Who was GABO

Naum Gabo, a pioneer of constructive art, was born Naum Neemia Pevsner in Russia in 1890. He began making constructed sculpture in Norway in 1915, when he took the name of Gabo. He and his brother Antoine Pevsner, returned to Russia at the time of the Revolution. In 1920 Gabo wrote the Realistic Manifesto, an expression of the aims and philosophy behind his art, which was signed by Antoine and was posted on the streets of Moscow. In 1922 Gabo left Russia for Berlin, to exhibit in the Erste Russische Kunstaustellung (The First Russian Art Exhibition) at the Van Diemen Galerie. He did not return to Russia until he visited his remaining family in 1962, but lived and worked in Berlin until 1932, making constructed sculptures and a number of architectural projects.

In 1932 he left Germany for Paris remaining there until 1936, when he went to England. During his time there, he edited Circle: International Survey of Constructive Art (1937) with Leslie Martin and Ben Nicholson; he participated in a number of exhibitions and married Miriam Israels in 1936. He visited and exhibited in the USA in 1938 but spent the war in Cornwall, where his daughter, Nina, was born. The family left England to settle in the USA in 1946.

Gabo exhibited widely in both the USA and Europe, and lectured at Yale, Harvard, and Chicago. He took American citizenship in 1952, taught at the Harvard University Graduate School of Architecture (1953-54) and delivered the A.W. Mellon Lectures in 1959 in Washington DC. He completed a number of large commissions, including a 25 metre high free standing sculpture for the Bijenkorf Building in Rotterdam. In 1971 he was awarded an Honorary KBE by Queen Elizabeth ll. He continued to receive honours, prizes, commissions and international recognition until the end of his life. He died in Connecticut in 1977.

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Select bibliography of the most important publications

  • Gabo’s Monoprints: A Family Collection, Alan Cristea Gallery, London, 2016
  • Gabo’s Stones, Annely Juda Fine Art, London,  2014
  • Naum Gabo, Sidlina, Tate, London 2012
  • Gabo and Design, Tate Archive, London, 2009
  • Gabo in Britain 1936-1946, Tate Archive, London, 2009
  • Gabo and the Constructive Process, Tate Archive, London, 2009
  • Naum Gabo Monoprints, Alan Cristea Gallery, London, 2006.
  • Naum Gabo and Colour,Annely Juda Fine Art, London, 2004.
  • Gabo on Gabo, Hammer & Lodder (eds), Artists Bookworks, Forest Row, Sussex, 2002.
  • Constructing Modernity, the Art and Career of Naum Gabo, Hammer & Lodder, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 2000.
  • Naum Gabo,Annely Juda Fine Art, London, 1999.
  • Gabo’s Stones, Hammer & Lodder, Leeds City Art Gallery, 1995
  • Naum Gabo 1890-1977, Annely Juda Fine Art, London, 1990.
  • Naum Gabo Ein Russicher Konstrucktivist in Berlin 1922-1932, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin, 1989.
  • Naum Gabo Monoprints,Graham Williams (ed.), The Florin Press, Biddenden, Kent, 1987.
  • Naum Gabo Sixty Years of Constructivism, Nash & Merkert (eds.), Prestel Verlag, Munich, 1985. Includes the Catalogue Raisonné and a complete Chronology. (Also published in German).
  • An Appreciation of Naum Gabo, Andrew Forge, The Florin Press, Biddenden, Kent, 1985.
  • Naum Gabo The Constructive Process, Tate Gallery, London, 1976.
  • Of Divers Arts, A.W. Mellon Lectures 1959, Naum Gabo, Bollingen Press, and Princeton University Press, Pantheon Books, New York, 1962.
  • GABO, Herbert Read and Leslie Martin, Lund Humphries, London, 1957.
  • Circle, Nicholson, Gabo and Martin, Faber & Faber, London, 1937.