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Article

Paul Von Blum

(b Washington, DC, April 15, 1915; d Cuernavaca, Mexico, April 3, 2012).

African American sculptor, printmaker, and art educator, active also in Mexico. One of the leading African American feminist and political artists of the 20th century and early 21st century, Catlett devoted her career of more than 60 years to expressing critical ideas in powerful visual form both in the United States and in her adopted country of Mexico. Her strong academic background began at Howard University, Washington, DC, where she studied under African American art luminaries James Porter (d 1939), James Wells (1902–93), and Lois Jones. After graduating in 1937, she completed her MFA in 1940 at the University of Iowa.

In 1941 she married the artist Charles White. Visiting Mexico, they found the Mexican mural and printmaking tradition artistically and politically engaging. After her first marriage ended in 1946, she moved to Mexico in the wake of American post-war political repression. While working at the Taller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico City, she met the Mexican artist Francisco Mora (...

Article

Esther Acevedo

(b Paris, Feb 8, 1898; d Honolulu, Mar 20, 1979).

French painter and printmaker, active in Mexico and the USA. As a child he was surrounded by the nostalgic presence of Mexico, as one of his great-grandmothers was Mexican, and one of his grandfathers had collected Pre-Columbian art. He specialized in murals, painting his first for the Exposition Saint Jean, an exhibition of liturgical art at the Louvre in 1920. In 1921 he settled in Mexico to take up an offer of work from Alfredo Ramos Martínez at the open-air school in Coyoacán. He worked in Mexico City as one of Diego Rivera’s assistants on the mural The Creation (1923), executing two important murals of his own in the city during the same period: the Conquest of Tenochtitlán (1922–3) in the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria, and Porters and Washerwomen (1923) in the building of the Secretaría de Educación Pública. Charlot collaborated on the magazine ...

Article

Frederick R. Brandt

(b Buffalo, NY, June 16, 1930; d Dec 17, 1998).

American painter and printmaker. He studied painting in Mexico City from 1957 to 1959 with John Golding (b 1929) under the terms of the G.I. Bill. His reputation as a Pop artist was established by his first New York one-man exhibition in 1963 where he showed his first acrylic paintings of the American highway and industrial landscape, such as Highway U.S. 1 – No. 3 (1963; Richmond, VA Mus. F.A.). Such large-scale canvases visually transported the viewer through a time sequence, as if travelling along a highway, catching glimpses of trees, dividing lines, signs and route markers. In subsequent works D’Arcangelo continued to examine the American landscape both as directly experienced and in the form of generalized contemporary symbols. An essentially flat and impersonal style allowed him to suggest an illusionistic space without sacrificing the viewer’s consciousness of the picture plane. This ambiguity between real and fictive space is further enforced in works such as ...

Article

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 learnt 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 (1912–92).

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

Article

Alberto Cernuschi

(Julio)

(b Guatemala City, Dec 11, 1903; d Glen Ridge, NJ, April 4, 1981).

American painter and printmaker of Guatemalan birth. Of Polish, German, and Danish heritage, he started school in Denmark and completed high school in San Diego, CA, after working as a seaman and as a farmer in Guatemala. He eventually decided to train as a painter, studying at the San Diego Fine Arts School in 1925 and with Hans Hofmann in Munich in 1926–7. He settled permanently in the USA only in 1934. The patronage of Saidie Alder May (d 1951), a wealthy woman whom he met in 1927 as a fellow student of Hofmann, made it possible for him to dedicate himself to the study of colour theory (especially that of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe), Mayan and Inca cultures, science, mathematics, and philosophy. Much of this knowledge was later transposed into complex, diagrammatic pictures such as Family Portrait (1958) and The Great Mystery II (1960...

Article

Margaret Moore Booker

(b El Paso, TX, Jul 30, 1940; d Hondo, NM, Jun 13, 2006).

Hispanic American sculptor and printmaker. He specialized in larger-than-life, vibrantly colored, fiberglass, and epoxy sculptures that celebrate humanity and reflect his Mexican American heritage. He was also an accomplished printmaker (lithographs and etchings) and draftsman (colored-pencil drawings). As the “Godfather” of Chicano art, the artist of working-class people and mentor to numerous Hispanic artists, he played an important role in bringing Chicano sensibilities into mainstream art.

Born the son of an illegal immigrant, Jiménez grew up in El Paso, TX, where he learned to weld, wire, and airbrush in his father’s neon-sign shop. After receiving a BFA in 1964 at the University of Texas at Austin, and a brief stay in Mexico City, he moved to New York City where he worked with Seymour Lipton (1903–1986) and found success parodying 1960s American pop culture in his work.

In the early 1970s he returned to the Southwest (eventually dividing his time between El Paso and Hondo, NM), where he gained success and controversy as a sculptor of outdoor figures. Drawing inspiration from the social realist Mexican and Works Progress Administration (WPA) murals, he combined large scale, color, and pose to create a dramatic and heroic effect in his work. Like the New Mexican ...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Buenos Aires, Oct 12, 1914; d Iowa City, April 2, 2012).

American printmaker and teacher of Argentine birth. He began studying painting, sculpture and printmaking at the age of 19 at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, and from 1935 he devoted himself primarily to printmaking. From the beginning, for example in the drypoint Head (1939; Buenos Aires, Mus. Mun. A. Plást. Sívori), his work was characterized by its variety of expression and by its concern with the human figure, often at critical moments such as birth or death or in the throes of love. On being awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to travel to the USA in 1943 he spent a year at the Metropolitan Museum in New York studying their collection of contemporary and Old Master prints. On the renewal of his grant he worked at S. W. Hayter’s Atelier 17, devoting himself above all to improving his technique in intaglio printing.

Lasansky played an active role in the revaluation of printmaking as a creative rather than reproductive process, and he learnt from both the Renaissance tradition and from Picasso’s habit of working directly on the plate rather than from preparatory studies. In ...

Article

Anne K. Swartz

(b Oklahoma City, OK, 1946).

American painter and printmaker. MacConnel grew up in Oklahoma City, OK, and traveled frequently, especially to Mexico. He received a BA with honors in visual art at the University of California at San Diego, La Jolla (UCSD). He was a California State Scholar in 1970. MacConnel received an MFA with honors from UCSD. While a graduate student, he met visiting critic and art historian Amy Goldin, a visiting professor. He also met Robert Kushner, who was also a student in Goldin’s class and who also befriended Goldin. Goldin taught them in a seminar called “The Art Box,” where she encouraged the students to look beyond definitions of the current art world. She wanted the students to consider visual culture—everything from quilts to folk art—as related to contemporary art. Decoration was one of the things she encouraged MacConnel to examine. Decorations was his first solo show in 1971 at UCSD where he showed work inspired by world decoration. In his work, he combined and juxtaposed unexpected and often unorthodox images and patterns. His work had strong reminiscences in the bold coloring and strong patterning of such artists as Henri Matisse, who also considered non-Western source material. He became one of the founding artists of the ...

Article

Ann Harlow and Sally Mills

[Javier Timoteo Martinez y Orozco]

(b Guadalajara, Mexico, Feb 7, 1869; d Carmel, CA, Jan 13, 1943).

American painter and printmaker of Mexican birth. At a young age he began sketching and painting in watercolor and attended art classes at the Liceo de Varones in his native Guadalajara; later he studied Pre-Columbian excavations and designs, taking special interest in his own Tarascan Indian heritage. His mother died in 1886, and he was taken under the wing of (and possibly adopted by) the socially prominent Rosalia La Bastida de Coney. After her husband, Alexander K. Coney, became Mexican Consul-General in San Francisco in 1892, Martinez joined them and in 1893 enrolled at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, where he studied under Arthur F. Mathews. Although he was handicapped at first by his limited English, he was a gifted and favored pupil, who by the time he graduated in 1897 had won the school’s highest honors and been appointed assistant to Mathews, by then the school’s director.

Martinez traveled to Paris in the autumn of ...

Article

Ricardo Pau-Llosa

(b Havana, April 16, 1951).

Cuban painter and printmaker, active in the USA. He arrived in the USA in 1960 and grew up in Philadelphia, PA. He obtained his BFA from the University of Florida, Gainesville, in 1973 and his MFA from the University of South Florida, Tampa, in 1978. He came from an artistic family, and in his work he drew successfully on his dual Latin- and North-American legacies. From North America he derived his cultivation of constructed and flat, painted surfaces, a legacy of Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. From Latin America he derived a love of signs and a preoccupation with the functions of language, pioneered by Joaquín Torres García. Mateo’s abstractions, for example Untitled (1986; see 1987–8 exh. cat., p. 11), are in his words about the ‘“grammar” of rhythm and process’ in the plastic sense, and how ‘the limitations of a physical space can determine structure and form’.

J. Milani...