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Article

Jorge F. Rivas Pérez

(Gerónimo)

(b Caracas, Aug 29, 1920; d Caracas, Nov 3, 2004).

Venezuelan designer, potter, educator, curator, and museum administrator. Arroyo was one of the first professional designers in Venezuela. He graduated in drawing and painting from the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Artes Aplicadas de Caracas in 1938. From 1938 to 1940 Arroyo lived in New York City, where he worked at the Venezuelan pavilion at the New York World’s Fair (1939–1940) and assisted Luis Alfredo López Méndez with painting La Vida Venezolana on the ceiling of the canopy of the pavilion. Back in Venezuela, from 1940 to 1946, Arroyo taught art at the Liceo de Aplicación in Caracas. During this period, he taught and also worked as an interior designer (Librería Magisterio (1944) and Gran Exposición Nacional de Industria y Comercio de Maracaibo (1945)). From 1946 to 1948 he studied design and pottery at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, PA.

In 1949...

Article

Biombo  

Sofía Sanabrais

Name used in Mexico and throughout Latin America for a folding screen. The word biombo is a transliteration of the Japanese word for folding screen—byōbu—an acknowledgement of its place of origin. The Japanese byōbu has long been a quintessential example of Japanese art and was a common diplomatic gift to foreign courts in the early modern period (see Screen, §1). Referred to as the ‘face of Japanese diplomacy’, byōbu were presented as ambassadors of Japanese culture to places as far off as London and Mexico City. Byōbu also found their way to New Spain as exports in the Manila Galleon trade. In 17th-century Mexico the Japanese screen was admired by artists and patrons, and was adapted and reinterpreted on a grand scale. The unique format of the biombo provided new ways for artists to depict subject-matter, and locally made biombos began appearing in the archival record in the first years of the 17th century. ...

Article

Brian Austen

(Hicks)

(b ?Sheffield, 1785; d Port of Spain, Trinidad, Nov 1846).

English sculptor, designer and architect. In 1810 he exhibited at the first Liverpool Academy Exhibition and showed models and drawings there in 1811, 1812 and 1814. These included designs for the restoration of the screen in Sefton church, Merseyside, and for a chimney-piece for Speke Hall, Liverpool, and two drawings of Joseph Ridgway’s house at Ridgmont, Horwich, Lancs. Bridgens designed furniture and furnishings in Gothic and Elizabethan styles for George Bullock. In 1814 he moved to London with Bullock, using his address at 4 Tenterden Street, Hanover Square, and prepared designs for Sir Godfrey Vassal Webster (1789–1836) for improvements to Battle Abbey, E. Sussex, and similarly for Sir Walter Scott’s home, Abbotsford House, at Melrose on the Borders. Two chair designs for Battle Abbey were published in Rudolph Ackermann’s Repository of Arts in September 1817, and Bridgens was also involved in the design of chairs supplied to Abbotsford House in ...

Article

Pauline Antrobus

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 ...

Article

Louise Noelle

(b Mexico City, May 7, 1931; d Mexico City, Dec 30, 2011).

Mexican architect and furniture designer, active also in the USA. He graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Arquitectura, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, in 1953. He began as a draftsman in the studio of José Villagrán García, the leader of Mexican Functionalism, becoming his partner between 1955 and 1960. During this period he was a follower of the International Style, as seen in the Hotel María Isabel (1961–1962; with Villagrán García and Juan Sordo Madaleno), Mexico City. In 1960 he set up in partnership with Noé Castro (b 1929) and Carlos Vargas (b 1938), specializing in the design of factories and office buildings, the most notable project of this period being the office building for Celanese Mexicana (1966–1968; with Roberto Jean) in Mexico City, with its prismatic outline and technical brio in the use of the hanging structure. In the late 1960s, influenced by ...

Article

James Yorke and Gordon Campbell

Rich reddish-brown wood of trees of the Central and South American genus Swietenia (family Meliaceae). In early use the term denoted Swietenia mahagoni (Cuban mahogany or ‘Spanish’ mahogany), but from the 18th century it increasingly denoted Swietenia macrophylla, which was imported from Jamaica. In the 1720s mahogany became the most widely used wood in English cabinetmaking. Robert Walpole (1676–1745) not only exempted Jamaican mahogany from import duty, making it cheaper than the more sought after Cuban or ‘Spanish’ mahogany, but he also had the staircase and panelling at Houghton Hall, Norfolk, made in this material. Mahogany was popular with cabinetmakers as it enabled crisp, high-quality carving, it was stable and resistant to warping and woodworm and it came in large planks, making it suitable for all kinds of furniture. The use of mahogany remained an English specialism until the 1760s, when it was taken up by French cabinetmakers; in the 1780s ‘anglomania’ in France created a fashion for mahogany chairs and dining-room tables. By the end of the century mahogany had become a fashionable wood all over Europe....

Article

Maria Helena Mendes Pinto

(fl Braga, 1692–1717; d Braga, 1720).

Portuguese cabinetmaker and metalworker. The most outstanding characteristic of his documented works—all commissioned by religious institutions—is his use of pau preto (Brazilian rose-wood), either solid or thickly veneered on to chestnut, worked em espinhado (in a herring-bone pattern) decorated with parallel grooves, mouldings and, more rarely, with almofadados (pillow panelling). In the contracts signed by Marques with the chapter of Braga Cathedral and various convents and Misericórdia churches in northern Portugal he is referred to as the enxamblador da Cónega (joiner) responsible for executing both the woodwork and decorative metalwork of the furniture commissioned. The application of pierced and gilded brass plaques in the form of borders, rosettes in relief, enormous escutcheons and impressive handles is a constant feature of his work. He played an important role in northern Portuguese furniture-making for the uniformity of his production. He specialized in balustrades, for example those for the pulpit of the Misericórdia church in Vila do Conde (...

Article

Veerle Poupeye

(b St. Andrew, Dec 29, 1902; d Sept 20, 1992).

Jamaican sculptor. He was initially self-taught, but later attended the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, London. He worked as a furniture-carver in the 1930s for the Jamaican Art Deco furniture designer Burnett Webster (1909–1992). His own work of this period was influenced by Art Deco and by Edna Manley. Gradually it became more academic, and he became Jamaica’s most popular monumental sculptor. Among his best-known works are monuments in Kingston to Jamaica’s national heroes, including Norman Manley (1971) and Alexander Bustamante (1972), as well as to the reggae singer Bob Marley (1985). He worked in various materials, including bronze, but was at his best as a woodcarver. His outstanding achievement is the carved ceiling decoration and lectern of the university chapel, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.

Boxer, D. and Poupeye, V. Modern Jamaican Art. Kingston, 1998.Poupeye, V. Caribbean Art...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Close-grained wood taken from the trees of the genera Dalbergia; the traditional source was Brazil, where it is known as Jacaranda; the variety from South and South-east Asia is Indian rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia). The name rosewood alludes to its odour rather than its appearance. It was widely used by cabinetmakers in 19th-century England, France and Germany....

Article

Marlene Milan Acayaba

revised by Jennifer Sales

(Mauricio)

(b Zurich, Jun 27, 1917; d São Paulo, Apr 1, 1974).

Brazilian architect, interior designer, and teacher of Swiss birth. His family moved from their native Switzerland to Brazil when his father, the architect Frederico Ruchti, received a commission from the Klabin family. Jacob studied architecture (1935–1940) at the School of Engineering at Mackenzie University, São Paulo, where he resisted the prescribed neoclassical aesthetic and rebelliously encouraged his fellow students to share his interest in modern architecture. His interest in Constructivism inspired some of his design projects and was expressed in an article for Clima (1941). After graduation he worked for a time with his father, designing houses similar in concept to the Usonian houses of Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1946 he was one of the team responsible for designing the headquarters of the Instituto de Arquitetos de São Paulo. In 1951, with Pietro Maria Bardi (1900–1999), he set up the first school of design in Brazil, the Instituto de Arte Contemporânea of the Museu de Arte, São Paulo, at which he was Professor of Composition; the following year, in association with other architects, including ...

Article

Susanna Temkin

(b San Rafael de Mucuchíes, nr. Mérida, May 16, 1900; d San Rafael de Mucuchíes, Apr 18, 1997).

Venezuelan sculptor, furniture designer, weaver, and architect. He was self-taught as an artist. After various odd jobs including puppeteer, baker’s assistant, and clown, he learned to weave on a loom, making traditional blankets, and later hats (see Grupo Cinco 1982, 143–147). In 1935 he carved his first sculptural group representing Christ, the Virgin, and Mary Magdalene (untraced). In 1943 Sánchez moved from San Rafael to El Potrero. There, in 1946, he constructed the only loom in Venezuela with three heddles. In 1952 he began the construction of the Complejo de El Tisure, located in an immense isolated valley near Mérida. His major life’s work, this artistic and religious center included various chapels, shrines, and sculptural ensembles conceived and hand-built by Sánchez. Driven by a seemingly atavistic religious mysticism, Sánchez’s uniquely individual artistic vision can be compared with Antoni Gaudí.

Located near the Complejo de El Tisure’s arched stone entrance, a rough-hewn small shrine adorned with sea shells and corals was created in ...