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    Sale 1907

    Latin American Sale Evening Session

    19 - 20 November 2007, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 65

    Mathias Goeritz (German 1915-1990)

    Yellow Bird

    Price Realised  


    Mathias Goeritz (German 1915-1990)
    Yellow Bird
    initialed 'MG' (on the bottom)
    painted steel
    91½ x 43½ x 37¼ in. (232.4 x 110.5 x 94.6 cm.)
    Executed in 1957.

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    Please note the work is accompanied by the original bill of sale and correspondence between the artist and Dr. Basia Gingold. Also, it includes a certificate of authenticity signed by Dra. Lily Kassner.

    Mathias Goeritz arrived in Mexico on October 2, 1949. He was 34, and his wife was a talented photographer. Both had first-rate intellectual and professional backgrounds. They encountered a country on an eager path to modernity.

    Shortly after their arrival in Mexico City, the couple met the architect Luis Barragán, thanks to an introduction by Edmundo O'Gorman and Ida Rodríguez de O'Gorman. The affection and admiration they expressed for each other soon developed into a close friendship that lasted for more than fifteen years. There were countless affinities that brought them together. Both were free, independent spirits; they both had had contact with, and admired Moorish and Mediterranean architecture (Morocco, the Alhambra); they also shared an interest in the principles of the Bauhaus movement. They helped each other grow and supported each other in their search for architectural and artistic renovation in Mexico. It's noteworthy to recall Barragán's interest in the architecture of Teotihuacán. Barragán and Chucho Reyes encouraged Goeritz to visit this ancient city as soon as he arrived in Mexico. Goeritz was very impressed with "The City of the Gods," and the memory of this first acquaintance could perhaps account for his monumental penchant and his tendency to magnify the scale of his creations.

    At the Altamira School, a school he founded out of sheer enthusiasm in Santillana del Mar, he taught, among others, the painter Alejandro Arangel and Ida Rodríguez, who would later become his second wife. She was also responsible for an invitation Goeritz received from the architect Díaz Morales in 1949 to become a faculty member at the recently founded School of Architecture of the University of Guadalajara.

    Months after his arrival, thanks to his brilliant performance and to Díaz Morales's interest in the principles of the Bauhaus, Goeritz introduced a new course he created entitled "Visual Education."

    His social skills allowed Goeritz to meet people from the world of architecture he would later collaborate with, including Luis Barragán, Ignacio Díaz Morales, and Julio de la Peña.

    Besides his dedication to teaching, Goeritz was intensely involved with the arts--he founded and promoted art galleries, exhibited the works of artists who were barely known in Mexico City such as Kandinsky, Klee, Moore, Gorky, Miró, Picasso, and the Dau al Set group. He also gave lectures and published a number of works.

    In 1949, Goeritz's work consisted primarily of drawings and paintings. Later, he was very much taken with the desire to experiment, something that characterizes his work in 3D, using all kinds of materials: stone, calabashes, wood, gourds, iron, bronze, etc. Once settled in Guadalajara, he delved deeper into the practice of sculpture after his meeting with Romualdo de la Cruz, a carver he dubbed "master" and about whom he said:..."the years 1950-52 which I spent in Guadalajara were the years of my training."

    Goeritz produced El animal herido (The Wounded Animal) using a number of variants and materials. A version of this piece, one that is more snake-like, was praised by Barragán, who commissioned from Goeritz an enlarged version in concrete to be placed at the entrance gate of the housing development Jardines del Pedregal, in Mexico City. Thus began a fruitful collaboration between Goeritz and Barragán in a number of urban design projects in Mexico City and in Guadalajara, Jalisco.

    In 1953, Goeritz made his successful debut in architecture by producing a work whose originality has been indisputably recognized worldwide: El Eco (The Echo), which was rescued and restored by the National University of Mexico in 2005. In this period too, Barragán drafted the Manifesto for Emotional Architecture, which contains a clear description of the Experimental Museum El Eco. It is well known that Barragán regarded this museum highly as well as the Manifesto for Emotional Architecture, published by Goeritz in Guadalajara in March of 1954. Later, Barragán himself accepted the label of emotional architecture to describe his own work.

    In 1957 he drafted, along with Barragán, the plan for an immense sculpture: The Yellow Bird, measuring 15 by 12.5 meters, to be placed at the entrance of the housing development Jardines del Bosque, in Guadalajara, built by the architect Díaz Morales and his partner, the engineer Petersen. The sculpture was made from exposed painted concrete.

    That same year, the urban planner and architect Mario Pani received a commission for a new housing development, Ciudad Satélite. In turn, Pani commissioned Barragán to produce a symbol of great visibility and commercial attractiveness. The first idea was a fountain. Barragán invited Goeritz to collaborate in a sculpture project that resulted in the Satélite Towers, which stand 37 to 57 meters high.

    Lilly Kassner, September 2007.


    Acquired from the artist (1984).
    Dr. Basia Gingold, La Jolla, California.
    Private collection, Los Angeles.