Indepth Arts News: |
"Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Twentieth-Century Mexican Art: The Jacques
and Natasha Gelman Collection"
2000-05-14 until 2000-09-04
Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla
San Diego, CA,
USA United States of America
Jacques and Natasha Gelman viewed
collecting art as an essential means to
connect with their time and culture. Born in St.
Petersburg, Russia in 1909, Jacques Gelman
founded film distribution companies in France
and Mexico and made his fortune producing
movies starring popular comic Mario Moreno,
also known as Cantinflas. In the 1940s,
Gelman married Natasha Zahalka, an
immigrant from Moravia, a region of
Czechoslovakia, and the couple settled in
Mexico City, where they began to assemble
extraordinary collections of European and
Mexican modern art. In 1998, the year of
Natasha's death (Jacques died in 1986), the
Gelmans donated their European paintings to
New York's Metropolitan Museum - a gift that
Director Phillipe de Montebello called 'the
most important gift ever to the 20th-century
department and in fact one of the most
important gifts to any department in the museum' - but the Gelman Estate retained
and continued to add to their outstanding Mexican collection.
Today, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of twentieth-century Mexican
art is widely regarded as the world’s most significant private holding of its kind.
Dating from the 1910s to the 1990s, the 80-plus paintings, sculptures, and
photographs in the exhibition represent the broad range of artistic developments in
Mexico during the last century-from early experiments with European Cubism and
Surrealism, to post-revolutionary efforts to develop an indigenous Mexican
aesthetic, to the broad range of styles of post-World War II abstraction and realism.
Reflecting the diversity and dynamism of Mexican culture, the collection includes
works by major figures in twentieth-century Mexican art.
Special strongholds of the collection are its many paintings by Frida Kahlo and
Diego Rivera, whose psychologically and politically charged imagery, along with
their tempestuous relationship, has made them the stuff of legend. Other
important mid-century Mexican artists in the collection include Gunther Gerzso,
María Izquierdo, Carlos Merida, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros,
and Rufino Tamayo. The Gelman Collection also includes a number of significant
contemporary figures such as Cisco Jimenez, Gabriel Orozco, and Paula
Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Twentieth-Century Mexican Art: The Jacques and
Natasha Gelman Collection is co-organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art,
San Diego, The Dallas Museum of Art, and Phoenix Art Museum, in collaboration
with Robert Littman, curator of the Gelman Collection and former Director of the
Centro del Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City.
This project - including the exhibition, catalogue, programs, and national tour - is
sponsored by Aetna. The San Diego presentation is made possible, in part, by
major contributions from Ron and Mary Taylor and Dr. Mary and Dr. James
Bergland. Related educational and interpretive programs are funded, in part, by
grants from the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds, The A & B Bloom Foundation,
The James Irvine Foundation, the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and
Culture, the California Arts Council, and the County of San Diego.