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Xavier Moyssén

(b Mexico City, Feb 9, 1893; d Mexico City, Feb 14, 1975).

Mexican sculptor, painter and decorative artist. He studied briefly at the Academia de Bellas Artes de S Carlos in Mexico City but was fundamentally self-taught. In 1925 he was associated with Estridentismo, an avant-garde literary and artistic movement with which he exhibited caricature masks painted in strong expressive colours on glossy card, for example Germán List Arzubide (1926; Mexico City, priv. col., see List Arzubide, p. 6). Between 1927 and 1932 he lived in France and Spain; he visited the studios of Brancusi, Gargallo and Lipchitz in Paris, but he was especially influenced by his contact there with Joaquín Torres García. It was during this time that he became committed to abstraction, for example in his stone carving Napoleon (1931; Mexico City, priv. col., see 1981 exh. cat., no. 1).

Cueto produced not only sculptures in a variety of materials, but also mosaics and puppets. The avant-garde aesthetics of his exclusively abstract art failed to find acceptance, however, on his return to Mexico, and he was likewise unwilling to yield to the ideologically committed art that was then dominant. Instead he continued his experimental work in a variety of techniques and materials, as in the undated ...


Horacio Safons

(b La Plata, Dec 14, 1891; d Buenos Aires, Nov 14, 1962).

Argentine sculptor. He entered the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires in 1907 and won a scholarship to study in Italy, where he was in the habit of creating and destroying monumental sculptures in a single day. In spite of the prohibition against holders of scholarships absenting themselves from the country to which they were sent, he travelled widely, visiting major museums and galleries and from 1914 to 1926 coming into contact with Aristide Maillol, Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, Maurice Denis, Paul Sérusier, Henri Laurens, Gris, Brancusi and Le Corbusier. Only his seriousness as an artist saved him from being penalized for breaking the terms of his scholarship.

In 1920 Curatella Manes settled in Paris, where he remained until after World War II. Between 1921 and 1923 he produced accomplished sculptures in a Cubist style, concentrating on representations of figures such as The Guitarist (1921) and The Acrobats...


Elida Salazar

(b Bayreuth, Sept 26, 1946).

Venezuelan painter and sculptor of German birth. He arrived in Venezuela in 1948 and in 1963 began his studies at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas ‘Cristóbal Rojas’ in Caracas. His densely composed work incorporated various objects such as stuffed animals, skins, crucifixes and mirrors, which he used to develop contemplation of the contemporary, with symbolic reference to what is specifically American and to the sacred nature of art. His use of various materials, in conjunction with animal and vegetable forms, reveals the mythological landscape in which Von Dangel ultimately found expression. He represented Venezuela at the São Paulo Biennale in Brazil in 1983, and his work was included in various international touring group exhibitions. He held various one-man shows in Caracas, outstanding among which was the Batalla de San Romano, held at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Caracas in 1990.

Diccionario de artes visuales en Venezuela (Caracas, 1982)Three Venezuelans in Two Dimensions: Miguel von Dangel, Ernesto León, Carlos Zerpa...



(b Denver, CO, Nov 24, 1941).

American sculptor. He studied at the University of Colorado, Boulder (1961–5), and was an art assistant at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (1966–8). He had his first one-man show at the OK Harris Gallery in New York in 1970. He rapidly developed a style of casting and then painting fibreglass or polyvinyl acetate sculptures of figures from live models. His techniques evolved to include refinements for achieving his hyper-realistic effects, including layering paint and glazes to depict a variety of skin surfaces and veins, creating individual characteristics such as moles and freckles, and implanting hair instead of adding wigs (see fig.). The extreme verism of his work links it to Photorealism, although it lacks the strong cultural identity evident in much Photorealist sculpture and painting. Many of the sculptures are of one or two young, elegant, and casually posed nude figures, as in ...


Nelly Perazzo

(b Vasto, Chietti, Oct 5, 1897; d Buenos Aires, Feb 14, 1987).

Argentine painter and sculptor of Italian birth. He lived in Argentina from 1909, becoming an Argentine citizen in 1929. In 1925 he began submitting work to national and provincial salons, and in 1926 his first one-man exhibition was held at the Asociación Amigos del Arte in Buenos Aires; the latter also awarded him a scholarship to study in Paris, where he remained until his return to Argentina in 1933.

Del Prete, who exhibited with Abstraction–Création in Paris in 1933 and was in productive contact with Hans Arp, Massimo Campigli, Georges Vantongerloo, Joaquín Torres García and Jean Hélion, is generally considered an important precursor of abstract art in Argentina. He was self-taught, intuitive, rebellious and independent and had demonstrated a receptiveness to contemporary artistic developments even before travelling to Europe. On his return to Argentina he exhibited a series of abstract plaster carvings as well as works made of wire, maquettes for stage sets and masks....


Jorge Luján-Muñoz

(b Guatemala City, Dec 5, 1939).

Guatemalan painter, sculptor, printmaker and architect. Although he studied architecture at the Universidad de San Carlos in Guatemala (1959–61), as an artist he was essentially self-taught. One of the most important abstract artists in Guatemala, he worked in a variety of media, favouring new materials and bold geometric forms. As an architect he co-designed two important public buildings in Guatemala City: a library at the Universidad de San Carlos known as the Edificio de Recursos Educativos (1969; with Augusto de León Fajardo), and the Instituto de Fomento Municipal (1973). He produced a number of murals in Guatemala City: Genesis (clay, 5 sq. m) in the residence of the architect Max Holzheu; Genesis (1972; Banco Inmobiliario Col.); Nest of Quetzals (acrylic, 1974; Inst. Fomento Mun.); Fissure (concrete, 9 sq. m, 1975; Casa Salem); Untitled (concrete and mirror, 160 sq. m, 1980) at the Cámara Guatemalteca de la Construcción; and ...


Osvaldo Svanascini

(b Buenos Aires, 1933).

Argentine painter and sculptor. He studied at the Escuelas Nacionales de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, and in 1960 was awarded the Beca de Italia scholarship. He lived in Barcelona from 1977 to 1979, when he returned to Buenos Aires. After some noteworthy work as a graphic designer, Distéfano began to investigate new materials for use in making his sculptures. As a draftsman he had an accurate, almost Renaissance line, which he extended to his explorations of sculpture. This was made possible by his use of polyester, glass fiber, resins, and acrylic colors, together with molds and bleaches, in a complex process. By distancing himself from traditional materials and through his use of vibrant color, Distéfano achieved unforeseen surface qualities and textures. His works, with their strong plastic content, became visibly dramatic and tensely expressive. His subjects were always tortured human figures who sought to express a monologue in their committed silence. His pictorial sense was always pre-eminent in his skillful conjunction of volume and space....


Jorge Glusberg

(b Buenos Aires, July 24, 1946).

Argentine sculptor. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes ‘Manuel Belgrano’ and the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes ‘Prilidiano Pueyrredon’. Taking as his starting-point forms associated with Inca, Aztec and Maya civilization as experienced in journeys through Peru and Mexico, encompassing nature and architecture as well as pieces made of clay, Dompé treated his sources as catalysts in his pursuit of a regional identity, rather than as models with a supposed universal validity. Synthesizing in this way the values of a humanistic sculpture into a form of modern discourse and using mixed techniques including modelling, he transmuted objective reality into the material presence of marble or sedimentary rock elaborated with the most refined of traditional techniques. Giving preference to symbolic values (e.g. Totem, 1970×510×240 mm, 1983; wood and iron version, Buenos Aires, Mus. N. B.A.), Dompé thus stressed a contextual reading of his works that transcends the specific time and place of its production....


María José Montalva

(b Santiago, May 3, 1959).

Chilean painter and sculptor. He studied art at the Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago (1977–82) and in 1980 joined Escena de Avanzada, an avante-garde movement comprising a multi-disciplinary group of artists and intellectuals that did not follow the official discourse of Pinochet’s dictatorship. The influence of this movement can be seen in Duclo’s early installations, which used cast-off materials and found objects. In the mid-1980s Duclos began to paint. Using such untraditional supports such as bath towels, curtains, sleeping bags and corduroy, he brought conceptual art into the Chilean painting tradition. He held his first solo exhibition, La Lección de Anatomia, in the Bucci Gallery, Santiago, in 1985; he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1992.

His work is meticulously, neatly and methodically constructed and has a strong graphic presence. Images and texts from a vast archive, collected over many years, are infinitely recombined. Sources of inspiration include ...


David Boxer

(b Savanna-la-Mar, Dec 10, 1891; d Kingston, Feb 17, 1947).

Jamaican painter and sculptor. Essentially self-taught, he is believed to have been introduced to the rudiments of painting by an amateur painter while living in Panama in the late 1920s. His career, however, began in earnest in Jamaica in the mid-1930s. His painting methods were slow and painstaking, using a variety of unorthodox materials and tools, including house paint and brushes made from the twigs of trees. His mature work (c. 1939–47) reveals an individual approach both to subject-matter and to the formal organization of his paintings. The majority of these are imagined landscapes, although many were probably based on memories of particular places, especially the Rio Cobre Gorge in St Catherine, Jamaica. The landscapes, with their dark tonalities, fantastic overblown foliage and other much-repeated motifs (never-ending roads, trees with phallic truncated branches, ravines) and their unusual creatures (jerboas, spiders, crabs), are truly disquieting works. In many, this unease is heightened by the anticipation of some terror about to strike; a mongoose lies in wait for an unsuspecting bird; a bird is poised to strike a fish; a jerboa approaches a giant spider’s web; a woman fishing is perched perilously close to the edge of a cliff....