Elsa Gramcko, Sin título [Untitled], 1956 circa. Oil on canvas, 28 11/16 x 23 9/16 in.
Elsa Gramcko, Sin título [Untitled], 1957. Oil on canvas, 31 7/8 x 25 9/16 in.
Elsa Gramcko, Comportamiento ante lo real [Behavior before the Real], 1966. Diverse materials and mixed media on wood, 19 5/8 x 23 5/8 in.
Elsa Gramcko, Memoria [Remembrance], 1964. Mixed media on wood, 29 1/2 x 21 5/8 in.
Elsa Gramcko, Motivación interior alrededor de un objeto [Inner Motivation around an Object], 1977. Woods and faucet on wood, 18 7/8 x 15 in.
Elsa Gramcko, Bocetos para expresar nuestro tiempo [Sketch to express our times], 1976. Wood, 11 3/4 x 7 1/2 in.
Elsa Gramcko, Identificación plástica con un centro interior [Plastic Identifications with my intimate centers], 1975. Car battery cells, mixed media and woods assemblage on wood, 27 9/16 x 27 9/16 in.
Elsa Gramcko, Tótem Nº 2, 1974. Organic material, casein plaka and metal on Masonite, 18 1/16 x 14 in.
Elsa Gramcko, Experiencia de luz [Light Experience], 1966. Car clutch, mirrors and diverse materials on wood, 21 5/8 x 21 5/8 in.
Elsa Gramcko, Intima Libertad [Intimate Freddom], 1965. Headlight, metal grate and mixed media on wood, 13 3/4 x 13 3/4 in.
Elsa Gramcko, R-37, 1960. Acrylic with sand and mixed media on canvas, 13 3/4 x 35 3/8 in.
Elsa Gramcko, Sin título [Untitled], 1969. Painted iron, 25 9/16 x 11 13/16 x 4 11/16 in.
Elsa Gramcko, Sin título [Untitled], 1969. Painted iron, 22 7/16 x 5 7/8 x 5 1/2 in.
Elsa Gramcko was born in Puerto Cabello, the largest port in Venezuela. Raised by a polyglot family passionate about the arts and supportive of her intellectual development, Gramcko moved to Caracas with her parents and her sister Ida, a close interlocutor who would herself become an important poet. Of German descent, Gramcko was a largely self-taught artist apart from a few free courses she enrolled in at the Facultad de Humanidades at the UCV in Caracas (1946) and her auditing of a class taught by Alejandro Otero at the Escuela de Artes Plasticas y Aplicadas (1955). Gramcko’s first works are marked by experimental tendencies and an interest in abstract art, which she later developed into geometric pieces.
Throughout the artist’s lifetime, her work was exhibited within Latin America, as well as in the United States and Europe, including group shows at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and a solo show at the Pan-American Union in Washington, D.C. More specifically, she was a part of the Gulf-Caribbean Art Exhibition at the MFAH; I Salón de Arte Abstracto (I Abstract Art Salon) (Galería Don Hatch, 1957); Brussels World’s Fair (1958); and more recently, Elsa Gramcko: The Invisible Plot of Things at Sicardi | Ayers | Bacino in Houston (2022), the KONKRET GLOBAL! exhibition at Museum im Kulturspeicher Würzburg in Germany (2022), and Elsa Gramcko: The Invisible Plot of Things at James Cohan Gallery in New York City (2023).
Gramcko participated in the 1959 São Paulo Art Biennial and in 1960 she began to explore texture in her works as well as a darker palette, resulting in works that have been described as lunar landscapes. This interest was further developed using oxidized metals during the 1960s in works that are considered her first experiments with informalism. By 1964 she began to incorporate doors and pieces of wood into her work. That same year she represented Venezuela alongside Jesús Rafael Soto, Luisa Palacios, and others at the XXXII Venice Biennale. Additionally, in 1964 she was awarded the Premio John Boulton at the XXV Salón Oficial with El portal (The Portal) (1963) and second prize at the Salón D’Empaire with La puerta azul (The Blue Door). In 1966 she became the first woman to obtain the first prize at Salón D’Empaire held in Maracaibo (Zulia State), Venezuela. In the late 1960s she turned toward sculpture, and in 1968 she received the National Sculpture Award at the Official Salon of Venezuelan Art. In 1997, the Galería de Arte Nacional (GAN) held her first major retrospective in Caracas.
Her work is represented in private and public collections in Latin America and worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), TX; Art Museum of the Americas (AMA), Washington, D.C.; Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Providence, RI; The Denver Art Museum, CO; Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS; Galería de Arte Nacional (GAN), Caracas, Venezuela; Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá (MAMBO), Colombia; and Museo de Bellas Artes (MBA), Caracas, Venezuela; among others. Elsa Gramcko died in 1994 in Caracas.
Art Museum of the Americas (AMA), Washington, D.C., USA
Colección Banco Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Denver Art Museum, CO, USA
Galería de Arte Nacional (GAN), Caracas, Venezuela
Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá (MAMBO), Colombia
Museo de Bellas Artes (MBA), Caracas, Venezuela
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), TX, USA
Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA
The Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection, Miami, FL, USA
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY, USA
The Rhode Island School of Design Museum (RISD), Providence, RI, USA