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Painting with Acrylics: José Gutiérrez, Gunther Gerzso and the Material Innovation in Mexican Contemporary Painting

This research deals with the use of Mexican Politec® acrylic artist paint, with its creator, José Gutiérrez, and with Gunter Gerzso's (a non-figurative painter) application of this acrylic medium in his work. Gutiérrez worked at a synthetic painting manufacturer laboratory in New Jersey during the 1930s. He was part of the Siqueiros New York Experimental Workshop. Back in Mexico, Gutiérrez opened a workshop and laboratory at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) in 1945, which was dedicated exclusively to expanding the uses of industrial materials applied to art. Here he started to develop specific formulas for Mexican painters, such as Gerzso. In Painting with Acrylics (1965), he explained new ways to obtain different surface qualities with the recently designed acrylic medium, used in solution or as emulsion, and mixed with all kinds of materials. In this work, a technical examination using non-invasive methods of two of Gerzso's paintings, Paisaje de Papantla – Papantla Landscape (1955) and Muro Azul – Blue Wall (1977), is discussed. From the combined non-invasive analysis by imaging techniques as well as spectroscopic studies by Infrared (FTIR), Raman, Reflectance (FORS) and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF), it was possible to approach the materials and pictorial techniques of both paintings and establish their differences.

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01 Jul 2020
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