Gunther Gerzsó (b. 1915)
Gunther Gerzsó (b. 1915)


Gunther Gerzsó (b. 1915)
signed and dated 'Gerzsó 64' lower left--signed again and inscribed with title on the reverse
oil on canvas
29 x 23¾in. (73.7 x 60.3cm.)
Painted in 1964
Anon. sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., New York, Modern Mexican
Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture, Photographs and Prints,
April 5,
1978, lot 61 (illustrated)
Galería de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City
Private collection, Mexico City
Anon. sale, Christie's New York, Important Latin American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, Nov. 20, 1995, lot 7 (illustrated in color)
Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art, New York
Courtesy of Galería de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City
R. Eder, Gunther Gerzsó - El Esplendor de la Muralla, Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, Mexico City, 1994, p. 41, n.n. (illustrated in color)

Lot Essay

Gunther Gerzsó is a painter of inquietude. His art is about the uneasiness in anticipating terrible events. His forms appear
steadfast. With their hard edges they seem, if not indestructible, at least strongly defended.

Tension in the painting arises from within, not from what may come from the outside, although that is the perception. Generated by ingrained insults, pent up tension eventually breaks through in the form of minor cracks, gashes, or even fragmentation.

The emotional content underlying Gerzsó's art is created by the
interrelation of forms and color. The forms, however, are often
disregarded - even overlooked - because of the effect color has on the viewer. More often than not, it safely distracts from entering a
dimension where the image speaks of a universal drama. Of man's most
archaic fear, of psychical and physical dissolution.
These concerns were already present in Gunther Gerzsó's first
paintings, when he created images linked to Surrealism in Paris
(1941-1946). But Gerzsó's personal iconography was forged in December 1946, while leafing through Posnasky's Tihuanacu. In this pre-Hispanic ruin, Gerzsó identified anthropomorphic shapes that retained their power, despite the neglect of time and abandonment.

Starting in January 1961, with Avila Negra and ending in January
1968 with Verde-Azul-Amarillo, Gerzsó would introduce and develop new elements that will alter the emotional content of his personal iconography: blades, wounds, and the element of sadism. He would also paint some of the most powerful art created in the Twentieth Century.

During this period, Gerzsó began to use the square leitmotif as
recipient of this new emotional charge. Depending on the context, the square symbolizes Woman or Self.

In some of these works, Gerzsó's titles allude to specific issues.
Names such as Ancient Dwelling or Abode represent the archaic
self that is easily flooded by encroaching stimuli. Because it cannot control these stimuli, nor bind its own tension, it will react with a fear of falling apart, that later will be understood as anxiety.

Morada or Abode (1964), alludes to this experience. The orange square suspended off-center stands for the archaic self. The flooding, by encroaching stimuli, is symbolically expressed by the two blade-like shapes that direct their pointed edges toward it. The sense of falling apart is conveyed as the square, which is in fragments, and barely holds together. The square appears wounded and--a rare thing in Gerzsó's art--the wounds seem fresh.

Because the painting is unusually colorful, the eye shifts from one
patch of brightness to another, to avoid noticing that right in front
of us is the experience we fear most: the unknown.

We are greatful to Dr. Salomon Grimberg for his assistance in writing the essay for the above lot.

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