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Article

Filipino, 20th century, male.

Born 1930, in Bohol, Philippines.

Sculptor. Figures, historical subjects, religious subjects, allegory, myths.

Napoleon Veloso Abueva graduated in 1953 from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts (UPCFA), where he was mentored by the first National Artist for Sculpture, Guillermo Tolentino. He received another scholarship from the Fulbright/Smith–Mundt Foundation and in 1955 finished his master’s degree at the Cranbook Academy of Art in Michigan. He also studied at the University of Kansas and Harvard University. Regarded as pioneer of Philippine modern sculpture, Abueva also works in the figurative style and uses a variety of material, such as local hardwood, metal, marble, adobe, and cement. Among his early innovations are his ‘buoyant sculptures’, which he introduced in 1951. Many of his works are at the University of the Philippines campus in Quezon City, including the Crucifix of the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice (1957...

Article

Hilary Pyle

(b Dublin, Sept 22, 1943).

Irish painter and printmaker . He studied architecture at Bolton Street Technical School, Dublin, from 1961 to 1964. While acting as assistant to Michael Farrell in 1967, he was introduced to hard-edge abstraction and decided to learn to paint. His natural inclination was towards figurative art, initially in his use of the figure as a silhouette in the Marchers series and subsequently in 3rd May—Goya (1970; Dublin, Hugh Lane Mun. Gal.) and other pastiches of paintings by Poussin, Ingres and Delacroix, in which he filled in the outline with flat colour. Such early works were heavily influenced by photography and by a social or political commitment, reinforced with a striking visual wit. These were followed by paintings satirizing the awakening interest in contemporary art in Dublin, as in Woman with Pierre Soulages (1972; Dublin, Bank of Ireland Col.) in which a figure is shown scrutinizing an abstract canvas.

A visit to Brussels, where Ballagh studied the work of Magritte, led him gradually to model his figures, both in portraits and in quasi-Surrealist autobiographical works, in a Photorealist technique in which he alluded to his artistic preoccupations and to his wife and family. The stylistic features of his paintings lent themselves also to silkscreen prints. He has photographed unusual aspects of Dublin architecture, which he published in book form as ...

Article

Iranian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1976, in Tehran, Iran.

Painter. Abstraction.

Ali Banisadr grew up in Iran during the early years of the Islamic Revolution and Iran-Iraq war. During this time, he drew the sounds he heard from tanks, guns, bombs, and vibrations. Referring to these drawings as ‘monsters’ that gave a visual reading to the sounds, Banisadr later recognized his sound drawings as a manifestation of synaesthesia, the ability for one sense to stimulate other bodily senses. Forced to flee his homeland at age 12, the artist relocated with his family to Turkey and then to San Francisco, California, in 1988. Banisadr was inspired by the graffiti artists he met in California to create drawings and paintings in his studio. Resurrecting his memories of Iran, he concentrated on remembering the sounds of the Iran-Iraq war. He studied psychology in order to better understand his synaesthesia as well as the work of Russian and German theorists....

Article

Aleca Le Blanc

(b São Paulo, Jun 20, 1914; d São Paulo, Dec 22, 2010).

Brazilian visual artist and designer. The formal training Barsotti received was in drawing and chemistry, and by the 1950s he had established a professional career in design, working in São Paulo during the postwar period. From 1954 to 1964 he ran a studio with Willys de Castro (1926–1988), a life-long collaborator and fellow artist, called Estúdio de Projetos Gráficos, where he created costume design, graphic design, and textile design, among other things. During this period he focused his artistic efforts exclusively on geometric abstraction, then the dominant style of the avant-garde in Brazil under the rubric of Concrete art. However, Barsotti did not immediately affiliate with any of the groups that promoted it, such as the dogmatic Grupo Ruptura in São Paulo. He was not, strictly speaking, a devotee of Concrete art, which required that the geometric composition be entirely preconceived, divorced from observed reality, and visually represent a mathematical formula. On this matter, de Castro applauded his friend in a ...

Article

Latvian, 20th century, male.

Born 7 October 1930, in Riga, Latvia; died 11 February 2002, in Riga.

Painter, graphicist, draughtsman, and academician. Landscape, genre, still-life, human figure, and abstract subjects.

Boriss Bērziņš’s artistic training began in childhood when the electrician’s son was exposed to Russian Orthodox icons. He copied reproductions of famous paintings and took lessons from watercolourist Jānis Skučs. He studied at Riga’s Janis Rozentāls Art High School ...

Article

Latvian, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 6 September 1943, in Riga, Reichskommissariat Ostland (now Latvia).

Painter, scenographer, poster designer, graphicist, and book illustrator. Literary, allegorical and historical subjects; abstractions and symbolic representations; installations, performance, and soundworks.

Ilmārs Blumbergs spent his childhood in Siberian exile, then studied in the Department of Stage Design at Riga’s Secondary School of Applied Arts ...

Article

Latvian, 20th century, male.

Born 24 October 1943, in Vildogas parish, Riga district, Latvia.

Designer, sculptor. Environmental and kinetic sculpture, paintings, photomontage.

Valdis Celms played a crucial role in introducing kinetic and environmental art to Soviet-era Latvia, taking inspiration from both his Latvian predecessor, the constructivist Gustav Klucis, and his contemporaries in the Russian group Dvizhenie. After concluding studies at Riga’s Secondary School of Building (now Riga Construction College) in ...

Article

Filipino, 20th century, male.

Born 1937, in Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines; died 13 April 2013.

Painter, conceptual artist.

Roberto Chabet studied architecture at the University of Santo Tomas and graduated in 1961, the year he held his first solo exhibition, at the Luz Gallery. He achieved early critical success when he won first prize for his painting ...

Article

Lesley Ma

[Zhuang Zhe]

(b Peking [now Beijing], Dec 12, 1934).

Taiwanese painter of Chinese birth, active also in the USA. Chuang Che was a son of Chuang Yen (1899–1980), the calligrapher, connoisseur, and chief custodian of the Chinese imperial art collection, who moved his family alongside the national treasures after the eruption of the Sino-Japanese war in 1937, settling in Taiwan in 1948, and becoming the first deputy director of the National Palace Museum in Taipei in 1965. In 1958 Chuang Che graduated from the Art Department of what later became the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei and joined the Fifth Moon Group (Wuyue huahui), a leading modernist painting society in postwar Taiwan.

Chuang’s solid foundation in Chinese calligraphy and painting acquired through his upbringing prompted him to seek alternative ways to continue the legacy. In his early career, he made expressionist, mostly abstract, oil paintings, deliberately avoiding the familiar Chinese materials of ink and brush. Inspired by the abstract paintings of ...

Article

An-Yi Pan

[Xiao Qin]

(b Shanghai, 1935).

Chinese painter and teacher, active also in Taiwan, Italy, and the United States. Hsiao Chin’s father, the renowned music educator and composer Shio Yiu-mei (Xiao Youmei), died while Hsiao was young, and the boy was raised by an uncle. Hsiao moved to Taiwan in 1949, and in 1951 enrolled in the Art Department at the Provincial Taipei Teacher’s College (now National Taiwan Normal University). His 1952 encounter with Li Chun-shan (Li Zhongsheng), father of Taiwan’s modern art movement, definitively impacted his life as an artist. Li’s teaching method inspired Hsiao to explore the use of color as well as Fauvist expressions using traditional Chinese opera imagery (Chinese Opera Characters, 1956; Barcelona, priv. col.).

Hsiao co-founded the Ton Fan Art Group (Dongfang huahui) in 1956, and in the same year received a scholarship to study at Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid. Seeking freedom from the school’s conservative academic curriculum, Hsiao delved into Barcelona’s modern art movements. In ...

Article

Chitqua  

David Clarke

[Tan Chet-qua; Chen]

(b possibly 1728; d Guangzhou, 1796).

Chinese portrait modeler. Chitqua ran a business in Guangzhou making portrait figurines for clients among the Western traders. His statuettes (generally around a foot or so in height, and thus easily portable) were executed in the medium of unfired clay subsequently painted. Chitqua’s work is characterized by a realism which places emphasis on accurately individualized representation of facial features and attention to detail in the treatment of dress. Similar figurines, albeit of lesser sophistication, exist from earlier in the 18th century.

Chitqua visited London between 1769 and c. 1772. He produced a number of figurines and (reportedly) busts during his time in England, and attained a high degree of social celebrity, meeting King George III and many prominent individuals. James Boswell and Josiah Wedgwood both record meeting Chitqua, for instance, and the latter also sat for a portrait, which is lost today. Regarded in England as an artist rather than an artisan, he exhibited one of his portrait sculptures in the second Royal Academy exhibition (...

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 9 July 1948, in Rives-sur-Fure (Isère).

Painter.

Jean-Pierre Durbiano was trained in the Ville de Paris studios. His painting exhibits various features familiar from the history of Abstract art. He has appeared in a number of collective exhibitions, especially in the Montmartre district. Since ...

Article

The term ‘expressionism’ refers in general to the deliberate distortion and exaggeration of forms for expressive effect in artworks. It may also be used with reference to particular historical or cultural iterations—as in (most commonly) German Expressionism, which refers to specific artists and practices of the early 20th century (see Expressionism). Both approaches are useful in the context of American art history. For example, the expressive qualities of the work of such 19th-century artists as Albert Pinkham Ryder or George Inness have long been noted in histories of American art and artists. Attention has focused as well on groups of artists active at mid-century in America’s urban centres who adopted the term as a conscious description of themselves and their intentions.

Prior to 1914 Expressionism was understood more or less to be a synonym of Post-Impressionism, the somewhat ambiguous name coined by British art historian Roger Fry to describe a group of mostly French artists including Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Gauguin. In the context of an early appearance in a ...

Article

Latvian, 20th century, male.

Born 24 October 1962, in Riga, Latvian SSR (now Latvia).

Painter, graphic artist, multimedia artist. Allegorical subjects, abstraction and portraiture. Sculptural objects, conceptual installations.

Of the generation that came of age during Latvia’s transition from Soviet occupation to political independence, Kristaps Ģelzis distinguished himself as the most cerebral of that nation’s artists while, paradoxically, anchoring his work in intrinsic properties of base materials, the timelessness of simple forms, and labour-intensive craft. The son and younger brother of renowned architects, Ģelzis resolved to pursue another creative vocation, first studying violin while attending Riga’s 50th Secondary School, then taking preparatory classes for the Latvian Art Academy in lieu of attending the art high school. As a student in the academy’s department of graphic art ...

Article

Blanca Serrano Ortiz de Solórzano

(b Havana, May 30, 1915).

Cuban painter and sculptor active in the USA. Enjoying an extraordinarily long career, Herrera received critical and financial recognition very late in her life, selling her first painting at the age of 89. Raised in an intellectual milieu in Havana, she attended finishing school in Paris. Back in Cuba, where the political turmoil affected access to education, Herrera studied sculpture at the women’s organization The Lyceum and Lawn Tennis Club. In 1938 she enrolled in Architecture at Universidad de La Habana, an experience that left a significant impression in Herrera’s creative thinking. An active participant of the Cuban arts scene then, she was close to avant-garde artist Amelia Peláez.

In 1939 Herrera married the American Jesse Lowenthal, with whom she moved to New York City. During this period, Herrera studied at the Art Students League, and she befriended Barnett Newman and Leon Polk Smith. From 1948 to 1954 she and her husband lived in Paris. While in France, Herrera exhibited five times at the Salon des Realités Nouvelles, an association of international abstract artists with a special focus on concrete painting. She also met Yves Klein and American expat artists, and saw the work of Russian Constructivists and of the multidisciplinary Swiss artist, Max Bill. These encounters nurtured her paintings from that period, which evolved from a Surrealist-inflected lyrical abstraction to a vibrant and rhythmic geometric abstraction....

Article

Francis Summers

(b Scotland, 1945).

Scottish abstract artist. Johnston studied at Edinburgh School of Art from 1964 until 1969, when he completed his BA. He moved to London to study at the Royal College of Art, where he was awarded his MA in 1972. Resident in Edinburgh, he has exhibited extensively in America, especially New York. He formulated his method of working early in his career, concentrating on the simple format of wall based drawings with pencil. An early work, Wall Drawing (1973; see 1988 exh. cat., p. 15), executed at Galerie Konrad Fischer in Düsseldorf, is a faint, slightly wobbly, triangle. Made in a rough style, this work has an austere yet imprecise geometry. Using the same technique for much of his career, Johnston made many wall drawings, all with the same title (Wall Drawing), and the same feeling of an imprecise geometric presence. He has also made paintings, such as ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Brunswick, ME, May 3, 1961).

American sculptor and painter active in Sweden. He studied at the State University of New York, Purchase, graduating in 1985. His work draws on his experience of working methods in the carpentry business. Unwilling to interfere with the material he chooses to work with, such as kitchen cabinets or unplastered walls, he reframes the work as a kind of pragmatic abstraction. His arrangements of modular furniture stripped of its original function, as in Surface Habitat for Appliance (1997; see 1998 exh. cat., p. 129) closely resemble the work of the De Stijl group, bringing to mind especially the compositions of Piet Mondrian. Ketter’s recreation of dry wall surfaces as paintings, such as his White Wall Painting (1992; see 1995 exh. cat., p. 14) could be described as a reversal of the conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner’s removal of an area of wall surfaces from various gallery sites in 1968...

Article

Anna Bentkowska

(b Warsaw, May 25, 1948).

Polish painter. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (1965–71) under Stefan Gierowski. After a short period of abstract painting he began to create his ‘autobiographical paintings’, which he described as ‘subjected to perceived reality’ (1980 exh. cat.). At first Korolkiewicz painted rather naive, large-scale portraits of a little boy in childhood situations such as playing on a slide. He also depicted interiors and landscapes with photographic precision by means of transparencies. In 1978 he painted Breakfast (Warsaw, N. Mus.), a pensive portrait of himself at a table with a half-eaten meal. This work exemplifies Korolkiewicz’s debt to Photorealism and his interest in depicting real situations, people and places, but, because of the distressing silence, eerie light and lack of activity, it also gives a surrealist image of the world. The Garden of the Romantic (1978; Kraków, N. Mus.) initiated the series of ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Jersey City, NJ, 30 July,1948).

American painter. He studied at the School of Visual Arts, New York, from 1975 until 1977. He then went on to the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. His early paintings were reminiscent of the work of Matisse, with saturated colour fields combined with schematically rendered images, such as his 5 of Spades (1978; see 1997 exh. cat., p. 49), in which a chair, a television set, and a woman are surrounded by wriggling pink abstract forms. His work became far more abstract by the time of Main Event (1981; see 1997 exh. cat., p. 55), where the subject of the picture became the almost brutal working of thick paint over a smooth, patterned ground. Taking the decision-making process of painting as one of his themes, Lasker concentrated on using a system of precisely enlarging small studies. Turning little scribbles and doodles into vast organic, almost faecal, bodies of paint, Lasker emptied the painterly gesture of any heroism. Combining this ironic approach with a strong visual sense and a concern with the devices used in abstract painting (such as the grid, the colour field, the mark and the figure/ground relationship), Lasker produced a form of abstraction that was very knowing of its origins. In ...

Article

Peruvian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in the USA since 1977.

Born 1947, in Peru.

Painter.

Ramiro Llona was originally a lyrical abstract artist but developed in the direction of a more ordered, figurative representation, which shows the influence of Matisse.

New York, 29 May 1985...