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Cuban, 20th century, male.

Born 1925, in Havana.

Painter, sculptor, engraver.

Arcay was a student at the academy of fine arts in Havana, where he won first prize for sculpture. He went to Paris in 1949. From 1950 to 1952, he was a student at Dewasne's and Pillet's studio for abstract art in Montparnasse. He began to exhibit at collective events in ...


Nelly Perazzo

(b Arezzo, Feb 2, 1916; d Buenos Aires, Feb 11, 2001).

Argentine sculptor, painter, printmaker, and draftsman of Italian birth. After completing his studies at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires in 1945, he went on study trips around Latin America (1945–1946) and Europe (1949). He became a naturalized citizen of Argentina in 1947 and from 1949 he participated in the Salones Nacionales, winning various awards. He soon won a reputation as one of Argentina’s most outstanding sculptors, working in marble, bronze, wood, cement, and clay. Torrent (marble, 1953; Buenos Aires, Mus. N. B.A.), a semi-abstract female nude composed of smooth curved planes, typifies one aspect of his work: his treatment of themes of fecundity, motherhood, and the family, using rounded forms to which he attached a symbolic value. The titles associated with some of these material forms, such as Time (bronze, 1959; Buenos Aires, Mus. A. Mod.), indicate the way they are meant to be read....


Nelly Perazzo

(b Torroella de Montgri, Catalonia, Mar 3, 1911; d Buenos Aires, Oct 8, 1966).

Argentine painter, printmaker, illustrator, sculptor, and stage designer of Spanish Catalan birth. He arrived in Buenos Aires in 1913. Although his uncle, José Planas Casas (b Catalonia, 1900; d Argentina, 1960), taught him the rudiments of art, he was basically self-taught and began to exhibit his work in 1934. Synthesizing ideas from Zen philosophy, psychoanalysis, and the theories on cosmic energy espoused by the Austrian psychologist Wilhelm Reich with his interests in automatism, poetry, and painting, he found a creative sense of direction from an early age. He applied his methods not only to paintings but to stage designs, illustrations, collages, prints, polychrome sculptures, and boxlike constructions; as a painter he worked both in tempera and in oil, and he also produced seventy-two murals.

In 1936 Batlle Planas inaugurated a Surrealist phase with a series entitled Paranoiac X-rays, followed by another group of pictures, Tibetan Series, populated by spectral figures related to works by Yves Tanguy. Between ...


Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Born 14 May 1905, in Rosario (Santa Fé); died 13 October 1981, in Buenos Aires.

Painter, sculptor, engraver, collage artist, photomontage artist, assemblage artist. Figure compositions, landscapes, portraits, still-lifes, scenes with figures.

Nouvelle Figuration, Figuration Narrative.

Nuevo Realismo Group.

Berní was the son of Italian immigrants in Argentina. His childhood and early youth were marked by destitution. In 1915, when his father died, he went to live with his grandmother, where he had to travel 10 kilometres (six miles) on horseback to get to school every morning. From 1916, he was able to study stained glass window technique and attend a drawing course for young people. He was then influenced by the Post-Impressionism of the Spaniard, Joaquín Sorolla. He began to exhibit in 1918.From 1921 to 1924, he abandoned his studies and went to live among the peasants of the Pampa, where he painted landscapes. In 1925, he won a scholarship that enabled him to travel to Europe, where he stayed first in Madrid, then settled in Paris, where he frequented the studios of André Lhote and Othon Friesz at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Montparnasse and discovered the painting of Picasso, Braque and de Chirico. In 1928, still in Paris, he met the Surrealists, associating mainly with Aragon; he did not formally join the movement but he immersed himself in the psychological atmosphere of the group and its Marxist commitment. He read Marx, Engels and Lenin, and met Henri Lefebvre. His painting was influenced by his Surrealist friendships, particularly in the series of photomontages and collages that he embarked on in 1929. In 1930, he returned to Argentina, where he studied further and was still able in 1932 to exhibit his Surrealist paintings of 1929-1931, in which he had mainly applied Lautréamont's formula concerning encounters with random objects.On his return, he had founded the ...


Jorge Glusberg

(b Rosario, May 14, 1905; d Buenos Aires, Oct 13, 1981).

Argentine painter, sculptor, and printmaker. He trained at the stained-glass window workshop of Buxadera & Compañía, Rosario, province of Santa Fé, and with Eugenio Fornels and Enrique Munné. He held his first exhibition in 1920. At the age of 20 he won a scholarship for study in Europe awarded by the Jockey Club of Rosario, which enabled him to study in Paris under André Lhote and with Othon Friesz at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. After showing his European works in Buenos Aires in 1927 he obtained another scholarship, this time from the government of the province of Santa Fé, as a result of which he established contact with the Surrealists in 1928; in particular he befriended Louis Aragon and the French philosopher Henri Lefebvre.

Berni returned to Argentina in 1930. In 1933 he established an artistic–literary group, Nuevo Realismo, and began to depict Argentina’s social reality. From the 1960s, through two characters he created (Juanito Laguna and Ramona Montiel) he began to create works from pieces of metal and wood, buttons, burlap, wires, and other debris gathered by him in the shantytowns surrounding Buenos Aires. Combining in these works commonplace materials and a brutal realism (e.g. ...


Brazilian, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1965, in São Paulo.

Sculptor, engraver, draughtswoman.

Elisa Bracher lives and works in São Paulo.Bracher is interested in ephemeral phenomena which she addresses in the form of liminal drawings, engravings and sculptures. At the Capc-Musée d'Art Contemporain in Bordeaux she installed metal carvings along the walls; these black and white, horizontal and vertical geometric forms of varying thickness talk to each other acquiring density and marking out a barely perceptible path....


Karen Cordero Reiman

(b Cadereyta, nr. Monterrey, Mar 3, 1908; d Mexico City, Jan 29, 1989).

Mexican painter, sculptor, and printmaker. He studied at the Escuela de Pintura al Aire Libre at Coyoacán in the early 1920s and independently with Spanish sculptor Mateo Hernández and the Catalan José de Creeft. Although younger than the major figures of post-revolutionary Mexican art, his work reflected their influence in the use of Pre-Columbian themes in his mural and sculptural work and in occasional references to indigenous types. In general, however, it was distinguished by the ephemeral, melancholic, linear quality of his figures, clearly influenced by Botticelli and by Picasso’s Blue Period; harlequins, romantic poets and women with flowing hair were common subjects in his paintings, which were primarily portraits, religious scenes, and allegorical compositions. In 1945 he began an association with the printmaker Carlos Alvarado Lang, and the resulting engravings showed fine linear elegance (e.g. the Communion Rail, 1945–1946; Monterrey, La Purísima). Throughout the 1960s he produced sculpted reliefs and freestanding sculptures for the buildings of the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social; in these works Cantú came close to the massive qualities associated with the Mexican school, but his figures’ volume was still tempered by linear detailing....


Paraguayan, 20th century, male.

Born 1937, in Concepcion.

Painter, sculptor, engraver.

After a period of geometric abstraction, Colombino's work evolved towards figuration, the formal vocabulary of which is somewhat along the lines of Pop Art. These works are occasionally an expression of political criticism. He was awarded a prize at the exhibition ...


Chilean, 20th century, male.

Active from 1952 active in France.

Born 19 February 1927, in Santiago.

Painter, watercolourist, sculptor, engraver.

Kinetic Art.

Contreras-Brunet started painting in 1943 and did not return to the school of art in Santiago until 1947. He painted his first abstract canvases in ...


Jorge Luján-Muñoz

(b Guatemala City, Dec 5, 1939).

Guatemalan painter, sculptor, printmaker, and architect. Although he studied architecture at the Universidad de San Carlos in Guatemala (1959–1961), as an artist he was essentially self-taught. One of the most important abstract artists in Guatemala, he worked in a variety of media, favoring new materials and bold geometric forms. As an architect he co-designed two important public buildings in Guatemala City: a library at the Universidad de San Carlos known as the Edificio de Recursos Educativos (1969; with Augusto de León Fajardo), and the Instituto de Fomento Municipal (1973). He produced a number of murals in Guatemala City: Genesis (clay, 5 sq. m) in the residence of the architect Max Holzheu; Genesis (1972; Banco Inmobiliario Col.); Nest of Quetzals (acrylic, 1974; Inst. Fomento Mun.); Fissure (concrete, 9 sq. m, 1975; Casa Salem); Untitled (concrete and mirror, 160 sq. m, 1980) at the Cámara Guatemalteca de la Construcción; and ...


Cynthia Haveson Veloric

(Pablo Ramón)

(b San Juan, 1933).

American painter, sculptor, printmaker, and jazz percussionist of Puerto Rican birth. Ferrer was born into a financially stable household where “there were problems which had to do with family turmoil of a psychological kind” (interview with C. H. Veloric, 1990). His strict upbringing merged with an awareness of leftist politics gained from exiles from the Spanish Civil War who lived at his grandmother’s house. Fleeing Catholic school, he attended Staunton Military Academy in Virginia, where he learned to play the drums. At Syracuse University he rejected formal classes, preferring the company of musicians and artists. He became the leader of a Latin band while simultaneously painting on his own. His frustrations and inclinations were supported by his half-brother, the actor José Ferrer (1912–1992).

In 1952 he entered the University of Puerto Rico where he took painting classes with the exiled Spanish painter and writer Eugenio Granell (...


Ricardo Pau-Llosa


(b Santiago de Cuba, Jan 15, 1928; d Miami, FL, Nov 17, 2015).

Cuban sculptor, painter, printmaker, and tapestry maker. He graduated from the Academia de San Alejandro in Havana in 1955 and went to Mexico, where he studied with David Alfaro Siqueiros in Mexico City. In 1962 he traveled to Italy on a UNESCO scholarship. As a political exile from Cuba he lived for several years in Europe, the USA, and Puerto Rico before settling in Miami in 1978. He worked in bronze and steel, realized murals, drawings, lithographs, and tapestries. His tapestries echo the concern with gestural brushwork and grainy texture evident in his drawings and lithographs. His painting and sculpture were initially influenced by Abstract Expressionism, but as a sculptor working in bronze and steel, his affinities were with Arnaldo Pomodoro. García’s originality lay in the tensions he created between smooth and coarse textures, and between geometric and asymmetrical forms as a means of suggesting metaphors within an essentially abstract formal language. For example, in ...


Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Active in France from 1976, naturalised French.

Born 23 August 1940, in Salta.

Painter, sculptor, engraver, draughtsman.

Alfredo Garzón taught at the school of fine arts in Salta and then at the national university of Córdoba where, in 1966, he was awarded the school of fine arts gold medal. He has lived and worked in Villeneuve-St-Georges since ...


Jorge Luján-Muñoz

(b Guatemala City, Oct 1, 1918; d Guatemala City, June 5, 1995).

Guatemalan sculptor, painter, draftsman, printmaker, and teacher. He studied at the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes (1936–1940) and at the Escuela de Artes Aplicadas in Santiago, Chile (1945–1948), where he specialized in direct carving in hard stone and in bronze casting. From 1949 to 1962 he was professor of sculpture at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, and from 1948 to 1986 he organized exhibitions at the Instituto de Antropología e Historia, both in Guatemala City.

Grajeda Mena’s work is distinguished by its forceful draftsmanship and strong expressive sense. His outstanding sculptures include Maternity (450 × 410 × 320 mm, 1947), directly carved in volcanic stone; Archaic Christ (wood, h 2.85 m, 1953–1954; both Guatemala City, Mus. N. A. Mod.); and The Conquest (reinforced concrete relief, 6 × 10 m; Guatemala City, Pal. Mun.). As a painter he was noted for his color sense and enthusiasm for experimenting with new materials. His most important murals include ...


Eduardo Serrano

(b Cartagena, Dec 18, 1920; d Bogotá, Apr 1, 2004).

Colombian painter, sculptor, printmaker, filmmaker, and stage designer. He studied at the Art Students League in New York from 1941 to 1943 and subsequently visited Italy, where he studied fresco and etching techniques before settling again in Colombia. Consistently devoted to the human form, he initially depicted figures with angular heads and striped tunics in a strong light, with symbolic objects such as eggs, masks, or cages.

In such later paintings as Boy with Umbrella (1964; Washington, DC, A. Mus. Americas) Grau’s figures were transformed into plump, fleshy, and voluptuous beings, richly arrayed with lace, feathers, hats, and fans, like characters taken from the theater or from popular turn-of-the-century postcards. His scenes were gradually filled with anecdotal details and numerous objects, including cupboards, easels, boxes, masks, and flowers, through which he suggested emotionally charged atmospheres. Grau also produced murals, prints, stage sets, films, and especially sculptures. The first of these were assemblages of antique and industrial objects, but he subsequently made cast-bronze sculptures that convey a sensuousness, mystery, and nostalgia similar to that evoked by his paintings....


Brazilian, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 16 February 1946, in São Paulo.

Painter, sculptor, engraver.

Carmela Gross began her training in the fine arts in 1969 at the Fundação Armando Álvarez Penteado in São Paulo and completed her studies at university, obtaining a doctorate in ...


Mari Carmen Ramírez

(b San Juan, 1936).

Puerto Rican painter, printmaker, sculptor, and draftsman. He studied painting at the University of Puerto Rico, receiving his BA in 1958, and completed his MA at the American University in Washington, DC, in 1959. From the 1960s he was one of the most consistent advocates of abstract painting in Puerto Rico, and in 1977 he co-founded Frente with artists Lope Max Díaz, Antonio Navia, and Paul Camacho, with the aim of bringing together abstract and experimental painters and of renewing artistic institutions in Puerto Rico. Hernández Cruz was also a founder-member and President of the Congress of Abstract Artists that took place in Puerto Rico in 1984.

In his paintings Hernández Cruz used landscape and figures as points of reference for a symbolic language of abstract and organic forms. The lyrical, evocative qualities of color and the material, rhythmic qualities of textual surfaces were fundamental in the evolution of his abstract vocabulary. During the 1960s he explored intense color under the influence of Fernando de Szyszlo and Rufino Tamayo before turning to more structural concerns that he explored also in constructions and totem-like sculptures. In the 1970s he was concerned primarily with the organization of forms in space, but he later returned to the human figure in a dynamic Neo-Expressionist style of heavy impasto and vibrant colors....


Uruguayan, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1949, in Montevideo.

Painter, sculptor, engraver. Figures, genre scenes, interiors.

The son of Basque immigrant parents, Ignacio de Iturria studied design and painting. He married in 1977 and moved to Spain, living in Barcelona in 1982. He returned to live in Montevideo from 1979 to 1982 and permanently in 1984....


José Miguel Rojas

(b San José, Apr 16, 1900; d Buenos Aires, May 3, 1947).

Costa Rican painter, sculptor, engraver, and writer. After spending two years in London, in 1922 Jiménez moved to Paris, where he dedicated himself to sculpture, drawing, and painting. He came into contact with leading Spanish literary figures, and he discovered the African-influenced work of Picasso and Modigliani, as well as that of the Paris-based Brazilian painter Tarsila. These influences led to the monumentality and Afro-Caribbean elements present in Jiménez’s painting and sculpture, in which traditional concepts of beauty were disregarded and the subjects painted in an exuberant manner (e.g. Ileana; see Ulloa Barrenechea 1975, 231). In 1925 he returned to Costa Rica, but the lack of galleries or museums and of artistic activity (other than academic) frustrated Jiménez. Having been exposed in Paris to trends far in advance of Costa Rican art and feeling that his avant-garde ideas were not understood, he temporarily ceased to produce art.

In 1928 Jiménez returned to Europe; his collection of poems, ...


Barbadian, 20th century, female.

Active in the USA.

Born 20 April 1913, in Barbados; died 18 February 2005, in Seattle.

Painter, engraver, sculptor. Figures, nudes, portraits, animals, still-lifes.

Gwendolyn Knight-Lawrence's family lived in St Louis, then in New York in the 1920s. She studied at Howard University, Washington DC, at the New College of Social Research, and at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan (Maine). In the 1930s, she worked at the studio led by Augusta Savage as part of the Work Progress Administration, the government programme put in place at the time of the New Deal. She married the painter Jacob Lawrence in ...