Listonado, c.1970

Painted wood
40 15/16 x 29 x 5 5/8 in. (104 x 73.7 x 14.3 cm.)

Gerd Leufert studied in Germany at the Hochschule Hanover (1933), the School of Crafts in Maguncia (1935-1936), and the Akademie der Bildenden Kst in Munich (1939). He worked as a graphic designer in Munich until 1951, when he moved to Caracas, Venezuela, and worked as an art director at an advertising agency. Between 1953 and 1955, he lived in Tarma with Gego, his companion, and dedicated himself to creating art. In 1960, Leufert traveled to the United States, where he studied graphic arts at Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa) and the Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, New York).

In 1961, Leufert’s paintings were clearly informalist and monochromatic and were characterized by textured surfaces. In the mid 1960s, color became primary in a series of abstract-geometric works in which chromatic contrasts and retinal effects replaced the previous black and white tones. In Leufert’s work inspired by his impressions of New York and Venezuelan landscapes, art critics drew attention to the coincidence of the formal rationality and the poetic emotion of in these paintings.

Leufert moved away from graphic design to a purer expression of visual experience and emphasizing the essence of communication. He produced a series of emblematic forms arranged in perfect balance between the aesthetic and symbolic reference, which he presented in three individual exhibitions at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas: Visibilia (1966), Flechas (1972), and Nenias (1985). These paintings the basis editions of prints entitled Visibilia (1966), Imposibilia (with Nedo M.F., 1968), Nenias (1969), and Sin arco (1971).

At the beginning of the 1970s, Leufert experimented with sculpture with Listonados, a series of colored sets of carved and colored empty frames for paintings. He exhibited them at the Galera Conkright (Caracas, 1976). They were paradoxical works that framed emptiness or, depending on their location, fragmented the surrounding reality.

At the beginning of the 1980s, Leufert practiced photography and drawing with ink. In the latter medium, he produced a series of abstract, lyrical, European landscapes that he had originally begun in 1963. In his photographs that focussed on his intimate life, Leufert created images of great richness and expression. In 1990, he received the Premio Nacional de Artes Plsticas in Venezuela. He exhibited his photographic work in the show Penthouse B (Sala RG, Caracas, 1990), and in Crnica apcrifa (Centro Cultural Consolidado, Caracas, 1992). His abstract ink drawings were exhibited in Espacios Imaginarios y reales and Los papeles de abajo (Museo de Bellas Artes, 1994 and 1995).