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Ramón Vargas

(b Mexico City, Sept 22, 1901; d Mexico City, June 10, 1982).

Mexican architect, teacher and theorist. He graduated in 1923 from the Academia de S Carlos, Mexico City. There his teachers, many of whose professional careers had coincided with the dictatorial regime (1876–1910) of General Porfirio Díaz, emphasized the virtues of nationalism and modernity in architecture. At the time of Villagrán’s graduation, however, the Mexican Revolution had just ended, and the great transformation of the country’s social life was just beginning, in which architecture was to play an important part through the provision of an infrastructure of schools and hospitals as well as low-cost housing. It was in the medical field that Villagrán began his career, designing the Instituto de Higiene y Granja Sanitaria (1925–7) in Mexico City, which in the shape of its isolated pavilions represented a break with the architecture of the past. The hospital was also carefully planned to meet the specific clinical demands of the medical advisers who acted as architectural consultants. The result was a synthesis of the aesthetic and the functional that was emblematic of the ‘integralism’ of ...


Maria Concepción García Sáiz

(b Mexico City, c. 1644; d Mexico City, 1714).

Mexican painter. He worked in a decorative Baroque style, based on the primacy of light and colour over accuracy of form. In 1675 he painted the altarpiece of the church of S Rosa de Lima, Huaquechula, Puebla, and subsequently worked until 1681 on the altarpiece of the church of S Rosa de Lima, Azcapotzalco. On several occasions between 1683 and 1686 he produced paintings for Mexico City Cathedral, including the Apotheosis of St Michael, the Woman of the Apocalypse, the Church Militant and Triumphant and the Triumph of the Eucharist (all in situ). In 1686 he worked on the triumphal arch dedicated to the Conde de la Monclova, Melchor Portocarrero and Lasso de la Vega. This was followed by the Apotheosis of the Eucharist in the Cúpula de los Reyes, Puebla Cathedral, and a new version of the Church Militant and Triumphant for Guadalajara Cathedral. In 1691 Villalpando painted a series on the ...


Bélgica Rodríguez

(b Croydon, Surrey, May 30, 1900; d Caracas, Aug 16, 1975).

Venezuelan architect and teacher, of English birth. His father, Carlos Antonio Villanueva, was a diplomat and author of several history books about South America. His mother, Paulina Astoul de Villanueva, was French and was his link with the culture and life of Europe, where he spent his early life. In 1920 he began to study architecture with Gabriel Héraud at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, from which he graduated in 1928; he then went on to study at the Institut d’Urbanisme, University of Paris. In 1929 he returned to Venezuela and settled in Caracas, where he established his own architectural practice. This long stay in Europe marked his professional and personal life; his subsequent approach to architecture was inspired by his European background, and he even spoke his mother tongue, Spanish, with a strong French accent. At the same time, however, he was deeply interested in both the traditional architecture of Venezuela and its constraints, such as the brilliant light and tropical climate....


Teresa Gisbert

(b La Paz, Nov 28, 1884; d La Paz, May 14, 1970).

Bolivian engineer, architect, urban planner and writer. He qualified as an engineer in Chile in 1907, pursued an academic career to become Dean of the Faculty of Science and Rector of the Universidad Boliviana Mayor de ‘San Andrés’, La Paz, and served as Minister for Education after World War I. In 1943 he founded the School of Architecture in the Universidad de La Paz, the first in Bolivia other than the short-lived school begun by Philippe Bertrés and José Núñez del Prado in the 1830s. Brought up in the aura of French academicism, Villanueva produced buildings in the 1920s and 1930s in that style; the Banco Central de Bolivia (1926), La Paz, is an example. Buildings such as his Alcadía Municipal (1925), La Paz, with its 17th-century French influence, and the Hospital General (1916–25), in the Miraflores district of La Paz, however, show greater eclecticism. Thereafter Villanueva worked towards a national architecture based on the ancient Pre-Columbian culture of Tiahuanaco, of which the monolithic architecture and characteristic sculpture inspired his Stadium in La Paz (...


Aída Sierra Torres

(b Veracruz, 1848; d Tacubaya, Mexico City, Feb 14, 1904).

Mexican illustrator and lithographer. He began his career in 1869, making prints for the weekly La ilustración potosina in San Luis Potosí. He collaborated with Alejandro Casarín and Jesús Alamilla on illustrations using engravings coloured with pen for the novel Ensalada de pollos by José Tomás de Cuéllar. In these the use of a schematic design accentuated the appearance of the figures portrayed. He created caricatures (1872–3) for La orquesta and other periodicals, but he established his reputation with caricatures (1874–6) of government figures for the weekly Hijo Ahuizote. Villasana was a member of the political party of President Porfirio Díaz and in 1880 published ferocious caricatures of Díaz’s opponents in El coyote emplumado. He was co-publisher in 1883, with Ireneo Paz, of La patria ilustrada and in 1888 he founded his own weekly, México y sus costumbres; in both periodicals he published his own caricatures of public figures. In ...


Pedro Querejazu

(b La Plata [now Sucre], 1822; d Sucre, after 1888).

Bolivian painter. It is possible he was taught painting by Manuel Ugalde. He went to France to improve his skills, and in 1856 he was in Paris. His known works date from 1844 to 1866. He was active mainly in Sucre, although he also worked in Potosí and La Paz. He painted in various genres, but his work mainly consists of official portraits of presidents and national and regional dignitaries such as Simon Bolívar (U. Sucre, Mus. Charcas), General José Ballivián (1844; La Paz, Alcaldía) and Mariano Melgarejo (1866; Potosí, Mus. N. Casa Moneda). Villavicencio’s style was sober and academic, but his portraits, landscapes and allegories have documentary value as a record of painting in the country after the long period of mestizo art.

M. Chacón Torres: Pintores del siglo XIX, Bib. A. & Cult. Boliv.: A. & Artistas (La Paz, 1963)P. Querejazu: La pintura boliviana del siglo XX...


W. Iain Mackay

(b Pomabamba, Ancash, 1928).

Peruvian painter, active in Colombia. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Lima until 1950 and then at the fine arts faculty of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá, where he then settled. His work was initially figurative, but it developed towards a more abstract style, blending references to Pre-Columbian textile art and colonial art in largely monochromatic, textured paintings. Figurative elements later re-emerged in symbolic, Baroque-inspired compositions that evoke the works of Lucas Cranach, Dürer or Niklaus Deutsch, and in drawings that similarly look to European rather than Andean traditions (e.g. Knight of the Thistle, 1978; priv. col.; see Fraser and Baddeley, pl. 14). In the 1980s his work increasingly contained mythological and symbolic elements (e.g. Masked Nobleman, 1986; priv. col.; see Fraser and Baddeley, p. 76).

J. A. de Lavalle and W. Lang: Pintura contemporánea, II: 1920–1960, Col. A. & Tesoros Perú (Lima, 1976), pp. 164–7...


W. Iain Mackay

(b Arequipa, April 22, 1900; d Arequipa, July 15, 1931).

Peruvian painter and illustrator. He first exhibited in Arequipa in 1917 after leaving school, and in 1918 he went to Lima, where he was influenced most notably by the work of the Peruvian painter Daniel Hernández, who from 1919 to 1924 taught him at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes. After working as an art critic for the newspaper El Comercio and contributing as a caricaturist to the magazines Mundial and Variedades, in 1925 he began teaching at the Escuela Nacional. Vinatea Reinoso’s caricatures were rarely rebellious or anarchic but reflected the gentle satire typical of the work of Pancho Fierro. His painting, which pioneered Peruvian Indigenism, was influenced by the work of the French Impressionists and by the other leading Indigenist painter, José Sabogal, although Vinatea Reinoso used more complex perspectives and structures than many Indigenists. His colours were generally subdued and were applied with fragmentary brushstrokes, giving a somewhat unfinished appearance to his works (e.g. ...


Ludovico C. Koppmann

(b Buenos Aires, 1892; d Buenos Aires, 1978).

Argentine architect. From the age of 15 he attended the school of architecture set up in 1901 by Alejandro Christophersen in the Universidad de Buenos Aires, where his final projects revealed a challenge to prevailing academic attitudes that continued throughout a successful professional career. Virasoro acknowledged the influence upon his work of Léon Bakst’s stage designs for the Diaghilev ballet, which visited Buenos Aires after World War I, and of Matila Ghyka’s early books on the theories of mathematical proportion: Esthétique des proportions (Paris, 1927) and Le Nombre d’or (Paris, 1931). In line with the populist reforms of the 1920s, Virasoro adopted high standards of performance and provided good facilities for employees in his design and construction organization, for which he adopted the motto Viribus Unitis. Although the change to right-wing government in 1930 caused the collapse of Virasoro’s practice, he is regarded as one of the pioneers of the ...


Roberto Pontual

(d’Angelo )

(b Salerno, July 30, 1866; d Rio de Janeiro, Oct 15, 1944).

Brazilian painter and decorative artist, of Italian birth. He was taken as an infant from Italy to Rio de Janeiro. In 1884 he began studying in Rio de Janeiro at the Academia Imperial das Belas Artes and the Liceu Imperial de Artes e Ofícios under Victor Meirelles de Lima, Henrique Bernardelli (1837–1946) and Rodolfo Amoedo (1857–1941). He was active in efforts to eliminate the academy’s rigid academic discipline. He went to Paris in 1892 and attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs, where he was taught by Eugène-Samuel Grasset. At the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, Visconti won a silver medal for the paintings Youth (1898) and Dance of the Wood Nymphs (1899; both Rio de Janeiro, Mus. N. B.A.). Following the Pre-Raphaelites, his main influences were Botticelli and other painters of the Italian Renaissance, but he was also affected by Grasset and Art Nouveau. On his return to Brazil, among the works exhibited in ...


Carlos A. C. Lemos

(b São Paulo, Feb 1, 1909; d 1997).

Brazilian architect. He studied in Rio de Janeiro, graduating as a civil engineer from the Escola Politécnica and as an architect from the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes (1933), where he participated in the reforms of 1931–1932 when Lúcio Costa introduced Modernist teachers; this exposed him to the teachings of Le Corbusier and his rationalist approach to Modernism. Until 1936 he worked with Adhemar Marinho (b 1911), and they designed the Esther building (1936) in São Paulo, which is considered to be the first freestanding modern building in the city. It was also the first multi-use building in São Paulo, comprising ten floors of shops, offices, and flats as well as an underground car park. Conceived in accordance with Le Corbusier’s principles, it combined a new structural system of pilotis and open-plan floors with a sculptural sense of the building’s volume, its four façades articulated in a manner reminiscent of Art Deco. A member of ...


Cecilia Suárez

revised by Rodolfo Kronfle Chambers

(b Ambato, Oct 8, 1931).

Ecuadorean painter and draftsman, muralist. Mostly self-taught, he trained under the guide of immigrant modernist painters, with the Dutch Jan Schreuder (1955) and especially with the American Lloyd Wulf (1955–1959), whose friendship had a deep impact on him. In 1957 he graduated as an architect at the Universidad Central del Ecuador in Quito, although he never practiced as one.

His characteristic style of flat colors on which he would accommodate areas of thick paint would gain him early notoriety. In 1960 he won the grand prize at the Salón Mariano Aguilera with Man, House, and Moon, with which he expressed an ongoing attempt to grasp an Amerindian cosmovision, as well as a desire to move beyond the anecdotal figuration of Ecuadorian Social Realist art. For a brief period he developed an Ancestralist (or “Pre-Columbian”) phase, during which he poetically evoked the continent’s precolonial past (e.g. Symbols series, 1960; Origin, 1961). He was an early adopter of this movement that challenged the supremacy of well-established Indigenist painters such as ...


Nelly Perazzo

(b Buenos Aires, Sept 6, 1899; d Paris, May 16, 1953).

Argentine sculptor active in France. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires before moving in 1925 to Paris, where he studied under Émile-Antoine Bourdelle. Living a tragic bohemian existence and feeling a strong nostalgia for Latin America, he returned incessantly to the theme of the gaucho, as in Gaucho in the Bough (gray granite, 1951; Buenos Aires, Mus. A. Mod.), and sought also to conjure the landscape of Argentina—with its light, its wind, and the contours of the Andes—in sculptures such as Totem Patagonia (wood, 1951; Buenos Aires, Mus. A. Mod.).

Basing his stark and violently contrasting intersecting planes on a close analysis of natural forms, Vitullo arrived at a symbolic visual language by which the horizontality of the pampa and the verticality of the mountains are equated with masculine and feminine archetypes. He carved a variety of materials, notably oak, marble, granite, and other stone....


Ramón Alfonso Méndez Brignardello

(b Santiago, 1829; d Valparaíso, 1890).

Chilean architect. His father was unknown and his mother a humble laundress who made great efforts in order to educate her son. He began working for a cabinetmaker at the age of 13 and then joined a drawing class for craftsmen at the Instituto Nacional, Santiago. There were few professional architects in Chile at that time, and he was commissioned at the age of 18 to design the Casa de Orates building. Vivaceta Rupio joined the first architecture class of the Frenchman Claude François Brunet-Debaines (1788–1855), who had been contracted by the Chilean government. His fellow pupil Ricardo Brown and he were the first architects to be trained in Chile. As a result of his assiduity and determination, he was selected by Brunet-Debaines to complete outstanding works when the contract expired. Working in the 19th-century Neo-classical tradition, with some gestures towards the neo-Gothic, Vivaceta Rupio rebuilt the towers of several Santiago churches and built several private houses and the church and convent of Carmen Alto. He contributed to repairs to the cathedral of Santiago and collaborated with ...


Roberto Pontual

(b Lucca, April 14, 1896; d São Paulo, ?May 30, 1988).

Brazilian painter of Italian birth. He was taken as an infant to São Paulo by his Italian parents and began painting in 1914 after working as a painter-decorator. In the 1930s he was involved in the modernist groups active in São Paulo, including the Família Artística Paulista; he held his first one-man exhibition at the Itá Gallery, São Paulo, in 1944. He became involved in the Concrete art movement in Brazil and took part in Concrete art exhibitions in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in 1956 and 1957.

Until the mid-1940s Volpi painted landscapes and figures in a rough, realistic manner, already revealing his strong attraction for the picturesque and popular aspects of his subjects. Between 1945 and 1950 he painted seascapes and groups of houses along the Itanhaem littoral, but after 1950 he established his characteristic vocabulary of soft and sensual brushstrokes and simple, schematized shapes, with a limited range of such motifs as popular façades, church arches, flags, sails and masts; examples include ...


[Jean Frédéric Waldeck, Comte de ]

(b Prague, March 17, 1766; d Paris, April 30, 1875).

French painter and printmaker of German–Bohemian origin, active in Mexico. After studying in Paris under Jacques-Louis David, Pierre-Paul Prud’hon and Joseph-Marie Vien he travelled to Chile and then to Mexico, where he was employed by an English mining company in Tlalpujahua to draw machinery to be used in extracting minerals. He became more interested, however, in drawing archaeological ruins. While in Mexico he declined the offer of two posts: that of directing the first lithographic press in 1826, shortly before its installation by the government, and the presidency of the Academia de S Carlos in Mexico City. He did, however, publish Colección de antigüedades que existen en el Museo Nacional.

Waldeck continued to publish his illustrations after returning to Europe, where he settled in Paris. In 1866 he was involved in a polemic in the newspapers with Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc over the merits of using photography as archaeological evidence.

Colección de antiqüedades que existen en el Museo Nacional...


Regina Maria Prosperi Meyer

revised by Helena Bender

(b Odessa, Apr 2, 1896; d São Paulo, Jul 27, 1972).

Brazilian architect of Russian birth. He studied at the Odessa School of Art (1912), in the Russian Empire (now Ukraine), resuming his education at the Reggio Istituto Superiore di Belle Arti (1918–1920) in Rome, Italy. After graduating, Warchavchik worked for Italian architect Marcello Piacentini, assisting in the design of economic housings and the Teatro Savoia’s construction in Florence (1922–1923). In 1923 he moved to São Paulo to work for the Companhia Construtora de Santos (1923–1926), establishing a private office in 1927. Maintaining his work in São Paulo, Warchavchik associated himself with Lucio Costa between 1932 and 1933. He also helped Costa to renovate the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro, working as a professor of architectural composition (1930–1932). Additionally, Warchavchik was the first Latin American delegate of the International Congresses of Modern Architecture (CIAM) from 1930 to 1933. Warchavchik was an avant-garde architect in Brazil. He designed and built the first modern houses and published the first manifesto on modern architecture in the country....



Susan Bergh


Pre-Columbian civilization that, between 600 and 1000 CE, created one of the ancient Andes’ major art styles, drawing inspiration from contemporary and earlier traditions, such as the Nasca.

During the Middle Horizon period (600–1000 CE), the Wari people forged the most politically complex and geographically expansive civilization to have existed in the central Andean region since settled life emerged there in about 5000 BCE. Only the later Inka Empire (1400–1532 CE) had greater influence and territorial extent. The eponymous Wari capital city was in Ayacucho in the south-central highlands of Peru; underexplored due to the vagaries of history, the enormous urban center covers more than 6 sq. km (2.3 sq. miles). Smaller but still impressive are the often better-documented provincial centers the Wari built in far-flung areas of the highlands, western foothills, and eastern slope, including Pikillacta; Cerro Baúl; Jincamocco; Viracochapampa, which was never finished or occupied; and Espíritu Pampa (respectively, ...


Veerle Poupeye

(b Lucea, Hanover, Jamaica, Dec 9, 1931).

Jamaican painter and dealer. He studied at the Royal College of Art, London, the Rijksacademie, Amsterdam, and elsewhere in Europe. In the early 1960s, together with Karl Parboosingh and Eugene Hyde, he was one of the founding members of the Contemporary Jamaican Artists’ Association, which gave impetus to the second generation of the Jamaican Art Movement. His approach was essentially academic and realist, with occasional modernist intrusions. He experimented with abstraction, and in some works he employed a futurist analysis of movement. He is best known for his large-scale, epic depictions of Jamaican life painted in grand academic manner, such as the Garden Party (1976; Bank of Jamaica col.), which is a panoramic commentary on the idiosyncrasies of Jamaican society. He was also a popular portrait painter, and his finest portraits, such as the portrait of Valerie Bloomfield (1962; Kingston, N.G.), have an intimate, immediate quality. He was also well known for his nudes and erotic scenes, painted mainly in oil and watercolour. From ...


David Boxer

(b Kingston, 1934).

Jamaican painter. He attended the art classes of the Institute of Jamaica’s Junior Centre (1948–52) and then studied at the Jamaica School of Art in Kingston (1952–8). He began to exhibit in Jamaica with some success, but decided to further his studies at St Martin’s School of Art in London (1962–5). On his return to Jamaica it was clear that his work had undergone a dramatic transformation, primarily as a result of his visits to the British Museum in London and his encounters there with masterpieces of African art. These may have struck a chord within him, but it was clear in his paintings that Picasso’s Cubism provided the conduit for his Africanisms. In his sculpture, particularly his delicately polychromed bas-reliefs, the influence seems to have been more direct: many works seem related to Yoruba carvings in the proportions and massing of the figures. Intensely Jamaican in his subject-matter, he produced in the late 1960s and 1970s an extended series of paintings that drew their imagery from Jamaican Jonkonnu, a Christmas festival where the revellers are costumed and masked (...