El Maestro, Carlos Cruz-Diez [1923-2019]

by Christopher Blay August 5, 2019

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Miami, 2012, courtesy of Atelier Cruz-Diez

Geometric Abstractionist Carlos Cruz-Diez, [1923-2019]

Carlos Cruz-Diez, a native of Caracas, Venezuela known for his contributions to the theory and practice of color, died on July 27, 2019. He was 96 years old. Cruz-Diez’s work was frequently exhibited at Sicardi|Ayers|Bancino, a gallery in Houston’s museum district, and his pieces were part of an exhibition we reviewed here. Visitors to the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work can see Cruz-Diez’s Double Psycichromie, installed at the North exterior of the facility.

Carlos_Cruz_Diez_Double Physichromie, 2009-at-University-of-Houston

Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Double Psysichromie, 2009, painted aluminum and steel. Installed at University of Houston’s college of social work.

Cruz-Diez worked as a graphic designer in advertising after having  studied at at Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas from 1940 to 1945, where he and colleagues Jesús Rafael Soto and Alejandro Otero led the Venezuelan Kinetic Art movement. The artist’s study of French Impressionism and its use of color and light influenced Cruz-Diez, leading to his first solo exhibition in Caracas, where he exhibited his gouache paintings.

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Physichromie Panam 309, 2018, Chromography on aluminum.

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Physichromie Panam 309, 2018, Chromography on aluminum.

Cruz-Diez established a workshop in an old butcher shop in 1971 in Paris on the Rue Pierre Sémard, and was there until 2016, when he located to a larger space nearby. In a press release from Sicardi|Ayers|Bancino, Cruz-Diez is quoted in response to his series of projects, Physichromies, Chromosaturations, and Chromo-interference Environments: “That reality (which I consider visible) leads us along other paths, both perceptive and sensory, to parallel ideas of beauty and sublimation.” 

Among the many public collections that hold Cruz-Diez’s work, including the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, and Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the work can also be seen in Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; the Collection of Latin American Art at the University of Essex, Colchester, UK; the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK; Galeria de Arte Nacional, Caracas, Venezuela; Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; Musée de Grenoble, France; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Bogotá, Colombia; Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Tate Gallery, London, UK; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK.

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Robert Miskines August 7, 2019 - 23:57

It’s sad I’ve just discovered Mr. Cruz-Diez’ work and he has past on.


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