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W. Iain Mackay

(b Bordeaux, Sept 13, 1907; d Lima, June 4, 1970).

Peruvian painter, teacher and photographer of French birth. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, Lima, under José Sabogal from 1920 before attending the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, in 1924. In 1925 he left to study under Fernand Léger, André Lhôte and Othon Friesz, among others, and he took part in various salons in Paris during the 1930s. His work at this time was influenced particularly by that of Cézanne, Matisse and Braque. In 1937 Grau returned to Peru, becoming one of the first representatives in Latin America of modern European painting, which stood in contrast with the Indigenist style then prevalent in Peru. Grau taught at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima (1942) and was Director of the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes from 1945 to 1949. During this period his palette brightened, and by the 1950s he was showing considerable interest in Surrealism and in the art of such Pre-Columbian cultures as the Nazca and Chimú and particularly the Vicús (of which he had a substantial collection of artefacts). He returned to abstract art in the 1960s, using colour as an independent means of expression. In ...