GONZALO FONSECA
b. 1922, Montevideo, Uruguay
d. 1997, Seravezza, Italy

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“His work reveals that not only by manifesting the meaning one gives to the present can one make the past speak”

—Kosme de Barañano

Gonzalo Fonseca - Pendulum
Gonzalo Fonseca - Pendulum

1976 - Carved Stone 47 x 47.8 x 19.8 cm - 18 1/2 x 18 4/5 x 7 4/5 inches

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Gonzalo Fonseca - House of the Painted Shadows
Gonzalo Fonseca - House of the Painted Shadows

1982 - Carved limestone 44.5 x 26.7 x 17.8 cm - 17 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 7 inches

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Gonzalo Fonseca - Pendulum
Gonzalo Fonseca - Pendulum

1976 - Carved Stone 47 x 47.8 x 19.8 cm - 18 1/2 x 18 4/5 x 7 4/5 inches

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For more information please contact the gallery
info@leontovargallery.com

Throughout the 20th century, Gonzalo Fonseca’s work ignited the imagination of his viewers and emphasized the relationship between history, memory, and the present. While being raised in Uruguay, Fonseca and his family frequently traveled to Europe where he was initially exposed to European art and architecture, specifically those from antiquity. These encounters in his youth instigated a deep passion for built environments and human civilization, which he would explore time and time again through his works.[1] His large-scale sculptures brought his viewers a sense of nostalgia and familiarity while asking them to ponder the true difference between reality and fantasy. These sculptures created other worlds that were reminiscent of our ancient pasts but entirely new in their own manifestations. Creating intimate moments with the viewers and presenting works in a grandeur fashion put Fonseca into a league of his own.[2] These recurrent themes ultimately earned Fonseca critical attention, being dubbed the “Maker of Magic” by Grace Glueck in 1970[3], as well as being known by his contemporaries as a master of life.

 

After studying architecture at the University of Montevideo for 3 years, Fonseca left to join the painting studio of modernist Joaquín Torres-García and his students during the 1940s.[4] Here, Fonseca practiced painting under professional instruction for the first time. While studying under Torres-García, Fonseca’s interest in geometry peaked and serves as Torres-García’s largest influence on him. The two artists became close and their friendship lasted until Torres-García’s death in 1949. After leaving Torres-Garcia’s studio, Fonseca traveled extensively throughout Egypt, the Middle East, and took residence in Paris, Rome, and Madrid.[5] While travelling, Fonseca explored ideas of regional identity and place. He thought to be truly cosmopolitan, or universal, one must act more as a resident than as a patriot. Fonseca deeply considered this concept and began to view nationalistic identities as restrictive and oftentimes, perpetuated false stereotypes.[6] While in Europe, Fonseca traded painting for sculpture, hoping to fully develop his artistic style. Through his sculptures, he aimed not to attract viewers to a landscape but to embed the landscape within them.[7]

 

In 1958, Fonseca moved to New York City and from that point on, split his time between there and Italy.[8]

A lifelong scholar, Fonseca took pride in being well-read. He prioritized learning as much as possible about humans, civilization, and history always searching for a universal truth to be expressed through his art. He became fluent in 8 languages and provided illustrations for authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Michel de Montaigne.[9] His works have been shown in institutions all over the world including the Jewish Museum in New York, The Portland Museum, MoMA, Museo Bellas Artes (Caracas), and the Gallery San Marco (Rome, Italy). In 1990, Fonseca represented Uruguay in the 44th Venice Biennale and was honored with a retrospective by the Noguchi Museum in 2017. 

 

Fonseca’s works can be found amongst a number of institutional collections including: Jack Blanton Museum (University of Texas), Museo de Bellas Artes (Caracas), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, Museo Municipale (Italy), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), and the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (Valencia, Spain).[10] 

 

[1] Dakin Hart, Gonzalo Fonseca: At Scale and Gonzalo Fonseca: Four Sculptures, exh. brochures for The Sculpture of Gonzalo Fonseca (New York, NY: The Noguchi Museum), 59.

[2] Fonseca, Gonzalo, Angel Kalenberg, and Jonathan Sinclair Wilson. 1990. Gonzalo Fonseca. [Montevideo]: Ministerio de Educación y Cultura, Museo Nacional de Artes Plásticas y Visuales, 166.

[3] Ibid, 164.

[4] Dakin Hart, Gonzalo Fonseca: At Scale and Gonzalo Fonseca: Four Sculptures, exh. brochures for The Sculpture of Gonzalo Fonseca (New York, NY: The Noguchi Museum), 59.

[5] “Gonzalo Fonseca: Biography,” Gonzalo Fonseca, 2017, accessed October 11, 2019, https://www.gonzalofonseca.com/biography.

[6] Fonseca, Gonzalo, Angel Kalenberg, and Jonathan Sinclair Wilson. 1990. Gonzalo Fonseca. [Montevideo]: Ministerio de Educación y Cultura, Museo Nacional de Artes Plásticas y Visuales, 165.

[7] Ibid, 166.

[8] Dakin Hart, Gonzalo Fonseca: At Scale and Gonzalo Fonseca: Four Sculptures, exh. brochures for The Sculpture of Gonzalo Fonseca (New York, NY: The Noguchi Museum), 59.

[9] “Gonzalo Fonseca: Biography,” Gonzalo Fonseca, 2017, accessed October 11, 2019, https://www.gonzalofonseca.com/biography

[10] “Gonzalo Fonseca: Exhibitions,” Gonzalo Fonseca, 2017, accessed October 11, 2019, https://www.gonzalofonseca.com/exhibitions-1