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Article

Roberto Pontual

revised by Gillian Sneed

(b Itu, 1850; d Piracicaba, 1899).

Brazilian painter. With the financial help of family and friends, as a young man Almeida Júnior moved to Rio de Janeiro to study art in 1869. He attended the Academia Imperial das Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro, where he studied drawing under Jules Le Chevrel (c. 1810–1872) and painting with Victor Meirelles de Lima. Deeply attached to the interior of the state of São Paulo, where he was born, Almeida Júnior returned there as soon as he had completed his studies in 1874. In 1875 he opened a studio in his hometown of Itu, where he taught drawing and painted portraits. In a trip to the countryside of São Paulo in 1876, the Emperor Peter II (r. 1831–1889) came across Almeida Júnior’s work. Impressed, he offered to pay for him to study in Europe. Under the patronage of the Emperor, Almeida Júnior travelled to Europe in 1876...

Article

Roberto Pontual

(b Cerro, 1858; d Paris, 1935).

Brazilian painter and caricaturist. Brought as a child from the interior of the state of Minas Gerais to Rio de Janeiro, he graduated in 1877 from the Academia Imperial das Belas Artes. By then he had already published his first caricatures in the Rio press, and he continued to be a frequent contributor to such humorous periodicals as O Binóculo, O Rataplan (which he founded in 1886), O Mercúrio, A Bruxa, O Malho, Fon-Fon! and Don Quixote. He first went to Europe in 1888, where he finished his studies with Jules Lefebvre in Paris and travelled to Italy. On his return to Brazil at the beginning of the 1890s, he taught drawing at the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro, but he spent most of the latter part of his life in Paris. There, despite the underlying academicism from which his work was never entirely free and unlike the majority of Brazilian artists of the time, he showed genuine interest in the avant-garde developments of modernist art....

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

Phil C. Weigand

Site of Pre-Columbian culture near Chalchihuites, Zacatecas, northern Mexico. It was explored by Gamio in 1910 and by Kelly in 1971 and 1976. Its chronology is still uncertain, but the most important occupation was during the Classic period (c. ad 250–c. 900). Alta Vista was a small, highly developed ceremonial centre that exploited a massive mining complex for malachite, azurite, haematite, limonite, coloured chert, galena, cinnabar, rock crystal, and other semi-precious materials. More than 800 mines, some of them over 1 km in extent, have been surveyed (Weigand); they are made up of chambers, adits, shafts, tunnels, internal spoil heaps, and external spoil heaps comprising millions of tons of residue. Because far more material was produced than could possibly have been used regionally, there is a strong argument for central Mexican sponsorship, possibly even control, of the mines by Teotihuacán.

The ceremonial centre comprises a complex series of interrelated buildings whose overall effect is monumental. The main compound is a square plaza surrounded by a banquette topped by platforms. On the north side there is a small pyramid covering a crypt, which contained three high-status burials. Adjacent to the plaza is a structure, once roofed, known as the Hall of Columns, which also contained prestige burials. At an angle to the Hall of Columns is an ‘observatory’ structure, which, because of its placement on the Tropic of Cancer, clearly had special meaning for Mesoamericans. It may have been coordinated with the pecked, double calendar circle at Cerro de Chapín, a nearby site to the south. Other architectural features include a colonnaded entrance fronting a road to the mines, a palace-like court with a skull rack (...

Article

Elizabeth P. Benson

Site of Pre-Columbian Maya ceremonial centre in the Río Pasión drainage, near the source of the Usumacinta River, El Petén, Guatemala. It was occupied nearly continuously from the Middle Pre-Classic period (c. 1000–c. 300 bc) into the Early Post-Classic period (c. ad 900–c. 1200). Known since 1883, the site was explored early in the 20th century and excavated by Harvard University of Cambridge, MA, during 1958–63, particularly because it was hoped that it would shed some light on problems of the Classic ‘Maya collapse’ of c. ad 900. The site is strategically located on a major river system, between highlands and low country on the southernmost edge of the Lowland Maya region, and the ceremonial centre consists of three architecturally independent groups. The North Plaza has the largest mounds and most of the stelae.

The corpus of stone sculpture includes: 26 circular altars, most of them plain, although 7 are carved with hieroglyphs; 21 stelae carved with glyphic panels and rulers holding symbols of office; 3 ‘censer’ altars (basins behind deity masks); and various panels and obelisks. The earliest known monument is Stele 10, with a date of ...

Article

Jeremy A. Sabloff

Site of Pre-Columbian Maya culture in the southern Lowland Maya region of Belize, c. 56 km north of Belize City. The site flourished c. 200 bcc. ad 900, although it was occupied both before and after these dates. Large-scale, intensive excavations carried out between the 1960s and the 1980s under the direction of David Pendergast and his associates from the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada, have revealed much important information about Altun Ha. Finds are in Belize Government collections and in the Royal Ontario Museum.

The central part of the site is organized around two plazas. Plaza A, the earlier, is bordered by four temples and several platforms. Two of these structures investigated by Pendergast are known as A-1 and A-6. Structure A-1, the ‘Temple of the Green Tomb’, is named after the tomb found inside it, dated ad 550–600, which contained several hundred pieces of jade and numerous other burial goods, including large ceremonial flints, pottery bowls, shell necklaces, and pearls. It also yielded the vestiges of an ancient Maya manuscript or codex, the pages of which had disintegrated. Structure A-6, the largest structure in terms of mass, underwent three building stages. During the second phase, the building had 13 doorways in the front and an elaborate stucco frieze on the upper wall. Plaza B consists of six structures, including several residences and the tallest ceremonial building at Altun Ha, Structure B-4, the ‘...

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

Julieta Ortiz Gaitán

(b La Piedad Cabadas, Michoacán, 1905; d Mexico City, 1981).

Mexican printmaker. His skill as a printmaker became apparent at an early age when he was employed as an assistant metal-engraver by Francisco Díaz de Léon at the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City. In 1929 he succeeded his teacher Emilio Valadés as professor of printmaking and subsequently became Director of the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas and of the Escuela Nacional de Pintura y Escultura La Esmeralda, both in Mexico City. He was influential both as a teacher and for his virtuoso handling of traditional printmaking techniques, including line-engraving, drypoint, aquatint, mezzotint, wood-engraving and linocut. His prints, mainly of Mexican landscapes, combine technical skill with affective expressiveness. He experimented constantly with methods of improving procedures, especially with mezzotint, with the modification of printing presses and with the introduction of new acids. Alvarado Lang also did much to popularize 19th-century Mexican prints as a collector and writer.

El grabado a la manera negra...

Article

Monica E. Kupfer

(b Le Havre, Oct 19, 1938).

Panamanian painter and printmaker of French birth. He first studied with the figurative painter Alberto Dutary but established himself in the 1960s as one of the few abstract artists in Panama with paintings such as Green Force (Panama City, Mus. A. Contemp.), which attest to the influence of American Abstract Expressionism; in other works he was also influenced by Post-painterly Abstraction. During a visit to Japan in 1969 he came into contact with Japanese art and Zen Buddhism, after which he sought to achieve the maximum impact of form and colour through reduction to essentials. The techniques used in his acrylic paintings and drawings were well suited also to screenprints such as the series Form and Space (1975; Panama City, Gal. Etcétera). Alvarado was also active in organizing exhibitions for others and promoting the arts in Panama as director from 1970 to 1975 of the Departmento de Artes Plásticas of the Instituto Nacional de Cultura y Deportes....

Article

Isobel Whitelegg

revised by Laura Gonzalez

[née Martínez de Anda, Dolores ]

(b Largos de Moreno, Jalisco, Apr 3, 1907; d Mexico City, Jul 31, 1993).

Mexican photographer. Born in Lagos de Moreno in the northern state of Jalisco, Martínez lived her first years in Guadalajara. After her parents’ separation in 1910, she moved to Mexico City with her father and brother. After her father’s sudden death in 1916, she was adopted by an older half-brother who sent her to a Catholic boarding school. At 18 she married a young friend and neighbor, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, who was then working at the Ministry of Finance as an accountant. In 1925 he was offered a better post in the southern city of Oaxaca, where the couple moved. Manuel started producing “weekend photographs” and Lola acted as his lab assistant. With Manuel’s camera, she started to produce her first photographs. On returning to Mexico City in 1927, she gave birth to a son, Manuel, and continued to assist her husband in the first stages of his career as a photographer. The couple displayed an active social agenda in the post-revolutionary cultural movement, sharing projects with friends who included Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo, María Izquierdo, Julio Castellanos, Frances Toor, Tina Modotti, Luis Cardoza y Aragón, and some of the “Contemporáneos” (Xavier Villaurrutia, Carlos Mérida, Salvador Novo, and Carlos Pellicer). The Álvarez Bravos opened an informal gallery at their home in Tacubaya in ...

Article

Elizabeth Ferrer

(b Mexico City, Feb 4, 1902; d Mexico City, Oct 19, 2002).

Mexican photographer. Álvarez Bravo’s interest in photography began in his adolescence while living in Mexico City in the 1910s, the years of the Mexican Revolution. He left school at the age of 13 to help support his family but pursued his creative interests by studying foreign photography magazines and receiving instruction from the German photographer based in Mexico, Hugo Brehme. Álvarez Bravo’s earliest images, made with a large-format Graflex camera, reflected the romantic pictorialist mode identified with Brehme’s generation. By 1925, however, he turned to a modernist aesthetic inspired by the photographs Edward Weston made in Mexico in the mid-1920s as well as those of Tina Modotti, who accompanied Weston and remained in the country until 1930. During this era Álvarez Bravo came to know Modotti as well as the artists who led Mexico’s cultural renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s, including Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Rufino Tamayo. Also central to this circle was ...

Article

Architectural partnership in Bogotá, Colombia, established in 1972 by Cecilia Alvarez Pereira (b Manizales, Jul 23, 1934) and Emese Ijjasz de Murcia (b Budapest, May 18, 1936). Alvarez studied at the University of Javeriana School of Architecture in Colombia from 1953 to 1958. Before establishing her own firm she worked with the firms Guillermo González Zueleta and Pizano Pradilla & Caro between 1957 and 1964. Between 1964 and 1979 she worked in the Department of Works, Special Projects, and Urban Politics at the Instituto Crédito Territorial. De Murcia studied at the National University of Argentina from 1956 to 1958, Catholic University, Santiago, Chile, from 1958 to 1961, and the National University of Colombia at Medellín in 1962. De Murcia also worked for the Instituto Crédito Territorial from 1964 to 1971 and designed more than 17,000 dwellings during this time. From 1970 she taught at the University of the Andes, Bogotá, becoming Vice-Dean in ...

Article

Xavier Moyssén

(b Mérida, Dec 24, 1914; d Mexico City, Nov 29, 1995).

Mexican architect. He graduated from the Universidad Nacional de México, Mexico City, in 1939. In his early works he was influenced by the theories of José Villagrán García and later by those of Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Gropius. He is notable in Mexican architecture for his adherence to Rationalism throughout his long career. In construction he used steel and concrete, prefabricated units and glass, and there is an evident unity in his works, especially in the high quality of his finishes. A notable example of his buildings is a small bank branch (1958; destr.), Mexico City, in which the International Style is clearly visible in the cleverly composed structure and in the neon illumination of the exterior, recalling Mondrian. The Jaysour Building (1961), Mexico City, is the clearest example of his assimilation of the International Style, evident in the ground-plan, structure and even the glass cladding. Also in Mexico City are the IBM Building (...

Article

Ludovico C. Koppmann

(b Buenos Aires, Nov 14, 1913; d Nov 5, 2011).

Argentine architect. He studied architecture at the University of Buenos Aires, graduating in 1937 with two gold medals and the Ader Scholarship, which enabled him to spend a year studying architecture in Europe. He joined the Ministry of Public Works and then became Municipal Architect at Avellaneda (1942–1947); he established his own office in Buenos Aires in 1947. Alvarez became one of the most prolific and successful architects in Latin America, winning first prize in a large number of competitions and building a great number of works. His designs were based on a rationalist approach, developing consciously simple structural form in the manner of Mies van der Rohe; his goal was to produce functional buildings utilizing modern technology and efficient workmanship, allowing for flexibility and change and contributing to the quality of the environment. Important works include the Medical Centre (1936–1937) at San Martín; the Roncatti Restaurant (...

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

Amapa  

Phil C. Weigand

Site of Pre-Columbian culture on the coastal plain of Nayarit, Mexico. It was probably an important regional ceremonial centre for the western Mesoamerican cultures. Although it had been extensively studied, notably by Clement Meighan, by the late 1990s an absolute chronology for the site had yet to be established. Some researchers, using obsidian hydration dates, believe that the critical Cerritos phase began c. 600 ad, while others, relying on radiocarbon dates and comparative materials from other sites, date this phase several centuries later (Meighan). Early occupation of Amapa may have been more sporadic than in later periods; nonetheless, large quantities of Pre-Classic period (c. 2000 bcc. ad 250) material have been found at the site and in its immediate vicinity. Amapa apparently reached its greatest extent during the Post-Classic period (c. ad 900–1521), but it had been abandoned by the time of the Spanish conquest of the area by Guzmán’s expedition of the 1530s. The boundaries of the site have not been absolutely determined, but a ballcourt formed an important component of the plan. Although ...

Article

Roberto Pontual

(b São Paulo, 1935).

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, colourful, tumescent and as firmly rooted as ever in his native Brazil and Latin America....

Article

Humberto Rodríguez-Camilloni

(de )

(b Vacarisses, 1704; d Barcelona, Feb 14, 1782).

Spanish architect, engineer, and administrator, active in Peru. He was the second son of the Marquis de Castellbell and received military training at an early age. He served as Spanish governor in Chile (1755–61), acquiring a reputation there as a fortifications expert. In 1761 he was appointed Viceroy of Peru, where he launched a vast campaign of public works (see Peru, Republic of §III 1.). During his administrative term, which lasted until 1776, the city of Lima enjoyed a period of prosperity and splendour marked by the French Baroque taste favoured by the Spanish Court. The evidence strongly suggests that Amat was the designer of several monuments in Lima that were executed by the alarife (surveyor and inspector of works) Juan de la Roca, who may have also collaborated in the elaboration of some of the plans. Amat’s masterpiece was the church of Las Nazarenas (consecrated ...

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 ...