Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt)
A leading figure of Venezuelan abstraction of the 1960s and 1970s, Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt) was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1912, and graduated with a degree in engineering and architecture from the University of Stuttgart in 1938. With the advent of World War II, she migrated to Venezuela, settling in Caracas in 1939.
Gego began her artistic career in the 1950s. At that time, geometric abstraction had become the symbol of artistic modernity in Venezuela, as evidenced by the growing international reputations of Venezuelan artists Alejandro Otero, Jesús Rafael Soto, and Carlos Cruz-Diez. Gego developed a distinctive approach to geometric abstraction, and this signature style reflects her training in architecture and engineering. Her work is characterized by the use of delicate three-dimensional lines, often made of steel wire. Through their interaction with a complex system of knots, these lines expand into space, both defining a volume and exposing the work's construction.
In 1957, as many of her contemporaries began making kinetic work, Gego initiated a series of sculptures with which she attempted to challenge the conventions associated with static artworks. Though her sculptures appear to be in motion, this is an illusion produced by the movement of the viewer. This effect, known as parallax, is particularly evident in Split (1959) and Sphere (1959), two works that use bold graphic lines replicated along different parallels.
Gego’s large Reticulárea, created at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas in 1969, consists of an expansive, modular wire grid that unfolds into the gallery space across the floor, walls, and ceiling, welcoming visitors to immerse themselves in its disorienting, constellation-like structure. This work marked the beginning of a major chapter in the artist’s career, during which she turned to a series of complex three- and two-dimensional compositions. These have an organic and ethereal character, with fragile, almost precarious grids. Some, in their shapes and titles, are reminiscent of natural phenomena, such as Streams (Chorros), Trunks (Troncos), Weavings (Tejeduras), and Meshes (Mallas).
Introduction by Catalina Acosta-Carrizosa, Research Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints, 2016
413: Touching the Void
Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift
May 28–Sep 12, 2020
The Long Run
Nov 11, 2017–May 5, 2019
Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction
Apr 15–Aug 13, 2017
From the Collection:
Mar 26, 2016–Mar 19, 2017
- Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt) has online.
If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).
All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.
If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].