With this exhibition, Cecilia de Torres, Ltd. highlights the abstract artworks of José Gurvich (1927-1974). Dating throughout his career, from his early days at the Taller Torres-Garcia in the 1940s to less than a year before his untimely death in 1974, the selection of drawings and paintings on view illustrate Gurvich's consistent engagement with abstraction.
Although the artist is today best recognized for his expressive and figurative artworks that display a unique world of symbolic autobiographical images, he also developed an abstract language of geometric structures and non-representational forms.
In the confining canons of modern art history, artists like Gurvich who straddled figuration and abstraction are still misunderstood. By blending physical reality and mental abstraction, Gurvich gave life to a new and rich category of non-objective painting.
We invite you to view Gurvich's abstractions first hand.
An exhibition catalogue with essay by Cecilia de Torres is available.
b. 1927, Lithuania – d. 1974 New York City
Populated with figures and images that reflect his Jewish upbringing, his participation with the Taller Torres-García, and his profound admiration for the European art masters Breughel and Bosch, Gurvich's artworks combine a unique personal style with technical mastery.
The child of Jewish immigrants, the artist was born in Lithuania and moved to Uruguay with his family in 1932. There, Gurvich excelled at both music and the visual arts, and it was while studying the violin alongside Horacio Torres that the young artist was introduced to Horacio's father, Joaquín Torres-García. Soon after, Gurvich joined the Taller Torres-García, participating in the workshop's exhibitions, writing for its publications, executing mural projects, and teaching. Gurvich's role at the Taller later influenced the creation of his own workshop, the Taller Montevideo, where he taught the next generation of Uruguayan artists.
In 1954 and again in 1964, the artist travelled to Europe and Israel, where he lived as a shepherd on the Ramot Menasche kibbutz. These experiences profoundly influenced the iconography of his paintings and sculptures. Moving to the United States in 1970, Gurvich joined his fellow Taller Torres-García artists Julio Alpuy, Horacio Torres, and Gonzalo Fonseca in New York City, where he continued to produce art until his premature death in 1974.
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