Gertrud Louise Goldschmidt

Vibración en negro (Vibration in Black)

Gego Vibracion En Negro Mfa Houston 1500 - © n Gego. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA.
  • Gertrud Louise Goldschmidt
  • Vibración en negro (Vibration in Black)
  • 1957
  • Aluminum painted black
  • 75 x 60 x 43 cm
  • Fundacion Gego Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston/Bridgeman Images - © n Gego. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA.

Gertrud Goldschmidt, professionally known as Gego, came to the fine arts later in life. After studying architecture in her native Germany, she was forced by the rise of National Socialism to immigrate to Venezuela because of her Jewish heritage. There Gego completed her first works of art, a series of delicate drawings and prints. In the midst of a Venezuelan art scene where artists such as Jesús Rafael Soto were experimenting with the creation of optical illusions in three-dimensional space, Gego soon turned her attention to sculpture.

Vibración en negro (1957), one of Gego’s first sculptures, was created after a trip to Europe during 1955 and 1956. During her travels she visited a number of galleries and museums in West Germany, Switzerland, and Britain. It seems she was particularly fascinated by Max Bill’s Endless Ribbon (1935), a sculptural interpretation of the Möbius strip, a twisted band that has only one side and thus possesses the mathematical property of being non-orientable. After her return to Caracas, Gego coupled her interest in Bill’s work with the kinetic experiments of her Venezuelan peers to create Vibración en negro, a hanging sculpture constructed from continuous strips of painted aluminium. Suspended delicately from the ceiling, the work begins to rotate when the movements of the viewer induce air currents. As they rotate, the network of lines shifts continuously, creating a shimmering effect or, as the title suggests, a visual vibration.

Daniel Milnes

Biography of Gertrud Louise Goldschmidt

  • Born 1912 in Hamburg, Germany
  • Died 1994 in Caracas, Venezuela
Gego was an artist and sculptor whose work peaked in the 1960s with geometric abstraction and kinetic art. After studying engineering and architecture at the Hochschule für Technik (University of Applied Sciences) Stuttgart (1932–38), she fled Germany in 1939 and moved to Venezuela, where she worked as an architect and furniture designer during the 1940s. In 1956, in Caracas, she created her first three-dimensional works. Between 1959 and 1967 she visited the United States to participate in various workshops (Treitel-Gratz metal fabricators, New York) and to experiment in lithography and other mediums. Her watercolors, spatial installations, engravings, and paper weavings—which use line as the fundamental element—reveal her investigations into structure, space, transparency, and viewer interaction. While her works made between 1957 and 1969 were based on equidistant, parallel lines, her “Reticuláreas” (Networks), “Troncos” (Trunks), and “Esferas” (Spheres) consist of crossed lines creating net-like structures. From 1976 onward she abandoned preconceived concepts in her series “Dibujos sin Papel” (Drawings without Paper) and “Bichitos” (Small Bugs). From 1958 to 1977 Gego committed herself to teaching. In 1979 she received the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas de Venezuela.