Who I'd like to meet:
Gemma Taccogna: 1923 - 2007
Please take a moment to celebrate the life of Gemma Taccogna.
“Par-teeeee!” Gemma would cheer for even the most minor of occasions. Gemma made everything big. Everything special.
Internationally known as an artist, Gemma shared her abundance as a tireless teacher, fearless mother, passionate grandmother, dear friend, mentor and certified prankster. But the truth is, Gemma knew she was a farmer.
Gemma championed her purpose on this earth to plant, to water, to nurture. She believed that her best work was done in service to others.
Gemma wove her philosophies and techniques into “A Creative Way of Life,” a class, in her own words, that “holds a promise of finding, developing and becoming… for those who feel inhibited and without talent.” Much more than a class, this became a community; generations of artists and friends that learned, laughed and loved with Gemma.
Gemma led her students to be their most authentic selves, to tap into their own creative fountainhead. Her belief was that everyone was an artist.
A keen observer of nature and the human condition, Gemma lived in the now and learned as much from the life cycle of a tomato as she did from her time as a student of Marc Chagall, Eric Fromm and Zen Master D. T. Suzuki.
Her extensive design career includes work for greats such as Mr. John, Nina Ricci, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Mattel and even Queen Elizabeth II.
Private collectors have included the Pulitzers, former President & Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Carole Channing, Mary Tyler Moore, Burt Lancaster, Cliff Robertson, Frank Sinatra, and most recently, Anna Sui. Once, Peggy Guggenheim bought out an entire Gemma show.
Gemma has given exhibitions around the world, from the Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno in Mexico City to galleries across the United States, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany and Canada. Her original works remain in the permanent collections of the Museo de Belles Artes and the Antonio Souza Gallery in Mexico City.
Gemma was always inventing. In Mexico, Gemma’s porcelainized finish revolutionized the medium of paper mache. In addition, here in Palos Verdes Estates, from her studio in Malaga Cove, Gemma created ceramic tile work that is embedded into the fireplaces, floors and walls of homes throughout the Peninsula, and beyond. Much of this work is documented in Crown Publications’ “Tile Decorating with Gemma.” She has done over 4,000 commissions.
Gemma's story lives on through her children, Gemma Del Rio, Juan Del Rio and Zen Del Rio, four grandchildren, Anthony Forrester, Gabriel Forrester, Evie Elman and Roman Del Rio and in the hearts and souls of countless students and friends.
Currently, a documentary about Gemma's life and work is in production by granddaughter Evie Elman.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the Gemma Taccogna Trust.
The trust has been established to identify and preserve Gemma’s work and create a forum to share her philosophies.
To contribute, contact the Gemma Taccogna Trust. Email email@example.com, visit www.myspace.com/gemmataccogna
or mail Gemma Taccogna Trust PO Box 1131 Palos Verdes, Estates, CA 90274.