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Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Buenos Aires, Aug 28, 1897; d Buenos Aires, Mar 17, 1983).

Argentine painter, tapestry designer, and stage designer. From 1922 to 1933 he lived in Europe, where he studied first in Germany at the artistic colony in Worpswede and then in Paris under André Lhote and Othon Friesz. He was untouched by the violence of German Expressionism, but he assimilated various influences in France, structuring forms in the manner of Cézanne, and combining these with the audacious coloring of Fauvism and the strict sense of order in Cubism, as in The Siesta (1926; Buenos Aires, Mus. N. B.A.).

On his return to Argentina, Butler applied these European influences to lyrical landscapes of the islands in the Parana Delta of the Tigre region near Buenos Aires, selecting unusual scenes into which he incorporated childhood reminiscences in the figures. Using arabesques to link nature and people in his essentially flat pictures, he projected himself on to the scenery of which he was so fond in pictures such as the ...

Article

Cuban, 20th century, male.

Born 28 May 1923, in Havana; died 30 September 1981, in Havana.

Painter. Figure compositions, figures, nudes. Designs for carpets, designs (objets d'art/ceramics).

Servando Cabrera-Moreno began studying art in 1942 at the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes San Alejandro in Havana. By ...

Article

Virginia Miller

Stone sculptures from Mesoamerica representing a supine male figure, approximately life-size, whose backbone is bent in an anatomically impossible position. His feet are flat on the ground, knees drawn up, and head turned sharply toward the viewer. The hands grasp a round or rectangular receptacle resting on the abdomen.

The largest number (eighteen) occurs at Chichen Itza, where the first excavated example was discovered in 1875 by the explorer Augustus Le Plongeon. He dubbed the sculpture “chacmool,” which he believed meant “powerful warrior” in Maya, although it is generally translated as “red” or “great” jaguar paw. The inaccurate term has since been applied to all examples, regardless of culture.

Although difficult to date, chacmools first appear between 800 CE and 1000 CE. They are found contemporaneously at Chichen Itza and Tula, where a dozen examples are known. The sculptures occur in the Tarascan region, and as far afield as Costa Rica and El Salvador. There are several Aztec ...

Article

Denise Carvalho

(b Belo Horizonte, Oct 23, 1920; d Rio de Janeiro, Apr 25, 1988).

Brazilian painter, sculptor, interactive artist, and art therapist. She was a cofounder in 1959 of the Neo-Concrete movement, whose members laid the foundation for much of Brazilian contemporary art. The Neo-Concretists broke with the rigidity of the rationalism of Concrete art and advocated a more sensorial, interactive art. Lygia Clark and her creative soul-mate, Hélio Oiticica, created participatory works that challenged not only longstanding artistic dogmas, but also the role of the art object itself, as well as the role of the artist, the spectator, and the art institution. Their most groundbreaking works required the viewer to be part of the artwork and thereby experience it sensorially, all of which made their work difficult to categorize. Clark came to see even her exhibitions at major art events as meaningless, and her emphasis on person-to-person dialogue eventually led her into art therapy. Without a therapeutic license, she devoted her last decades solely to treating patients with her own form of art therapy....

Article

Nicaraguan, 20th century, female.

Born 1887, in Grenada.

Painter.

Asilia Guillén was originally an embroiderer, only becoming a painter later when she began attending the school of fine arts. She exhibited in São Paulo and the USA. Her works include Grenada Set on Fire by American Troops...

Article

David Craven

(b Granada, Nicaragua, 1887; d Granada, 1964).

Nicaraguan painter and embroiderer. Born to a prominent family in the old city of Granada, she was given a patrician education that emphasized embroidery and music as the arts proper to her station. For several decades she practiced embroidery, gradually replacing the traditional formal elements and conventional subjects such as decorative floral motifs with landscapes and scenes from Nicaraguan history conveyed in a broad range of color.

The growing national fame of Guillén’s embroidery led her to take up oil painting in 1951 at the suggestion of a friend, the poet Enrique Fernández Morales. She studied under Rodrigo Peñalba at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Managua but quickly arrived at a distinctive style of naive art by transposing the style and subject matter of her embroidery to brightly colored and richly detailed oil paintings that won the admiration of leading literary figures such as Ernesto Cardenal and Pablo Antonio Cuadra, for example ...

Article

Rebecca Arnold

[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....

Article

Mark A. Castro

(b Mexico City, Nov 5, 1956)

Mexican painter, draftsman, engraver, and video artist. From 1976 to 1980 Lara studied visual arts at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas (ENAP). Her first exhibition, entitled Scissors, was held at ENAP in 1977 and consisted of ten cartoon drawings and an artist’s book.

Lara’s work during the late 1970s explored the conditions of women in Mexican society, interrogating everyday household objects—irons and ironing boards, refrigerators, baby bottles—and their role as traditional symbols of femininity. Her later paintings further examine female identity via images of flowers, often distorted to convey both beauty and horror.

In addition to painting, Lara is known for her artist’s books and has spoken to the deep relationship in her practice between literature and the visual arts. A series of engravings entitled Alzheimer (2007), exhibited at the Museo de la Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público in Mexico City, explore the construction and unraveling of memory. The series later inspired one of the artist’s video animations, ...

Article

Daniel Montero

(b Albesa, Lérida, 1934).

Mexican multimedia and textile artist of Spanish birth. Palau’s parents were exiled during the Franco regime in Spain, and she moved to Mexico in 1940, where she became a naturalized citizen. From 1955 to 1965 she studied at the Escuela Nacional de Pintura y Escultura “La Esmeralda” of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA) in Mexico City, later traveling to San Diego and Barcelona to specialize in tapestry. In the 1970s she was one of the first artists in Mexico to make explicit her concerns about women and their relationship with art. In her work she explored different techniques and media such as engraving, painting, sculpture, and above all tapestry, conducting material experiments that invoke the expressiveness of textiles and their symbolic character in indigenous traditions and rituals. Palau approached her materials not only as formal exploration; through her work, she tried to show how the materiality can express certain social relations with ritual and magical bonds. In this sense, her work is an exploration of physical and social space....

Article

Elisabeth Roark

(b San Pedro, Aug 9, 1913; d Dax, Nov 4, 1982).

Argentinian sculptor, tapestry designer and weaver active in France. After studying drawing and painting in Buenos Aires, Penalba received a scholarship from the French government in 1948. In Paris she enrolled at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in printmaking but began to concentrate exclusively on sculpture after entering the studio of Ossip Zadkine in 1950. Committed to abstraction from 1951, Penalba exhibited with other young, non-objective sculptors such as Etienne-Martin and Etienne Hajdu, with whom she shared a preference for organic form. Her sculpture of the 1950s was chiefly of vertical orientation, composed of modular forms arranged around a central axis in a totemic or columnar manner, as in Middle Totem (1954; Rio de Janeiro, Mus. A. Mod.). Despite its organic allusions, Penalba denied any direct reference to plant, rock or animal prototypes, insisting that her work was motivated by a desire to ‘spiritualize the symbols of eroticism, the source of all creation’ (...

Article

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....

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 ...

Article

Brazilian, 20th century, male.

Born 1880, in Paris, to Brazilian parents; died 17 October 1980, in Cap d'Antibes (Alpes-Maritimes), France.

Painter. Designs for carpets.

Art Deco.

Ivan da Silva-Bruhns settled very young in France. He studied medicine and then became a painter. He knew Maurice Denis, Paul Signac and Jacques Villon. In ...

Article

Teresa del Conde

revised by Deborah Caplow

(b Juchitán, Oaxaca, Jul 17, 1940).

Mexican painter, sculptor, textile designer, printmaker, and collector. He grew up in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, an area that was rich in legends, rites, and beliefs springing from a strong Zapotec tradition predating the Spanish conquest of Mexico. He began to draw and paint at a very early age, studying first in Oaxaca, where he produced linocuts in the graphic workshop run by Arturo García Bustos (1926–2017). In 1957 he moved to Mexico City to attend the Escuela de Diseño y Artesanía of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes. After holding his first solo shows of gouaches and prints in 1959 in Fort Worth, Texas, and Mexico City, he moved in 1960 to Paris, where until 1963 he studied printmaking under Stanley William Hayter. While continuing to work within Western traditions, he became interested in the art of Asian cultures and in ancient Mexican art, especially in those forms that were not officially sanctioned....

Article

Monica E. Kupfer

(b Horconcitos, Chiriquí, Feb 11, 1927).

Panamanian painter, ceramicist, printmaker, tapestry designer, and landscape architect. He studied both architecture and painting in Panama, holding his first exhibition in 1953; he then continued his studies in Madrid (1954–1958) at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, at the Escuela de Cerámica de la Moncloa, and at the Escuela Superior de Arquitectura. In 1959 he returned to Panama, where he began a long teaching career at the Universidad de Panamá. In the early 1960s Trujillo painted social satires, such as The Commissioners (1964; Panama City, Mus. A. Contemp.) with small monstrous figures in cavernous settings. Later his palette brightened as he turned to new subjects based on nature, including numerous still lifes and semi-abstract paintings with botanical allusions, for example Still Life with Fruit (1975; Washington, DC, A. Mus. Americas).

Always a versatile and prolific artist, in the 1970s and 1980s he based his subjects both on his rich imagination and on his knowledge of Panama’s indigenous cultures. He made recurring reference to the patterns of Pre-Columbian ceramics, natural and biomorphic forms, mythological and primitive figures, and Indian symbols and ceremonies, all treated as elements of an iconography strongly related to his Panamanian origin. Although generally classified as belonging to the return to figuration among Latin American artists, he ranged stylistically from realism to abstraction....