Sammer Gallery LL is please to announce the exhibition of Jose Gurvich titled “Between Tradition and Radicality ” in conjunction with the Gurvich Museum Montevideo .
Accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essay by Martin Gurvich, Edward J Sullivan and Gabriel Peluffo the exhibition encompasses several periods of Jose Gurvich life . “Jose Gurvich has painted many different themes in many different media. In this exhibit we can appreciate many of them like: Constructive works, Landscapes, Urban Landscapes, Ports, Kibutz, New York, Still Lives, Sculptures, etc in a variety of media like watercolors, oil paintings, pencil, ink, etchings, silk screens, pigments prints, ceramics. Most of the works are in small sizes. My father was constantly producing art either doing paintings or sketches for murals or paintings, or sculptures in ceramic. His brief study with Cuneo and longer studies with Joaquin Torres Garcia gave him great discipline and passion for the visual arts and he spent most of his short, but productive, life creating artworks for all of us to appreciate. There are many artworks of Jose Gurvich in Private Collections of Uruguay, Argentina, Latin America, US, Europe and beyond. There are also works in Museum Collections like MALBA in Buenos Aires, Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Museo Blanes, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Blanton Museum in Austin, Art Museum of the Americas in Washington DC, Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas.
It is a great pleasure for me to bring my father’s works to the US to Sammer Gallery in Miami. My father passed away on 24th of June 1974 at the age of 47 years on the day his works of art were cleared from US Customs for a major show at the Jewish Museum of New York. Unfortunately that show never happened. Some of the works in this catalogue are from his period in New York from 1970 to 1974. Despite his early and untimely departure Gurvich did wonderful works of art in his studio in New York which conveyed his artistic maturity and his dialogue with the Big Apple and the Art Scene of the day. I remember spending hours with my father and mother going to Museums, Artist’s Studios, Art Galleries and Artist Shops.1
“...Like his teacher Torres, Gurvich was a peripatetic individual, working and traveling to many venues throughout his unfortunately brief life. As the roster of works in the current exhibition amply demonstrates, Gurvich was nurtured by his Eastern European (Lithuanian) roots. Jewish subject matter would eventually emerge in his later years when he recalled the traditions his family had followed in his childhood [Fig. 2 / P. 298]. His experiences on an Israeli kibbutz also provided the stimulus to return to references to Hebraic customs and Jewish holiday rituals in his drawings and paintings. Gurvich’s travels to such places as Greece, Spain and Italy rein- forced his adherence to classicizing underpinnings of his art (a tendency he shared with Torres, even though classical subject matter per se was not of interest to him). And finally, his last years in Manhattan provided him with a completely new win- dow on forms of artistic expression that were developing in the New York art scene in the 1960s and 70s. He and his family lived close to SoHo and the emergent experirmental gallery scene. Gurvich knew well (and in certain instances internalized and transformed) the modes of Pop art and even Minimalism). He appreciated not only the new tendencies in art but equally cherished the old masters he observed in museums like the Metropolitan. His interest in classic modernism was well served by his visits to MoMA and some of the best known galleries on New York’s 57th Street, at the time of Gurvich’s residence, the heart of the uptown gallery world.2
1 Martin Gurvich
2 José Gurvich: BETWEEN TRADITION AND RADICALITY Edward J. Sullivan
About the artist
José Gurvich (Zusmanas Gurvicius) was born in the village of Jieznas, Trakai district, Lithuania, on January 5th 1927 and died in New York on 24th of June, 1974.
His family settled in Montevideo in 1933. In 1942 he entered the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes and studied under the Uruguayan painter José Cuneo. Later, in 1944 he began studying with Joaquín Torres-García and joined the School of the South also known as the Torres Garcia Workshop/Taller Torres Garcia. He taught painting and pottery in the Workshop for several years before the Workshop closed down in 1962. He illustrated programs for the Cine Club of Uruguay. In 1954 and 1955 he travelled throughout Europe, visiting France, Italy, Spain, Holland. He also lived for a year in the Kibbutz Ramot Menasche in Israel, where his sister lived, and worked there as shepherd but also painted and made ceramics. He had shows in Rome and Tel Aviv. After the Torres-García Workshop closed down he continues teaching young artists who formed a Workshop Called El Taller Montevideo. In 1964-1965 he again travelled with his family to Europe and Israel where
he again lived in the Kibutz Ramot Menasche for a year. He had an important solo show at Katz Gallery in Tel Aviv. In 1967 he hada major show of about 300 works at the Commission de Bellas Artes in Montevideo, which established him as a major artist of the new generation in Uruguay. In 1969 he returned, with his wife Toto and son Martin to Israel and Europe. In 1970 he arrived In New York and renewed his contact with Julio Alpuy, Gonzalo Fonseca and Horacio Torres. In New York he created a series of paintings illustrating the Jewish religious festivals and he also did wonderful compositions of the Big Apple. On June 24th 1974 he passed away on the same day that his works were cleared from Customs for an important show that he was preparing at the Jewish Museum of New York.
Between Tradition and Radicality