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Article

María Antonia González-Arnal

(b Turmero, nr Maracay, Aug 22, 1919; d Caracas, Feb 20, 1993).

Venezuelan painter and sculptor. From 1943 to 1947 he studied drawing and painting in the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas, Caracas. He was a founder-member of the Taller Libre de Arte, taking part in its activities from 1949 to 1952. His paintings, always within a figurative framework, are marked by a pursuit of the magical and of indigenous roots. In his early work he was interested in the themes of roosters and flowers, using the surrounding environment as a source of inspiration. He expressed human, animal and vegetable existence in strong, warm colours (e.g. The Rooster, 1951; Caracas, Gal. A. N.). In 1952 Abreu moved to Europe, visiting Spain and Italy and living in Paris until 1962, when he returned to Venezuela. In Europe his contact with the Musée de l’Homme in Paris and with Surrealism produced a profound transformation in his work. He created his first Magical Objects...

Article

Regenia Perry, Christina Knight, dele jegede, Bridget R. Cooks, Camara Dia Holloway and Jenifer P. Borum

[Afro-American; Black American]

Term used to describe art made by Americans of African descent. While the crafts of African Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries continued largely to reflect African artistic traditions (see Africa, §VIII), the earliest fine art made by professional African American artists was in an academic Western style (see fig.).

Regenia Perry, revised by Christina Knight

The first African American artist to be documented was Joshua Johnson, a portrait painter who practised in and around Baltimore, MD. Possibly a former slave in the West Indies, he executed plain, linear portraits for middle-class families (e.g. Sarah Ogden Gustin, c. 1798–1802; Washington, DC, N.G.A.). Only one of the approximately 83 portraits attributed to Johnson is signed, and none is dated. There are only two African American sitters among Johnson’s attributions. Among the second generation of prominent 19th-century African American artists were the portrait-painter ...

Article

Theresa Leininger-Miller

[Negro Colony]

Group of African American artists active in France in the 1920s and 1930s. Between the world wars Paris became a Mecca for a “lost generation” of Americans. Hundreds of artists, musicians, and writers from all over the world flocked to the French capital in search of a sense of community and freedom to be creative. For African Americans, the lure of Paris was enhanced by fear of and disgust with widespread racial discrimination experienced in the United States. They sought a more nurturing environment where their work would receive serious attention, as well as the chance to study many of the world’s greatest cultural achievements. France offered this along with an active black diasporal community with a growing sense of Pan-Africanism. Painters, sculptors, and printmakers thrived there, studying at the finest art academies, exhibiting at respected salons, winning awards, seeing choice art collections, mingling with people of diverse ethnic origins, dancing to jazz, and fervently discussing art, race, literature, philosophy, and politics. Although their individual experiences differed widely, they had much in common, including exposure to traditional European art, African art, modern art, and proto-Negritude ideas. As a result of their stay in Paris, all were affected artistically, socially, and politically in positive ways and most went on to have distinguished careers....

Article

Janet Marstine

(le Lorraine)

(b North Harvey, nr Chicago, Feb 20, 1897; d Woodstock, VT, Nov 18, 1983).

American painter, sculptor, printmaker and film maker. He was brought up in the suburbs of Chicago and was exposed to art at an early age by his father, Adam Emory Albright (1862–1957), a portrait painter. He passed on to his son the interest in careful draughtsmanship that he had developed from tuition with Thomas Eakins. Ivan’s initial field of interest was architecture, which he studied at Northwestern University, Evanston (1915–16), and at the University of Illinois, Urbana (1916–17). During World War I he served with an Army medical unit, making surgical drawings with great precision. He subsequently decided to become a painter and attended the Art Institute of Chicago (1920–23), the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Chicago (1923), and the National Academy of Design, New York (1924). Around this time he began to exhibit regularly.

Albright settled in Chicago in ...

Article

Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy

American installation artists, active also in Puerto Rico. Jennifer Allora (b Philadelphia, Mar 20, 1974) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Richmond, Virginia (1996), and Guillermo Calzadilla (b Havana, Cuba, Jan 10, 1971) graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Escuela de Artes Plastica in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1996). Allora and Calzadilla met in Italy in 1995 during a study abroad program in Florence. They then lived together in San Juan for a year before moving to New York City where they started working collaboratively while each participated in different residency and study programs. In 1998–1999, Allora participated in the year-long Whitney Independent Study Program, while Calzadilla participated in the P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center National Studio Program.

Allora & Calzadilla’s first important international exhibition was the XXIV Bienal de São Paulo in 1998 curated by Paulo Herkenhoff, which investigated the idea of cultural cannibalism known in Brazilian literature as ...

Article

Deborah Cullen

(Henry) [Spinky]

(b Charlotte, NC, Nov 29, 1907; d April 27, 1977).

African American painter, sculptor, graphic artist, muralist and educator. In 1913, Charles Alston’s family relocated from North Carolina to New York where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School. In 1929, he attended Columbia College and then Teachers College at Columbia University, where he obtained his MFA in 1931. Alston’s art career began while he was a student, creating illustrations for Opportunity magazine and album covers for jazz musician Duke Ellington.

Alston was a groundbreaking educator and mentor. He directed the Harlem Arts Workshop and then initiated the influential space known simply as “306,” which ran from 1934 to 1938. He taught at the Works Progress Administration’s Harlem Community Art Center and was supervisor of the Harlem Hospital Center murals, leading 35 artists as the first African American project supervisor of the Federal Art Project. His two murals reveal the influence of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886–1957). His artwork ranged from the comic to the abstract, while often including references to African art. During World War II, he worked at the Office of War Information and Public Information, creating cartoons and posters to mobilize the black community in the war effort....

Article

Chika Okeke-Agulu

(b Cairo, May 22, 1963).

American painter, sculptor, fibre and installation artist of Egyptian birth. Amer, one of the few young artists of African origin to gain prominence in the late 1990s international art scene, studied painting in France at the Villa Arson EPIAR, Nice (MFA, 1989), and the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Art Plastique, Paris (1991). She subsequently moved to New York. She is best known for her canvases in which paint and embroidery are combined to explore themes of love, desire, sexuality, and women’s identity in a patriarchal world. Amer’s use of Embroidery, historically regarded as a genteel female craft, to create images of women fulfilling their sexual desires without inhibition, recalls the provocations and strategies of 1970s Western feminist art. However, her work also reflects her alarm at the incremental curbing of women’s social and political freedoms in her native Egypt following the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, especially after the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser ended in ...

Article

Ilene Susan Fort

[A.A.A.]

American group of painters and sculptors formed in 1936 in New York. Their aim was to promote American abstract art. Similar to the Abstraction–Création group in Europe, this association introduced the public to American abstraction through annual exhibitions, publications and lectures. It also acted as a forum for abstract artists to share ideas. The group, whose first exhibition was held in April 1937 at the Squibb Galleries in New York, insisted that art should be divorced from political or social issues. Its aesthetics were usually identified with synthetic Cubism, and the majority of its members worked in a geometric Cubist-derived idiom of hard-edged forms, applying flat, strong colours. While the group officially rejected Expressionism and Surrealism, its members actually painted in a number of abstract styles. Almost half of the founding members had studied with Hans Hoffmann and infused their geometric styles with surreal, biomorphic forms, while others experimented with ...

Article

Kenneth W. Prescott

(b Erie, PA, May 23, 1930).

American painter, printmaker and sculptor. He trained at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, OH (1948–53), and under Albers family, §1 at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture in New Haven, CT (1953–5). In his paintings of the late 1940s and early 1950s he depicted everyday city life, as in The Bridge (1950; artist’s priv. col., see Lunde, pl. 66). In 1957 he moved to New York, where from 1957 to 1958 he worked as a conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and from 1959 to 1961 as a silver designer for Tiffany and Co. During this period he began to produce abstract paintings, using either organic or geometric repeated forms, as in Winter Recipe (1958; New York, Mr and Mrs David Evins priv. col., see Lunde, pl. 100). These led in the early 1960s to asymmetric and imperfectly geometric works, such as ...

Article

Saisha Grayson

(b Abington, PA, 1955).

American installation artist. Upon graduating from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, where she studied printmaking and painting, Apfelbaum moved to New York City in 1978. Apfelbaum consistently found ways to trouble the distinctions between painting, sculpture, craft, and installation-based practices, and between pure abstraction and a range of conceptual and cultural allusions. Such productive tensions abound in the ‘fallen paintings’ for which she is best known, which feature fabrics meticulously shaped and arranged in floor-bound compositions with titles that reference everything from Disney characters to punk bands to Italian cinema. Playfully poking fun at art historical taboos and tastes, her work is often addressed as a feminist, post-modernist response to Minimalism that embraces the emotional, the psychological, the ephemeral, and the sociopolitical potential of abstraction.

Apfelbaum’s first floor installation, Daisy Chain (1989), presented carved wooden shapes appropriated from an Andy Warhol silkscreen, which in turn had appropriated its graphics from a Scandinavian Airlines ticket, a chain of references inferred by the title, which itself invites associations. As in later work, its accumulated elements can simultaneously be appreciated from above as a pictorial composition, walked around like a sculpture, and experienced temporally and spatially as an installation. In ...

Article

Monica E. Kupfer

(b Chilibre, Jan 16, 1929).

Panamanian sculptor and painter. He studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence (1949–1954) and at the Real Academia Catalana de Bellas Artes de San Jorge in Barcelona (1955–1960). On his return to Panama City he became the first professor of sculpture at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas from 1961 to 1964, and in 1964 he founded the Casa de la Escultura, a government-supported center for the teaching and promotion of the fine arts which he continued to direct after it was renamed the Centro de Arte y Cultura. Arboleda exhibited often and established his reputation as a young man with academic works such as Serenity (marble, 1950; Panama City, Mus. A. Contemp.). Most of his work was figurative, but he later developed a more symbolic style and produced his most original sculptures on indigenous themes, as with the bronze head of a Chocó Indian entitled ...

Article

Marco Livingstone

(b Washington, DC, Dec 26, 1924; d in Albany, NY, Feb 9, 2013).

American sculptor and painter . He studied art in 1949–50 under Amédée Ozenfant in New York. During the 1950s he designed and made furniture in New York, but after a fire that destroyed most of the contents of his shop in 1958 he turned again to art, initially painting abstract pictures derived from memories of the New Mexican landscape.

Artschwager continued to produce furniture and, after a commission to make altars for ships in 1960, had the idea of producing sculptures that mimicked actual objects while simultaneously betraying their identity as artistic illusions. At first these included objets trouvés made of wood, overpainted with acrylic in an exaggerated wood-grain pattern (e.g. Table and Chair, 1962–3; New York, Paula Cooper priv. col., see 1988–9 exh. cat., p. 49), but he soon developed more abstract or geometrical versions of such objects formed from a veneer of formica on wood (e.g. Table and Chair...

Article

Midori Yoshimoto

(Aiko)

(b Norwalk, CA, Jan 24, 1926; d San Francisco, CA, Aug 5, 2013).

American sculptor, painter and draftsman. Asawa was born the fourth of seven children to Japanese immigrants and her childhood on a thriving truck farm formed her work ethic. During World War II, the Asawas were separated into different internment camps. At the Rohwer Relocation Center in Arkansas, Ruth was able to learn drawing from interned Japanese–American illustrators. In 1943 a scholarship allowed her to leave the camp to study at Milwaukee State Teachers College. However, when she realized that she could never find a teaching position in Wisconsin because of her Japanese ancestry, she headed to Black Mountain College in North Carolina in 1946. The Black Mountain College community, including illustrious teachers such as Albers family, §1 and R(ichard) Buckminster Fuller, nurtured Asawa’s artistic foundation and philosophy. There she started on looped-wire sculpture after discovering the basket crocheting technique in Mexico in 1947. Upon graduation, she married her classmate, the architect Albert Lanier (...

Article

Group of artists founded in New York in 1911 with the aim of finding suitable exhibition space for young American artists. After preliminary meetings between the painters Jerome Myers (1867–1940), Elmer MacRae (1875–1955), Walt Kuhn (1877–1949) and others, a meeting was held at the Madison Gallery on 16 December 1911 for the purpose of founding a new artists’ organization. At a subsequent meeting on 2 January 1912 they elected officers and began to discuss exhibition plans. The president, Julian Alden Weir, who had been elected in absentia, resigned, however, and the leadership passed to Arthur B. Davies.

Davies, Walt Kuhn and Walter Pach soon took the lead and developed the plan for a major international exhibition, much to the disapproval of the American Realists associated with Robert Henri; the latter group was interested in gaining broader exposure to a public that knew only of the major figures associated with the National Academy of Design and saw no reason to include foreign modernists. Davies and his allies, contemptuous of their provincialism, ignored their wishes. The result of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors’ plans was the International Exhibition of Modern Art, known as the ...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Arezzo, Feb 2, 1916; d Buenos Aires, Feb 11, 2001).

Argentine sculptor, painter, printmaker and draughtsman of Italian birth. After completing his studies at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires in 1945, he went on study trips around Latin America (1945–6) and Europe (1949). He became a naturalized citizen of Argentina in 1947 and from 1949 he participated in the Salones Nacionales, winning various awards. He soon won a reputation as one of Argentina’s most outstanding sculptors, working in marble, bronze, wood, cement and clay. Torrent (marble, 1953; Buenos Aires, Mus. N. B.A.), a semi-abstract female nude composed of smooth curved planes, typifies one aspect of his work: his treatment of themes of fecundity, motherhood and the family, using rounded forms to which he attached a symbolic value. The titles associated with some of these material forms, such as Time (bronze, 1959; Buenos Aires, Mus. A. Mod.), indicate the way they are meant to be read....

Article

Pamela H. Simpson

(b Charlestown, MA, June 3, 1819; d Montclair, NJ, Dec 11, 1911).

American sculptor and painter, active also in Italy . Active in the mid-19th century, and for much of his career an expatriate in Italy, Ball is noted for his bronze portrait statues. Largely self-taught, he began as a painter in New England before turning to sculpture. In 1854 he settled in Italy and became an important part of the American expatriate community. He returned to Boston in 1857, but went back to Italy in 1865, where his house and studio became important stops for American artists and visitors. His pupils included Daniel Chester French and Martin Milmore (1844–83). Ball’s naturalistic style was little influenced by the Neo-classicism of contemporaries such as Hiram Powers. A pioneer in the popularization of mass-produced statuettes, he is best known for his public monuments, especially the equestrian statue of George Washington in the Boston Public Gardens and the Emancipation Group in Washington, DC.

Ball’s father was a sign painter, and both his parents were interested in music, a gift he shared. He supplemented his income early in his career by singing professionally. After his father’s death, he left school and worked at various jobs including cutting silhouettes and painting miniature portraits. His first sculpture success was with a cabinet-sized portrait of the Swedish soprano ...

Article

Eduardo Serrano

(b Cartagena, Oct 27, 1945).

Colombian painter, sculptor and conceptual artist. He studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes of the University of Atlántico in Barranquilla, Colombia, from 1958 to 1960, and in Italy from 1966 to 1967 at the University of Perugia. In 1966, under the influence of Pop art, he made the first of a series of collages combining cut-outs of well-known individuals and comic strips with drawn elements. Two years later he added frosty effects and velvet flowers to his interpretations in black and red ink of figures with distorted bodies and the faces of film stars. In 1969 he began to present these in increasingly three-dimensional boxes or glass cases, accompanied by clouds of cotton wool, plastic figures and other additions that combined to make up fantastic or nostalgic scenes, dream-like and surrealist in appearance and tone.

Barrios was among those who introduced conceptual art to Colombia, for example by publishing in newspapers a series of ...

Article

Margaret Rose Vendryes

(b Bay St Louis, MS, Jan 28, 1909; d Pasadena, CA, March 6, 1989).

African American sculptor and painter. Barthé was raised a devout Roman Catholic Creole. He was also the only African American artist of his generation to consistently portray the black male nude. Although closeted throughout his life, sensual figures such as Stevedore (1937; Hampton, VA, U. Mus.) expose his homosexuality. Barthé’s elementary education ended in 1914. As an adolescent, he skillfully copied magazine illustrations, especially figures. Barthé worked for the wealthy New Orleans Pond family, who summered on the Bay, and in 1917, he moved to New Orleans to become their live-in servant. Barthé had access to the Pond library and art collection, and while in their employment, he began to paint in oil. In 1924, his head of Jesus prompted the Rev. Harry F. Kane to fund the first of four years at the Art Institute of Chicago School, where Barthé studied painting with Charles Schroeder and sculpture with Albin Polasek (...

Article

Cecile Johnson

(Losch)

(b Long Beach, CA, March 14, 1941).

American installation artist, painter, printmaker and sculptor. Bartlett studied at Mills College, Oakland, CA (1960–63), and at the Yale School of Art and Architecture, New Haven, CT (1964–5). The progressive approach to modern art taught at Yale and the nearby thriving art scene of New York were instrumental in her early development (1963–early 1970s). Bartlett’s first one-person exhibition was in New York (1970) in the loft of the artist Alan Saret. Nine-point Pieces (1973–4), a later work, was shown at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York and was experimental both conceptually and materially. Her ambivalent use of systems to establish an order and to oppose it allowed her to explore the material and the conceptual process of making images and objects. Rhapsody (1975–6; priv. col., see exh. cat., p. 21), one of her best-known installations, consists of 988 steel plates covered with screenprint grids and hand-painted Testors enamel and hung on a wall (2.28×47.86 m). Each plate exists individually and in relation to its adjoining plate and may be read vertically or horizontally, creating a mesh of stylistic variability exploring both figurative and non-figurative motifs. Another work of the 1970s is ...

Article

(b New York, Dec 22, 1960; d New York, Aug 12, 1988).

American painter, sculptor and draughtsman. Basquiat showed an early interest in drawing, and he was encouraged by his mother’s interest in fashion design and sketching and by his father’s gifts of paper brought home from his office. From as early as 1965 Basquiat’s mother took him to the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MOMA, and from 1966 he was a Junior Member of the Brooklyn Museum. Early influences on Basquiat’s art include his avid reading of French, Spanish and English texts, his interest in cartoon drawings, Alfred Hitchcock films, cars and comic books, such as MAD magazine and its main character, Alfred E. Neuman. While attending the City-as-School (1976–8), an alternative high school, he encountered the Upper West Side Drama Group and the Family Life Theatre and invented ‘SAMO’ (Same Old Shit), a fictional character who earns a living selling ‘fake’ religion. He also met, collaborated with and became a close friend of ...