Green variety of Beryl, mined in Upper Egypt and India from antiquity and in Colombia both before and after the Spanish Conquest. Nero is said to have watched gladiatorial contests through an emerald. The two best-known emeralds are the Devonshire Emerald (London, Nat. Hist. Mus.) and the Patricia Emerald (New York, Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist.). The most famous historical emeralds are the 453 emeralds (totalling ...
[née Pacanins y Nino, Maria Carolina Josefina]
(b Caracas, Jan 8, 1939).
Venezuelan fashion designer, active also in the USA (see fig.). While Herrera’s designs always contain elements of current fashion, her work is more about the cultivation of a sleek international style that is classically feminine. Her upbringing among the élite, leisured classes of South America encouraged her to view clothing as a visual expression of good taste and ease. Rather than following trends, her designs tend to favor clean lines, with a focus on detail.
Herrera was brought up in an environment where clothes were bought from Parisian couturiers, such as Cristobal Balenciaga, or made by skilled local dressmakers. In each case, craftsmanship and structure were important, combined with a desire to acknowledge wealthy women’s lifestyles within the design of each garment. Herrera therefore developed an appreciation for refined design skills and good fit early in her life, which was to prove crucial to her own evolution as a designer. Combined with this awareness of fashion’s central role in the life of wealthy women was her cosmopolitan outlook. This was nurtured by regular trips to Europe and North America, which provided inspiration through visits to galleries and museums, and gave her an understanding of the international lifestyle of many women of her class. The need of these women to be dressed stylishly and appropriately for diverse events from tennis matches to cocktail parties or office work in a city shaped Herrera’s outlook, as much as her appreciation of art and culture....
revised by Gwen Unger
(b Lima, 1889; d Lima, 1970).
Peruvian designer, painter, and teacher. She and her twin sister Victoria began working as teachers before they were 20, teaching drawing and design in local schools. Elena Izcue was named Professor of Drawing of the central schools and elementary schools of Lima in May 1910. She entered the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Lima in 1919, which she attended through 1926. In order to remain in the Escuela Nacional, Izcue continued as a teacher throughout her studies. Inspired by Peru’s indigenous heritage and recent archaeological discoveries from the turn of the century, Izcue often depicted Indian and Inka themes in her paintings. Works like La tejedora (1923) demonstrate her personal style, combining her recent artistic training with her interest in Pre-Columbian design. Although she emerged as an artist in the time of the indigenistas, her work was not explicitly connected with the movement, instead she was attempting to recover Pre-Columbian motifs and apply them to contemporary life. With her sister Victoria she created the “Incaic decorative art” style of interior design in the early 1920s. At the request of Rafael Larco Herrera, she illustrated the children’s book ...
(b Asunción, Jan 6, 1948).
Paraguayan painter. He studied in the studio of the painter Cira Moscarda but was basically self-taught and gained his formative experience in various Latin American countries working as a designer of theater costumes and scenery. His early work, biting and irreverent in style, and with psychedelic and Pop art elements, created a considerable stir in Paraguay’s artistic community. Much of this work was in the form of drawings and paintings, but he also devised environments, happenings, audio-visual experiences, and montages (see Escobar 1984, 172, 194). His subject matter comprised unrealistic hybrid characters, animals, and objects from Classical mythology, popular Latin American subjects, kitsch opera, circus and cabaret, television, and gossip columns, portrayed in a style linked to Latin American Magic Realism and to expressionist caricature. Humor, eroticism, and the absurd animate his work, giving it a flavor of hallucination and nightmare.Blinder, O. and others. Arte actual del Paraguay. Asunción, 1983, pp. 47, 48, 49, 162, 173, 174, 192....
Term for a colorful appliqué blouse worn by Kuna Indian women on the mainland and San Blas Islands of Panama and in the Darien region of northwestern Colombia. Mola is the Kuna word for cloth, but it also applies to the woman’s blouse and the front and back panels from which it is made. Mola blouses first appeared in the second half of the 19th century. Although made from European trade cloth, they were an indigenous development, and their complex patterns relate to earlier body paint designs.
Mola panels are hand-stitched, using cutwork and appliqué techniques. Two or more layers of different-colored fabric are used. Each layer is cut to the shape of the design and stitched to the layer beneath, so that motifs may be outlined in a number of colors. Embroidery is sometimes added to the top layer. The stitching is extremely fine, and no fabric is wasted. The front and back panels of a blouse are usually similar, but never the same. Design subjects include mythological patterns, birds, animals, plants, people, and scenes from daily life. Advertisements, magazines, political posters, and biblical themes often provide inspiration. The finished front and back panels are made up with a yoke and sleeves of plain or printed fabric....
(b Guatemala City, Mar 4, 1951).
Guatemalan painter, sculptor, and designer. He trained first as an architect from 1969 to 1972 at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura of the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. In 1972 he attended the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, where he studied mural painting and ceramics. On his return to Guatemala in 1972 he continued his architectural studies at the Universidad de San Carlos in Guatemala City from 1973 to 1974 and also became interested in the ethnological study of the Indians of the country, especially in their textiles.
In his paintings Ordóñez combined acrylic paint, sometimes with textured surfaces or luminous varnishes, with superimpositions of fine lines, vivid color, and screenprinting. Executed in editions of twelve, each with individual finishing touches, they portray such subjects as the natives of Guatemala and landscapes. He also made sculptures, especially in clay, designed clothing, and served as consultant to the Museo Ixchel del Traje Indígena in Guatemala City....
(b London, Sept 27, 1974).
British photographer of Ghanaian and Dominican descent. Perrier’s work primarily explores portraiture and its historical traditions in Africa. Her photographic projects address her own multicultural identity by questioning themes of diversity, cultural belonging, and identity.
Perrier graduated with a BA from the Surrey Institute of Art and Design in Farnham in 1996. That same year she travelled with her mother to Ghana for the first time and made Ghana, a series of documentary photographs of people, interiors, and details of life both foreign and familiar. In the series she depicted quiet moments such as a small arrangement of photographs and books in an otherwise empty corner of a room, and made individual and group portraits of family members she had just met. Upon her return she completed the series Red, Gold and Green (1995–7): photographs of her extended family members in their London homes. The photographs documented her relatives—all first, second, and third generations from Ghana—seated or standing before the Ghanaian national flag in their own chosen clothing, ranging from sequins to Kente cloth (...
Kristen E. Stewart
(b Santo Domingo, Jul 22, 1932; d Kent, CT, Oct 20, 2014).
Dominican-born American fashion designer. De la Renta’s illustrious career spans nearly six decades and is part of the canon of American fashion design (see fig.). Known for flattering, highly wearable designs characterized by sophisticated femininity and romantic details, de la Renta made a name for himself both as a designer and as a man of style at the centre of prominent social circles.
Oscar de la Renta was born the youngest child and only boy in a family of six sisters, to a Dominican mother, Maria Fiallo, and a Puerto Rican father, Oscar Ortiz de la Renta. Raised under the matriarchal rule of his maternal grandmother, de la Renta’s childhood experiences in the lushly tropical community surrounded by grand and proper women in crisply starched ruffles shaped his perception of femininity as strength. The regalia of the Catholic Church and the aristocratic European glamour of an uncle’s Russian mistress supplied his romantic nature with an exotic aesthetic vocabulary....
María Antonia González-Arnal
revised by Jennifer Sales
(b Barquisimeto, 1940; d Barquisimeto, Jul 26, 1995).
Venezuelan photographer and teacher. He first studied architecture, ceramics, and jewelry, but in 1963 turned to the study of photography in Philadelphia with Murry Weiss and Sol Libsohn, returning to Venezuela in 1964 where he taught and led workshops in photography at the Instituto de Diseño, Caracas, and at the Consejo Nacional de la Cultura, Caracas. Sigala worked as a photographer for the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Caracas and for the newspaper El nacional and its magazine Pandora. He coordinated the photography for the newspaper El informador in Barquisimeto. Sigala concentrated on photographing people, as in Vicky (1964; Caracas, Mus. B.A.) and the series of thirteen photographs of María Antonieta Cámpoli (1974; Caracas, Mus. A. Contemp. Sofía Imber). In 1990 he was awarded the Premio Nacional de Fotografía. He is included in collections such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Deeso Gallery in Philadelphia....
Ramón Alfonso Méndez Brignardello
(b Santiago, 1829; d Valparaíso, 1890).
Chilean architect. His father was unknown and his mother a humble laundress who made great efforts in order to educate her son. He began working for a cabinetmaker at the age of 13 and then joined a drawing class for craftsmen at the Instituto Nacional, Santiago. There were few professional architects in Chile at that time, and he was commissioned at the age of 18 to design the Casa de Orates building. Vivaceta Rupio joined the first architecture class of the Frenchman Claude François Brunet-Debaines (1788–1855), who had been contracted by the Chilean government. His fellow pupil Ricardo Brown and he were the first architects to be trained in Chile. As a result of his assiduity and determination, he was selected by Brunet-Debaines to complete outstanding works when the contract expired. Working in the 19th-century neoclassical tradition, with some gestures towards the neo-Gothic, Vivaceta Rupio rebuilt the towers of several Santiago churches and built several private houses and the church and convent of Carmen Alto. He contributed to repairs to the cathedral of Santiago and collaborated with ...