Gego’s Biography
Gego’s Biography

1912    Gertrud Goldschmidt (Gego) is born in Hamburg on August 1, in a liberal, Jewish family.

1932    Receives her degree in architecture and engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Stuttgart.

1939    Remains in Hamburg while her family flees Germany. She applies for visas to English-speaking countries, but she cannot secure any. Obtains a visa to immigrate to Venezuela. Arrives in Caracas, but does not speak Spanish. Nevertheless, she begins working as a freelancer at various architectural firms.

1952    Obtains Venezuelan citizenship. Meets graphic designer, artist, and teacher Gerd Leufert, who will become her lifelong companion.

1953    Moves to the coastal town of Tarmas (Venezuela), where she focuses exclusively on her artistic production. Experimenting with different mediums and techniques, she explores landscape, architecture, and figuration until 1955, when she embarks on the path toward abstraction.

1958    Synthesizes her investigations of light, movement, and space in three-dimensional works made of lines that run in parallel, with a distance between them equivalent to their thickness, and engage with vibration as an optical effect achieved by the interaction between an object’s geometric forms and its immediate surroundings.

Begins teaching art at the Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, and at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas Cristóbal Rojas, also in Caracas.

1961    First solo exhibition at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas.

1963    Attends the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles, California, as a guest artist.

1964    Begins teaching Modeling and Three-dimensional Form at the newly created Instituto de Diseño Fundación Neumann–INCE, Caracas.

1966    Attends the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles, this time as an artist grantee, where she realizes her most representative series of lithographs as well as artist’s books.

1969    Presents her Reticulárea at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, a monumental environmental installation of metal wire, suspended vertically and horizontally from the ceiling and walls, thus creating constellations of lines across space. Reticulárea is presented later at the Center for Inter-American Relations, New York. Gego will create different iterations of the Reticulárea between 1969 and 1982.

1970–74 Begins her series Streams (Chorros, 1970–74), and later, Trunks (Troncos, 1974–81).

In 1971, Gego and Leufert move to an apartment known as Penthouse B in Loma Verde, part of Caracas’s Residencias Altolar, Colinas de Bello Monte. Gego will live there until her death in 1994.

Reticulárea 1974 (1974) enters the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas as a long-term loan.

1976    Begins creating her Spheres (Esferas, 1976–77), and her most extensive series, Drawings without Paper (Dibujos sin papel, ca. 1976–88).

The Instituto de Diseño Fundación Neumann–INCE publishes Gego’s book, Espacio volumen organización (Space Volume Organization) designed by some of her students.

1977    First major retrospective at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, where she shows Drawings without Paper for the first time.

Installs the recently acquired Reticulárea 1977 at the Galería de Arte Nacional de Caracas.

1981    The Sala Gego opens to the public at the Galería de Arte Nacional, Caracas. Reticulárea 1981, redesigned by Gego for this space, is put on permanent display until 1994.

1982    Gego travels to Frankfurt to participate in Spielraum-Raumspiele, at the Alte Oper, where she installs her Reticulárea Alte Oper (1982) in the Liszt Salon.

1987    Embarks on her last series of three-dimensional works, Bugs (Bichos, ca. 1987–9) and Small Bugs (Bichitos, 1987–89).

1988    Begins creating her Weavings (Tejeduras, 1988–91), her last series of works on paper.

1994    Gego dies on September 17, at the age of 82.

Gego in her studio, Caracas, 1984
Photo: Isidro Núñez
© Fundación Gego