(b Paris, May 22, 1930; d New York, Apr 30, 2016).
Venezuelan-American sculptor of French birth. Because of her use of everyday objects she is often classified as a Pop artist, but this designation does not adequately describe the complexity and compassion of her sculpture.
Marisol was born in Paris and had a peripatetic childhood before attending high school in Los Angeles. In 1949 she left for Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts; in 1950 she returned to New York and studied at the Art Students League, followed by three years studying with Hans Hofmann. Her arrival in New York coincided with the transition between Abstract Expressionism and Pop art and Marisol soon became a significant persona in the heady social and aesthetic swirl that marked the period.
In the early 1950s, Marisol discovered Pre-Columbian art and shifted from painting to sculpture. Influenced by the Neo-Dada lead up to Pop art, especially the work of Robert Rauschenberg, she began experimenting with assemblage and soon developed her signature work: large-scale figures using a combination of found and created forms. Typically, she began with richly grained wooden blocks, then drew or painted illusionistic faces and body elements on them—or used plaster masks—adding found objects as props and to suggest environments, often with a twist of Surrealist disjunction. ...