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Article

Gina M. D’Angelo

(b Harrisburg, PA, Feb 22, 1841; d St Paul, MN, March 2, 1918).

African American painter and lithographer. Brown was the first African American artist to portray California and the Pacific Northwest. One of many artists who migrated West in the years after the gold rush, Brown began his career in San Francisco in the 1860s as a commercial lithographer, and made his mark in the 1880s as a landscape painter of the Pacific Northwest.

The son of freed slaves, Brown probably began his career working at the lithographic firm of P. S. Duval in Philadelphia, and in the late 1850s followed C. C. Kuchel, a Duval lithographer and his soon-to-be employer, to San Francisco. From 1861 to 1867 he worked as a draftsman and lithographer at the Kuchel & Dressel firm in San Francisco, and in 1867 established his own firm, G. T. Brown & Co. His most celebrated project, The Illustrated History of San Mateo County (1878), featured 72 city views whose sensitive topographical style would influence his paintings. Brown sold his firm in ...

Article

Anna Moszynska

(b San Mateo, CA, June 25, 1923; d Santa Monica, CA, Nov 4, 1994).

American painter and printmaker. Following an accident leading to spinal tuberculosis while serving in the US Army Air Corps, Francis started to paint for distraction in 1944, studying privately under David Park in 1947. He subsequently relinquished his earlier medical studies in favor of painting, completing his BA (1949) and MA (1950) at the University of California at Berkeley. During this period he experimented with different styles of painting, notably Surrealism and the Abstract Expressionism of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and particularly Clyfford Still. His own style emerged in 1949–50; in Opposites (1950; Tokyo, Idemitsu Mus. A.), for example, dripping, corpuscular shapes painted in fluid red circulate freely around the canvas, indicating what was to become a perennial concern with “ceaseless instability.” With its sensitivity to sensuous color and light, Francis’s work was already showing very different concerns from the expressive iconography and energy of many of the Abstract Expressionists....

Article

Margaret Lynne Ausfeld

(b Montgomery, AL, June 28, 1869; d New York, NY, Jan 29, 1944).

American painter, printmaker, and teacher. In the New York art world of the 1920s and 1930s, Goldthwaite was recognized as an important painter and printmaker of subjects relating to the American South. Although she routinely returned to visit her native state of Alabama, between 1914 and 1944 her primary residence was New York City where her painted portraits, still lifes, and Southern landscapes, as well as limited edition etchings and lithographs, were exhibited in commercial galleries and museums. She received her first formal art training at the National Academy of Design between 1903 and 1906 from instructors including Francis Coates Jones (1857–1932) for painting and Charles Frederick Mielatz (1864–1919) for etching. She also received instruction from the Munich-trained painter, Walter Shirlaw. She traveled to Paris in 1906 where she helped to create an informal atelier, the Académie Moderne. With this group she worked largely independent of the academy system, but occasionally she worked under the supervision French academic painter Charles Guérin. Her gestural and spontaneous style of painting and drawing was strongly influenced by her years in Paris, specifically through her exposure to the milieu of Gertrude Stein, and works of Post-Impressionist painters such as Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse....

Article

Danielle Peltakian

(b Brooklyn, NY, Oct 27, 1877; d White Plains, NY, July 13, 1949).

American painter, illustrator and lithographer. As an organizer of the Armory Show (1913) alongside Arthur B. Davies, he played an integral role in unveiling European modernism to the USA. While he painted landscapes of Maine, Cézanne-inspired still lifes and a series based on the American West, his expressive portraits of circus and vaudeville performers remain his best-known works.

In 1901, he trained at the Académie Colarossi in Paris, but soon transferred to the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich where he studied under Barbizon painter Heinrich von Zügel (1850–1941) until 1903. Upon returning to New York in 1903, he worked as an illustrator for publications such as Life and Puck, exhibited at the Salmagundi Club (1905) and organized artists’ balls for the Kit Kat Club. Working in an Impressionist style, he participated with Robert Henri in the Exhibition of Independent Artists (1910)....

Article

Anne K. Swartz

(b Oklahoma City, OK, 1946).

American painter and printmaker. MacConnel grew up in Oklahoma City, OK, and traveled frequently, especially to Mexico. He received a BA with honors in visual art at the University of California at San Diego, La Jolla (UCSD). He was a California State Scholar in 1970. MacConnel received an MFA with honors from UCSD. While a graduate student, he met visiting critic and art historian Amy Goldin, a visiting professor. He also met Robert Kushner, who was also a student in Goldin’s class and who also befriended Goldin. Goldin taught them in a seminar called “The Art Box,” where she encouraged the students to look beyond definitions of the current art world. She wanted the students to consider visual culture—everything from quilts to folk art—as related to contemporary art. Decoration was one of the things she encouraged MacConnel to examine. Decorations was his first solo show in 1971 at UCSD where he showed work inspired by world decoration. In his work, he combined and juxtaposed unexpected and often unorthodox images and patterns. His work had strong reminiscences in the bold coloring and strong patterning of such artists as Henri Matisse, who also considered non-Western source material. He became one of the founding artists of the ...

Article

Sascha Scott

(b Vlachovo Březí, Bohemia [Czech Republic], Nov 7, 1890; d Bronx, New York, June 24, 1972).

American painter and printmaker of Czech birth. Matulka was raised in South Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) and began his artistic training in Prague in 1905, which was interrupted when he immigrated to the USA with his parents in 1907. They settled in the Bronx, and soon after he enrolled in the National Academy of Design. He completed his training in 1917, at which time he was awarded the National Academy of Design’s Joseph Pulitzer Traveling Scholarship, which came with a $1500 prize. Unable to travel abroad due to complications in securing a passport, he traveled instead to New Mexico, Arizona and Florida between 1917 and 1918. In 1918, he married Ludmila Jirouskova, a fellow Bohemian immigrant. From 1917 through 1919 was a period of frequent travel and artistic experimentation for Matulka. Around this time he adopted a Cubist-inspired style, apparent in works such as Cubist Nudes (1916–19; Lincoln, U. NE, Sheldon Mem. A.G.) and ...

Article

(b Tullstorp, Malmöhus, April 13, 1878; d Lambertville, NJ, April 21, 1955).

American painter and printmaker of Swedish birth. Born Bror Julius Olsson, the artist moved with his family from Sweden to Chicago as a teenager. He took his mother’s maiden name early in his career so as not to be confused with painter Julius Olsson. In his youth, he worked as a typesetter for Hemlandet, a Swedish-language newspaper based in Chicago. His formal training as an artist began at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied with Frederick Richardson (1862–1937). In 1899, he was chosen to assist Albert Herter (1871–1950) on a large mural project for the McCormick International Harvester Company. A year later, the Harvester Company sent him abroad to see the mural at the Paris Exposition Universelle. While in Paris, he briefly studied at the Académie Julian. Within a year, he left for Reading, England, to study Japanese woodblock cutting and printing with Frank Morley Fletcher (...

Article

Jeff Stockton

(Maurilio )

(b Laredo, TX, 1943).

American painter and printmaker of Mexican and Yaqui descent (mestizo). Peña’s art celebrated the strength of a native people who met the harsh realities of life in an uncompromising land, and his work was a tribute to the Native Americans who survived by living in harmony with an adversarial, untamed environment. His artwork was inspired by places in the Southwest that were part of an enduring landscape and represented the ancient heritage of the region that is now Arizona and New Mexico.

Peña’s work was defined by its bold color and form and dynamic composition. Abstract landscapes merged with human forms, and blanket and pottery patterns entered into the overall design. A prolific artist, Peña produced primarily watercolors and etchings, in addition to drawings, graphics, ceramics and jewelry. Irrespective of the medium, the recurring motif (and Peña’s artistic trademark) was a modeled, angular profile of a Native American man or woman, which he used as a simplified storytelling device....

Article

Michelle Yun

(b New York, NY, Dec 25, 1944).

American sculptor, draftsman and installation artist. Saret received a BArch from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, in 1966 and subsequently studied at Hunter College in New York under Robert Morris from 1966 to 1968. In the late 1960s his work was classified as part of the “anti-form” movement, which rejected the rigidity of Minimalism in favor of creating non-figurative works that were structured in part by the inherent physical properties of the industrial materials favored by this group.

Saret’s early sculptures from the 1960s and 1970s were primarily crafted from industrial metal wire of varying thickness, though he also sometimes used rubber, wire mesh or other non-art materials. They were often suspended from the ceiling or installed directly on the ground and exuded a weightless, ephemeral quality akin to clouds or gestural drawings rendered three-dimensionally. It was around this time, in 1967, that Saret began his ongoing Gang drawings series. These gestural drawings were initially created as preliminary studies for the sculptures and were produced by the artist spontaneously grabbing a handful, or “gang,” of colored pencils, thereby integrating an element of chance to the process....

Article

Adrienne L. Childs

(b Atlanta, GA, Nov 2, 1902; d Washington, DC, Jan 20, 1993).

American printmaker, painter and educator. Wells’s 70-year career had a major impact on the development of African American art in the 20th century. He studied at the National Academy of Design, Columbia University Teachers College and the Atelier 17 printmaking workshop, both in New York. In 1929 he began teaching at Howard University, Washington, DC, where he remained an influential professor of art until his retirement in 1968.

One of the first black artists to embrace modernism, Wells’s early linocuts such as African Phantasy (1928) and Sisters (1929) embody the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance as African American artists looked toward African ancestral arts for inspiration. His graphic works were included in journals such as The Crisis, Opportunity and New Masses and became central to the visual culture of the New Negro Movement. Wells’s graphic style was influenced by European Expressionism, African and Egyptian art as well as popular Art Deco motifs. His extensive repertoire as a printmaker incorporated lithography, linoleum cut and wood engraving; his subjects included Bible stories, the urban worker, mythology, Africa and the nude. Also known for his expressionistic painting style, the Harmon Foundation awarded Wells a gold medal in ...

Article

Paul Von Blum

( Wilbert )

(b Chicago, IL, April 2, 1918; d Los Angeles, CA, Oct 3, 1979).

American painter and printmaker. White was one of the finest African American artists of the mid-20th century and an important figure in African American art history. Throughout his distinguished career, he combined outstanding technical skill in painting and printmaking with a lifelong commitment to chronicling the hopes and struggles of African Americans. His artworks celebrated both African American heroes and everyday women and men struggling to maintain dignity in a racially segregated society. He achieved major national and international acclaim at a time when Abstract Expressionism dominated the mainstream art world and African American artists were consigned critical marginality in galleries, art journals, newspapers, magazines, and colleges and universities.

Most of White’s artistic career was devoted to visual social commentary, which solidified his standing within the tradition of renowned political artists, including Francisco de Goya, Honoré Daumier, Käthe Kollwitz and the Mexican muralists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. White’s artworks revealed the influence of a generation of American Social Realist artists, including Ben Shahn, William Gropper, Philip Evergood and many others....

Article

Patricia Hills

(b Roxbury, MA, April 14, 1922).

American sculptor, painter, printmaker and teacher. Raised in Roxbury, a suburb of Boston, Wilson was the second of five children of Reginald and Violet Wilson, immigrants from British Guiana (now the Republic of Guyana). He attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with a full scholarship and received a diploma with highest honors in 1945; a BS degree in art education followed in 1947 from Tufts University. With a fellowship from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, he spent 1947–9 in Paris, where he studied with Fernand Léger. Returning to Boston he taught briefly at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, married Julie Kowitch and moved to Mexico City with a John Hay Whitney Fellowship. There he became friends with Elizabeth Catlett and her husband Francesco Mora, both active in the graphic workshop organized by leftist artists, the Taller de Gráfica Popular, where he worked. In Mexico he learned the techniques of true fresco, which had been popularized by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, and painted the mural, ...