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Article

Colombian, 20th century, male.

Active and naturalised in the USA.

Born 18 March 1929.

Painter, draughtsman.

Acunha studied architecture and then fine art at the Cranbrook Academy. In parallel with painting, he pursued a teaching career, principally at the University of Delaware in Newark. He showed his works in solo exhibitions: in ...

Article

Horacio Safons

(b Federal, Entre Ríos, Aug 22, 1928; d Buenos Aires, Feb 19, 1996).

Argentine painter, draughtsman and collagist. He studied under Juan Batlle Planas from 1950 to 1953 and quickly established the terms of his work, rooted ideologically in Surrealism and indebted in particular to the work of René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico. All the elements of his mature art are evident in an early painting, Burning of the Hasidic School in Minsk in 1713 (1954; artist’s col.): architecture, space, light and ordered series. He developed an essentially intellectual approach, working in a variety of media (paintings, drawings, gouaches and collages) in rigorous sequences and picturing objects in cold impersonal light that confers on them a sense of distant majesty. The most common motif is that of a geometric, almost abstract structure, often in the form of a tower pierced by rows of large plain windows. Aizenberg’s work, while far removed from the Surrealist presumption of achieving a synthesis of wakefulness and dream, acquires its strength through the ordering of the unreal and the strange in the search for a transcendent essence capable of perturbing and jolting the viewer by bringing into play the archetypes of silence and solitude....

Article

Monica E. Kupfer

(b Panama City, Sept 5, 1949).

Panamian painter. A graduate of the University of Panama’s Architecture School, he became a full time painter following his first solo exhibition in 1979. From 1980 to 1983 he studied at the Art Students League in New York, his only formal training as an artist. Alfaro is best known for his beautifully rendered oil paintings but has also produced drawings, pastels and three-dimensional pieces. His first images were portraits of young women surrounded by surreal elements or in dream settings. From 1983 he painted humorous images of traditional or religious subjects such as church processions, as well as portraits of imaginary ecclesiastical figures and war heroes; capitalizing on Panama’s strong Catholic tradition. Alfaro even invented his own saints, including the Virgin of All Secrets (1986; see colour pl. I, fig.). By 1990, his compositions became increasingly baroque, crowded with human figures in often menacing natural environments that suggest abundant iconographic, literary and historical interpretations. Towards the end of the decade, Alfaro began to isolate and increasingly distort his models, achieving an expressive deformation characteristic of his disturbing view of humanity and personal vision of surrealism....

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Buenos Aires, Jan 25, 1923; d July 31, 1993).

Argentine draughtsman, painter and printmaker. He was self-taught and in 1943 began to illustrate publications throughout Latin America, continuing to do so for more than 20 years. His early work consisted of highly emotive ink drawings marked by an intricacy of design and lack of idealization, for example The Vacuum II (1976). He later worked in both pastels and oils to create spectral images of love, death, eroticism and the obscure world of nightmares, fears and terrors. Critics sometimes spoke of these in terms of Magic Realism, although he did not subscribe to any specific stylistic tendency. He often treated human heads and figures in fragmentary form, as if they were the victims of violent torture, and with a veiled but sarcastic humour.

With time Alonso gradually simplified his drawings and replaced his invented characters with fictional objects and childhood memories, moving towards more intimate and abstract work, for example in the pastel ...

Article

Nicola Coleby

(b Mexico City, Aug 29, 1892; d Mexico City, April 4, 1985).

Mexican painter and draughtsman. He studied at the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City from 1910. In 1917 he was employed as a draughtsman by the Ministry of Agriculture and began to attend the Escuela de Pintura al Aire Libre de Santa Anita under Alfredo Ramos Martínez, his palette gradually lightening. In 1920 he was appointed assistant draughtsman in the Ministry of Education and then tutor at the Academia de San Carlos. In 1922 he was commissioned by the Ministry of Education to paint a mural, the Landing of the Cross (fresco, 7×8 m; Mexico City, Escuela N. Prep.), an allegorical depiction of the implantation of Catholicism in New Spain in the 16th century, with large classical figures set in a steeply inclined composition. Over the next 40 years, Alva de la Canal painted six public murals with allegorical and historical themes, such as the Life of Morelos (encaustic and fresco, ...

Article

Francis Summers

revised by Martin R. Patrick

(b Antwerp, Aug 22, 1959).

Belgian-born interdisciplinary artist, active in Mexico. He studied architecture at the Institut d’Architecture de Tournai in Belgium (1978–83) and at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice (1983–6). Alÿs moved to Mexico in 1987 and his art practice initially concentrated on Mexico City as a laboratory of urban living, often documented in the form of evocative, conceptually layered photographs, sculptures, and videos. In the slide series Ambulantes (Pushing and Pulling) (1992–2002), Alÿs photographed street vendors and workers as they passed by carting a wide variety of goods within a ten-block vicinity of his studio. For his project entitled The Liar, The Copy of the Liar (1997) Alÿs created small images of suited men inspired by the commercial sign painters of Mexico City, and subsequently commissioned from them larger versions in their own styles. In this process Alÿs deferred authorship into a semantic chain. Hovering between the banal and the surreal, these works have an uncanny theme, of individuals observed in situations that defy explanation....

Article

Monica E. Kupfer

(b Santiago de Veraguas, March 25, 1869; d Panama City, Nov 12, 1952).

Panamanian painter, draughtsman and printmaker. He is known chiefly as the designer of the national flag (1903) of Panama. He studied business administration and had a long career in public office. When Panama became independent in 1903, he became Secretario de Hacienda and in 1904 Consul-General ad-honorem to Hamburg. In 1908 he moved to New York, where he studied with Robert Henri, who strongly influenced his style of vigorous drawing, loose brushwork, distorted expressionist images and sombre colours, as in Head Study (1910; Panama City, R. Miró priv. col.; see Miró). He produced most of his work between 1910 and 1914 and again after the late 1930s; his main subject was the human figure, but he also painted portraits, landscapes and still-lifes. On his return to Panama in the 1930s he worked as an auditor in the Contraloría General. After his retirement he resumed painting and produced some of his most passionate works, such as ...

Article

Brazilian, 19th century, male.

Painter.

Amaras carried out the decoration of the former imperial palaces of Rio de Janeiro (before 1840). He was also an architect.

Article

(b Areia, 1843; d Florence, 1905).

Brazilian painter. His precocious talent as a draughtsman was recognized as early as 1853, when he accompanied the expedition led by the French naturalist Louis Jacques Brunet to the north-east of Brazil. He then went to Rio de Janeiro, where he entered the Academia Imperial das Belas Artes in 1855. Under the patronage of Emperor Peter II he lived in France from 1859 to 1864, studying with Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Horace Vernet at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His interests also included physics, philosophy and literature. His essay ‘Refutation of the Life of Jesus by Renan’ won him the decoration of the papal order of the Holy Sepulchre. He also painted one of his first important pictures at this time, Carioca (‘Woman from Rio de Janeiro’; 1862; Rio de Janeiro, Mus. N. B.A.). On his return to Brazil he taught drawing (and, later, art history, aesthetics and archaeology) at the Academia Imperial. When the Republic was proclaimed in ...

Article

José Miguel Rojas

(b San José, June 1, 1907; d 1998).

Costa Rican engraver, painter, illustrator, draughtsman, writer and critic. He studied for a year from 1931 at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes but was otherwise initially self-taught, using Louis Gonse’s L’Art japonais (Paris, 1883) as a source. He produced a series of caricature drawings, influenced by Cubism, in the Album de dibujos de 1926. During 1929 he met the sculptors Juan Manuel Sánchez and Francisco Zúñiga (the latter was also a printmaker), and through his interest in German and Mexican Expressionist printmakers, he developed a passion for wood-engraving. His first wood-engravings were published in the periodical Repertorio Americano (1929). He went on to contribute wood-engravings and drawings to collections of short stories and poetry, educational books, periodicals and newspapers. In 1931 he taught drawing and wood-engraving at the Escuela Normal in Heredia. He exhibited at the Salones Anuales de Artes Plásticas in San José (1931–6...

Article

Luis Enrique Tord

(b Paris, Aug 8, 1808; d Paris, Jan 11, 1886).

French painter and draughtsman, active in Peru. He served as the French Vice-Consul in Lima from 1834 to 1838 and while there produced albums of watercolours and drawings of cities such as Arica, Arequipa, Lima, Cuzco, Ollantaytambo, Urubamba and Tacna. His romantic spirit inclined him to the exotic, and he documented street scenes, the characters of city life, groups of buildings and archaeological monuments. Taken as a whole, these pictures bear witness to everyday life in Peru at that time....

Article

Chilean, 20th century, male.

Born 1918, in Santiago.

Painter, engraver, architect.

Poetic Reality.

In 1943, Antúnez was a student of the engraver Stanley William Hayter, who had moved his famous Studio 17 from Paris to New York because of the war. He was captivated by this character, who was an engineer by training and a painter and engraver by vocation, and above all a man of culture. Antúnez remained at ...

Article

Milan Ivelić

(b Santiago, 1918; d Jun 1993).

Chilean painter and printmaker. After studying architecture at the Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago he won a scholarship that enabled him to continue his studies at Columbia University, New York, from 1943 to 1945. Having painted sensitive watercolors from nature while living in Chile, his journey to New York had a disquieting effect on him: he translated his experience of the concrete city, with its massive buildings dwarfing the anonymous inhabitants wandering the streets, into nearly abstract geometric compositions. He remained in New York to work with Stanley William Hayter from 1948 to 1950 and later traveled to Spain.

On his return to Chile in 1953 Antúnez founded Taller 99, a workshop modeled on Hayter’s Atelier 17, which had far-reaching effects on the development of printmaking in Chile. His renewed contact in Chile with the natural landscape and its fields, beaches, and mountains allowed him to return to intimate, sensitively colored scenes, as in the ...

Article

Bolivian, 20th century, male.

Born 1932, in Catavi (Potosí).

Painter. Architectural views.

Arnal was self-taught, and he worked in Latin America (Argentina and Chile) but also in France. He exhibited in La Paz, where he obtained the painting prize in 1955, and took part in the São Paulo Biennale. He combined an acute drawing style with the expressive power of colour and material. He produced astounding interpretations of Indian towns, cottages on the high plateaux and ancient ruins....

Article

Amy Meyers

(Laforest) [Fougère, Jean-Jacques]

(b Les Cayes, Santo Domingo [now Haiti], April 26, 1785; d New York state, Jan 27, 1851).

American Naturalist, painter and draughtsman of French –Creole descent. Brought up in a French village near Nantes, he developed an interest in art and natural science, encouraged by his father and the naturalist Alcide Dessaline d’Orbigny. He is thought to have moved to Paris by 1802 to pursue formal art training; although the evidence is inconclusive, Audubon claimed to have studied in the studio of Jacques-Louis David.

In 1803 Audubon travelled to the USA to oversee Mill Grove, an estate owned by his father on the outskirts of Philadelphia, PA. Uninterested in practical affairs, he spent his time hunting and drawing birds. His drawings (many in Cambridge, MA, Harvard U., Houghton Lib.) from this period are executed primarily in pencil and pastel. They are conventional specimen drawings that define individual birds in stiff profile with little or no background. A number of these works, however, bear notations from Mark Catesby’s ...

Article

W. Iain Mackay

(b Islay, Arequipa, 1867; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, Feb 20, 1941).

Peruvian painter and draughtsman. His family moved to Chile when he was four, and in 1882 he entered the Escuela de Bellas Artes de Santiago. In recognition of his rejection of an offer of Chilean nationality, the Peruvian government invited him to Lima in 1887 to assist him with his studies. In 1890 he went to Paris, continuing on to Rome where he studied under Francisco Pradilla at the Academia Española de Bellas Artes and again in Paris under Jean-Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant at the Académie Julien in 1893. In Paris he was commissioned to paint important society and government figures; in 1908 the American banker and collector J. Pierpont Morgan summoned him to New York, where he lived for 20 years, painting 120 portraits. In 1926 he became a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris and three years later he settled in Paris again. His painting was academically accomplished and realist in style, influenced by Leonardo, Rembrandt and Hans Holbein. He was a careful observer of detail, and he achieved astonishing physical resemblance to his subjects. The prominent figures he portrayed include ...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Arezzo, Feb 2, 1916; d Buenos Aires, Feb 11, 2001).

Argentine sculptor, painter, printmaker and draughtsman of Italian birth. After completing his studies at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires in 1945, he went on study trips around Latin America (1945–6) and Europe (1949). He became a naturalized citizen of Argentina in 1947 and from 1949 he participated in the Salones Nacionales, winning various awards. He soon won a reputation as one of Argentina’s most outstanding sculptors, working in marble, bronze, wood, cement and clay. Torrent (marble, 1953; Buenos Aires, Mus. N. B.A.), a semi-abstract female nude composed of smooth curved planes, typifies one aspect of his work: his treatment of themes of fecundity, motherhood and the family, using rounded forms to which he attached a symbolic value. The titles associated with some of these material forms, such as Time (bronze, 1959; Buenos Aires, Mus. A. Mod.), indicate the way they are meant to be read....

Article

Peruvian, 20th century, male.

Active in France in 1968.

Born 7 August 1945, in Lima.

Sculptor, draughtsman. Figures, birds.

Igor Balarin first studied architecture at the University of Valparaíso and then sculpture under the Argentinian sculptor Carlos de la Carcova. He works in metal, favouring dynamic, slender forms with silhouettes that suggest human beings and animals....

Article

Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 1944, in Rosario.

Painter, architect. Architectural views.

Alberto Bali studied architecture in Buenos Aires. He moved to Europe in 1971 and worked as an architectural draughtsman, notably in France for the Grande Halle de La Villette and for the Grand Arche de La Défense....

Article

Chilean, 20th century, male.

Born 1927, in Paris.

Painter.

Barreda Fabres studied architecture at the Catholic university in Santiago and taught history of art in the architecture faculty from 1950 to 1955. He used a realist technique to paint constructions that belong to the world of the uncanny and the surreal. He took part in exhibitions in North America, Latin America and Europe and received many awards....