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GUNTHER GERZSO (1915-2000)

Collection Overview | Biography | Chronology | Images | Exhibitions | Press







1915
Gunther Gerzso is born in Mexico to a Hugarian father and a German mother.

1916
Gunther Gerzso's father, Oscar dies unexpectedly in Mexico City.

1927
12-year-old Gunther moves to Switzerland to live with his uncle, Dr. Hans Wendland, art collector and dealer, following his mother and stepfather's divorce. Dr. Wendland severed as a father figure to Gunther. While living with him, Gunther received an education in the arts and met artists from all over Europe, including Kandinsky and Herman Hesse.

1931
Gunther leaves Switzerland due to the Great Depression's catastrophic effects on the international art market, creating financial hardship on Dr. Wendland's business.

1934
Gerzso meets actor Fernando Wagner and set designer Arch Lauterer in Mexico. Lauterer had worked at the Cleveland Play House and encouraged Gerzso to go there.

1935
Gerzso moves to Cleveland and begins working as a set and costume designer. Gerzso meets Thomas Ireland (actor, future director), Patricia (actor and future wife of Thomas), and Gene Rilla Cady (actor and Gerzso's future wife.)

1938
Gerzso traveled to Germany on the eve of WWII to visit his maternal grandmother. The anti-Semitism of pre-WWII Germany horrified him, prompting depictions of war and death to appear in his drawings.

1939
The artist spent his summers in Mexico, associating with the surrealists, including: Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, and Roberto Matta.

1941
As the threat of the Second World War loomed, Gerzso and his new wife Rilla returned to Mexico. Gerzso continued to work as a set designer.

1941-1963
The Golden Age of Mexican Cinema. Gerzso worked on more than 250 productions and continued to work on his painting, showing in group and solo exhibitions in Mexico.

1945
After Gerzso's early surrealist musings, the artist dedicates himself to working in the surrealist style.

1948
Gunther meets Jacques Gelman, who began collecting his work. The Gelman Collection is widely regarded as the finest collection of 20th century Mexican art in private hands.

1959-1961
This was a period of transition for the artist, from surrealism to abstraction. Gerzso was increasingly interested exploring open space, loose form, expressive textural effects and saturated, earthen colors.

1962
After a successful career, Gunther retires from the film industry and devotes himself fulltime to painting of his abstract compositions.

1965
Gerzso represents Mexico in the 8th Sao Paulo Bienal. Gelman headed the Mexican delegation at the Bienal.

1970
In one pivotal year, Gerzso is the subject of two huge solo shows: Phoenix Art Museum and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City.

1978
Carlos Merida, Gunther Gerzso and Rufino Tamayo are referred to by the Mexican press as "los nuevos tres grandes" (The New Great Three)

1982
Mary-Anne Martin/Fine Art, the first US gallery to feature the artist's work, works with Galería de Arte Mexicana to exhibit 25 paintings by the artist at FIAC in Paris.

Gerzso continued to work and show successfully until his death on April 21, 2000.