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Article

Willemijn Stokvis

(b Constantine, Algeria, Jan 23, 1913; d Paris, Feb 12, 1960).

French painter, lithographer and writer. The Jewish intellectual milieu in which he grew up led to his interest in philosophy and religion, and from 1930 to 1934 he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. While in Paris, however, he was confronted with modern painting for the first time, and his interest in poetry was awakened. Recognizing a means of expressing his interest in magical phenomena, in 1941 he began to paint and write poetry. His activity in the Résistance and his Jewish ancestry led to his arrest in 1942; by pleading insanity he was able to save himself but was confined to the Sainte Anne asylum, where he wrote poetry and painted. In the autumn of 1944, shortly after leaving the asylum, his first and only collection of poems, Le Sang profond, was published, and he exhibited drawings at the Galerie Arc en Ciel.

During the immediate post-war years Atlan’s work was well received in Paris. He had a one-man show in ...

Article

Paul Hulton

(Antonio Melchiorre)

(b Bologna, Jan 14, 1737; d Gondar, Ethiopia, between 14 Feb and March 3, 1771).

Italian draughtsman and printmaker . He showed early artistic promise and was apprenticed to Giuseppe Civoli (1705–78), a Bolognese painter and professor of architecture at the Accademia Clementina in Bologna. As a student he won the gold medal for architectural design in an open competition at Parma in 1759. He was consequently elected an academician in Bologna at the early age of 22. For his patron, the count and senator Girolamo Ranuzzi, he drew and etched (c. 1760) a notable set of plates of the Palazzo Ranuzzi (now the Palazzo di Giustizia) in Bologna. In 1761 he moved to Rome and began to take commissions as an architectural draughtsman. Here he was recruited to assist the explorer James Bruce of Kinnaird (1730–94) to draw and record Classical remains. For about three years from March 1765 Balugani travelled with Bruce, recording most of the known Classical sites of North Africa and Asia Minor. When Bruce decided to extend his travels to Ethiopia, by way of Egypt and Arabia, to search for the source of the Nile, Balugani accompanied him and made numerous drawings of botanical and zoological specimens, despite having also to compile weather records and travel journals. He was with Bruce when the latter discovered the springs of the Blue Nile (which they believed to be the source of the main river) in ...

Article

Esmé Berman

(Whall)

(b Somerset East, Cape Province, Jan 6, 1906; d Port Shepstone, nr Durban, Aug 20, 1982).

South African painter and printmaker. He trained as an art teacher in Johannesburg (1929–32), and his long career culminated in his appointment to the Chair of Fine Arts at the University of South Africa (UNISA), Pretoria (1964–71). In the 1930s he was among the first to recognize the aesthetic value of southern African rock art, proclaiming his empathy in several books; he replaced his own former realist style with motifs derived from ancient petroglyphs and paintings, as in Quagga Race (610×760 mm, 1948; priv. col., see Berman).

The influence of European modernists from 1938 confirmed Battiss’s commitment to forms of primitive art but also led him closer to abstraction and gave rise to the bright palette that became his hallmark. Subsequent travels broadened his acquaintance with early cultures. Increasingly convinced that ‘calligraphic symbols are a universal language’, he began to incorporate rhythmical calligraphic figurations into compositions such as ...

Article

dele jegede

(Olatunji)

(b Oshogbo, 1943).

Nigerian mixed-media artist, printmaker and sculptor. He was trained as an electrician and provided stage lighting for the Lapido theatre group before training at the Mbari Mbayo workshop in Oshogbo in 1964. His first exhibition was at the Goethe Institute in Lagos in 1967, the same year that he was commissioned to create a mosaic for the India Loom House, Lagos. In 1974 he completed a certificate course at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, with a sculpture emphasis. Although he began as a painter and experimented with linoleum cuts in the 1960s, he soon began to incorporate beads into his work, using multicoloured commercial beads to produce striking pieces. Using a palette that fully explores the vibrancy of primary and secondary hues, Buraimoh draws on themes derived from the human and animal worlds. He also draws on contemporary scenes and Nigeria's religious pluralism (Islam, Christianity and indigenous religions) to develop themes from Yoruba myth, as in ...

Article

Francis Russell

(b ?1715; d London, Feb 7, 1791).

English draughtsman, engraver and dealer. As agent to a number of patrons and subsequently librarian to George III, he was one of the most influential figures in the sphere of collecting in England for some four decades. He was the son of the Rev. John Dalton and younger brother of the Rev. John Dalton, poet and divine, whose connection with Algernon Seymour, Earl of Hertford (later 7th Duke of Somerset), forwarded Richard’s early career in Italy. He had arrived there by 1739 and may have trained in Bologna; by 1741 he was studying under Agostino Masucci in Rome and was already active as a dealer, selling a collection of prints in that year to Henry Clinton, 9th Earl of Lincoln, and cultivating the patronage of Sir Erasmus Philipps, Bart.

In 1749 Dalton visited Calabria and Sicily and then, in his capacity as travelling draughtsman, joined the party of James Caulfeild, 1st Earl of Charlemont, on a tour of Egypt, Turkey and Greece. He was possibly the first English artist to record the ancient monuments of these places. A selection of drawings executed on this tour was engraved by Dalton and published in ...

Article

David Koloane

(b Vryherd, June 25, 1956).

South African printmaker. After attending secretarial school, she received her Fine Arts diploma from the Rorke’s Drift Art School in 1979. She played a major role in the Thupelo International Artists Workshop (see South Africa, Republic of §V 4.). Her socialist realist linocuts and woodcuts are always political, documenting such historical events as the 1976 Soweto uprising as well as less overtly political activities such as women working. Much of her work seeks to give voice to womens’ histories, both rural and urban; the viewer is confronted with South African life as seen and experienced by black women. Working in series, the artist presents in each image a narrative scene, but each works with others to tell a more complete story, as in the Removal Series (1982; Durban, A.G.). Large areas of black in these prints suggest the loneliness of an individual seated by a wall, or the overcrowded conditions of urban areas. Lines evoke the patterns of fields, cloth designs and woven mats, and give the images a dynamic quality. Dhlomo-Mautloa is married to Patrick Mautloa, and her prints have appeared in ...

Article

Dumile  

Steven Sack

(Feni) [Zwelidumile Geelboi Mgxaji Mslaba Feni]

(b Worcester, Cape Province, May 21, 1939; d New York, Oct 16, 1991).

South African sculptor and printmaker, active in South Africa, London and New York. After his mother’s death when he was c. eight years old, he lived with relatives in Cape Town until the age of eleven. In the early 1950s he moved to Soweto under the care of his uncle. In 1963 and 1964, while undergoing treatment for tuberculosis, he was given some art materials and began his drawing career in earnest. Like many black South African artists from the late 1950s, Dumile had to negotiate the laws of apartheid that made his presence as a self-employed artist in the white city an offence. Dumile described himself as having never received any ‘real’ tuition and talked of artists learning from one another. Dumile was ‘discovered’ by Madame Haenggi, an art dealer who promoted his early work.

Before his departure from South Africa in 1968, Dumile had a number of successful exhibitions of drawings and sculptures comprising portrayals of tormented and anguished people, animals and township scenes. These early works were acquired by some of the major museums in South Africa. On arrival in London (...

Article

Chika Okeke

(b Onitsha, Dec 25, 1931; d Aug 14, 1996).

Nigerian painter, printmaker and designer. He left Nigeria at the age of 14 and later studied at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, London (1949–52). He received first prize for oil painting in the BBC Morning Show Art Competition, London (1970), a bronze medal for graphics (Brussels, 1971), the Cup of the City of Caserta, Italia 2000 (1972) and a medal in the 10th International Print Biennale, Krakow (1984). His early work was illustrative, but by the early 1960s his paintings became more schematic, as he adopted some of the design elements associated with uli (see Nigeria, Federal Republic of §V) as well as Igbo-Ugwu sculpture. These include bold, organic lines and broad, flat areas of colour, as well as decorative repeating patterns that give a unique graphic quality to his mature work.

Egonu began making prints in the early 1970s and created some of his best work in this medium. His subject-matter ranged from Igbo folktales and traditional themes, as in ...

Article

Anne Gray

(b Kisumu, Nov 4, 1938).

Australian painter, draughtsman and printmaker of Kenyan birth. He studied art at the Chelsea School of Art, where he gained a strong command of drawing, together with perceptive powers of observation and an intelligent understanding of the formal traditions in painting. He moved to Perth in 1962, where he taught at various art colleges and had a significant impact on a generation of students. He is a determined colourist, creating paintings that refer to the visible world, or to flickering apparitions from it. He has depicted a range of subjects—rural and urban landscapes, interiors and people—and is interested in portraying movement. However, within these diverse subjects there is the unifying theme of his delight in the physical world, in people and their interrelation with their generally prosperous environment. His varied interests have led him to work in a variety of styles and to experiment with technique, but he has been primarily concerned with layering rich, vibrant intense colours in bold strokes, to convey intense light, shade and atmosphere, or to express a sensuous delight in the world around him....

Article

Shannen Hill

(b Dulwich, June 27, 1920).

South African painter and printmaker of English birth. He earned an Arts and Crafts Certificate at Goldsmiths College, University of London, in 1951 and a National Diploma in Design in 1953, the same year in which he emigrated to South Africa. Considered one of the country’s greatest painters, his works are in many national collections and have been exhibited internationally. His best known work explores the the human condition sardonically, depicting people as self-concerned, lacking conscience and infinitely unaware of their own fallibility. Richly painted, his pieces consistently convey a paradox between beauty and grotesqueness. Alfred Jarry’s play Ubu Roi inspired Hodgins’s treatment of historical tyrants and businessmen as composite brutal and absurd characters. The distorted figure in Ubu: The Official Portrait (1981; Johannesburg, A.G.) satirizes officials, their ceremonies and their pretense to rule justly. Hodgins’s bright, energetic palette conveys a certain clownishness, while his compositions and disfigured forms tell of an underlying evil. In an etched series called ...

Article

Mary Ann Braubach

(b Cape Town, 1948).

South African painter, printmaker, curator, lecturer, and art critic. Jantjes graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, in 1969. Classified as coloured under apartheid and living a restricted life in South Africa, he accepted a scholarship in 1970 to study art at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg, graduating in 1972. A founder of the German anti-apartheid movement, Jantjes remained in Hamburg after his training. His artwork refers to the struggle against apartheid.

Jantjes’s best-known work, A South African Colouring Book (1974–5) is a vehement critique of apartheid. The series of 11 prints mimics a child’s colouring book as a means of criticizing apartheid’s race classification system. The print Classify this Coloured makes use of the artist’s own passbook, a required identity card for all coloureds and blacks. His hand-written text explains apartheid’s three racial classes—black, coloured, and white. The print Colour these People Dead...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Aïn Beida, Jan 20, 1947).

Algerian painter and graphic artist. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Algiers, and in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Ecole des Arts Décoratifs and Institut d’Urbanisme de l’Académie de Paris. After returning to Algeria he worked at the Bureau d’Etudes des Tanneries and the Bureaux d’Etudes des Textiles, and he then went to Tunisia, where he became cultural adviser at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Tunis. Inspired by the calligraphic movement in Arab painting in the 1960s, he explored the potential of abstract calligraphic compositions in graphic art to great effect (e.g. the engravings Testament of the Enemy, 1981) and also utilized such media as wood, silk, parchment and ceramics for this purpose, often with a minimal use of colour. Since 1970 he has exhibited his work in Europe, the Middle East, Japan, South America and the USA, and has won numerous awards.

Third World Biennale of Graphic Art...

Article

El Loko  

Christine Mullen Kreamer

(b Pedakondji, 1950).

Togolese painter, printmaker and sculptor, active in Germany. He trained as a textile designer in Accra and Tema, Ghana, before moving to Germany in the early 1970s. He studied fine arts at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie with Beuys, Crummenauer and Heerich. His work includes a number of linoleum cuts in which birds’ wings, claws and beaks are combined with masks, faces and other elements in striking compositions. More recent mixed-media paintings and prints juxtapose images and abstract shapes executed in earthen tones. In works on paper and wooden sculpture dating from the early 1990s, sand and earthen pigments are combined to create texture and a sense of movement and depth. Many of his works are abstract colour fields composed of striking red-orange, yellow ochre and slate blue tones that outline geometric forms and, at times, stylized faces of partial humans. Eyes, crown, conical human heads and projecting horns are familiar elements, as is a mottled surface pattern. These same qualities are repeated in wooden sculptures, some exploring curvilinear and geometric volumes of the human form, others creating more two-dimensional, openwork, geometric patterns in sculptures that resemble commemorative or totemic wooden posts. El Loko has had numerous one-man exhibitions, primarily in Germany, and group shows in Germany, Switzerland, England, Togo, Ghana and the USA....

Article

David Koloane

(b Ventersdorp, Sept 24, 1952).

South African mixed-media artist, painter and printmaker. He was trained at the Jubilee Art Centre, the Mofolo Park Art Centre, and at Rorke’s Drift, Natal, where he obtained a diploma. In 1980 he was awarded a prize for his graphic art designs, and he has been active in the Thupelo Project International Artist’s Workshop. He began exhibiting regularly in 1982 and has shown internationally, including at the 1995 Venice Biennale and the third Bienal de Havana. In 1989 he participated in the Triangle Workshop in New York. While his early pieces were largely about painting as a medium, about the tactile possibilities of paint as relief, his pieces of the 1990s were much different. These later works are comprised of found objects and materials such as wood, wire and tins. Inserted into window frames, the materials in these assemblages evoke the vulnerability and insecurity of township dwellings and the associated social conditions faced by a majority of South Africans. Through pieces such as ...

Article

Beverly Marks-Paton

(b Zululand, 1941).

South African printmaker and textile designer. His interest in art and design was fostered when he was in Ceza Mission Hospital with tuberculosis in the early 1960s. The Swedish textile designer Peder Gowenius was teaching art and craft at the hospital as a therapy for the patients; he taught Mbatha the technique of linocut. In 1962 Mbatha began to study art at the Evangelical Lutheran Church Art and Craft Centre at Umpumulo in Natal, later moving with the centre to Rorke’s Drift, Natal. There he expressed an interest in drawing, which was discouraged because, unlike printmaking, it was not considered an economically ‘useful’ technique; instead great emphasis was placed on the translation of the narratives and oral history of rural Zululand into the design of prints for textiles and illustrations. Mbatha established a personal style of dividing the format of his prints into a series of tableaux making up a complete narrative dealing with biblical subjects, as in the ...

Article

Dora Vallier

(b Paris, July 13, 1920; d Montbéliard, Sept 10, 1999).

French painter and printmaker. He attended the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs and travelled in Italy and Algeria to broaden his artistic education. His first solo exhibition took place in 1943 at the château of Montbéliard. Influenced by Klee’s work and by his contact with the art critic Charles Estienne, who as early as 1950 sensed that geometrical abstraction was leading towards a new academicism and pleaded the cause of a freer and more lyrical pictorial expression, Messagier lightened his colours to near transparency and opted for broad, spontaneous brushwork. His landscapes of the Franche-Comté, such as Après-midi montante (1958; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus.), expressed his sensitivity to nature and the rhythm of the seasons. From 1960 he began to exhibit abroad and took part in some of the major international events as a representative of new trends in French painting. He also transposed his supple brushwork into numerous engravings and from ...

Article

David Koloane

(Trevor) [Tommy]

(b Rockville, Soweto, May 27, 1963).

South African painter and printmaker. He attended the Kutlwanong School for the Deaf (1968–79), where in the early 1990s he taught art and sculpture. He also studied at the Federation Union of Black Artists (FUBA) in 1983 and the University of Bophuthatswana in 1988, and he won a bursary in the Santam Children's Art Competition (1986). His 1987 painting, The Tea-party, was awarded a merit prize in the Volkskas Ateljee Awards. In that year he won the Wolkskas Atelier Merit Prize and the Sol Plaatjies Graphic Art Award, and in 1992 the Standard Bank Young Artists Award. Crowds of people and vehicles populate his canvases. Painted in bright colours, these views of beach scenes and urban life—restaurants, homes, street scenes— are neither overly critical nor celebratory, though a sense of irony is apparent in most. His themes are the individual and society and their interaction, community and belonging. He pays acute attention to details: even paintings on walls in his works have recognizable subjects. Within his pieces, such paintings signal the success of the figures inhabiting his worlds, a commentary on his own status as well. His detailed paintings are often humorous, as seen in ...

Article

Chika Okeke-Agulu

(b Agbarha-Otor, Aug 30, 1932).

Nigerian printmaker, painter, and sculptor. He graduated from the Nigerian College of Art, Science and Technology, Zaria (1961), obtained a teacher’s certificate for art in 1962, and began 17 years of teaching at St Gregory’s College, Lagos, in 1963. He participated in Mbari Club workshops in Ibadan and Oshogbo in 1964. He subsequently exhibited internationally, winning an Honorable Mention in the Venice Biennale in 1990. Other honours include third prize from the Gottschalk Textile Company, and the British Council Award.

Onobrakpeya constantly experimented with technique. Starting with simple etching in the early 1960s, his methods and forms increased in complexity from two-dimensional works to low reliefs, then to multi-media sculptures and installations still based on printmaking techniques (see fig.). An example of the latter is Shrine Set (1995; Lagos, Ovuomaroro Gal.). He developed and named several practices, such as ‘bronzed lino relief’, ‘plastograph’, and ‘plastocast’. For sculptures he often made fibreglass casts from relief plaster plates. These works combine the aesthetics of sculpture and graphic works: bold lines, bright colours, textures, and high relief, as seen in ...

Article

Esmé Berman

(b Pretoria, Aug 13, 1886; d Pretoria, Oct 4, 1957).

South African painter and printmaker. He studied art while in Holland with his exiled family from 1900 to 1902, first attending evening classes in drawing at Hilversum, followed by a year at Rotterdam Academie. On returning to Pretoria, he painted and made linoprints in his spare time while earning his living at other occupations, but in 1924 he became a professional artist. His development was greatly influenced during a trip to Holland in 1925–6 by the theories of the Dutch painter Willem van Konijnenburg, who applied mathematical solutions to problems of design. Although he painted briefly in an impressionist style, the Transvaal landscapes invited more formalized treatment, and his own monumental inclinations prompted him to experiment with geometrical principles of composition. His formal investigations were given impetus by a major commission: 32 scenic mural panels for the new Johannesburg Railway Station (1929–32; Johannesburg, A.G.). In studies for those panels, Pierneef approached abstraction, but he stopped short and later retraced his steps, replacing his crisp, prismatic spatial and structural analysis with a more conventional simplification of forms, as in the landscape ...

Article

dele jegede

[ Prince Taiwo Olaniyi Oyewale-Toyeje Oyekale Osuntoki ]

(b Ibadan, May 1944; d Ibadan, June 16, 2011).

Nigerian painter, draughtsman, printmaker and textile designer. In 1964, while working as a dancer for a herbalist, he participated in the Mbari Mbayo Workshop in Oshogbo, producing drawings and prints. After Ulli Beier left Oshogbo, Twins Seven Seven switched to oils as a preferred medium. He drew illustrations for Amos Tutuola’s Palmwine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. In pen and ink drawings, etchings and paintings he created highly patterned representations of Yoruba life, populated by figures both natural and supernatural. A compulsive artist, Twins Seven Seven allowed his pieces to ‘unfold’ as they were created. His compositions are dense with overlapping figures, and every space of the pictorial plane is filled with some decorative or integral detail, as in his Baptist Church of Bush of Ghost (etching, 375 × 305 mm, c. 1969; Oxford, priv. col.). His paintings of the 1970s are covered with a luminous varnish, and it was during this time that he developed a layered style on plywood, a palette of earth tones sprinkled with bright greens and yellows, and a pictorial field in which figures are delineated in dark hues....