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Article

Togolese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 12 February 1977, in Lomé.

Painter (mixed media).

Félix Agbokou studied under Sokey Edoth between 1996 and 1999. He abandoned realism in favour of depicting a fantasy world, and his paintings are spontaneous to the extent that they have no predefined theme. Painted at night and by candlelight, each series of paintings is directly inspired by its immediate surroundings: Lomé, Kouma, Abouri or Ghana. Agbokou uses materials that come readily to hand - leaves of indigenous plants or the bark of local trees - and mixes them with acrylic paint, outlining his forms and individual colours with a black line obtained from a mixture of coconut milk and old nails. His work has featured at group exhibitions, including the ...

Article

Gavin Stamp

(b Cobham, Kent, June 9, 1862; d Cobham, Feb 4, 1946).

English architect and writer, also active in South Africa and India . He was articled to a cousin, Arthur Baker, a former assistant of George Gilbert Scott I, in 1879 and attended classes at the Architectural Association and Royal Academy Schools before joining the office of George & Peto in London (1882), where he first met and befriended Edwin Lutyens. Baker set up in independent practice in 1890 but moved to South Africa in 1892 to join his brother Lionel Baker. In Cape Town he met Cecil Rhodes, Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, who directed his attention to the traditional European Cape Dutch architecture of the province and asked him to rebuild his house Groote Schuur (1893, 1897), now the official residence of South Africa’s prime ministers. Applying the ideas of the English Arts and Crafts movement to local conditions, Baker produced a series of houses, both in the Cape Province and the Transvaal, which were instrumental in the revival of Cape Dutch architecture. In ...

Article

Moroccan, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1861; died 1939.

Painter. Urban landscapes, landscapes with figures.

Ben Ali R'Bati lived in Tangiers, and it was here that he set up his studio-shop, in the middle of the kasbah. He painted typical scenes from daily life in Tangiers....

Article

Martha Schwendener

[Ben Youseph Nathan, Esther Zeghdda]

(b London, Nov 21, 1869; d Brooklyn, NY, Nov 27, 1933).

American photographer. Born Esther Zeghdda Ben Youseph Nathan to a German mother and an Algerian father, she immigrated to the United States in 1895. She worked as a milliner in New York before opening a photographic portrait studio in 1897. Her ‘gallery of illustrious Americans’ featured actresses, politicians, and fashionable socialites, including President Theodore Roosevelt, author Edith Wharton, artist William Merritt Chase, and actress Julia Marlowe. Ben-Yusuf also created Pictorialist-inspired artwork like The Odor of Pomegranates (1899; see fig.), an allegory informed by the myth of Persephone and the idea of the pomegranate as a tantalizing but odourless fruit. Ben-Yusuf was included in an exhibition organized by the Linked Ring, Brotherhood of the in London in 1896 and continued to exhibit in the group’s annual exhibitions until 1902. Her photographs were exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1898 and at the Camera Club of New York in ...

Article

Malian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1948, in Kayes.

Painter.

Ismaël Diabaté graduated in 1968 from the Bamako national institute of arts and started out painting in a conventionally Western Realist manner. By the mid-1970s, however, he had become increasingly interested in the work of the ...

Article

Moroccan, 20th century, male.

Born 1924, near Marrakech.

Painter. Figures.

Symbolism.

The absence of figurative representation in much traditional Islamic art is less the result of a religious ban than a symptom of the religion's symbolic relationship with the world. Drissi's painting is characterised by this ambiguity: in painting figures in given situations, he nevertheless strips them of their bodily appearance, creating strictly hieratic shapes cloaked either in a burnous or a djellaba, featureless faces, and oppressive, empty surrounds where the living are never far from the grave....

Article

Algerian, 20th century, male.

Active in Spain since 1963.

Born 11 April 1940, in Tlemcen.

Painter, watercolourist. Figures, landscapes.

Symbolism.

Farid Falsa has had solo exhibitions in the Spanish cities of Salamanca, Málaga and Valladolid. He paints watercolour landscapes using generous brush strokes.

Ayllon (MCA)...

Article

Betsy Cogger Rezelman

(b Cahirconlish, Co. Limerick, Aug 28, 1847; d Penzance, Cornwall, June 22, 1926).

Irish painter and writer. He attempted various professions, including diamond-mining and journalism in South Africa (1872–7), before becoming an artist. At the Koninklijke Academie, Antwerp (1878–80), under Charles Verlat, in Paris (1881–4) as a student of Carolus-Duran and in Venice (1885) Garstin became friends with future Newlyn school painters. Saint’s House and Field, Tangier (1885; Plymouth, City Mus. & A.G.), a small oil panel painted en plein air, exemplifies both the medium and the suggestive approach he preferred throughout his career. In 1886 he married and settled in Newlyn and then Penzance (1890). Financial pressures forced him to produce portraits and such large anecdotal genre scenes as Her Signal (exh. RA 1892; Truro, Co. Mus. & A.G.) for which his talents for simplified forms and surface design were less well suited. Though he exhibited widely, he received little recognition. Garstin supplemented his income by writing, lecturing, teaching and, from ...

Article

South African, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1871; died 1939.

Painter, watercolourist. Landscapes.

Robert Gwelo Goodman was a meticulous artist who portrayed nature with great sincerity.

Cape Town: October; Nature at Rest; a watercolour

London, 27 April 1908: Hayling Island (...

Article

Elizabeth Meredith Dowling

(b Johannesburg, Sept 7, 1938).

American architect, teacher, historian, and writer of South African birth. Greenberg’s quiet, gentlemanly demeanor reflected the time-honored traditional and classical architecture he created over four decades. His stylistic choices are rooted in research and aesthetics. His fascination with 18th- and 19th-century American architecture is related to its genesis in the American Revolution and the commitment of those architects to expressing American democratic ideals in architectural form.

Greenberg graduated from King Edward VII School, a private preparatory school in Johannesburg, in 1955. He received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in 1961. Unlike American architecture schools of the period, his training was classically based and included drawing the historic models of Classical and Gothic architecture from memory. During his apprenticeship, he worked with Jørn Utzon in Hellebæk, Denmark, in 1962 during the design phase of the Sydney Opera House. In 1963, he continued his apprenticeship working with both ...

Article

Bolaji V. Campbell

(b Efon-Alaye, c. 1860; d 1938).

Nigerian wood-carver. Little is known of his training except that he moved to Ise to work at the court of the king, where he served as court messenger. He carved for the king of Ise as well as for other regional rulers and wealthy Yoruba families. At one point he had up to 15 apprentices in his studio. He worked within the conventions of Yoruba carving, creating standard forms: multi-tiered house-posts (see fig.), doors, divination bowls and boxes. Yet his treatment was innovative: some of his relief carvings were so deep that figures appear nearly fully round. As can be seen in the door from the palace at Ikere-Ekiti (1906; London, BM), he gave complex and active poses to these elongated, angular figures and applied enamel paint to his pieces earlier than most other carvers. His door panels are sometimes narrative, recording historical events and personages such as British colonial officers. He was known in particular for the attention given to the surface of his works, where hair and jewellery are clearly shown. Two doors included in the ...

Article

C. J. M. Walker

(b Melbourne, Jan 2, 1870; d Cape Town, Nov 20, 1948).

South African architect. His parents were English, and he was educated in London and worked for a builder, S. J. Jerrard, from 1885 to 1887; he then studied architecture at the University of London (1887–90). In 1889 he was articled to Roger Smith & Gale, London, and he subsequently worked for them, for William Emerson and for Ernest George & Yates before leaving for South Africa early in 1896. He settled in the Cape, working for J. Parker, Sydney Stent and then for Herbert Baker in Cape Town, all in 1896. He became a junior partner in the firm of Baker & Masey (c. 1899), and from 1902 to 1905 he ran the office in Bloemfontein while he supervised work on the new government offices for the Orange River Colony. In 1906 he became a senior partner and, on Francis Masey’s departure in 1910, a principal in the new partnership of ...

Article

C. J. M. Walker

(Edward)

(b London, Nov 18, 1861; d Salisbury, Rhodesia [now Harare, Zimbabwe], Sept 3, 1912).

English architect active in South Africa and Rhodesia. He was apprenticed to his father, the architect Philip Masey, in London for two years before entering the office of Alfred Waterhouse (1878). In 1887 he became a student in the Royal Academy Schools, London, and he won several prizes that enabled him to visit France (1889) and Italy (1891). In 1896 he went to Cape Town on a three-year contract with the Public Works Department, but soon after his arrival he met Herbert Baker, broke his contract and entered practice with him; the partnership of Baker & Masey was formed in 1899. Their first success was winning the competition for the City Club (1896–7), Cape Town, built to a classical design with Baroque gables and domes. Masey’s studies in Italy were a major influence on the use of the Italianate style frequently adopted by the practice, particularly before Baker’s visit to see Classical sites in Europe in ...

Article

South African, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Belgium.

Born 1946, in Johannesburg.

Painter, lithographer.

Symbolism.

Gabriel Meiring studied piano before becoming a self-taught visual artist. His work is an interpretation of the former 'Modern Style'.

Article

Fani-Maria Tsigakou

(b Alexandria, May 10, 1878; d Athens, July 1967).

Greek painter of Egyptian birth. He studied in Vienna under the German painter Karl Dieffenbach (b 1851) and first exhibited at the Boehms Künstlerhaus in 1899. His first exhibition in Athens was in 1900. From 1903–7 he lived on the island of Poros where he painted the frescoes for the church of St Nicholas. In 1908 he decorated the church of St George in Cairo. From 1909 to 1911 he lived in Paris, where he participated in the Salon d’Automne. In 1910 he received an award for his painting The Hillside, and in 1911 he won first prize at an exhibition of religious art for his painting of the Annunciation. He returned to Greece in 1912, living in Corfu for five years, before finally settling in Athens in 1917. In 1918 he was commissioned to decorate the church of St Alexander at Paleo Phaliro. In 1920, after a retrospective exhibition of his work at the Záppeion, Athens, he received the art and literature award of the Academy of Athens. In ...

Article

Colette E. Bidon

(b Algiers, March 23, 1861; d Marlotte, Seine-et-Marne, March 1932).

French painter and designer. He began his career painting the Algerian scenes of his youth, rendering Orientalist subjects—such as markets and musicians—with a distinctive, unaffected precision. In 1888 he went to Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Auguste Herst (b 1825) and Fernand Cormon. He exhibited at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts from 1890.

The discovery of Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites, and a visit to Italy in 1894, led Point to model his work on the artists of the Florentine Renaissance. The inspiration of Botticelli and Leonardo can be seen in such works as the Eternal Chimera (c. 1895; London, Piccadilly Gal.). Under the dominating influence of Gustave Moreau, his work was also aligned with Symbolism. He became a disciple of Rosicrucianism and a friend of Sâr Peladan, fastidiously rejecting the modern industrial world and what he considered the excessive realism of Zola or Courbet. He painted magicians, endowed with a pure and ancient beauty, or figures of Greek mythology (e.g. ...

Article

Pamela H. Simpson

(b Bozanquit, Ont., Sept 27, 1860; d Palo Alto, CA, Sept 4, 1950).

American sculptor. Raised in Colorado when it was still a frontier state, Proctor’s identification with the West was a key element of his work. Initially known as an animalier sculptor, he later did a number of figural monuments. In 1885 he went east to study at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design and in 1893 to Paris where he worked with Denys Puech and (Jean-)Antoine Injalbert. He interrupted his studies a year later to return to New York to model horses for Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s General Logan (1897; Chicago, Grant Park) and the Sherman Monument (1892–1903; New York, Grand Army Plaza), but in 1896 with a traveling fellowship returned to Paris. He settled in New York in 1900, but frequently visited the West and in 1914 moved to Idaho, then Oregon, and in 1918 to California. Known for his western themes, Proctor was a well-respected and much-admired sculptor who resisted modernism and worked in the Beaux-Arts style for his entire career....

Article

Moroccan, 20th century, male.

Born 26 October 1944, in Boulemane (Fez).

Painter, draughtsman.

Abdelkébir Rabi is self-taught. He started out painting figurative works in the Impressionist tradition; then, discovering contemporary painters and impressed by Nicholas de Staël, he moved progressively towards Abstraction. He is prominent among those Moroccan artists whose gestural Abstraction stems directly from Arabic calligraphy....

Article

C. J. M. Walker

(b Plymouth, July 1856; d Cape Town, Oct 1922).

South African architect of English birth. He trained in England, moving to South Africa in 1877. After working in the Cape for several years he moved to Johannesburg (1887), reputedly the first trained architect to practice in the town. In partnership with R. L. McCowat (c. 1885–1925) he designed the second Rand Club (1893; destr. 1903) and the first Johannesburg General Hospital (1889). Both buildings were semi-classical, High Victorian structures with pediments over every aperture. They were characteristic of the nature of many early buildings in Johannesburg and elsewhere in South Africa, becoming a vernacular easily resorted to by architects of no particular distinction but providing the backdrop against which the work of more talented architects was evident. Reid was among the first architects in South Africa to develop branch practices. In 1897 Reid returned to Cape Town, leaving his brother Walter Reid (...

Article

German, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 18 March 1931, in Berlin, Germany.

Active in South Africa from 1950.

Photojournalist, documentary photographer. Figures, city life, apartheid history.

After working as a photographer in Berlin and Hamburg, Jürgen Schadeberg moved to South Africa in 1950. He settled in Johannesburg in ...