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Article

Roberto Pontual

(b São Paulo, 1935).

Brazilian painter and printmaker. After studying engraving in São Paulo, he moved to New York in 1959 to complete his studies at the Pratt Graphic Center, where his contact with international Pop art merged with his own interest in Brazilian popular imagery, for example in the portfolio of woodcuts Mine and Yours (1967). Immediately afterwards he began painting ambiguous and ironic still-lifes collectively titled Brasíliana, which use bananas as symbols of underdevelopment and exploitation, for example BR-1 SP (1970; São Paulo, Pin. Estado) and Bananas (1971; Washington, DC, Mus. Mod. A. Latin America). In 1971 he won a trip abroad in the National Salon of Modern Art (Rio de Janeiro), which took him again to New York between 1972 and 1973. On his return to São Paulo he began the series Battlegrounds, in which he submitted the previously reclining bananas to slashing, torture and putrefaction. Subsequently shapes were reorganized into configurations of an undramatic Surrealism, playful, colourful, tumescent and as firmly rooted as ever in his native Brazil and Latin America....

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

Mari Carmen Ramírez

(b San Juan, Aug 18, 1931).

Puerto Rican painter and printmaker. She studied painting for six years at the Real Academia de San Fernando in Madrid, woodcut and screenprinting with Lorenzo Homar at the Graphics Workshop of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (1959–63), and printmaking techniques at Pratt Graphic Center in New York (1969–70). From the early 1970s she was actively involved in the development of art education in Puerto Rico, teaching at the Art Students League of San Juan and at Sacred Heart University. She was also a founding member of the Hermandad de Artistas Gráficos, president of the Fine Arts Section of the Ateneo Puertorriqueño, adviser to the National Endowment for the Arts and one of the principal advocates of the Puerto Rican women artists’ movement.

Báez’s early work was influenced by the social realism current in the 1950s and focused on nationalist, social and political subject-matter. Gradually she developed a personal iconography based on the human figure in solitary interiors and environments, through which she criticized the pretensions and manners of Puerto Rican middle-class society. In her early work she explored the painterly potential of the woodcut, later adapting other techniques to equally expressive ends, achieving rich, textural effects. Her tendency as a printmaker to find equivalents for her concerns as a painter was evident also in her screenprints, in which she used transparent layers, spatial planes and luminous colours to reinforce the psychological space in which her characters exist....

Article

Aleca Le Blanc

(b São Paulo, Jun 20, 1914; d São Paulo, Dec 22, 2010).

Brazilian visual artist and designer. The formal training Barsotti received was in drawing and chemistry, and by the 1950s he had established a professional career in design, working in São Paulo during the postwar period. From 1954 to 1964 he ran a studio with Willys de Castro (1926–1988), a life-long collaborator and fellow artist, called Estúdio de Projetos Gráficos, where he created costume design, graphic design, and textile design, among other things. During this period he focused his artistic efforts exclusively on geometric abstraction, then the dominant style of the avant-garde in Brazil under the rubric of Concrete art. However, Barsotti did not immediately affiliate with any of the groups that promoted it, such as the dogmatic Grupo Ruptura in São Paulo. He was not, strictly speaking, a devotee of Concrete art, which required that the geometric composition be entirely preconceived, divorced from observed reality, and visually represent a mathematical formula. On this matter, de Castro applauded his friend in a ...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Pergamino, Buenos Aires, Sept 22, 1894; d Buenos Aires, Feb 21, 1976).

Argentine painter, stage designer and illustrator. He studied drawing in Buenos Aires under the Italian painter Augusto Bolognini (b 1870) and at the Academia Nacional before moving in 1923 to Paris, where he worked in Charles Guérin’s studio and at the Académie Colarossi. He also studied in the studios of André Lhote and Othon Friesz and became associated with other Argentine artists based in Paris. Like others of his generation and nationality, he sought in the 1920s to escape from pictorial provincialism by rejecting academic norms, as in Still-life (1926; Rosario, Mus. Mun. B.A.). He learnt how to paint while living in France and developed a range of imagery typical of Argentine art without showing any great originality.

More than any other painter, Basaldúa depicted life in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, concentrating humorously and without sentimentality on the wide boys, dance-hall girls, loose women and handsome, dangerous men of the tango in such pictures as the ...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Torroella de Montgri, Catalonia, March 3, 1911; d Buenos Aires, Oct 8, 1966).

Argentine painter, printmaker, illustrator, sculptor and stage designer of Spanish Catalan birth. He arrived in Buenos Aires in 1913. Although his uncle, José Planas Casas (b Catalonia, 1900; d Argentina, 1960), taught him the rudiments of art, he was basically self-taught and began to exhibit his work in 1934. Synthesizing ideas from Zen philosophy, psychoanalysis and the theories on cosmic energy espoused by the Austrian psychologist Wilhelm Reich with his interests in automatism, poetry and painting, he found a creative sense of direction from an early age. He applied his methods not only to paintings but to stage designs, illustrations, collages, prints, polychrome sculptures and boxlike constructions; as a painter he worked both in tempera and in oil, and he also produced 72 murals.

In 1936 Batlle Planas inaugurated a Surrealist phase with a series entitled Paranoiac X-rays, followed by another group of pictures, Tibetan Series, populated by spectral figures related to works by Yves Tanguy. Between ...

Article

Louise Noelle

(b Mexico City, March 22, 1923; d Mexico City, April 20, 2002).

Mexican painter, printmaker and illustrator. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas and with Carlos Alvarado Lang. Although he painted some murals and a good number of easel pictures, he was active primarily as a printmaker and as an illustrator of books, magazines and journals. He founded the satirical newspapers Ahí va el golpe (1958) and El coyote emplumado (1960) and from its inception in 1962 acted as art director and illustrator for the newspaper El día. From 1945 to 1959 Beltrán was associated with the Taller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico City, acting as its president for several years and sharing its populist, political and nationalist principles. Placing his art at the service of social concerns and using protest as his main weapon, he expressed himself with particular force in his prolific production of drawings and in masterful linocuts such as Exodus (...

Article

Cecilia Suárez

(b Quito, Sept 8, 1939).

Ecuadorean painter, graphic designer, sculptor, installation artist, architect and teacher. He studied architecture at the Universidad Nacional de Bogotá, Colombia. He worked for the Graham Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC, and received a grant to attend the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, where he worked with György Kepes. Later he became a professor at the arts faculty of the Universidad Central, Quito. Bueno worked first in graphic design before going on to experiment with the incorporation of technology into art, using laser beams, mechanical pumps, plastic, glass and such elements as water, fire and air, for example in 49 Tubes, exhibited at the Bienal de Arte Coltejer in Medellín in 1972. He also combined visual art with music in such works as Flame Orchards, with music by Paul Earls, which won joint first prize with Kepes in the same exhibition. Exploration into ecological and environmental art led him to experiment with the idea of an aerial view of the urban landscape incorporating military camouflage sheets....

Article

Jesús Fuenmayor

(b Caracas, May 1950).

Venezuelan painter and graphic designer. Chacón studied in Caracas at the Escuela de Artes Cristóbal Rojas between 1963 and 1966 and at the Instituto de Diseño Neumann-Ince from 1966 to 1970 where he was taught by two of the most important abstract painters in Venezuela at that time, Nedo M. F. [Mion Ferrario] (1926–2001) and Gerd Leufert, who were also graphic designers. In 1971 Chacón introduced his work in the emerging avant-garde scene in Venezuela with an installation titled El Autobus at the Ateneo de Caracas, realized in collaboration with William Stone (b 1945) and Ibrahim Nebreda (b 1948). The work consisted of an environment that recreated Caracas street life by placing a bus inside the gallery space together with found materials and a speaker, which reproduced the sounds of a thunderous radio station. In doing so, the trio brought the crude reality of Caracas urban life into the art institution. Chacón’s first solo exhibition, ...

Article

Margarita González Arredondo

(b Mexico City, June 10, 1940).

Mexican painter, sculptor, illustrator and stage designer. He was self-taught when he took up painting in 1956 with the encouragement of Diego Rivera, but from 1956 to 1960 he studied graphic design with Gordon Jones. During those years he worked in an Abstract Expressionist manner, although he soon incorporated figurative elements and, from c. 1963, elements of fantasy. In 1967 he went to Paris on a French government grant. In the following year he was a founder-member of the Salón Independiente, where he began to exhibit acrylic sculptures of the female torso. These were followed between 1974 and 1976 by a series entitled Mutations, in which he explored the possibilities of the cube and which opened the way to later sculptures and paintings in which geometry is balanced with sensuality. Venus and Mars (Mexico City, U. N. Autónoma) is one of the best of his public sculptures. He also worked as a stage designer, for example on a production in ...

Article

J. Harwood

(b Montevideo, November 6, 1902; d Montevideo, June 2, 1985).

Uruguayan painter. Costigliolo studied painting as part of the Bellas Artes group in Montevideo between 1921 and 1925, followed by a period of graphic art production between 1929 and 1946. The period 1946–50 heralded a stage of neo-purist, machinist art and abstraction, following which Costigliolo became a key figure in the development of non-figurative art in Urguguay, co-founding the Grupo de Arte No Figurativo in 1952. In 1953, during a time of economic prosperity and optimism in his country, Costigliolo entered his constructivist phase, revolutionizing and modernizing Uruguayan art along with his wife, Maria Freire (b 1917). In the creation of innovative abstract art that embraced both national and international traditions, Costigliolo’s constructivism owed a debt to, and expanded on the work of such Uruguayan precursors as the hugely influential Joaquín Torres Garcia. Costigliolo’s constructivist art was also close to its Russian counterpart, which just before the 1917...

Article

Esther Acevedo

(b Mexico City, Nov 22, 1904; d Mexico City, Feb 4, 1957).

Mexican illustrator and writer. He worked as a draughtsman on maps and street plans in the Secretaría de Comunicaciones, Mexico City, c. 1919, and in 1920 made a series of caricatures for a student magazine, Policromías. He soon established himself as an illustrator, publishing his work from 1921 to 1923 in large circulation newspapers such as El Heraldo, El Mundo and the Universal Ilustrado.

In 1923 Covarrubias settled in New York, where he began writing about the theatre, writing and drawing for the magazine Vanity Fair (1924–36) and drawing for the New Yorker (1925–50). In 1925 he published The Prince of Wales and other Famous Americans, a shrewd, witty chronicle of his contemporaries. He was particularly interested in non-Western societies and their cultural traditions, about which he wrote extensively with the aim of presenting the history of a region as a continuous process. On his return to Mexico in ...

Article

Bélgica Rodríguez

(b Caracas, Aug 17, 1923).

Venezuelan painter and kinetic artist. He studied in 1940 and 1941 at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas in Caracas, producing Socialist Realist paintings while working as art director to the McCann Erickson advertising agency in Venezuela, where he became interested in the effect of colour in advertising. In 1955–6 he visited Paris and Barcelona, where his interest was aroused by theories of geometric abstraction, scientific colour theory and Bauhaus ideas on the integration of the arts and crafts. On returning to Caracas he opened the Estudio de Artes Visuales, where he began to investigate the role of colour in kinetic art. Cruz-Diez’s wide experience in advertising, industrial applications of colour, cinema and photographic and photo-mechanical processes, together with his study of work by Georges Seurat and Josef Albers and of Edwin Land’s (b 1909) scientific ideas on colour perception, led him to produce such constructions as the ...

Article

Henry Adams

(b Veracruz, March 13, 1880; d Stamford, CT, Jan 10, 1961).

Mexican illustrator, writer, gallery owner, and publisher, active in the USA. He was the son of a wealthy Mexican lawyer and publisher. De Zayas started his career as an artist by providing drawings for his father’s newspaper in Veracruz. In 1906 he moved on to Mexico City’s leading newspaper, El Diario, but a year later, after the ascension of the dictator Porfirio Diaz, whom the newspaper had opposed, he fled to the USA. There he landed a position making caricatures for the New York Evening World. Shortly after his arrival in the USA, he came into contact with Alfred Stieglitz, who staged solo shows of De Zayas’s caricatures at his gallery Gallery 291 in 1909 and 1910, both of which proved to be huge popular successes.

In 1910 De Zayas traveled to Paris, where he stayed almost a year, scouting out adventurous forms of modern art for Stieglitz, notably the cubist work of Picasso and African sculpture. On his return, equipped with knowledge of European modern art and inspired by the work of the French modernist ...

Article

Esther Acevedo

(b Mexico City, 1836; d Mexico City, 1868).

Mexican illustrator and printmaker. According to the obituary by Hilarión Frías y Soto, Escalante “was fortunate enough to escape scholastic corruption … His training was artistic, though disgracefully very incomplete.” This may indicate that Escalante trained in lithographic workshops without attending the Academia de S. Carlos, a recently restructured school for artists.

Although Escalante’s portrait of Pedro Picasso—his music teacher—was accepted at the Academia’s exhibition of 1855, his work as an illustrator did not take an academic route. He became involved in liberal politics at the end of the Three Year War in 1861 and was the first caricaturist for the biweekly newspaper review La Orquesta, which he founded that year with Carlos Alejandro Casarín, who used the pseudonym Roberto Macario in honor of the Honoré Daumier character Robert Macaire (a flattering swindler). Escalante chose to address local problems in his illustrations and both recorded and influenced the implementation of the liberal ideology and the strict enforcement of the ...

Article

Aaris Sherin

(b Rio de Janeiro, 1938; d Rio de Janeiro, April 8, 1982).

Brazilian graphic designer, active also in the USA. She studied graphic design at Parson’s School of Design, New York (1959), after which she briefly returned to Rio de Janeiro, where she and two other artists founded Estudio G, a graphic design studio specializing in poster, book and record design. In 1961 Marvin Israel (1924–85), one of Feitler’s former professors from Parsons, became art director of Harper’s Bazaar and hired Feitler and Ruth Ansel as art assistants. Israel had been trained by and worked with Alexey Brodovitch, and the two young assistants were among the last to participate in the Brodovitch school developed by Israel. In an unprecedented move Nancy White, editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, appointed the two young women as co-art directors when Israel left the magazine in 1963.

Feitler and Ansel worked as a team, responding to the changing cultural and political turbulence of the 1960s, while maintaining a cohesive approach and high quality design. In ...

Article

Stephen Bann

(b Nassau, Bahamas, Oct 28, 1925; d Dunsyre, Scotland, March 27, 2006).

Scottish sculptor, graphic artist and poet. Brought up in Scotland, he briefly attended Glasgow School of Art and first made his reputation as a writer, publishing short stories and plays in the 1950s. In 1961 he founded the Wild Hawthorn Press with Jessie McGuffie and within a few years had established himself internationally as Britain’s foremost concrete poet (see Concrete poetry). His publications also played an important role in the initial dissemination of his work as a visual artist. As a sculptor, he has worked collaboratively in a wide range of materials, having his designs executed as stone-carvings, as constructed objects and even in the form of neon lighting.

In 1966 Finlay and his wife, Sue, moved to the hillside farm of Stonypath, south-west of Edinburgh, and began to transform the surrounding acres into a unique garden, which he named Little Sparta. He revived the traditional notion of the poet’s garden, arranging ponds, trees and vegetation to provide a responsive environment for sundials, inscriptions, columns and garden temples. As the proponent of a rigorous classicism and as the defender of Little Sparta against the intrusions of local bureaucracy, he insisted on the role of the artist as a moralist who comments sharply on cultural affairs. The esteem won by Finlay’s artistic stance and style is attested by many important large-scale projects undertaken throughout the world. The ‘Sacred Grove’, created between ...

Article

Angel Kalenberg

(b Buenos Aires, April 28, 1919).

Uruguayan printmaker and illustrator of Argentine birth. The son of Italian parents who settled in Montevideo when he was two weeks old, he first exhibited drawings in 1939 at the Ateneo in Montevideo and studied printmaking with various artists, while also working as a political caricaturist in the weekly publications Marcha and La Línea Maginot. His diverse influences included German Expressionism, José Guadalupe Posada, the Taller de Gráfica Popular and woodcuts by Japanese artists such as Katsushika Hokusai and Kitagawa Utamaro.

Frasconi visited the USA in 1945 on a grant from the Art Students League, New York, and later taught extensively at the New School in New York. His illustrated edition of Twelve Fables of Aesop (New York, 1954), published by MOMA, was chosen as one of the 50 Books of the Year by the Institute of Graphic Arts, and in 1960 he won the Grand Prize at the Venice Film Festival for his film ...

Article

Horacio Safons

(b Buenos Aires, Jan 14, 1915; d Barcelona, Oct 14, 1965).

Argentine painter, sculptor, performance artist, conceptual artist, poet and illustrator. After studying in Buenos Aires at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes and with Cecilia Marcovich and Tomás Maldonado, he quickly established a reputation for his scandalous views, attracting extreme disapproval and equally strong support. After delivering a lecture at the Juan Cristóbal bookshop, Buenos Aires, entitled ‘Alberto Greco y los pájaros’ he was briefly imprisoned for his ‘Communism and subversive acts’. On his release in the same year he travelled to Paris on a French government grant, selling drawings and watercolours in the cafés and studying painting with Fernand Léger and printmaking with Johnny Friedlaender. Between 1956 and 1958 he lived in São Paulo, where he became aware of Art informel; he painted in this style in the late 1950s and early 1960s (Glusberg, pp. 284–5).

As early as 1959, when he had returned from São Paulo to Buenos Aires, Greco had expressed his corrosive vision of society through the form of his work. In his shows he exhibited tree trunks and rags for cleaning window gratings or floors. He moved again to Paris in ...

Article

Cruz Barceló Cedeño

revised by Alana Hernandez

(b Valencia, Jun 21, 1926; d Caracas, Nov 26, 2010).

Venezuelan painter and engraver. Guevara Moreno is known as the pioneer of Geometric Abstraction in Venezuela. He studied at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas, Caracas, subsequently becoming an illustrator and cartoonist on various publications in Caracas. He went to Paris in 1949, where he attended André Lhote’s studio and later the Atelier d’Art Abstrait, when it was directed by Jean Dewasne. In Paris he took part in the activities of the groups Los Disidentes and Arte Madí. Guevara Moreno’s work from this period was characterized as Constructivist in nature and attracted considerable critical attention in Paris. In 1954 he returned to Venezuela and subsequently returned to figurative painting, which was influenced by critical realism. Guevara Moreno represented Venezuela in the biennales of São Paulo and Venice and was awarded several important national prizes, including the National Award for Painting and the National Award for Drawing and Graphic Arts.

Paz Castillo, F....