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Article

Aurélie Verdier

(b Saïda, Algeria, 1953).

French painter, sculptor, photographer, film maker, writer and installation artist of Algerian birth. Born to Spanish parents, he was much affected by North African as well as Southern European culture. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre. Despite a pervasive and diverse use of media, Alberola often stressed the coexistence of his different artistic practices as leading to painting alone. His paintings relied heavily on evocative narratives, at once personal and ‘historical’. Alberola conceived of his role as a storyteller, on the model of African oral cultures. Convinced that narratives could not be renewed, he argued that a painter’s main task was to reactivate his work through contact with his pictorial heritage. The main points of reference for his paintings of the early 1980s were Velázquez, Manet or Matisse, whose works he quoted in a personal way. In the early 1980s he undertook a series of paintings inspired by mythological subjects, which he combined with his own history as the principal subject-matter of his work. The biblical story of Susannah and the Elders as well as the Greek myth of Actaeon provided his most enduring subjects, both referring to the act of looking as taboo, as in ...

Article

Shannen Hill

Apartheid, an Afrikaans word meaning ‘separateness’, was a system of racial segregation in South Africa that curtailed the economic, political, and social rights of black, coloured, and Indian people. Enforced through the legislation of the National Party, apartheid was the rule of the land between 1948 and 1994. Apartheid affected art and art-making in three primary areas: expressions of nationalism; limited access to education and commercial art markets for black, coloured, and Indian artists; and articulations of political resistance to this system of governance.

Although apartheid is equated with the 20th century, its notions of segregation predate this period. As descendants of Dutch settlers who first settled in southern Africa in 1651, Afrikaners were long at odds with people indigenous to this region and with British and German imperialists who sought to colonize it in the 19th century. In Afrikaner lore, the Great Trek (1835–52) represents the spirit of struggle to claim a land in the name of God. The pilgrimage was driven by a desire both to civilize a so-called heathen place through the introduction of Christianity and to establish a republic free of English intrusion in the heartland. This spirit is embodied by Pioneers (...

Article

Willemijn Stokvis

(b Constantine, Algeria, Jan 23, 1913; d Paris, Feb 12, 1960).

French painter, lithographer and writer. The Jewish intellectual milieu in which he grew up led to his interest in philosophy and religion, and from 1930 to 1934 he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. While in Paris, however, he was confronted with modern painting for the first time, and his interest in poetry was awakened. Recognizing a means of expressing his interest in magical phenomena, in 1941 he began to paint and write poetry. His activity in the Résistance and his Jewish ancestry led to his arrest in 1942; by pleading insanity he was able to save himself but was confined to the Sainte Anne asylum, where he wrote poetry and painted. In the autumn of 1944, shortly after leaving the asylum, his first and only collection of poems, Le Sang profond, was published, and he exhibited drawings at the Galerie Arc en Ciel.

During the immediate post-war years Atlan’s work was well received in Paris. He had a one-man show in ...

Article

Carol Magee

(b Dec 8, 1956).

Ethiopian painter, installation artist, graphic designer, and writer, active in the USA. She grew up in Addis Ababa in a family of painters before moving to the USA. She graduated from Howard University, Washington, DC, with a BFA in painting (1975) and returned in 1994 for an MFA. Her early works, based on dreams or visions, have richly textured surfaces. In the 1980s she abandoned her early palette of reds, ochres, and greens for one of purples and blues. Later paintings depict an urban environment and frequently evoke the feeling of dislocation and nostalgia that comes from living in a country that is not one’s own. Her use of themes and motifs from myriad cultures (including those of Ethiopia and Latin America) comes out of her experiences as a diasporic subject as well as the lives of the women around her. Her pieces often tell their stories, as in the Dream Dancers series (...

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

Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Nigeria, 1963).

Nigerian photographer, film maker, installation artist and writer active in Scotland. He studied Chemical Engineering at Strathclyde University, Glasgow (1981–85), before completing an MA in Media, Fine Art, Theory and Practice at the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1996–8). Bamgboyé’s earliest work was photographic: The Lighthouse series (1989; see 1998 book, p. 65) initiated his interest in the representation of black masculinity by depicting his own naked body in often theatrical contortions, amid mundane domestic rooms; the frames of the photographs are attached to coat hangers, underlining the theme of domesticity and pointing to his interest in the changeable character of subjectivity. These themes were further explored in films, which he began to make in 1993: Spells for Beginners (1994; see 2000 exh. cat., p. 74) explores the breakdown of his long-term relationship with a woman through a broken mix of confessional dialogue and fleeting images of their home. The installation of which this film is a part takes the form of an ordinary living room and is typical of Bamgboyé’s technique of adumbrating his imagery with sculptural motifs that emphasize his themes. In other films he explored the issue of migration: ...

Article

James Smalls

The Black Arts Movement spans the period from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. Inherently and overtly political in content, it was an artistic, cultural and literary movement in America promoted to advance African American “social engagement.” In a 1968 essay titled “The Black Arts Movement,” African American scholar Larry Neal (1937–81) proclaimed it as the “artistic and spiritual sister of the Black Power concept.” The use of the term “Black Power” originated in 1966 with Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) civil rights workers Stokely Carmichael and Willie Ricks. Quickly adopted in the North, Black Power was associated with a militant advocacy of armed self-defense, separation from “racist American domination” and pride in and assertion of the goodness and beauty of “Blackness.”

In addition to “Black Power,” the slogan “Black is Beautiful” also became part of the Black Arts Movement and the Black Cultural Movement (also known as Black Aesthetics). The aim of these maxims was to counter and dispel the widespread notion throughout Western cultures that black people’s natural features, such as skin color, facial characteristics and hair, were inherently ugly. The central purpose was to subvert decades of anti-black rhetoric and “to make African Americans totally and irreversibly proud of their racial and cultural heritage.” Black Arts Movement cultural theorists and artists reasoned that promotion of a black aesthetic was mandatory to help the African American community perceive itself as not only beautiful, but also as proud of the legacy of African American achievement, self-determinacy and self-identification with all black peoples throughout the African diaspora. The tone was militant and separatist, not conciliatory and assimilationist, and resulted in a call for a revolutionary art that spoke to a definable black aesthetic. In ...

Article

Carol Magee

(b Johannesburg, 1972).

South African multi-media artist, active in the USA. She received a BA in fine arts (University of Witwatersrand, 1993), an MA in art history (University of Chicago, 1995), and an MPhil in art history (Columbia University, New York, 1997). She was a fellow of the Whitney Independent Studio Program, New York (1996–7). Her work has been regularly included in biennials (including among others Johannesburg 1995, São Paulo 1998 and Venice (2005)), has been shown extensively in international solo and group exhibitions, and is owned by museums and private collectors throughout the world. In 2007 she was awarded the Prix International d’Art Contemporain by the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco. In photography, video, and installation, Breitz turns an insightful, playful, and critical eye towards issues of representation, identity, media, global capital, consumerism, celebrity, fandom, and language. Her work stretches from the problem of the cult of the individual to the question of how cultural and other forms of identity are established and maintained. In ...

Article

South African, 20th century, male.

Painter, writer.

Breytenbach was an anti-apartheid militant and was imprisoned for seven years in Pollsmoor near the Cape. Since he was not allowed to paint, he wrote novels and drew secretly with matches and soap. His painting, both before and after his imprisonment, shows remarkable continuity, as though he had simply taken up the brush again with increased violence and greater irony. His use of colour makes the images more incisive in a Surrealist style....

Article

Barry Bergdoll

(b Marseille, Nov 26, 1787; d Marseille, Feb 8, 1879).

French architect and writer. The designer of many of the principal public buildings of Marseille, he also published the first accurate records of the Islamic monuments of Cairo, North Africa and the Middle East—a central interest of mid-19th-century architectural theorists and ornamentalists.

After studying both engineering and drawing in Marseille, Coste began his career in 1804 as site inspector and draughtsman for the Neo-classicist Michel-Robert Penchaud, a municipal and departmental architect, for whom he worked for a decade. In 1814, on the recommendation of the architects Percier & Fontaine, he entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the ateliers of Antoine-Laurent-Thomas Vaudoyer and Jean-Baptiste Labadye (1777–1850). An encounter in Paris with the geographer Jombert, who had been a member of the scientific mission that accompanied Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798, was to influence his subsequent career. In 1817 Jombert recommended Coste to Muhammad ‛Ali, Khedive of Egypt (...

Article

(b Givry, nr Chalon-sur-Saône, Jan 4, 1747; d Paris, April 28, 1825).

French museum director, writer, graphic artist, collector, archaeologist and diplomat. He was the son of a provincial aristocrat. He went to Paris to further his law studies c. 1765 but entered the studio of Noël Hallé. He became Gentleman-in-Ordinary to Louis XV and was appointed keeper of the collection of engraved gems and medals that Mme de Pompadour had left to the King. In 1772 he entered the diplomatic service as attaché to the French embassy at St Petersburg, he was subsequently posted to Stockholm, Geneva (where his disrespectful engraving Repast at Ferney, of 4 July 1775, angered Voltaire) and, from spring 1776, Naples. There he became acquainted with Sir William Hamilton, the British ambassador, and made many drawings of his future wife Emma. Denon began to acquire a diverse collection of paintings and engravings as well as antiquities from excavations at Nola, Catania, Agrigento, Pompeii and Herculaneum. He purchased the painting of the ...

Article

Susan Kart

(b Nairobi, 1958).

Kenyan photographer, multimedia and performance artist, and teacher of Indian descent, active in the USA. DeSouza was born in Kenya to Indian parents. Raised in London from the age of 7, he called his background that of a ‘double colonial history’. DeSouza attended Goldsmiths College in London and the Bath Academy of Art, and although he has worked primarily in photography and as a writer on contemporary art, he has also branched out into performance art, digital painting, and textual and mixed media arts. He moved to the USA in 1992 and in 2012 became of Head of Photography at the University of California, Berkeley.

The primary themes in deSouza’s work are those of colonial encounter, seen in Indigena/Assimilado (1998), a photographic series of migrant workers in Los Angeles; migration, as explored in Threshold (1996–8), his early photographic series of airports empty of people; exile, which he explored in ...

Article

Hélène Bocard

(b Paris, Feb 8, 1822; d Baden-Baden, Feb 9, 1894).

French photographer and writer. He was from a wealthy background, and he learnt calotype photography from Gustave Le Gray and Alexis de Lagrange. In 1849 he was sent by the Ministère de l’Instruction Publique on a mission to the Middle East to record the monuments and inscriptions. He undertook the trip (1849–51) with his friend the writer Gustave Flaubert, and during his travels he used a modified calotype process imparted to him by Alexis de Lagrange. He brought back c. 200 pictures from Egypt and some from Jerusalem and Baalbek. The album Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie: Dessins photographiques recueillis pendant les années 1849, 1850, 1851, accompagnés d’un texte explicatif et précédés d’une introduction was published by Gide and Baudry in 1852–4 (copy in Paris, Bib. Inst.; prints in Paris, Mus. d’Orsay; Paris, Bib. N.; Paris, Inst. Géog. N.). It contains 125 calotypes printed by Louis-Désiré Blanquart-Evrard, and it was the first printed work in France to be illustrated with ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Zagazig, Dec 20, 1906; d Cairo, Feb 21, 1963).

Egyptian historian, sociologist, playwright, literary critic, linguist and art historian. He attended secondary school at the Jesuit Collège de la Sainte-Famille, Cairo, and then pursued his higher education under Ahmad Zaki Pasha in Cairo and at the Sorbonne in Paris under the Orientalists Louis Massignon and Maurice Gaudefroy-Demombynes. In 1932 he completed two doctoral theses on pre-Islamic Arabia, one on the concept of honour, the other on the nature of linguistic exposition. He travelled widely in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon and Turkey, and in the 1940s began to dedicate more time to writing plays, short stories and literary criticism. He was also editor of the literary journal Al-Muqtaṭaf and researched Egyptian folklore. From 1948 he was consultant to the Egyptian delegation to UNESCO and from 1958 secretary-general of the French Institut d’Egypte. From 1942 he wrote about Islamic art, especially illustrated manuscripts of the 12th to the 14th century from Iraq and Syria, from the point of view of aesthetics and Christian and Muslim iconography. He also wrote about the lawfulness of painting in Islam. He discovered several important Arabic manuscripts with illustrations, and his interpretation of Arab painting was enriched by his extensive knowledge of history and literature. He published academic works and drama in French and Arabic and was one of the first Arab historians to write about Islamic art. He also supported modern art movements, publishing an open letter to the Soviet president Khrushchev in ...

Article

Hasan-Uddin Khan and Jonathan M. Bloom

Reviser Sheila S. Blair

(b Alexandria, March 23, 1900; d Cairo, Nov 30, 1989).

Egyptian architect, teacher and writer. He graduated in architecture (1926) from the High School of Engineering, University of King Fuad I (now University of Cairo), and then worked at the Department of Municipal Affairs, Cairo (1926–30). He subsequently began to teach at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the university (1930–46 and 1953–7) while working independently as an architect. Fathy’s work can be considered in five main phases (see Steele, 1988). His early projects (1928–37) reveal his interest in the classical Beaux-Arts tradition, Art Deco and other trends fashionable in Europe at the time. In his second phase (1938–56) he developed the interest in indigenous building that made him internationally known. Starting with villas, the use of mud-brick and a preoccupation with the rural poor, Fathy evolved a new aesthetic that irrevocably linked him to local vernacular building traditions. This new direction was expressed in a series of beautiful gouaches and coloured pencil drawings (see Richards, Serageldin and Rastorfer, pls 1–8) exhibited in Mansoura and Cairo in ...

Article

L. Glynne Davies

(b Amsterdam, Feb 24, 1897; d London, July 16, 1954).

Dutch archaeologist and cultural historian. After studying at the University of Amsterdam and under Flinders Petrie at University College, London, he directed the Egypt Exploration Society’s excavations at Akhenaten’s city of Amarna, (Tell) el- and elsewhere (1925–9). He was Field Director of the Iraq Expedition of the Oriental Institute of Chicago from 1929 to 1937 and conducted excavations at the Assyrian site of Khorsabad and in the Diyala region; the latter made an important contribution to knowledge of the art of the Sumerians, particularly of their architecture and of the Early Dynastic period (c. 2900–2500 bc). He held professorships at Chicago, Amsterdam and London and was Director of the Warburg Institute from 1949 to 1954. In 1954 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy and he was also Corresponding Member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences.

Frankfort was a scholar of immense range, insight and artistic sensibility, with an abiding concern for the interrelations of the cultures of the ancient Aegean, Egypt and Mesopotamia, and he was instrumental in defining a structure for the integrated study of early Near Eastern civilizations. It was characteristic of his approach to see artefacts as works of art that could lead to a deeper understanding of ancient cultures, rather than merely as sources of historical data: his ...

Article

James P. W. Thompson

(b La Rochelle, Oct 24, 1820; d Saint-Maurice, Aug 27, 1876).

French painter and writer. The wide skies and sweeping plains of his native Charente region left him with a love of natural beauty for which he later found affinities in Algeria and the Netherlands. From his youth he showed academic intelligence, literary talent and artistic aptitude. In 1839 he was sent to Paris to study law, but he became increasingly interested in drawing. Although his father, a skilled amateur artist who had studied with Jean-Victor Bertin, never became reconciled to his son’s desire to pursue painting as a career, Fromentin was sent to study with the Neo-classical landscape painter Jean-Charles-Joseph Rémond (1795–1875); however, he preferred the more naturalistic Nicolas-Louis Cabat. Fromentin developed slowly as an artist and began to show real promise as a landscape draughtsman only in the early to mid-1840s. He published his first important piece of criticism on the Salon of 1845.

From 3 March to ...

Article

Gilbert Herbert

(b 1911; d Haenertsburg, Northern Transvaal, July 19, 1971).

South African architect, writer and teacher of British birth. He worked first as junior partner in the firm Kallenbach, Kennedy and Furner (from 1928; later Kennedy, Furner, Irvine-Smith and Joubert). His early work included the Plaza chain of cinemas in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town (1930–31), and the Arundel Court and Heath’s Building flats (before 1934), both Johannesburg. These pioneer modern buildings, elegant and restrained, were perhaps closer to Austrian architecture than to the European avant-garde. The later work of his firm included many landmarks of Johannesburg, such as the railway station complex. Furner’s reputation was also built on the significant role he played in the development of modern architecture in South Africa as a writer and teacher. He gave the Transvaal Group its initial impetus and its sense of direction. He became a senior lecturer in architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand under G. E. Pearse in ...

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 ...