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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

S. J. Vernoit

[Şeker Ahmet Pasha]

(b Üsküdar, Istanbul, 1841; d Istanbul, 1907).

Turkish painter. In 1859 he became an assistant teacher of painting at the Military Medical High School in Istanbul. In 1864 Sultan Abdülaziz (reg 1861–76) sent him to Paris where, after a preparatory education at a special Ottoman school, he studied painting in the studio of Gustave Boulanger and then under Jean-Léon Gérôme at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Ahmet Ali was also instrumental in the acquisition of paintings from France for the Ottoman court. After nearly eight years of studies in Paris, he stayed in Rome for a year before returning to Istanbul, where he resumed his work at the Military Medical High School. In 1873 he organized in Istanbul the first group exhibition of paintings by Turkish and foreign artists to be held in Turkey. He was later appointed master of ceremonies at the Ottoman court and by the time of his death had risen to the office of intendant of the palace. His paintings were influenced by European art. They include landscapes, such as ...

Article

Nizan Shaked

(b Buffalo, NY, May 9, 1968).

American painter and draftsman. She studied English and Studio Art at Williams College, Williamstown, MA, graduating with a BA in 1991. Shortly thereafter, she attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, New York, and completed her MFA in 1994 at Washington University, St Louis. Ali became known for her painting series Greenheads, in which round-headed characters perform choreographed activities against flat, light-blue backgrounds. These cartoon-styled allegories of American history and culture examine the sublimated or overt aggression inherent in activities such as team sports, ceremonies, military training, court marshaling and lynching. Referencing folk art or hieroglyphs, Untitled (Greenheads) (gouache on paper, 1998) depicts a sequence of disputes between uniformed characters and injured figures in athletic apparel. As with most of Ali’s oeuvre, the gestures and expressions of the figures communicate a sense of violent intensity, while the exact nature of the interaction remains enigmatic. Addressing the power dynamics of race, religion and gender, her scenarios respond to personal experience as well as local or world events, yet do not serve to represent them directly. Correspondingly, the single figures that appear in her later drawings and paintings display what initially seem to be specific ethnic tributes or dress codes, subsequently revealed to be invented and constructed by Ali. As it remains up to the viewer to interpret who these characters are or what may distinguish them as individuals, the perspective and biases of the viewer become part of the artwork’s meaning. The young, green-faced character in ...

Article

Marcella Nesom-Sirhandi

(b Rampur, 1916; d Lahore, 1975).

Pakistani painter. A seminal figure, Shakir ‛Ali introduced Cubism to Lahore in 1952. His style quickly became fashionable there, was adopted in Karachi and dominated the art scene for more than a decade (see Pakistan, Islamic Republic of §III).

Shakir ‛Ali first studied painting at the Ukil Brothers Studio in Delhi. In 1938, after a year in that city, he joined the J. J. School of Art, Bombay, which promoted the British system of art education—drawing from cast and copying Old Masters. From the school’s director, Charles Gerrard, Shakir learned mural painting and was introduced to Impressionism. He also learned about indigenous art such as that at Ajanta (see Ajanta, §2, (i)) and the modern work of Roy, Jamini and Sher-Gil, Amrita.

After receiving a diploma in fine art from the Slade School of Art, London, Shakir ‛Ali studied with André Lhote in France. Moving to Prague, he joined the School of Industrial Design and studied textile design. From Prague, Shakir went to Lahore, where he was appointed Professor and head of the art department at the Mayo School of Arts. In ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

[‛Alī Wijdān; Wijdan]

(b Baghdad, Aug 29, 1939).

Jordanian painter and art patron. She studied history at Beirut University College (formerly Beirut College for Women), receiving a BA in 1961. In 1993 she took a PhD in Islamic Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. After serving in the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and representing her country at United Nations meetings in Geneva and New York, Ali founded the Royal Society of Fine Arts in Jordan in 1979 and the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in 1980 (see Jordan, Hashemite Kingdom of). In 1988 she organized in Amman the Third International Seminar on Islamic Art, entitled ‘Problems of Art Education in the Islamic World’, and in 1989 she organized the exhibition Contemporary Art from the Islamic World at the Barbican Centre, London. In 2001 she founded the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Jordan, and has received numerous awards in recognition of her work in the arts....

Article

(b Fontainebleau, Aug 19, 1890; d Paris, April 22, 1969).

French painter. The first art to impress him was that of Cézanne on show at a memorial exhibition in 1908. That same year he enrolled at the Académie Julian in Paris, although he moved almost immediately to the Académie Ranson, where Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Maurice Denis and Paul Sérusier all taught. He first exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris in 1912. Like many artists of his generation, he was at first influenced by Cubism, in particular by that mild version of it espoused by Roger de La Fresnaye. Although traces of Cubism remained in his pictures after World War I, like the work of other artists involved in the ‘retour à l’ordre’ it became more conservative. In the Master of the Harvest (1921; Paris, Pompidou), for example, this trend is evident in the solid, geometrical construction of the aggressive figures. Soon afterwards however he settled into a neo-classical style, aligning himself with the French tradition, and produced landscapes and figure paintings in restrained colour such as ...

Article

John Steen

(Hendrik)

(b Borger, Feb 11, 1900; d Drachten, Jan 30, 1984).

Dutch painter and printmaker. He trained between 1919 and 1923 as a cabinetmaker, taking evening classes in furniture drawing and design at the Academie Minerva in Groningen. He also took private drawing lessons with the Dutch sculptor Willem Valk (1898–1977). Around 1920 he started to make drawings and paintings in an abstracted, geometric style, similar to that of Bart van der Leck (e.g. En passant, 1921–2; priv. col., see 1984 exh. cat., p. 17). From 1924 he worked in the architectural firm of Van Lingen in Groningen, and he continued to design furniture until the 1930s. He joined De Ploeg and started to mix with Dutch artists such as Jan Wiegers, Jan Altink (1885–1971) and Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman. He produced geometric abstract works such as Composition with Yellow Circles (1924; Groningen, Groninger Mus.). From c. 1924 he began to associate with the Belgian Constructivists involved in the magazine ...

Article

Annie Dell’Aria

Term coined during the height of Abstract Expressionism in the USA, with particular relevance to the work of painter Jackson Pollock. The ‘all-over’ quality of works such as Lavender Mist: Number 1, 1950 (Washington, DC, N.G.A.) refers to its lack of compositional structure (no apparent foreground, middleground, or background) as in traditional representational painting. It also suggests the lack of spatial delineations or focal points of any kind, creating an entirely abstract work that asserts the canvas’s flat surface and eschews any attempt at representational or symbolic interpretation (see fig.). The large scale of Pollock’s drip paintings made their all-over quality all the more impressive as the sprawled paint made the viewer survey the entire surface. Though initially used to describe Pollock’s drip paintings, the term was later applied to the colour field painters of the second generation of Abstract Expressionists. Furthermore, the term ‘all-over’ can be applied to a variety of abstract design strategies (for example, some works by Cy Twombly)....

Article

Chr. Will

[Augustus]

(b Amsterdam, April 19, 1838; d Amsterdam, Jan 10, 1927).

Dutch painter and lithographer. He attended evening classes in drawing at the Felix Meritis School in Amsterdam and on 27 May 1854 sat the entrance exam at the city’s Koninklijke Academie. Lodewijk Royer, the director, gave him lessons in figure drawing and taught him about Greek art. As a student at the Academie he won several prizes. In 1855 he took up lithography under the influence of the French lithographer Adolphe Mouilleron (1820–81), whom he had seen at work in Amsterdam in 1854. He wanted to become a professional lithographer, and from 1858 to 1859 he was in Paris in order to learn the art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Mouilleron’s direction. He made copies after paintings in the Louvre and the Musée du Luxembourg and visited Barbizon. In Paris he met Fantin-Latour and Courbet, but his special admiration was reserved for Ingres, Delacroix and Decamps. In the 1850s and 1860s Allebé frequently sought inspiration in the countryside, staying at ...

Article

Allianz  

Swiss group of painters and sculptors founded in 1937 from various avant-garde elements, with Max Bill, Walter Bodmer, Richard Paul Lohse, Robert S. Gessner (b 1908), Camille Graeser, Fritz Glarner, Max Huber (b 1919) and Verena Loewensberg (b 1912) among its original members; its president was the painter Leo Leuppi (b 1893). The group had no official aesthetic but was not as heterogeneous or politically motivated as the roughly contemporary Gruppe 33, instead displaying a notable bias towards Constructivism and geometric abstraction. The first group exhibition, Neue Kunst in der Schweiz (Basle, Ksthalle, 1938), was followed by a second at the Kunsthaus in Zurich in 1942 and by further group shows at the Galerie des Eaux Vives in Zurich, starting with two in 1944. The Almanach Neuer Kunst in der Schweiz, published by the group in 1940, brought together reproductions of their works with those of artists such as ...

Article

Christopher Newall

(b Burton on Trent, Staffs, Sept 26, 1848; d Haslemere, Surrey, Sept 28, 1926).

English illustrator and painter. The daughter of a physician, she was brought up in Altrincham, Ches, and, after her father’s death in 1862, in Birmingham. She studied at the Birmingham School of Design and, from 1867, at the Royal Academy Schools, London. From 1869 she provided illustrations for Joseph Swain and subsequently for the Graphic and Cornhill magazines. She exhibited watercolours at the Dudley Gallery. In 1874 she married the Irish poet William Allingham, and her consequent financial independence allowed her to abandon black-and-white illustration. Her new circle of friends included Tennyson, Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle, whose portrait she drew (version of 1879; Edinburgh, N.P.G.). In 1875 she was elected an associate of the Old Water-Colour Society (she became a full member in 1890 after the prohibition on lady members was withdrawn); she was a regular exhibitor there.

After 1881, when the family moved to Witley, Surrey, Allingham developed a characteristic style and subject-matter in her watercolours: views of the vernacular architecture of southern England, garden scenes (such as ...

Article

Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy

American installation artists, active also in Puerto Rico. Jennifer Allora (b Philadelphia, Mar 20, 1974) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Richmond, Virginia (1996), and Guillermo Calzadilla (b Havana, Cuba, Jan 10, 1971) graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Escuela de Artes Plastica in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1996). Allora and Calzadilla met in Italy in 1995 during a study abroad program in Florence. They then lived together in San Juan for a year before moving to New York City where they started working collaboratively while each participated in different residency and study programs. In 1998–1999, Allora participated in the year-long Whitney Independent Study Program, while Calzadilla participated in the P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center National Studio Program.

Allora & Calzadilla’s first important international exhibition was the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo in 1998 curated by Paulo Herkenhoff, which investigated the idea of cultural cannibalism known in Brazilian literature as ...

Article

John Steen

[Petrus]

(b Medan, Sumatra, Jan 18, 1886; d Amsterdam, May 23, 1969).

Dutch painter and printmaker. He trained at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten in The Hague (1904–6). From 1907 until 1914 he stayed in Paris, where he worked at Académie Humbert. Initially he used an impressionistic style, but after contact with Dutch artists in Paris, including Conrad Kickert (1882–1965), Piet Mondrian and Lodewijk Schelfhout (1881–1943), c. 1914 he became influenced by Cubism. In 1912 he took part in the Sonderbund exhibition in Cologne and in 1915 he exhibited at the Kunstkring in Rotterdam with Henri Le Fauconnier and Mondrian. In 1921 he travelled to the USSR, where he met Vasily Kandinsky, El Lissitzky, Vladimir Tatlin and Kazimir Malevich. In 1923 Alma organized the exhibition of contemporary Russian art at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, which had been shown as the Erste russische Kunstausstellung in the Galerie van Diemen in Berlin in 1922. His first one-man show was held at the Stedelijk Museum in ...

Article

Theodor Enescu

(b Baccealia, Bessarabia [now Bakchaliya, Moldova], Feb 28, 1926).

Romanian painter. He studied at the Academy of Fine Art in Bucharest (1945–52), and from 1954 undertook several study tours in Italy and France. He established his reputation between 1954 and 1959 with landscapes and portraits that were subtle in colour and showed the influence of Ion Andreescu, Camil Ressu and Dumitru Ghiaţă (e.g. Landscape at Grozăvesti, 1954; Suceava, Distr. Mus.). From 1965 he concentrated on large-scale official commissions, which he painted in a style unaffected by the accepted academic views of the time, and that were contemporary while still having thematic and stylistic elements from earlier periods in Romanian art (e.g. Epitaph, 1967; Bucharest, Mus. A.). The constructive synthesis of his forms and volumes is based on a continuous dynamism of planes and linear rhythms, originating from the Cubist decomposition of forms, and from the Neo-classical mode between the two World Wars, especially that practised by Picasso and Jacques Villon. In his large historical compositions, which in their rhythm and use of colour show the influence of ...

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

Deborah Cullen

(Henry) [Spinky]

(b Charlotte, NC, Nov 29, 1907; d April 27, 1977).

African American painter, sculptor, graphic artist, muralist and educator. In 1913, Charles Alston’s family relocated from North Carolina to New York where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School. In 1929, he attended Columbia College and then Teachers College at Columbia University, where he obtained his MFA in 1931. Alston’s art career began while he was a student, creating illustrations for Opportunity magazine and album covers for jazz musician Duke Ellington.

Alston was a groundbreaking educator and mentor. He directed the Harlem Arts Workshop and then initiated the influential space known simply as “306,” which ran from 1934 to 1938. He taught at the Works Progress Administration’s Harlem Community Art Center and was supervisor of the Harlem Hospital Center murals, leading 35 artists as the first African American project supervisor of the Federal Art Project. His two murals reveal the influence of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886–1957). His artwork ranged from the comic to the abstract, while often including references to African art. During World War II, he worked at the Office of War Information and Public Information, creating cartoons and posters to mobilize the black community in the war effort....

Article

(b Rödichen-Schnepfenthal, Thuringia, Nov 22, 1926; d Dresden, Dec 30, 1989).

German painter, printmaker and sculptor. He studied at the Hochschule für Baukunst and Bildende Kunst in Weimar under H. Hoffmann-Lederer (b 1899). From the start his interest was directed towards modernism, especially by its literary aspects, which inspired him to produce lyrical works of his own. Even in his first drawings, for example Ecce homo I (1949; priv. col., see 1969 exh. cat., no. 142), in which he addressed the painful experience of war, he achieved a marked individual style. His determined preoccupation with modern art and the vocabulary of form set him at odds with the prevailing artistic ideology until late in his life. In the 1940s and 1950s, although his plants and figures were depicted objectively, he produced tight-woven but reduced abstract shapes that anticipated the meticulously applied successive layers of non-objectivism. His work was always closely influenced by the area in which he was born and lived, particularly his landscapes, for example ...

Article

Hans-Peter Wittwer

(b Basle, April 11, 1878; d Zurich, April 27, 1947).

Swiss painter. He studied in Basle, in Munich under Heinrich Knirr, and in Rome. He worked from 1913 to 1939 as a teacher of composition at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Stuttgart, gaining international recognition as one of the few Swiss Expressionists. In his panel paintings and murals, he tried to achieve a synthesis of Expressionism, Symbolism and Classicism, using startling contrasts of light and dark tones. He also produced mosaics and stained-glass windows. His brother ...

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, ...