Elisabetta Gut

Elisabetta Gut

Born 1934

Artist Details

Birth Place
Phonetic Spelling
ay-LEEZ-ah-BEH-tah goot
Books and manuscripts; Multimedia (electronic; digital; video; film); Painting; Performance Art; Sculpture; Textiles and clothing
Places of Residence
Accademia di Belle Arti, Rome, Italy, 1953–56
NMWA Exhibitions

Bound to Amaze: Inside a Book-Collecting Career, 2018
25 x 25: Artists’ Books from the NMWA Collection, 2012
Trove: The Collection in Depth, 2011
Books Without Words: The Visual Poetry of Elisabetta Gut, 2010–11
Hard Copy: Book as Sculpture, 2009–10
The Book as Art: Twenty Years of Artists’ Books from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 2006–07
Insomnia: Landscapes of the Night, 2003
Book as Art XIII: Artists’ Books about Artists, 2001
Book as Art XII: Artists’ Books from the Permanent Collection, 2000
Book as art X, 1998–99
Book as Art: Tenth Anniversary Exhibition, 1997
Book as Art V, 1992–93
Book as Art IV, 1991
A Salute to Women: Artists’ Postcards and Albums from International Festivals in Copenhagen and Nairobi, 1991
Book as Art II, 1989
Book as Art I, 1987

About the Artist

Endowed with an aura of originality and poetic whimsy, Elisabetta Gut’s book objects must be seen rather than read; they articulate her most intimate emotions, fleeting moods, and other sensory expressions. 

Born in Rome to a Swiss father and Italian mother, Gut has lived in Italy most of her life. During World War II, to protect her from the horrors of war, her parents sent her to Switzerland. The trauma of separation gravely affected her behavior, and after returning to Rome in 1945, she had difficulty communicating with people.

In 1964 she created her first book-object, Diario, an assemblage. Since then, book-objects, object-poems, and artists’ books that reflect beauty, sadness, and the fragility of life have become her focus. Many of Gut’s work are visual representations of poetry, music, and art.

A uniqueness and tactile physicality define Gut’s book-objects. The artist frequently incorporates organic matter such as leaves, seeds, and wood. “The vein of a leaf, flowers following the journey of the sun, thin blades of grass blown by the wind are for me the ancient alphabets of unknown languages,” she says.

She is the recipient of many Italian and international prizes and her work can be found in major museums, archives, and public collections throughout Europe and the Americas.

National Museum of Women in the Arts