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Isabel L. Taube

Term applied variously to describe a specific style, movement, and artistic affiliation embraced by American artists from about 1885 to 1920. Impressionism began in France in the early 1870s and later spread throughout Europe and the USA. While artists continue to paint in an Impressionist style today, art historians generally use the term American Impressionism to refer to an historical tendency that gained prominence and flourished during the last decades of the 19th century and first decades of the 20th. Impressionism began as a radical reaction to more conservative approaches to painting, and only in the early 20th century did it become a mainstream style in comparison with other developments in modern art. American Impressionism included a diversity of approaches, usually attributed to geographic and regional differences.

Impressionism as an art movement and style began when a group of painters, including Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Auguste Renoir, became frustrated with the traditional criteria favoured by the official French government-sponsored exhibitions and joined together to organize an independent show of their work in Paris in ...

Article

M. Sue Kendall

Term used to describe scenes of typical American life painted in a naturalistic vein from c. 1920 until the early 1940s. It applies to both Regionalism and Social Realism in American painting, but its specific boundaries remain ambiguous. The phrase probably derived from Henry James’s collection of essays and impressions, The American Scene (London, 1907), published upon James’s own rediscovery of his native land after 21 years as an expatriate. The term entered the vocabulary of fine arts by the 1920s and was applied to the paintings of Charles Burchfield during 1924.

In the two decades following World War I, American writers and artists began to look for native sources for the aesthetic and spiritual renewal of their modern technological civilization. This search engaged and activated many thoughtful and creative people in the 1920s and 1930s and resulted in that flurry of activity that Waldo Frank (1889–1967) discussed as ...

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

Leah Lipton

(b Framingham, MA, May 5, 1768; d Albany, NY, Feb 23, 1836).

American painter and craftsman. After working briefly in Worcester, MA (1790–93), painting miniatures, chimney-pieces, signs and sleighs, he settled permanently in Albany, NY. There he practised various crafts, including framemaking and painting ornamental clockfaces. Active in the Masonic Temple, he held a high position in the New York chapter from 1802 to 1826. For the Masons he made signs, aprons, urns and carpet designs. Entries in his account books indicate that by 1813 he was primarily painting portraits, improving his technique by copying works by John Singleton Copley and Gilbert Stuart. His first major success was the sale of a portrait of George Clinton, Governor of New York and vice-president of the USA, to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1812; destr. 1845). Laudatory reviews generated requests for replicas, including an ambitious but somewhat awkward full-length version (c. 1813; Albany, NY, State Capitol). Ames also painted the official portrait of George Clinton’s nephew, ...

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

Joan Marter

(b Atlanta, GA, March 16, 1938).

African American painter, printmaker, and weaver. Amos studied fine arts and textile weaving at Antioch College at Yellow Springs, OH, where she received her BFA in 1958. She went on to study etching and painting at the Central School of Art, London (1958–9), and the following year she moved to New York, where she began working at two printmaking studios: Robert Blackburn’s workshop and that of Letterio Calapai (an outpost of Stanley William Hayter’s Atelier 17). She completed her MA at New York University (NYU) in 1966. Through Hale Woodruff, an art professor at NYU and family friend, she was invited to exhibit with Spiral, an all-male art group founded by Woodruff and Romare Bearden and featuring recognized African American artists. Spiral, closely allied with the Civil Rights movement, dissolved in 1967 and subsequently Amos had trouble exhibiting her work. In 1974, after the birth of her two children, Amos found a position as an instructor in textile design at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts. She continued her own weaving in New York and benefited from the revival of interest in women’s traditional art forms in the early years of the feminist art movement....

Article

Deborah Cullen

(b Plainview, GA, Nov 13, 1930; d Brooklyn, New York, Nov 10, 2006).

African American painter, collagist, printmaker, and art advocate. Benny Andrews grew up under segregation in the rural South, one of 10 children in a sharecropper’s family. After graduating from high school, he served in the US Air Force. Afterwards, through the GI Bill of Rights, he studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he received his BFA. In 1958, he moved to New York. Andrews received a John Hay Whitney Fellowship (1965–6) as well as a CAPS award from the New York State Council on the Arts (1971). From 1968 to 1997, he taught at Queens College, City University of New York and created a prison arts program that became a national model. In 1969, Andrews co-founded the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition (BECC), an organization that protested against the Harlem on my Mind exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Between ...

Article

Karen Cordero Reiman

(b El Oro, nr Acambaro, March 7, 1905; d Mexico City, Oct 27, 1924).

Mexican painter and teacher of Scottish descent. He studied briefly at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, where in 1921 he met the painter Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, who introduced him to Mexican avant-garde artists. Under Rodríguez Lozano’s tutelage he joined the ‘brigade’ of teachers who trained primary and secondary school students using Adolfo Best Maugard’s method of teaching drawing based on the motifs of popular art. Angel developed a pictorial style characterized by a deliberately naive drawing technique and vivid, unnaturalistic colours; he typically made portraits of friends and relatives superimposed on backdrops of village scenes or simplified rural landscapes. A commemorative book published shortly after his death featured texts by major artistic and literary figures of the period, including Rodríguez Lozano, Diego Rivera, José Juan Tablada and Xavier Villaurrutia, and revealed the process of romantic mythification of Angel, characterizing him as a ‘pure popular painter’ and even inventing for him exotic Argentinian origins....

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

Elisa García Barragán

(b Guadalajara, Feb 26, 1915).

Mexican painter, printmaker and teacher. He studied painting from 1927 at the Escuela Libre de Pintura in Guadalajara. He moved to Mexico City in 1934 and entered the Escuela de Pintura Escultura y Grabado ‘La Esmeralda’ in 1935. He was also a founder-member in that year of the Taller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico City, where he was able to develop his interest in engraving and lithography. He produced a vast body of work. His subject-matter, both in his prints and his paintings, focused on people’s dramas, labours and fiestas (e.g. The Circus, 1937; artist’s col.; see Crespo, fig.), the resignation and stoicism of Mexican women and popular myths and folk wisdom, for example Popular Sayings, an album of 18 engravings. He also painted numerous portraits and produced a number of murals that expressed a typical local ideology (e.g. Fascism and Clericalism, Enemies of Civilization, fresco, 1937; Mexico City, Cent. Escul. Revol.). Later murals portray Pre-Columbian historical events (e.g. ...

Article

Sally Mills

(Pollock)

(b Newport, KY, Oct 5, 1851; d Fort Washington, PA, June 16, 1912).

American painter and teacher. In 1872 he moved to New York, where he enrolled at the National Academy of Design. By 1875 he had advanced to the life class but found the Academy ‘a rotten old institution’. Moving to Philadelphia, Anshutz entered a life class taught by Thomas Eakins at the Philadelphia Sketch Club and transferred to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts when it opened its new building in 1876. Continuing to study under Eakins and Christian Schussele (1824/6–79), Anshutz soon became Eakins’s assistant demonstrator for anatomy courses taught by the surgeon William Williams Keen.

Anshutz’s style quickly progressed from a tight linearity toward an emphasis on solid form, expressed through simplified modelling and a thorough knowledge of anatomy. For his first mature works he sought subjects in the active lives around him, whether in the lush pastoral setting of The Father and his Son Harvesting...

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

Kenneth W. Prescott

(b Erie, PA, May 23, 1930).

American painter, printmaker and sculptor. He trained at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, OH (1948–53), and under Albers family, §1 at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture in New Haven, CT (1953–5). In his paintings of the late 1940s and early 1950s he depicted everyday city life, as in The Bridge (1950; artist’s priv. col., see Lunde, pl. 66). In 1957 he moved to New York, where from 1957 to 1958 he worked as a conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and from 1959 to 1961 as a silver designer for Tiffany and Co. During this period he began to produce abstract paintings, using either organic or geometric repeated forms, as in Winter Recipe (1958; New York, Mr and Mrs David Evins priv. col., see Lunde, pl. 100). These led in the early 1960s to asymmetric and imperfectly geometric works, such as ...

Article

Saisha Grayson

(b Abington, PA, 1955).

American installation artist. Upon graduating from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, where she studied printmaking and painting, Apfelbaum moved to New York City in 1978. Apfelbaum consistently found ways to trouble the distinctions between painting, sculpture, craft, and installation-based practices, and between pure abstraction and a range of conceptual and cultural allusions. Such productive tensions abound in the ‘fallen paintings’ for which she is best known, which feature fabrics meticulously shaped and arranged in floor-bound compositions with titles that reference everything from Disney characters to punk bands to Italian cinema. Playfully poking fun at art historical taboos and tastes, her work is often addressed as a feminist, post-modernist response to Minimalism that embraces the emotional, the psychological, the ephemeral, and the sociopolitical potential of abstraction.

Apfelbaum’s first floor installation, Daisy Chain (1989), presented carved wooden shapes appropriated from an Andy Warhol silkscreen, which in turn had appropriated its graphics from a Scandinavian Airlines ticket, a chain of references inferred by the title, which itself invites associations. As in later work, its accumulated elements can simultaneously be appreciated from above as a pictorial composition, walked around like a sculpture, and experienced temporally and spatially as an installation. In ...

Article

(b New York, Nov 11, 1929).

American painter. She attended the New York State Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences (1947–50) and in 1958 moved to Chicago, where she was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1966–8). In 1974 she moved to New York. Applebroog’s paintings were best known for their collision of imagery based on specific everyday experiences, news items and endemic social ills. She first became known in the 1970s for small books, such as Galileo Works (1977), in which her own ‘narratives’, consisting of leaps and jumps between ideas and images, represent a disjunction associated with social critique and a questioning of the ideologies implicit in representation. She posted them to friends and people in the art world. They were the precursors to larger sequential works such as Sure I’m Sure (ink and rhoplex on vellum, 2.56×1.72 m, 1980; artist’s col.), comprising six panels, much like sinister comic-strips, combining irony and intense tenderness. She is best known for her multi-partite paintings that, as part of the legacy of feminist practice in the 1970s, deal with the ‘trivial details’ of everyday life as if they had the scale and weight of subject-matter of traditional history painting. By giving prominence to ordinary events or to groups of people whom she saw as victimized or marginalized, she attempted to empower such groups, especially women, by revealing those elements in their experience that she saw as common to all (e.g. ...

Article

(b Nagoya, July 6, 1936; d New York, NY, May 18, 2010).

Japanese painter, performance artist, and film maker, active in the USA. He studied medicine and mathematics at Tokyo University (1954–8) and art at the Musashino College of Art in Tokyo, holding his first one-man exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo in 1958 and contributing to the Yomiuri Independent exhibitions from 1958 to 1961. In 1960 he took part in the ‘anti-art’ activities of the Neo-Dadaism Organizers in Tokyo and produced his first Happenings and a series of sculptures entitled Boxes, which consisted of amorphous lumps of cotton wads hardened in cement; many of these were put in coffin-like boxes, though one entitled Foetus was laid on a blanket. In pointing to the sickness of contemporary society, these works caused a great scandal in Tokyo.

In 1961 Arakawa settled in New York, where soon afterwards he addressed himself to the idea of a work being ‘untitled’. In taking as his subject this apparent lack of subject, he emphasized the areas of the picture surface where the subject ‘ought to be’ by means of a few well-placed coloured framing marks, as in ...

Article

Natalia Vega

(b Medellín, Antioquia, 1910; d Medellín, Colombia, Dec 4, 2005).

Colombian painter. From 1933 to 1938 she studied at the Instituto de Bellas Artes de Medellín and under Eladio Veles and Pedro Nel Gómez; her early still-lifes and portraits reflect contemporary studio practices, while her expressive, provocative female nudes reveal the influence of Nel Gómez. Other early works are concerned with religious life, autobiographical subject-matter that stemmed from her childhood (e.g. First Communion and Sisters of Charity, both 1942, Medellín, Mus. A. Mod.). From 1938 her paintings reflected a growing concern with social issues. In 1944 Arango was part of a group of artists that published the Manifiesto de los Independientes, asserting the regionalist values of art and emphasizing the importance of mural painting as a public educational medium. Her subject-matter became openly feminist, exploring both private feminine life (e.g. Adolescence, 1944, Medellín, Mus. A. Mod.) and the social and political status of women. In Justice (1944, Medellín, Mus. A. Mod.), she employed grotesque characters to allude to such situations of exploitation and injustice as prostitution. Works such as ...

Article

Monica E. Kupfer

(b Chilibre, Jan 16, 1929).

Panamanian sculptor and painter. He studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence (1949–1954) and at the Real Academia Catalana de Bellas Artes de San Jorge in Barcelona (1955–1960). On his return to Panama City he became the first professor of sculpture at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas from 1961 to 1964, and in 1964 he founded the Casa de la Escultura, a government-supported center for the teaching and promotion of the fine arts which he continued to direct after it was renamed the Centro de Arte y Cultura. Arboleda exhibited often and established his reputation as a young man with academic works such as Serenity (marble, 1950; Panama City, Mus. A. Contemp.). Most of his work was figurative, but he later developed a more symbolic style and produced his most original sculptures on indigenous themes, as with the bronze head of a Chocó Indian entitled ...

Article

Ricardo Pau-Llosa

(b ?Havana, 1864; d Paris, Aug 17, 1889).

Cuban painter. He was one of the most prominent students of Miguel Melero (1836–1907), the first Cuban-born director of the Academia de S Alejandro in Havana (founded 1818). Morell also studied at the Academia de S Fernando in Madrid. Morell’s portraits, with their natural poses in domestic settings, reflect an ease with effects of light and texture not seen in the work of his Cuban contemporaries, with the exception of Guillermo Collazo. One of his most significant works is In the Garden (1888; Havana, Mus. N. B.A.), in which the use of light is reminiscent of the naturalism of plein-air, with which Morell would almost certainly have come into contact in Spain. His promising career was cut short by typhus when he was 25.

J. Mañach: ‘La pintura en Cuba: Desde sus orígenes hasta 1900’, Las bellas artes en Cuba, xviii of La evolución de la cultura cubana (1608–1927)...

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Pedro Querejazu

(b Catavi, Potosí, 1932).

Bolivian painter. He was self-taught as a painter and had his first one-man show in Cuzco in 1954, which was followed by 25 one-man shows in La Paz and by exhibitions in North American cities and in Paris. Arnal was the principal exponent of the Generación del 52. In the 1950s he painted still-lifes with subjects drawn from open-air markets that included potatoes, roosters and dogs, as in The Inn (1960; La Paz, Mus. N. A.). In the early 1960s he painted towns of earth and stone, and at the end of the 1960s he paintedAparapitas, the stevedores of La Paz, as well as condors and recumbent female nudes, which in the 1980s became Mountains, especially during the period 1985 to 1988. He then portrayed the galleries of Mines with a progressive stylization and abstraction, and repeated all the themes he had treated throughout his career in a number of series under the overall title the ...