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Mexican plastic artist of Hungarian-German descent (June 17, 1915 – April 21, 2000)
Gunther Gerzso (June 17, 1915 – April 21, 2000) was a Mexican visual artist of Hungarian-German descent who excelled as a painter, stage designer, writer, and theater and film director, and who was part of the art movement known as “La Ruptura”.
Gunther Gerzso was the son of Oscar Gerzso, a Hungarian immigrant who died a few months after the birth of his only son with the German Dore Wendland. Her mother married again with a German jeweler. In 1922 the young family traveled to Europe affected by the economic disorder that prevailed after the Mexican Revolution. Two years later they returned to Mexico, but the marriage soon dissolved. Economic hardship forced Dore to send her son to Lugano, Switzerland where he found himself in the midst of his uncle’s collection of paintings, Dr. Hans Wendland, which included works by Pierre Bonnard, Rembrandt, Paul Cézanne, Eugéne Delacroix and Titian. As a teenager, Gunther met Paul Klee and later the notable designer Nando Tamberlani, who introduced him to the world of theater. In 1931 Gunther left Europe due to the difficulties caused by the Great Depression at the time.
In Mexico City, he devoted himself to designing sketches for stages and writing plays, greatly influenced by N. Tamberlani. After two years, he began working at a local theater production company directed by Fernando Wagner. In 1935 he obtained a scholarship to study at the Cleveland Playhouse, where for four years he designed more than 50 stages. In the 1940s and 1950s he worked as a set designer in the film industry in Mexico, France, and the United States. G. Gerzso won five “Ariel” awards (Mexican “Oscar” awards) for Best Production Design. In those years he collaborated with directors such as Emilio “El Indio” Fernández in “Un día de vida” (1950), Luis Buñuel in “Susana” (1951), “Una mujer sin amor” (1952) and “El río y la muerte ”(1955), Yves Allégret in“ Les Orgueilleux ”(1953) and John Huston in“ Under the Volcano ”(1984). In the late 1930s, Gerzso became fond of painting. The constant catwalk of beautiful actresses and interesting people on the film sets gave her great inspiration.
In 1939 Bernard Pfriem convinced G. Gerzso to participate in the annual exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where he exhibited two paintings. Gradually Gerzso began to consider himself more a painter than a designer. Since 1944 he settled permanently in Mexico City, along with his wife, and joined the group of prominent surrealist artists who lived in Mexico during the Second World War. They were Benjamin Péret, Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, Alice Rahon, and Wolfang Paalen.5 G. Gerzso’s work shows his deep artistic appreciation under a joint influenza of Europe and Mexico.67 His oil canvases incorporated aspects of pre-Columbian art within a framework surreal and cubist. Then the artist evolved until he reached his famous abstract art.