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Article

Joyce Zemans

(Richard)

(b Croydon, London, March 31, 1888; d Toronto, March 21, 1955).

Canadian painter, critic and writer of English birth. He emigrated in 1905 to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. In 1921 he moved to Toronto to work as an editor and publisher. He is best known as a pioneer of abstract painting in Canada. His show (1927) at Toronto’s Arts & Letters Club was the first solo exhibition of abstract art by a Canadian artist. His early work is characterized by the bold non-objective imagery seen in the complex Sounds Assembling (1928; Winnipeg, A.G.). After 1930 he reassessed his artistic direction: he turned first to figurative imagery (e.g. Torso, 1937; Ottawa, N.G.) and then looking to Cubism he re-examined the nature of abstraction in his painting, without returning to the non-objectivity of his earlier work. Between 1926 and 1930 Brooker wrote ‘The Seven Arts’, a syndicated column of art criticism for the Southam Press. In addition, he edited The Yearbook of the Arts in Canada...

Article

Merrill Halkerston

(b Portland, ME, March 4, 1832; d New York, March 26, 1920).

American painter, interior designer and writer. Colman grew up in New York, where his father, Samuel Colman, ran a successful publishing business. The family bookstore on Broadway, a popular meeting place for artists, offered Colman early introductions to such Hudson River school painters as Asher B(rown) Durand, with whom he is said to have studied briefly around 1850. Having won early recognition for his paintings of popular Hudson River school locations (see Storm King on the Hudson), he was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design in New York in 1854. Most of Colman’s landscapes of the 1850s, for example Meadows and Wildflowers at Conway (1856; Poughkeepsie, NY, Vassar Coll., Frances Lehman Loeb A. Cent.), reveal the influence of the Hudson River school. An avid traveller, he embarked on his first European tour in 1860, visiting France, Italy, Switzerland and the more exotic locales of southern Spain and Morocco. His reputation was secured in the 1860s by his numerous paintings of romantic Spanish sites, notably the large ...

Article

Diane Tepfer

(b New York, Jan 24, 1919; d Key West, FL, May 7, 1996).

American dealer, patron, and painter. Born into a newspaper-publishing family, he responded to his upper-class establishment upbringing by seeking out ambivalence in art and life. Copley established the Copley Galleries in Los Angeles in 1948 with John Ployardt as partner and showed Magritte, Max Ernst, Roberto Matta, Man Ray, Yves Tanguy, and Joseph Cornell, as well as younger local artists. He regularly purchased a work from each show and built up his collection. Self-taught as a painter, in 1951 he closed the gallery to paint and moved to Paris, where he bought directly from the Surrealists. He returned to the USA in 1963, living and working in Roxbury, CT. He regularly exhibited at the Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, and elsewhere in the USA and Europe. He used Magritte’s method of ‘assembling images’ in his own narrative figurative paintings. As in some Surrealist works, eroticism is the guiding force in brightly coloured and witty paintings. He compared ...

Article

Cécile Whiting

(b Philadelphia, Dec 7, 1892; d New York, June 24, 1964).

American painter and printmaker (see fig.). He was born into an artistic family: his parents studied with Thomas Anshutz at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and his father was the art editor at the Philadelphia Press, a newspaper that included among its employees the Robert Henri circle of artist–reporters. Davis studied art under Henri in New York between 1909 and 1912. His earliest works, which chronicle urban life in the streets, saloons and theatres, are painted with the dark palette and thickly applied brushstrokes typical of the Ashcan school style inspired by Henri. Davis also published illustrations in the left-wing magazine The Masses between 1913 and 1916, and in The Liberator, which succeeded it in the 1920s.

With his contribution of five watercolours Davis was one of the youngest exhibitors at the Armory Show, the international exhibition of modern art that opened in New York in 1913...

Article

Julieta Ortiz Gaitán

(b Mexico City, June 27, 1943).

Mexican painter, printmaker, performance artist, writer, teacher and publisher. He qualified as a printmaker at a very early age, then as a painter and engraver under the tutelage of several masters, among whom the most influential on his life was José Chávez Morado. Although he at first worked with traditional media, he possessed a constantly innovative and critical attitude and experimented with performances, installations, happenings, correspondence and media art, as well as writing, lecturing and publishing on such themes as artistic experimentation, cultural promotion, professional management for artists, collective mural painting and the publishing process. From 1968 to 1972 Ehrenberg lived in England where, with the architect Martha Hellion and the critic and historian David Mayor, he founded the Beau Geste Press/Libro Acción Libre in Devon, to propagate the work of artists involved with the Fluxus movement of the 1970s. He was also instrumental in the rise of many artistic groups, workshops and small publishing houses, such as ...

Article

Marc Simpson

(b Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire [now Grampian], Nov 21, 1838; d Berkeley, CA, April 13, 1911).

American painter of Scottish birth. He arrived in New York as a boy in 1850 and was hired as a wood-engraver by the publishing firm of Harper & Brothers in 1857. In 1859 he established himself as a wood-engraver in San Francisco. Keith soon began to make watercolours of the state’s spectacular mountain scenery, and in 1868 he turned to oil painting. After spending two years (1870–72) travelling first to Düsseldorf, where he admired the landscapes of Andreas Achenbach (1815–1910), then to Paris, where he saw the work of the Barbizon painters, and to New York and Boston, he returned to the American West. There he travelled widely during the next decade with the photographer Carleton E. Watkins and the naturalist and conservationist John Muir (1838–1914). From 1883 to 1885 Keith studied informally in Munich; he returned to Europe in 1893 and 1899. In the mid-1880s he was influenced by the philosophical teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg (...

Article

Anne Blecksmith

(b Kiev, Sept 4, 1919; d Miami, FL, Nov 19, 1999).

American painter, photographer and publishing executive of Ukrainian birth. Raised in England and France, he received a degree in philosophy and mathematics from the Sorbonne in 1930. Connected to the Russian exile community in Paris, he was introduced to artists Aleksandr Yakovlev and Marc Chagall. In 1931, he studied painting with André Lhote and enrolled at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture, where he was a student of Auguste Perret. Later that year, he transferred to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. While studying architecture, he was apprenticed to graphic artist Cassandre through whom he found work at the newsweekly Vu, where he created photomontage covers with Russian Constructivist sensibilities and later rose to art director. At Vu he worked with imagery by pioneers of 35 mm photography Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassaï and Erich Salomon. A prolific photographer since childhood, he enthusiastically identified with the candid documentary style of the 35 mm camera.

Arriving in New York in ...

Article

Type of art that exaggerates the physical characteristics of its figures for comedic or critical effect. Caricature has been used throughout the world. For more on its practice in the Western world see Caricature.

The first periodical released in New Spain was La Gazeta de México y Noticias de la Nueva España, founded in 1722 and directed by Juan Ignacio Castorena y Ursúa, Bishop of Yucatán (1688–1733). Six issues were produced, but the publication was suspended due to unfair criticism. In 1784, Manuel Antonio Valdez Murguía (1742–1814) resumed the work previously done by the bishop of Yucatán and expanded it with scientific news, thus strengthening the publication. As a result, the Spanish Crown granted official support to Gazeta de México in 1784, though it did not have illustrations or caricatures. The caricatures appeared on flyers that were pasted in the city centers. It is important to notice though that the concept of caricature developed slowly, and in this period the term is used to refer to the drawings that demystified royal figures and authorities through irony. In ...

Article

Robert Saltonstall Mattison

(b Aberdeen, WA, Jan 24, 1915; d Princetown, MA, July 16, 1991).

American painter, printmaker, and editor. A major figure of the Abstract Expressionist generation (see Abstract Expressionism), in his mature work he encompassed both the expressive brushwork of action painting and the breadth of scale and saturated hues of colour field painting, often with a marked emphasis on European traditions of abstraction.

Motherwell was sent to school in the dry climate of central California to combat severe asthmatic attacks and developed a love for the broad spaces and bright colours that later emerged as essential characteristics of his abstract paintings. His later concern with themes of mortality can likewise be traced to his frail health as a child. From 1932 he studied literature, psychology, and philosophy at Stanford University, CA, and encountered in the poetry of the French Symbolists an expression of moods that dispensed with traditional narrative. He paid tribute to these writers in later paintings such as ...

Article

Roberto Pontual

(b Recife, Dec 19, 1899; d Recife, Jun 5, 1970).

Brazilian painter, poet, and publisher. He became interested in painting while living in Paris between 1911 and 1914. On his return to Brazil he lived first in Rio de Janeiro and then, from 1918 onward, in Recife. There he prepared a series of watercolors based on indigenous themes, such as the Birth of Mani (1921; U. São Paulo, Mus. A. Contemp.), which were exhibited in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in 1920–1921. His modernist reworking of indigenous aesthetics challenged Parisian avant-garde primitivism and Brazilian academic aesthetics. In 1922 he took part in the Semana de Arte Moderna in São Paulo and returned to Europe, establishing a studio in Paris, where he illustrated P. L. Duchartre’s Légendes, croyances, et talismans des indiens de l’Amazonie (Paris, 1923). From 1922 to 1957 he alternated his residency between Paris and Brazil. In 1930 he and the French poet and critic Géo-Charles (...

Article

(b Norman, OK, Sept 28, 1952).

American painter, draughtsman, and printmaker. He studied under John Baldessari and others at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA (1973–5). While working in the art department of a publisher of romance and pornographic magazines, he gathered together photographs from the company’s archives, later using them as source material for his paintings. His soft-core pornographic depictions of women drew frequent criticism from reviewers and critics. After producing performances and installations in the late 1970s, he began in 1979 to make paintings in which he overlaid images in different styles based on found sources, as in The Flesh Made Word (1979; Rotterdam, Mus. Boymans–van Beuningen). Although he acknowledged the example of the Transparencies series painted in the late 1920s and 1930s by Picabia, a more immediate point of comparison for works such as Good Bye D. (1982; Richmond, VA Mus. F.A.)—with their references to popular sources and kitsch and jarring juxtapositions of styles—was in work produced in the 1960s by artists associated with Pop art, notably James Rosenquist and Sigmar Polke. During the 1980s and early 1990s he was one of the most influential young painters working in a representational idiom. Splicing recognizable elements from canonical artworks together with laid-on transitional passages made from a range of straight photographs, grisaille adaptations, vintage magazine ads, and drawn-on elements, Salle created visual puzzles and unusual juxtapositions with emotional impact, as in the diptych ...

Article

Cheryl Leibold

American family of Philadelphia printmakers, printers, painters, and educators. John Sartain and his children, Emily and William, played an important role in the art world of Philadelphia for over a century. Their influence on American art lies primarily in the impact of their work example and leadership on others, and somewhat less from the value placed on their own artistic output. The patriarch, John Sartain (b London, 24 Oct 1808; d Philadelphia, PA, 25 Oct 1897), arrived in Philadelphia at the age of 22. By 1850 he was the city’s premier engraver of illustrations for a wide range of publications. His brilliant mezzotint engravings, often reproducing the work of others, brought graphic art into the homes of all classes. Reproductive engravings, either framed or in books, were widely popular before the advent of photography. Many writers promulgated the display of such prints as a means to refine and enlighten society. Sartain’s most successful endeavours in this field were his large and elaborate framing prints, commissioned by painters, collectors, and publishers to disseminate important works. The finest of these is ...

Article

Roberto Pontual

(b Santa Maria do Rio Grande do Sul, June 21, 1920; d Rio de Janeiro, Apr 28, 2001).

Brazilian draughtsman, engraver and painter. At the age of 15 he began publishing illustrations in the newspapers of his native state. In 1940 he went to live in São Paulo, where he began his career as a painter. He joined the Família Artística Paulista (a group founded in 1937, typical of the second phase of Brazilian Modernism) and allowed his work to be influenced by a vivid, socially committed Expressionism, often using drawing and engraving. Between 1944 and 1945 he fought in Italy as a soldier in the Brazilian Expeditionary Force and produced rapid but undramatic drawings of the war. During a subsequent stay in Paris from 1947 to 1950 he developed his characteristic style under the influence of late Cubism and afterwards of Giorgio Morandi. On his return to Brazil, from 1950 to 1956 he helped to create the local Engraving Club in Porto Alegre; in its artistic aims and political stance he promoted a polemical form of realism devoted to landscape, human types and scenes of the still rural south. He returned to painting only on settling in Rio de Janeiro in ...