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Article

(b Mexico City, Jul 28, 1874; d Mexico City, Mar 30, 1938).

Mexican photographer, journalist, and collector. Casasola initially studied typography before becoming a reporter in 1894. He probably began taking photographs to illustrate his articles and in 1902 traveled to Veracruz to photograph a tour by President Porfirio Díaz. Newspapers that publicly criticized Díaz or his government were often harassed or closed, thus articles and their illustrations often focused exclusively on positive aspects of Mexican life, such as the development of infrastructure, the growth of trade, and the pastimes of the elites living in Mexico City (see Monasterio 2003, 32–41). At the same time, Casasola sometimes photographed scenes of everyday life, traveling, for example, to haciendas near Mexico City to photograph the peasant farmworkers. In these images he took care, lest he attract the ire of the government, to avoid any display of the harsh conditions that characterized life for the majority of Mexicans outside of the capital.

In 1905 Agustín and his brother Miguel were both working as photographers for ...

Article

Mexican, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1952, in Vigo, Spain.

Painter. Portraits.

Rafael Cidoncha is known mainly for his portraits, notably those of the art collector Mrs Natasha Gelman (1996) in which he reproduces Frida Kahlo's 1943 Self-portrait with Monkeys. He has also received official commissions including a portrait of King Juan Carlos of Spain, commissioned by the city of Seville. Cidoncha has shown his work in exhibitions in Madrid, New York, Brussels and Frankfurt. In ...

Article

Jorge Luján-Muñoz

(b Quetzaltenango, Jan 26, 1897; d Guatemala City, June 1, 1970).

Guatemalan painter, collector and writer. He began his artistic studies in Quetzaltenango, where he was fortunate to come into contact with the Spanish painter Jaime Sabartés (1881–1968) and Carlos Mérida, with whom he became friends. He continued his studies in Guatemala City and then in Mexico City at the Real Academia de San Carlos, where his fellow students included Rufino Tamayo, Roberto Montenegro and Miguel Covarrubias. He returned briefly to Guatemala only to leave for Europe. He studied in Madrid at the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando and from 1924 to 1925 lived in Paris. He returned to Guatemala City in 1927 and in 1928 became director of the Academia de Bellas Artes. By then he had developed a style derived from French Impressionism, although he gradually moved towards a more naturalistic style, perhaps in response to the taste of his clients.

Garavito generally painted in oils on a medium or small scale, concentrating on the beautiful Guatemalan landscape, of which he can in a sense be considered the ‘discoverer’. His preferred subjects were the mountains, volcanoes and lakes of the Guatemalan high plateau, and he was the first to incorporate in his works the Indians in their brightly coloured clothes. He was the central figure and teacher of a group of figurative painters and painters working in a naturalistic style, such as ...

Article

Ramón Alfonso Méndez Brignardello

(b Santiago, 1905; d 1999).

Chilean architect, collector and teacher. His family, in which he was the youngest of 14 children, moved from Chile to Europe in 1919 in anticipation of Chilean political and social unrest. He had no formal training but learnt much from travelling around Europe, attending some private classes and being in the company of adults. He knew the works of Proust, Apollinaire, Gide and Picasso, and became interested in the arts and avant-garde thought, familiarizing himself with the Bauhaus, Gropius, Le Corbusier and others. He decided to become an architect, and on returning to Chile studied architecture at the Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (qualified 1928), where teaching still followed Beaux-Arts methods. His first work was done in the practice of his cousin Jorge Arteaga, who passed on a commission to design the Edificio Oberpaur, Santiago (1929), reputedly the first work of contemporary architecture in Chile. The six-storey department store and office space was influenced by Erich Mendelsohn’s expressionistic style. Characterized by its continuous ‘wrap-around’ windows, the Oberpaur building was also the first in Chile to have ...

Article

Noémie Goldman and Kim Oosterlinck

Term for the return of lost or looted cultural objects to their country of origin, former owners, or their heirs. The loss of the object may happen in a variety of contexts (armed conflicts, war, colonialism, imperialism, or genocide), and the nature of the looted cultural objects may also vary, ranging from artworks, such as paintings and sculptures, to human remains, books, manuscripts, and religious artefacts. An essential part of the process of restitution is the seemingly unavoidable conflict around the transfer of the objects in question from the current to the former owners. Ownership disputes of this nature raise legal, ethical, and diplomatic issues. The heightened tensions in the process arise because the looting of cultural objects challenges, if not breaks down, relationships between peoples, territories, cultures, and heritages.

The history of plundering and art imperialism may be traced back to ancient times. Looting has been documented in many instances from the sack by the Romans of the Etruscan city of Veii in ...

Article

Leonor Morales

[Chucho]

(b Guadalajara, Oct 10, 1882; d Mexico City, Aug 5, 1977).

Mexican painter, sculptor, and collector. He led a very curious life, surrounded by the antiques that he collected. In Guadalajara and later in Mexico City he produced what he called his ‘smeared papers’: sheets of India paper painted with washes of brilliantly coloured aniline dyes that he prepared himself, with the occasional addition of silver or gilt. Horses and cockerels were his favourite subjects, but he also painted exhausted girls, bleeding Christs, angels, demons and angel–demons, skulls, clowns, prostitutes, circus performers, monks, doves, and flowers. His painting has a very particular charm, inspired by popular and colonial art, the aesthetic value of which he was instrumental in promoting. Though influenced by Georges Rouault and by Marc Chagall (whom he met in Mexico in 1942), he was one of the most original figures in 20th-century Mexican art.

Kassner, L. S. de: Jesús Reyes Ferreira: Su universo pictórico. Mexico City, 1978....

Article

Mexican, 20th century, male.

Born 1882, in Guadalajara; died 1977, in Mexico.

Painter. Figures, scenes with figures, animals.

Jesús Reyes-Ferreira was an antiquarian and a collector as well as an artist. He settled in Mexico in the 1930s.

In 2001 his work was included in the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, ...

Article

Xavier Moyssén

(b Oaxaca, Aug 29, 1899; d June 24, 1991).

Mexican painter, printmaker, sculptor and collector. He is one of a select group of Mexican painters who attained international reputations in the 20th century, in his case sustained over a long and varied career. Opposed to the ideological current represented by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco, he eschewed ephemeral political messages in favour of purely pictorial and aesthetic questions. He came from a region in Mexico noted for its traditions and indigenous groups, its Pre-Columbian art and highly-coloured popular art, all of which influenced his work as early as Woman in Grey (1931; Mexico City, Mus. A. Mod.), a primitivistic image of a female nude. Throughout his life he collected more than 1000 Pre-Columbian ceramics and sculptures, donating them in 1974 to the people of Oaxaca as the Museo de Arte Prehispánico.

On the death of his parents in 1911, Tamayo settled in Mexico City to live with his aunt. He attended the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes from ...

Article

Teresa del Conde

(b Juchitán, Oaxaca, July 17, 1940).

Mexican painter, sculptor, textile designer, printmaker and collector. He grew up in an area that was rich in legends, rites and beliefs springing from a strong rural 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 (b 1926). 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 one-man shows of gouaches and prints in 1959 in Fort Worth, TX, 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 oriental cultures and in ancient Mexican art, especially in those forms that were not officially sanctioned. In his attitude towards the sustaining inspiration of traditions he was particularly close to Paul Klee....