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Gerrie Gutmann

Gerrie Gutmann
(1921 - 1969)

d. 1960
Casein on panel
16" x 20"

Gerrie Gutmann (1921 - 1969)

She studied at the Stickney Memorial Art School in Pasadena with Lorser Feitelson; otherwise, she was a self-taught artist. Gutmann explored many painting styles, Her divorce from Victor Von Probosic caused a custody battle over their son, and in much of her work, the imagery of childhood and loss is persistent. Her style ranged from the early Flemish masters to the fantastic to the surreal. During the 1950s, when many West coast artists abandoned imagery for abstraction, Gutmann rejected the contemporaneous trend of Bay Area Abstract Expressionism and isolated herself from other painters. 


To quote Walter Heil, Director Emeritus and Chief Art Consultant of the de Young museum in 1952, "Gerrie Gutmann, born in southern California, has drawn and painted the pictures of this exhibition during the last two years in San Francisco where she lives now. With the exception of a few art lessons which she received as a very young girl, she is self-taught. Curiously she gave up her early but extremely talented art efforts until, only a few years ago, she moved to Oregon. Here, in the isolation of a forest-enclosed country home, far away from any art center, she developed her distinct style and her entirely original technique of colored pencils and tempera, which she applies with subtle draughtsmanship, comparable to that of the Old Masters. However, her work is extraordinarily personal and distinctly modern in its fanciful creation of her own dream world. Like a tightrope-walker, she moves with instinctive balance high in that dangerous sphere of pure poetry open to so few artists in our days of brutal realities. Through the romantic garden of her own imagination she glides silently and with a shy sureness registering in an almost stubborn precision those passing dream images which not even she herself might understand completely.  From her still and unpretentious pictures there seems to speak one of the very rare women artists who are able to compete with the best in contemporary art, not by imitating, more or less successfully, recognized artists of the other sex, but by surrendering to a genuinely feminine intuition.  It is an unfamiliar pleasure in our time of cloaked confusion and cynical violence to gaze through the small windows of Gerrie Gutmann's pictures at her secret world of strange beauty and exquisite terror.


The young artist's work has been shown under the name Gerrie von Probosic. In one-man exhibitions in New York, one in Portland, Oregon, and one in San Francisco, also at the de Young Memorial."


Solo Exhibitions

Bonestell Gallery, New York 1948

Gallery Vivienne, New York 1948

Harvey Welch Gallery, Portland, Oregon 1948, 54

M. H. de Young Museum, San Francisco, 1949, 52, 62

Contemporary Gallery & School of Art, Salt Lake City, Utah 1952

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1952

The La Jolla Art Center, 1953

Edwin Hewitt Gallery, New York, 1953


Selected Group Exhibitions

California Palace of The Legion of Honor 1952, Fifth Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Painting,

Pacific Dreams: Currents of Surrealism and Fantasy in Early California Art, 1934-57, Armand Hammer Museum of Art (UCLA) Los Angeles 1995

Wonderland, the Surrealistic Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, January 28 – May 6, 2012



Pacific Dreams, Currents of Surrealism and Fantasy in California Art, 1934-1957  (source) Nancy Dustin Moure, "Publications in California Art No. 11 , Index to California Art Exhibited at the Laguna Beach Art Association, 1918-1972; 2015 edition"

Bauduin, Tessel M.; Ferentinou, Victoria (2018)  Surrealism, occultism and Politics:   In Search of the Marvelous. Routledge. 


Museum Collections

LACMA. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 'The Theft.' 1952?

SFMOMA. 'Death of a Bullfighter' 1952

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