About the artist:
José Gurvich was born in Lithuania and immigrated to Uruguay with his family in 1933. He enrolled at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1942, studying under José Cúneo, and joined the Taller Torres García in 1944, participating in the group’s twentieth exhibition the following year. Alongside artists including Julio Alpuy, Francisco Matto, and Gonzalo Fonseca at El Taller, he worked in ceramics and furniture design and taught drawing and painting.
Gurvich also collaborated with the theater community in Montevideo, designing the scenery for Minnie la candida (1953) and the set for Dos en el tejido (1957), among other productions. He traveled across Europe between 1954 and 1956 and spent a year living as a shepherd at the Ramot Menasche Kibbutz in Israel before returning to Montevideo and resuming his position at El Taller. Gurvich departed from constructivist precepts at the Kibbutz, stimulated by the pastoral setting, and entered into an experimental period in his work around 1960, deploying constructivism within different styles, genres, and media. Gurvich painted a number of large-scale constructivist murals in the early 1960s, the largest of which was prepared on wood panels for the Caja de Pensiones del Frigorífico del Cerro (presently installed at the central branch of the Banco de Previsión Social in Montevideo). He returned to the Kibbutz with his family in 1964, painting and working as a shepherd, and made frequent visits to Tel Aviv. Back in Montevideo in 1966, he established a workshop at his home that became known as El Taller Montevideo. There, he trained a new generation of Uruguayan artists and continued his work in ceramics. In 1969 he traveled to Europe and to the Kibbutz before settling permanently a year later in New York, where he renewed contact with Taller members Alpuy, Fonseca, and Horacio Torres and completed a series of paintings based on the Jewish festivals.