Biography: From Ro Gallery website, July 2014
Gisela Beker, (maiden name Sander) was born on October 9, 1932, in Danzig Germany (Poland since August 1945). Her public education started in 1938 up to 1945 in Danzig; 1945 to 1949 in East Germany and 1949-1952 in Duesseldorf, West Germany where she studied under Rudolf Kroll.
Rudolf Kroll, taught at the Bauhaus School in Berlin before Hitler closed that world famous, progressive Art Institution in 1933. Beker was impressed by Kroll's determination, ideas and compassion to continue teaching in the style of the Bauhaus School which was founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius.
Kroll did not permit his students to sketch what they intended to paint. His Philosophy was: "A sketch is the original art work which must not be copied by the artist and transferred to canvas or paper". His student were taught to let the imagination flow as the artist starts to paint. Beker does not own a "sketch book", every canvas and work on paper was approached with expectation of creating a masterpiece.
In 1953, Gisela met her husband, they married in 1956 in NYC and were blessed with three, great sons. Beker is a US citizen since 1961.
A friend, Eva Pape, an art patron arranged a solo exhibition for Gisela at the Bodley Gallery on Madison Avenue in NYC, in May 1973. Her early paintings of precise, geometric shapes, floated on the underpaint of impressionistic shades. Art critic, Gordon Brown, (Arts Magazine September/October issue, published in NYC in 1973), writes: "... the cloud like colors of the underpainting create a comparatively new kind of depth and movement ... since the clouds of the underpainting seems to be sailing through the air as if they were real. There is an unexpected touch of naturalism here..." Critics in in the US and in Europe praised her work and gave her brillian reviews.
In 1975, Beker eliminated the "underpainting" and concentrated on precise, concentric circles which created depth by reducing or increasing the size of each circle and darkened or lightened the colors to create the optical elusion of movement. Over the years, Beker introduced abstract expressionism, fantasy and realism into the center. The series of her "Modern Mandalas" was established.
Gisela Beker's painting "Graduation Orange" received the Palmes d'Or, (Golden Palm) on July 24, 1974, at the International Art Festival in Paris France. 122 artists from around the world competed for France's top Award. Queen Fabiola of Belgium was the promoter of the Event.
In 1983 Beker decided to move to Florida to get away from all of the stress. However, she never gave up her beloved profession to paint. Her style has continued from Hard Edge to Abstract, Fantasia and Realism into the concentric, precise circles. At her age of 78, she paints daily!
Gisela Beker made History in 2010. Every time a new president gets into The White House, artists from around the USA paint the Image of the new president to add to our History. Beker did two paintings of Obama and one of the president and his wife. All three paintings were accepted – and – now she is in the permanent White House Collection. She quotes: "My thanks to the President, First Lady, to the White House Curator and EVERYONE involved in having voted my work into THE WHITE HOUSE COLLECTION. This is indeed the highest honor I ever received."
In 2011, Gisela Beker had her personal archive of work accepted into the Art and Artists files included at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.