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  • Provenance

    Collection of Casa Prieto - López, Mexico City
    Christie's, New York, Latin American Sale Evening Session, May 28, 2008, lot 28
    Acquired from the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, The return of the snake: Mathias Goeritz and the invention of emotional architecture, November 11, 2014 - April 13, 2015

  • Literature

    The return of the snake: Mathias Goeritz and the Invention of Emotional Architecture, exh. cat., Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2014 - 2015, p.111 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    When he moved to Mexico in 1949, Mathias Goeritz brought with him a knowledge of the many European artistic tendencies of the time epitomized by established artists such as Yves Klein, Otto Pienne, Heinz Mack and Paul Klee, who were both his friends and influencers. In Europe, Goeritz had been fascinated with the artistic avant-garde and the role of abstraction within modern art. By the time he left the continent, he had already built a career for himself as a cultural promoter and a truly modern artist and architect. The transference of this knowledge and the opening of Mexico to the larger international art world was one of his great contributions to Mexican art. He considered this influence to be what he called “a function of legitimization of recycling,” (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, El Retorno de la Serpiente—Mathias Goeritz—la Invención de la Arquitectura Emocional, Madrid, 2015, p. 80). Goeritz and these artists were deeply interested in painting and architecture, with a permanent interest in the way a line yearns to become a plane and a plane yearns to become a space. This led to the development of the concept of emotional architecture, which proposed that architecture should not be reduced to the dominant importance of functionality and should rather engage humankind with its beauty, creating an emotional response.

    In Mexico, Goeritz implemented this conceptualization in collaboration with the renowned Mexican architect, Luis Barragán, who he met shortly after arriving in the country and with whom he instantly initiated a rich collaboration and friendship. During this time Barragán developed what is considered one of the most important architectural projects of Mexico in the 1940s and 1950s, the real estate project, El Pedregal, where he commissioned Goeritz to create the concrete sculpture known as the Serpiente del Pedregal. This commission lead to many more and resulted in the publication of Goeritz’s famous Manifiesto de Arquitectura Emocional in the prestigious art magazine, Zero, in 1954. His manifesto was emblematized by the innovative monumental construction of the Torres Satélite, 1957-1958. His collaboration with Barragán spanned a period of 18 years, during which time the two would create a variety of works together that would also reflect the different periods within Goeritz’s oeuvre.

    Shortly after the Torres Satélite and following the death of his former wife, Marianne Gast, Goeritz entered a deep depression that profoundly affected his artistic production. During this period of mourning he began working on a series of works entitled Mensajes (Messages). This was a new series of non-figurative works that was drastically different from any of the work he had done before, and Mensaje, c. 1960 is a prime example. All Mensajes are monochromatic and are covered in carefully applied gold leaf or puncture gold metal. The present is a particularly important example as it was part of another fruitful collaboration with Barragán. This particular type of Mensaje belongs to a group that Goeritz himself called “decorative” as they were created for specific houses in collaboration with prominent architects. They were purposefully simplified without clouage, or punctured metal, and fully covered in gold leaf. This work was commissioned for another monumental architectural project by Luis Barragán called the Casa Prieto-Lopez, part of the Jardines Pedregal community. Interestingly, this community was also a blooming cultural center and a hub of contemporary art. The piece was made specifically for the living room in the residence so that it would provoke an emotional engagement in visitors.

    Goertiz’s Mensajes were also meant to resonate with religious and medieval art. Goeritz considered the art of his time superficial and subject to decadent aesthetic pleasures. As a result of this perspective he praised Byzantine art as it was truly religious. For him, the gold leaf process was artisanal, rather than artistic, and it alluded to the medieval gilders who hammered the gold leaf into the religious artwork. This also reflects Goeritz’s interest in creating collective works. Finally, for Goeritz, gold leaf was a way of giving light to a painting, without applying color to canvas, which was precisely what Goeritz disliked. Instead, he believed that the radiance of gold transcended reality in his Mensajes and allowed him to achieve a “purity” in light, which was really a “revelation of the spirit” (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, El Retorno de la Serpiente—Mathias Goeritz—la Invención de la Arquitectura Emocional, Madrid, 2015, p.84). In short, em>Mensaje, circa 1960, epitomizes the collaboration between architecture and painting, which was the signature characteristic of the sophisticated, complex and extraordinary oeuvre of Mathias Goeritz.

  • Artist Biography

    Mathias Goeritz

    Mexican • 1915 - 1990

    German-born artist Mathias Goeritz studied Philosophy and Art History in Berlin. He immigrated to Mexico in 1949, by which time he had already built a career as a modern artist and architect. He was influenced by the European artistic tendencies of the time, from modernist movements such as Group Zero to artists including Yves Klein and Lucio Fontana.

    Goeritz's transference of knowledge exposed Mexico to the larger international art world, thus greatly contributing to the trajectory of Mexican art. He developed the concept of emotional architecture — where architecture is not overpowered by functionality but engages humankind with beauty, creating an emotive response. This concept would give artists in Mexico an alternative to the overarching influence of the national mural movement, and is exemplified in one of Goeritz's most significant works, El Museo Experimental el Eco.

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Ο27

Mensaje

1959
goldleaf on wood
53 1/8 x 48 x 2 in. (134.9 x 121.9 x 5.1 cm)
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by Lily Kassner.

Estimate
$300,000 - 500,000 

Sold for $341,000

Contact Specialist
Kaeli Deane
Head of Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1352

Latin America

New York Auction 18 November 2015 6pm