Born to a Spanish father and Mexican mother, Germán Gutiérrez Cueto (Mexico City 1893-1975) is one of the first modern sculptors on the American continent. This exhibition, held in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, features a series of individual exhibitions devoted to Mexican artists: Vicente Rojo, José Luis Cuevas and Francisco Toledo, among others.
Cueto studies sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico City upon returning from a trip to Spain between 1916 and 1917 in which his cousin, María Gutiérrez Blanchard, introduces him to the world of Modern Art and avant-garde movements. The artist participates in the beginnings of Mexico's new revolutionary art and becomes part of Estridentismo (Stridentism), a radical aesthetic movement inspired by Cubism and Futurism. At the same time, he takes a strong interest in traditional Mexican art, particularly masks, and forms his own artistic language in modern sculpture.
Cueto moves to Paris in 1927, where he lives until 1932, forging links with the School of Paris, particularly the Cercle et Carré group. The exhibition held in Paris' Gallery 23 in 1930 is of note as its unifying connections represent the rejection of figuration and the use of geometric forms. During this period, Cercle et Carré is made up of around forty artists from different countries in Europe and America, including distinguished names such as: Hans Arp, Le Corbusier, Vassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Antoine Pevsner, Kurt Schwitters, Joaquín Torres García and Georges Vantongerloo.
Along with the other names mentioned, the reasons why the Mexican artist falls into obscurity is still hard to fathom. Upon his return to Mexico, the abstraction of his works are too innovative and become distanced from the tastes that dominate the country at that time. Cueto is unable to maintain a prominent position in the sculpture scene, then dominated by distinguished muralists such as Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Throughout this period he lives off his teaching work at the same time as he wholeheartedly and freely dedicates his time to artistic exploration, combining Abstraction and Figuration. The recognition of his career finally comes at the end of the Fifties through younger generations.
The current exhibition comprises around one hundred works and aims not only to distinguish between Cueto's productive period, linked to the Estridentista movements or his affinity with the Cercle et Carré group, but also to delve deeper into the different techniques and materials he uses; thus the exhibition portrays a multi-faceted and innovative artist in sculptural languages.