BIOGRAPHY

GEGO (Gertrud Louise Goldschmidt)

1912
On 1 August, Gertrud Louise Goldschmidt (Gego) is born in Hamburg to Eduard Martin Goldschmidt and Elizabeth Hanne Adeline Goldschmidt, née Dehn. She is the sixth of their seven children. The Jewish family lives at Heilwigstraße 40 from around 1908 to 1939. The Goldschmidts have run the J. Goldschmidt Sohn bank since 1815. Gego's uncle is Adolph Goldschmidt (1863-1944), a well-known art historian.

1918-32
Gego completes her primary and secondary education. She takes private lessons for a year, studying with banker Max Warburg's youngest daughter.

1932-38
Gego studies architecture under Paul Bonatz at the Technische Hochschule in Stuttgart, gaining her diploma in November 1938. The Goldschmidt family decides to leave Germany due to the increasingly perilous situation. In 1938, the J. Goldschmidt Sohn bank is forced to close. Gego is the last member of her family to leave Germany and, before her departure, she distributes the family's remaining possessions. A friend of a cousin helps her to obtain an entry visa to Venezuela and on 1 June 1939 she emigrates to Caracas after a brief stay in Southampton, England.

1940
Gego works for an architectural firm in Caracas. She marries a German businessman, Ernst Gunz, and they open a workshop called "Gunz", where Gego designs wooden furniture and lamps. She learns Spanish from their employees. Birth of their children Tomás (*1942) and Barbara (*1944).

1947
Gego travels to the United States to visit her parents and siblings.

1948
Undertakes freelance work for a number of architectural firms.

1951
Gego and her husband separate. She becomes a Venezuelan citizen the following year.

1953
Gego moves to Tarma on Venezuela's north coast with her new partner, the graphic designer Gerd Leufert (1914-1998). She begins to work as an artist, producing expressionistic watercolours, drawings and monotypes, and experiments with lines on paper.

1954
Gego submits two watercolours to the XV Salón oficial anual de arte venezolano at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas. This is the first exhibition of her work in Venezuela.

1955
Returns to Europe for the first time since 1939 and takes part in her first exhibition outside Venezuela, held at Galerie Wolfgang Gurlitt in Munich.

1956
Gego creates her first three-dimensional objects and begins working with a system of parallel lines.

1958
First solo exhibition in the bookshop Cruz del Sur in Caracas. Gego begins teaching at the Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Universidad Central de Venezuela and at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas Cristóbal Rojas.

1959
Carlos Cruz-Diez produces the short film Movement and Vibration in Space: Sculpture by Gego. Her work Esfera (Sphere) is the subject of a film by Richard Raynor.

1960
Gego lives in New York for several months. The city's Museum of Modern Art purchases Esfera at the suggestion of Alfred H. Barr, Jr. The New York Public Library acquires a group of her graphic works.

1961
A solo exhibition devoted to Gego's drawings is shown at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas.

1962
She designs an installation for the inner courtyard of the Banco Industrial de Venezuela in Caracas – her first large-scale outdoor sculpture and also her first public commission.

1963
Gego travels for two years on a Venezuelan grant to Europe and to the United States.

1964
Gego resumes teaching at the Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo. She becomes a professor of sculpture and three-dimensional forms at the Instituto de Diseño, Fundación Neumann, of which she is a cofounder.

1965
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, presents Gego's Esfera in the exhibition The Responsive Eye.

1968
Gego receives several awards, including the national award at the XXIX Salón oficial anual de arte venezolano.

1969
In June she presents her first Reticulárea at the Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas and, in November, a second Reticulárea at the Center for Inter-American Relations, New York.

1970/71
More international exhibitions follow. She presents her series Los Chorros (Streams) in a solo exhibition at Betty Parsons Gallery in New York.

1972
Installation of Cuerdas (Ropes) in the Parque Central, Caracas.

1974
Gego works on her series Troncos (Trunks).

1976
She begins creating her largest series of three-dimensional works, Dibujos sin papel (Drawings without Paper), which she continues to develop over the next twelve years.

1979
Gego is awarded the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas de Venezuela.

1980
Travels to Europe and Colombia. With a number of other artists she founds the organisation Taller de Artistas Gráficos Asociados in Caracas.

1982
Gego takes part in the exhibition Spielraum – Raumspiele at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt am Main, where she exhibits the final version of Reticulárea.

1983
Gego installs her work Cuadriláteros (Quadrilaterals) in La Hoyada underground station in Caracas.

1987
Gego is contacted by Professor Frithjof Trapp, director of research on German exile literature at the University of Hamburg, who is researching the lives of Jews who had to flee Hamburg. Gego begins to work on the series Bichitos (Small Bugs), small-scale pieces made of simple materials and discarded matter from the studio.

1988
Gego begins working on her Tejeduras (Weavings) series.

1994
Gego dies on 17 September in Caracas. Her family founds the Fundación Gego in Caracas, which manages her estate.