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Article

Roberto Pontual

revised by Elaine Wilson

(b São Paulo, 1935; d São Paulo, 2015).

Brazilian painter and printmaker. After studying engraving in São Paulo, he moved to New York in 1959 to complete his studies at the Pratt Graphic Center, where his contact with international Pop art merged with his own interest in Brazilian popular imagery, for example in the portfolio of woodcuts Mine and Yours (1967). Immediately afterwards he began painting ambiguous and ironic still lifes collectively titled Brasíliana, which use bananas as symbols of underdevelopment and exploitation, for example BR-1 SP (1970; São Paulo, Pin. Estado) and Bananas (1971; Washington, DC, Mus. Mod. A. Latin America). In 1971 he won a trip abroad in the National Salon of Modern Art (Rio de Janeiro), which took him again to New York between 1972 and 1973. On his return to São Paulo he began the series Battlegrounds, in which he submitted the previously reclining bananas to slashing, torture, and putrefaction. Subsequently, shapes were reorganized into configurations of an undramatic Surrealism, playful, colorful, tumescent, and as firmly rooted as ever in his native Brazil and Latin America....

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

Mari Carmen Ramírez

(b San Juan, Aug 18, 1931).

Puerto Rican painter and printmaker. She studied painting for six years at the Real Academia de San Fernando in Madrid, woodcut and screenprinting with Lorenzo Homar at the Graphics Workshop of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (1959–1963), and printmaking techniques at Pratt Graphic Center in New York (1969–1970). From the early 1970s she was actively involved in the development of art education in Puerto Rico, teaching at the Art Students League of San Juan and at Sacred Heart University. She was also a founding member of the Hermandad de Artistas Gráficos, president of the Fine Arts Section of the Ateneo Puertorriqueño, adviser to the National Endowment for the Arts, and one of the principal advocates of the Puerto Rican women artists’ movement.

Báez’s early work was influenced by the social realism current in the 1950s and focused on nationalist, social, and political subject matter. Gradually she developed a personal iconography based on the human figure in solitary interiors and environments, through which she criticized the pretensions and manners of Puerto Rican middle-class society. In her early work she explored the painterly potential of the woodcut, later adapting other techniques to equally expressive ends, achieving rich, textural effects. Her tendency as a printmaker to find equivalents for her concerns as a painter was evident also in her screenprints, in which she used transparent layers, spatial planes, and luminous colors to reinforce the psychological space in which her characters exist....

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Torroella de Montgri, Catalonia, Mar 3, 1911; d Buenos Aires, Oct 8, 1966).

Argentine painter, printmaker, illustrator, sculptor, and stage designer of Spanish Catalan birth. He arrived in Buenos Aires in 1913. Although his uncle, José Planas Casas (b Catalonia, 1900; d Argentina, 1960), taught him the rudiments of art, he was basically self-taught and began to exhibit his work in 1934. Synthesizing ideas from Zen philosophy, psychoanalysis, and the theories on cosmic energy espoused by the Austrian psychologist Wilhelm Reich with his interests in automatism, poetry, and painting, he found a creative sense of direction from an early age. He applied his methods not only to paintings but to stage designs, illustrations, collages, prints, polychrome sculptures, and boxlike constructions; as a painter he worked both in tempera and in oil, and he also produced seventy-two murals.

In 1936 Batlle Planas inaugurated a Surrealist phase with a series entitled Paranoiac X-rays, followed by another group of pictures, Tibetan Series, populated by spectral figures related to works by Yves Tanguy. Between ...

Article

Louise Noelle

(b Mexico City, Mar 22, 1923; d Mexico City, Apr 20, 2002).

Mexican painter, printmaker, and illustrator. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas and with Carlos Alvarado Lang. Although he painted some murals and a good number of easel pictures, he was active primarily as a printmaker and as an illustrator of books, magazines, and journals. He founded the satirical newspapers Ahí va el golpe (1958) and El coyote emplumado (1960) and from its inception in 1962 acted as art director and illustrator for the newspaper El día. From 1945 to 1959 Beltrán was associated with the Taller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico City, acting as its president for several years and sharing its populist, political, and nationalist principles. Placing his art at the service of social concerns and using protest as his main weapon, he expressed himself with particular force in his prolific production of drawings and in masterful linocuts such as Exodus (...

Article

Cruz Barceló Cedeño

revised by Alana Hernandez

(b Valencia, Jun 21, 1926; d Caracas, Nov 26, 2010).

Venezuelan painter and engraver. Guevara Moreno is known as the pioneer of Geometric Abstraction in Venezuela. He studied at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas, Caracas, subsequently becoming an illustrator and cartoonist on various publications in Caracas. He went to Paris in 1949, where he attended André Lhote’s studio and later the Atelier d’Art Abstrait, when it was directed by Jean Dewasne. In Paris he took part in the activities of the groups Los Disidentes and Arte Madí. Guevara Moreno’s work from this period was characterized as Constructivist in nature and attracted considerable critical attention in Paris. In 1954 he returned to Venezuela and subsequently returned to figurative painting, which was influenced by critical realism. Guevara Moreno represented Venezuela in the biennales of São Paulo and Venice and was awarded several important national prizes, including the National Award for Painting and the National Award for Drawing and Graphic Arts.

Paz Castillo, F....

Article

Mari Carmen Ramírez

(b San Juan, 1913; d San Juan, Feb 20, 2004).

Puerto Rican printmaker, painter, illustrator, and teacher. He grew up in New York City and from 1937 to 1942 studied there at the Art Students League and at Pratt Institute before doing four years’ military service. After World War II, he returned to New York as a designer for Cartier, the jewelers where he had been apprenticed as a student, and studied at the Art School of the Brooklyn Museum, where he met Max Beckmann and Rufino Tamayo. In 1950 he returned to Puerto Rico, where he was the principal founding member of the Centro de Arte Puertorriqueño and joined the staff of the Division of Community Education, becoming its Graphic Arts Director in 1951.

Homar is credited as the artist most responsible for promoting printmaking in Puerto Rico. He trained other important artists, such as Antonio Martorell, José Rosa, and Myrna Báez, and ran workshops at Cali in Colombia and in Havana, Cuba, helping to extend his influence further afield in Latin America. While serving as director of the graphic workshop of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, the most important in Puerto Rico, from ...

Article

Ana Tapias

revised by Susanna Temkin

(b Memel [now Klaipéda], Jun 9, 1914; d Caracas, Jan 22, 1998).

Venezuelan graphic designer, printmaker, painter, photographer, sculptor, museum curator, and teacher of Lithuanian birth. He studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Hannover, at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Mainz, and, after briefly completing his obligatory military service, at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich with typographer Fritz H. Ehmcke (1878–1965). He moved to Venezuela in 1951, becoming a citizen in 1954. He is acknowledged for his contributions to the Venezuelan postwar art scene and, in particular, to the field of graphic design.

In Venezuela he briefly worked for the Grant Advertising company, and later as Director of Art of McCann Erickson, taking over the position from Carlos Cruz-Diez. In 1952 he met the artist Gego, who became his life partner and with whom he collaborated on projects at the Centro Comercial Cediaz (1967) and the Instituto de Cooperación Educativa (INCE) (1968). From 1957 to 1959 he was art director of the magazine ...

Article

Mari Carmen Ramírez

(b Santurce, Puerto Rico, 1939).

Puerto Rican printmaker, painter, draftsman, illustrator, and performance artist. He studied in Spain in 1961–1962 under Julio Martín Caro and with Lorenzo Homar at the graphic arts workshop of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (1962–1965). He inherited a social and political commitment from Puerto Rican artists working in the 1950s, but introduced wit and irony to his satirical treatment of political themes in prints, posters, and illustrations. From the late 1960s, for instance, he produced portfolios of woodcuts in which he combined texts and images as a way of commenting on social and political events.

Martorell founded the Taller Alacrán in 1968 with the aim of mass-producing art at affordable prices. In the 1970s he began to experiment with innovative printmaking techniques, for example in a series of cut-out works influenced by Pop art, in which he played on stereotypes of authoritarianism in Latin America. In subsequent prints he explored the painterly qualities of woodcuts on a monumental scale. From the late 1970s, however, he was increasingly concerned with innovative live performances that combined printmaking and painting with the movement of actors. From ...

Article

Leonor Morales

revised by Deborah Caplow

(b Mexico City, Jun 30, 1902; d Mexico City, Feb 8, 1969).

Mexican printmaker, painter, and illustrator. He studied in Mexico City at the Academia de San Carlos (1917–1919) and at the Escuela de Pintura al Aire Libre de Chimalistac (1920–1922). During the 1920s he was associated with Estridentismo (the Stridentist Movement), from 1925 to 1928 working as an illustrator for Stridentist publications such as Horizonte and Norte de Veracruz. After exhibiting his work for the first time in the USA in 1930 he held several exhibitions abroad, and in 1939 he received a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation to travel in the United States. Méndez was foremost among the political printmakers whose work paralleled that of the Mexican muralists.

In 1934 Méndez was a co-founder of the Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios (LEAR), a leftist artists’ organization. Méndez was on the editorial board of LEAR’s journal Frente a Frente (Face to Face), published between 1934 and ...

Article

Leonor Morales

revised by Deborah Caplow

(b Guadalajara, Feb 19, 1887; d Mexico City, Oct 13, 1968).

Mexican mural and easel painter, printmaker, illustrator, and stage designer. In 1903 he began studying painting in Guadalajara under Félix Bernardelli, an Italian who had established a school of painting and music there. He produced his first illustrations for Revista moderna, a magazine that promoted the Latin American modernist movement and to which his cousin, the poet Amado Nervo, also contributed poetry. In 1905 he enrolled at the Escuela Nacional de Arte in Mexico City; his teachers included Antonio Fabrés, Julio Ruelas, Leandro Izaguirre (1867–1941), and Germán Gedovius. Some of his fellow students were Diego Rivera, Francisco de la Torre, Saturnino Herrán, Angel Zárraga, and Jorge Enciso. In 1905 Montenegro won a grant to travel to Europe, first studying at the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid. In 1907 Montenegro moved to Paris, where he continued his studies and immersed himself in the world of contemporary art, meeting Cocteau, Picasso, Braque, and Gris, among others....

Article

David Craven

(b Granada, Nicaragua, Jan 15, 1927; d Miami, 2011).

Nicaraguan painter and printmaker. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, Managua, from 1941 to 1945 and from 1948 to 1953 and at the Pratt Graphic Art Center, New York, from 1960 to 1964. He exhibited extensively internationally from 1953 and in 1957 made his first visit to New York on a Guggenheim Fellowship. His first paintings treated local landscapes, still lifes, and genre scenes in a realistic vein, but the work for which he is best known constitutes two distinct phases. From the mid-1950s until the late 1960s, in Art informel works such as Dead Guerrilla (Ramón Osuna priv. col.) and Ferry Boat (1964; Managua, Banco Cent. de Nicaragua), he combined figurative elements with broad abstract forms related to the work of Robert Motherwell, somber colors, and a thick impasto influenced by the work of Antoni Tàpies. In the early 1970s Morales turned to a distinctive figurative style of Magic Realism in works such as ...

Article

Alexandra Kennedy

(b Quito, Aug 18, 1842; d Quito, June 24, 1906).

Ecuadorean painter, illustrator, draughtsman, engraver, and teacher. He attended the first Escuela de Bellas Artes in Quito (1872–5) and was one of the most prolific and versatile Romantic artists in 19th-century Ecuador, working in several genres. His portraits of important figures included that of the historian Federico González Suárez (1883; Quito, Mus. A. Mod.). He illustrated González Suárez’s archaeological work Estudio histórico sobre los Cañaris (Quito, 1878), among others, and contributed illustrations of snails and molluscs for the French naturalist Auguste Cousin’s Faune malacologique de la République de l’Equateur (c. 1893–7; Quito, Archv Nat. Hist. Banco Cent. del Ecuador). In connection with the nationalist movement, Pinto tirelessly explored costumbrista and indigenist themes in dozens of drawings, watercolours, and engravings, many of them inspired by Cantares del pueblo ecuatoriano (1892) by the Romantic poet Juan León Mera. He painted such landscapes as El Chimborazo...

Article

Pedro Querejazu

(b Sucre, 1925; d Lima, 1999).

Bolivian painter, printmaker, and draftsman. He studied fine arts in La Paz, Sucre, and Santiago, Chile, and graphic arts in Rio de Janeiro. He worked principally in Sucre and La Paz, although he traveled widely and exhibited his art in one-man shows, group exhibitions, and biennales in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. He was a founder-member of the group Anteo in Sucre and a member of the painters’ group “Generación del 52.” His most important works were murals, which were inspired by Mexican examples. These include Jaime Zudañes and the May Revolution (1952), Mariano Moreno, and the Doctors of Charcas (1952; U. Sucre), Message to the Teachers of the Future (1953; Sucre, Escuela N. Maestros), and Portrait of a Town (1983; La Paz, U. Hall). Romero’s subject matter was social dissent and protest against political injustice. He made use of historical allegory in a pedagogical way, both in his paintings and in his many engravings and illustrations, notably in the series ...

Article

Carlos Lastarria Hermosilla

(b Santiago, Feb 12, 1934).

Chilean painter, printmaker, photographer, and illustrator. He studied under the painter Agustín Calvo (b 1878) and then at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Montevideo, Uruguay, and under Henri-Georges Adam in Paris. While living in Paris from 1950 to 1962 he familiarized himself with techniques of drawing and printmaking. On his return to Chile in 1962 he taught at the Escuela de Arte of the Universidad Católica in Santiago, but he later devoted himself exclusively to his art.

Toral worked first as a printmaker in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and he also received commissions to illustrate volumes of poetry by Pablo Neruda. By the end of the 1960s, however, he worked primarily as a painter. In his Totem series initiated in 1967, for example, he depicted human faces as if imprisoned in enormous blocks, introducing a vein of fantasy that became characteristic of his art. A favorite theme was the conflict between the material and the spiritual, as in his series ...