity of Form, Mary-Anne Martin/Fine Art New York, NY
Gerzso, Galería de Arte Mexicano, Mexico, D.F.
1989
Museo de Arte Moderno, 25 Años 1964-1989, Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico, D.F
1988
The Latin American Spirit: Art and Artists in the United States, 1920-1970, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York
1987–1988
The Woman and Surrealism, Musée Cantonal des Beaux Arts Lausanne, Switzerland
1987–1988
Imagen de Mexico, Der Beitrag Mexikos Zur des 20 Jahrhunderts, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany
1986
Gunther Gerzso, Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico, D.F.
1984
Gunther Gerzso Retrospective, Mary-Anne Martin/Fine Art, New York
Gerzso. La Centella Glacial. Un Dialogo Plastico en la Ciudad de Mexico, Sala Ollin Yoliztli, Mexico
1982
Gunther Gerzso, One Man Show, FIAC 1982 Paris, France
1981
Gunther Gerzso - Retrospectiva, Museo de Monterrey, Mexico
1980
Mexique: Peintres Contemporains, Musée Picasso Antibes, France
1979
Le Mexique d'Hier et d'Aujord'Hui, Musée du Petit Palais, Paris, France
1978
Seccion Anual de Invitados: Tamayo, Merida, Gerzso, Salon Nacional de Artes Plasticas, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico, D.F.
1975
12 Latin American Artists Today, University of Texas, Austin, Texas
1975
El Geometrismo Mexicano: una Tendencia Actual, Museo de Arte Mo, Mexico, D.F.
1970
Twenty Years of Gunther Gerzso, Phoenix Art Museum Phoenix, Arizona
1966–1967
Art of Latin America Since Independence, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut and the University of Texas, Austin, Texas
1963
Gunther Gerzso, Exposicion Retrospectiva, Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno Mexico, D.F.
1955
The Third International Art Exhibition, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum Tokyo, Japan
1950
Galeria de Arte Mexicano Mexico, D.F.