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Michelle Greet

(b Quito, 1919; d Mar 10, 1999).

Ecuadorean painter, sculptor, jewelry maker, and activist. Guayasamín was born to an indigenous father and a mestizo mother. He was the eldest of ten children raised in extreme poverty. As did most artists of his generation, Guayasamín studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Quito. His early works, such as Los niños muertos (The Dead Children), portray indigenous themes and contemporary political events in a Social Realist style.

In 1942 Nelson A. Rockefeller invited Guayasamín to the United States on a State Department grant, altering the course of his career. There he had the opportunity to view numerous original paintings by modern artists from the USA and Europe. He took particular interest in the works of Pablo Picasso and the Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo, absorbing aspects of their styles into his own compositions. After several months of exhibiting in the United States, Guayasamín traveled to Mexico where he saw firsthand the work of the Mexican muralists....


Janet Marstine

(b Halifax, NS, March 22, 1873; d Miami, FL, Dec 18, 1939).

American painter of Canadian birth. He first studied art in 1888 at the Art League School of Kansas City, MO. The following year he attended the Academia de Bellas Artes de S Carlos in Mexico City, while working as an engineering draughtsman. In 1891 he moved to New York and took classes from John H. Twachtman and J. Alden Weir. Under their tutelage at the Art Students League and at Cos Cob, CT, Lawson painted landscapes in a loosely brushed Impressionist style, exploring the transitory effects of light. In 1893 Lawson went to Paris, where he lived with the writer Somerset Maugham; Maugham based the character Frederick Lawson in his novel Of Human Bondage (1915) on the artist. Lawson briefly attended the Académie Julian and then studied independently, particularly the works of Cézanne and Sisley.

Lawson returned to New York in 1898. He used thick impasto, strong contour lines, and large areas of bold yet harmonious colour to create highly structured compositions, as in ...


W. Iain Mackay

(b Arequipa, 1912; d 1988).

Peruvian painter, teacher, printmaker, and writer. He studied until 1935 at the Universidad Nacional de S. Agustín, Arequipa, where he continued to teach history of art and aesthetics until 1950, although he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study in the USA between 1943 and 1945; as an artist he was self-taught. He later settled in Lima, where he executed a number of large murals (e.g. Construction of Peru, 6 × 16 m, 1954; Lima, Min. Econ. & Finanzas). In these and in watercolor paintings he combined social realism with a degree of caricature reminiscent of the work of Pancho Fierro. In 1954 Núñez Ureta was awarded the Premio Nacional de Pintura, and from 1973 to 1976 he was Director of the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Lima. His written works include a number of books on Peruvian art.

La vida de la gente. Lima, 1982.Gente de mi tierra...


Francis V. O’Connor

revised by Mark A. Castro

(b Ciudad Guzmán, Jalisco, Sept 23, 1883; d Mexico City, Sept 7, 1949).

Mexican painter, muralist, draftsman, printmaker, illustrator, and caricaturist. Orozco, together with Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, was an outstanding member of the Mexican mural movement that dominated the field of the visual arts in post-revolutionary Mexico until the 1950s. Orozco and his particular approach to expressionism in color and form would be influential among younger generations of muralists and painters in Mexico and abroad.

Orozco was born into a middle-class family in the city of Zapotlán El Grande, today known as Ciudad Guzmán, but the family relocated Guadalajara in 1885. Five years later the family moved to Mexico City. In 1898 he began studying agronomic engineering at the Escuela de Agricultura de San Jacinto, eventually earning the title of agronomist two years later. In 1901 he began taking evening classes in architecture at the Academia de San Carlos. Three years later, Orozco lost his left hand and suffered some visual and auditory impairment from an explosion that occurred while he was handling gunpowder from fireworks....


Melanía Monteverde-Pensó

revised by Jennifer Sales

(b Caracas, Jul 20, 1918; d Caracas, May 26, 1989).

Venezuelan painter. He studied painting at the Academia de Bellas Artes, Caracas, from 1930 to 1938. In 1938 he went to Mexico City on a scholarship to study at the Academia San Carlos. After returning to Venezuela in 1941 he painted The Three Commissaires (1942; Caracas, Gal. A. N.), a work of social realism that won him the John Boulton Prize in the Fourth National Salon of Venezuelan Art in 1943. In 1949 he adapted his exacting realism for a surrealist period, and in the following year he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study in Europe. Poleo returned to Caracas in 1950 and, while retaining the realism of his portraiture, he began to simplify the backgrounds of his works and introduce abstract elements (e.g. Maternity, 1952–1953; priv. col., see exh. cat., 53). Influenced by the Social Realism of Diego Rivera, these concerns were also evident in his mural for the campus of the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas (...


Roberto Pontual

(b Brodósqui, Brazil, Dec 30, 1903; d Rio de Janeiro, Feb 6, 1962).

Brazilian painter. The son of Italian immigrants, he recognized his vocation as a painter from an early age and in 1918 moved to Rio de Janeiro to enroll in the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes. From 1928 to 1931 he lived in Europe, mainly in Paris, on a foreign travel award from the Salão Nacional de Belas Artes (Rio de Janeiro). Canvases painted on his return to Rio de Janeiro, such as Coffee (1935; Rio de Janeiro, Mus. N. B.A.), which won a prize at the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1935, revealed the influence of the Mexican muralists. In 1936 Portinari began to work on a series of commissioned murals on historical and social themes, central works of Brazilian modernism, notably for the Ministério da Educação e Saúde in Rio de Janeiro (1936–44), the Brazilian pavilion (1939) at the New York World Fair, the Library of Congress (...


(María Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la)

(b Guanajuato, Dec 13, 1886; d Mexico City, Nov 24, 1957).

Mexican painter and draughtsman. He was one of the most important figures in the Mexican mural movement and won international acclaim for his vast public wall paintings, in which he created a new iconography based on socialist ideas and exalted the indigenous and popular heritage in Mexican culture. He also executed large quantities of easel paintings and graphic work.

Rivera’s artistic precocity was recognized by his parents, both of whom were teachers. He was drawing at two, taking art courses at nine and enrolled at the Academia de S Carlos in Mexico City at eleven. There the quality of his work, especially his landscape painting, earned him a scholarship at fifteen and a government pension at eighteen. At nineteen he was awarded a travel grant to Europe, and in 1907 he went to Spain, settling in Paris two years later. In November 1910 he returned to Mexico for an exhibition of his work at the Academia, which was part of the Mexican Centennial of Independence celebrations. The Mexican Revolution began the day the exhibition opened, and Rivera returned to Paris early in ...


W. Iain Mackay

(b Lima, Apr 1926; d Feb 6, 2002).

Peruvian painter, active in France. He failed to complete his studies at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Lima and went to Europe, where in 1951 he attended the Instituto de Cultura Hispánica, Madrid. He returned frequently to Peru to exhibit his work, notably representing his country at the São Paulo Biennale of 1961. He settled permanently in Paris in 1965. His work is most notable for its social realism, often expressed through geometric forms and containing elements of Expressionism (e.g. Plough, 1955; priv. col.; see de Lavalle and Lang 1975, 156). He also executed brightly colored still lifes and went on to concentrate increasingly on portraiture, while retaining his interest in social themes.

Lavalle, J. A. de and Lang, W. Pintura contemporánea, II: 1920–1960, Col. A. & Tesoros Perú. Lima, 1975, p. 156.Seymur. “El retorno de Alfredo Ruiz Rosas.” El Comercio (Mar 16, 1980): 22–23.Bernuy, J....


Francis V. O’Connor

(b Santa Rosalía de Camargo, Dec 29, 1896; d Cuernavaca, Jan 6, 1974).

Mexican painter. From the start of his career he alternated between political and artistic activity. His radical approach to art and his creation of new mural techniques made him one of the most influential figures on younger generations of international mural artists.

He enrolled in architecture, painting and drawing classes at the Academia de S Carlos in Mexico City in 1911 and spent his first year there participating in a student strike organized to protest against outdated teaching methods. He studied plein-air painting at the new Santa Anita school, and he became involved in the students’ political conspiracy against the Mexican dictator Victoriano Huerta (1913). The following year, as the Revolution continued, he joined the constitutionalist army of President Carranza, rising to a position on its general staff. His interest in art continued throughout the Revolution; a member of the Congreso de Soldados-Artistas in Guadalajara, in 1919 he was sent to Paris (where he first met Diego Rivera) by the government, both as a military attaché and as an artist on a scholarship. After prolonging his stay in Europe, Siqueiros returned to Mexico from Italy in ...