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José Corredor-Matheos

(b Barcelona, April 20, 1893; d Palma de Mallorca, Dec 25, 1983).

Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker and decorative artist (see fig.). He was never closely aligned with any movement and was too retiring in his manner to be the object of a personality cult, like his compatriot Picasso, but the formal and technical innovations that he sustained over a very long career guaranteed his influence on 20th-century art. A pre-eminent figure in the history of abstraction and an important example to several generations of artists around the world, he remained profoundly attached to the specific circumstances and environment that shaped his art in his early years. An acute balance of sophistication and innocence and a deeply rooted conviction about the relationship between art and nature lie behind all his work and account in good measure for the wide appeal that his art has continued to exercise across many of the usual barriers of style.

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Melissa McQuillan

(b Málaga, Oct 25, 1881; d Mougins, France, April 8, 1973).

Spanish painter, sculptor, draughtsman, printmaker, decorative artist and writer, active in France. He dominated 20th-century European art and was central in the development of the image of the modern artist. Episodes of his life were recounted in intimate detail, his comments on art were published and his working methods recorded on film. Painting was his principal medium, but his sculptures, prints, theatre designs and ceramics all had an impact on their respective disciplines. Even artists not influenced by the style or appearance of his work had to come to terms with its implications.

With Georges Braque Picasso was responsible for Cubism, one of the most radical re-structurings of the way that a work of art constructs its meaning. During his extremely long life Picasso instigated or responded to most of the artistic dialogues taking place in Europe and North America, registering and transforming the developments that he found most fertile. His marketability as a unique and enormously productive artistic personality, together with the distinctiveness of his work and practice, have made him the most extensively exhibited and discussed artist of the 20th century....

Article

Katherine Chacon

(b Valencia, Venezuela, Aug 24, 1923; d Caracas, Apr 22, 2014).

Venezuelan painter, sculptor, and ceramicist. He started painting around 1942. A leading figure of the mid-20th-century movement for the renewal of Venezuelan painting, Viga’s plastic language combines elements from Venezuela’s indigenous and African heritage with eclectic formal resolutions derived from Cubism, Constructivism, Surrealism, and Informalism.

A free mode of creation prevailed in Vigas’s work since the beginning, when he used to paint fantastic motifs, flowers, and still lifes that although they did not show a definite style, gave glimpses, in the forthright use of color and figures, of many of the features of what he would later paint. In 1949 Vigas moved to Caracas and became associated with the Taller Libre de Arte, a group that sought new directions for national painting. During this time, Vigas began to make his Brujas series, inspired by his encounter with Venezuelan Pre-Columbian art, especially the icon known as the Venus of Tacarigua. From the figures of this time—and except for some short periods—his language became characterized by the creation of fantastic female beings who, as terrible goddesses or demons, seem to emerge from a cosmogony linked to nature and the land, expressed in a highly stylized way and firm brushstrokes. During this period, Vigas developed a deeply personal iconography, imaginative and fantastical, in a modern update of Latin American cultural roots. With ...