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Article

Pamela H. Simpson

(b Philadelphia, PA, April 1, 1852; d London, Aug 1, 1911).

American painter, illustrator, and muralist, active also in England. Abbey began his art studies at the age of 14 in his native Philadelphia where he worked with Isaac L. Williams (1817–95). Two years later he enrolled in night classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art working under Christian Schussele (1824–1979), but by then Abbey was already a published illustrator. In the 1870s his drawings appeared in numerous publications, but it was his work for Harper & Brothers that proved most important to his career. In 1871 he moved to New York, and in 1878, Harper’s sent him on a research trip to England. He found such affinity with the country that he made it his home for the rest of his life. After 1889 he devoted more time to painting, was elected a Royal Academician in 1898, and in 1902 was chosen by Edward VII (...

Article

Giulio V. Blanc

(b San Antonio de los Baños, nr Güines, 1889; d Havana, 1965).

Cuban painter and caricaturist. He graduated from the Academia de S Alejandro in Havana in 1920 and lived in Paris from 1927 to 1929. There he studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and abandoned academicism, developing a modernist ‘Cuban’ style, in which folkloric scenes of peasant life were depicted in a colourful, energetic, pseudo-naive manner reminiscent of Jules Pascin and Amedeo Modigliani. An outstanding work of this period is Triumph of the Rumba (c. 1928; Havana, Mus. N. B.A.). After a trip to Italy in the early 1930s, Abela began to paint canvases such as Guajiros (‘Peasants’; 1938; Havana, Mus. N. B.A.), in which the Classical sobriety and order is the result of his contact with Italian medieval and Renaissance art. His style underwent a radical change in the early 1950s, and from this time until his death he painted small works that recall in their use of fantasy the drawings of children as well as the works of Marc Chagall....

Article

David Boxer

(b St Andrew, May 14, 1911; d Kingston, Apr 10, 2005).

Jamaican painter. He began his career as a cartoonist for various local periodicals. In 1937 Augustus John, then working in Jamaica, encouraged him to begin painting. Unlike the majority of his contemporaries, he eschewed the “official” classes of the Institute of Jamaica and virtually taught himself to paint through self-study courses and manuals and by copying masterpieces from art books. His cartoonist’s wit and a sardonic humor became the most important ingredients in work that drew on numerous stylistic sources, from Renaissance painting to Cubism. He was a devout Christian, and produced a host of religious works of an undeniable sincerity, although he transformed many traditional Christian themes into witty contemporary parables. His Last Supper (1955; Kingston, N.G.) is the best known of these. Some of his finest work consists of ironic transformations of the great mythological themes of the past and intensely personal fantasies based on contemporary events. He was also one of the few painters to treat successfully historical Jamaican subjects, for example in paintings of the imagined daily lives of the extinct Arawaks, the landing of Columbus, and a series depicting the riotous living of 17th-century buccaneers in Port Royal. His ...

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

David Anfam

Term applied to a movement in American painting that flourished in the 1940s and 1950s, sometimes referred to as the New York School or, very narrowly, as Action painting, although it was first coined in relation to the work of Vasily Kandinsky in 1929. The works of the generation of artists active in New York from the 1940s and regarded as Abstract Expressionists resist definition as a cohesive style; they range from Barnett Newman’s unbroken fields of colour to De Kooning family, §1’s violent handling of the figure. They were linked by a concern with varying degrees of abstraction used to convey strong emotional or expressive content. Although the term primarily denotes a small nucleus of painters, Abstract Expressionist qualities can also be seen in the sculpture of David Smith, Ibram Lassaw and others, the photography of Aaron Siskind and the painting of Mark Tobey, as well as in the work of less renowned artists such as ...

Article

Jorge Luján-Muñoz

(b Guatemala, Jan 7, 1933).

Guatemalan painter and printmaker. From 1954 to 1957 he studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas in Guatemala City while researching folk art for the Dirección de Bellas Artes, but he was virtually self-taught and began as a draughtsman and painter of bullfighting scenes. In 1958 he travelled to New York on a Guatemalan government grant, prolonging his stay there with further grants, studying at the Arts Students League and Graphic Art Center, and finally settling there permanently. He was influential in Guatemala until c. 1960, but because of his long residence abroad his work did not fit easily in the context of Central American art. Before leaving Guatemala he had painted landscapes and nudes in a naturalistic style, but he soon adopted a more modern idiom partly inspired by aboriginal Guatemalan subjects. After moving to New York, and especially from 1958 to 1961, his art underwent a profound transformation as he sought to bring together elements of abstract art and Surrealism and experimented with textures, for example in cross-hatched pen-and-ink drawings such as ...

Article

Julieta Ortiz Gaitán

(b Mexico City, Sept 24, 1931).

Mexican painter. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Pintura y Escultura ‘La Esmeralda’ under Enrique Assad Lara and Carlos Orozco Romero. His work reflects a concern for the negative effects of industrialization and modernization on cities and displays a nostalgia for more humane urban conditions. His large-scale paintings, for example the Boots of the Gran Solar (oil on canvas, 1.60×1.80 m, 1982; artist’s col.), convey a sense of urgency through the use of light and colour, with broad lines and chromatic tones creating dynamic forms that show the influence of Abstract Expressionism.

Siete pintores contemporáneos: Gilberto Aceves Navarro, Luis López Loza, Rodolfo Nieto, Brian Nissen, Tomás Parra, Vlady, Roger von Gunten (exh. cat., Mexico City, Pal. B.A., 1977)R. Tibol: Aceves Navarro, Durero y las variaciones (Mexico City, 1978)M. Idalia: ‘Más libertad y menos barroquismo en la nueva pintura de Aceves Navarro’ [Greater freedom and less extravagance in the new painting of Aceves Navarro], ...

Article

David Anfam

Term applied to the work of American Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and, by extension, to the art of their followers at home and abroad during the 1950s. An alternative but slightly more general term is gestural painting; the other division within Abstract Expressionism was colour field painting.

The critic Harold Rosenberg defined action painting in an article, ‘The American Action Painters’ (1952), where he wrote: ‘At a certain moment the canvas began to appear to one American painter after another as an arena in which to act. …What was to go on canvas was not a picture but an event’. This proposition drew heavily, and perhaps crudely, upon ideas then current in intellectual circles, especially in the wake of Jean-Paul Sartre’s essay L’Existentialisme est un humanisme (Paris, 1946; Eng. trans., 1948), which claimed that ‘there is no reality except in action’. In the 1940s Herbert Ferber, Barnett Newman and others had already characterized their creative process in similar terms; Rosenberg was probably also inspired by photographs of Pollock at work (rather than the actual paintings) that emphasized his apparent psychological freedom and physical engagement with materials (e.g. ...

Article

Pat Gilmour

(b Glendale, CA, Dec 11, 1918; d Albuquerque, NM, May 13, 2002).

American painter, printmaker, art historian, writer and teacher. His appointment to the art faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1942 was interrupted by military service, and it was not until 1946 that he resumed his career as a teacher of the practice and theory of art. This took him to the universities of Kentucky (Lexington), Florida (Gainesville) and finally New Mexico (Albuquerque), where he served as Dean (1961–76). Despite academic demands, Adams always found time to paint and showed his work in over 50 solo exhibitions. Equally at home in oil, acrylic, watercolour and egg tempera, he was initially inspired by the abstracted cityscapes of Stuart Davis. Later he absorbed the lessons of Matisse, achieving particularly radiant paintings during the 1980s. In 1993 he was elected an Academician by the National Academy of Design.

In 1948, at Stanton Macdonald-Wright’s suggestion, Adams began to make lithographs with the Los Angeles printer, ...

Article

Courtney Ann Shaw

(b Fort Plain, NY, Oct 27, 1925; d San Francisco, 2006).

American tapestry artist, painter and stained-glass designer. Adams studied painting at Syracuse University and with Hans Hoffmann in New York, where he was influenced by the medieval tapestries in the Cloisters and also by the work of Matisse. In the 1950s Adams was apprenticed to the influential French tapestry designer Jean Lurçat, from whom he learnt the bold colours and clear imagery that characterize his work. He also studied at the Ecole Nationale d’Art Décoratif in Aubusson before beginning to use a series of workshops, notably that of Marguerite and Paul Avignon, who wove his first nationally acclaimed tapestry, Phoenix and the Golden Gate (1957). Flight of Angels (1962) was exhibited at the first Biennale Internationale de la Tapisserie in Lausanne. In 1976 his cartoon of California Poppies (San Francisco, CA Pal. Legion of Honor) was woven for the Five Centuries of Tapestry exhibition at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, as a demonstration piece. Later tapestries, for example ...

Article

Andrew Weiner

(b Beirut, 1925).

Lebanese painter and writer active in the USA. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Adnan was educated in Lebanon before going on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and the University of California, Berkeley. For many years she taught aesthetics at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA; she also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities. During the 1970s Adnan regularly contributed editorials, essays, and cultural criticism to the Beirut-based publications Al-Safa and L’Orient-Le Jour. In 1978 she published the novel Sitt Marie Rose, which won considerable acclaim for its critical portrayal of cultural and social politics during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War. Adnan published numerous books of poetry, originating in her opposition to the American war in Vietnam and proceeding to encompass topics as diverse as the landscape of Northern California and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Her poetry served as the basis for numerous works of theater and contemporary classical music....

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

Roberto Pontual

(b Vercelli, Italy, 1843; d Rio de Janeiro, 1910).

Brazilian caricaturist and painter. He came to Brazil in 1859, having already acquired some knowledge of painting in Paris. He settled initially in São Paulo, where he at once started to publish caricatures attacking black slavery. There, in 1864, he was one of the founders of the comic newspaper O Diabo Coxo. His abolitionist spirit continued after he moved to Rio de Janeiro, through his frequent collaboration in periodicals such as A Vida Fluminense, O Mosquito, Don Quixote and O Malho. In the Revista Ilustrada he began to publish in 1884 the first long-running strip cartoon in Brazil, the adventures of Zé Caipora, a sertão (hinterland) character, depicting a lesser-known side of Brazil. As a painter he specialized in landscapes but also produced portraits with the same fervour that fired his enjoyable and impassioned satirical drawings, for example Portrait of the Writer Joaquin Augusto Ribeiro de Sousa (c. 1890...

Article

Monica E. Kupfer

(b Panama City, Nov 6, 1943).

Panamanian painter. He studied painting from 1960 to 1962 at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas in Panama City and from 1964 to 1970 at the Universidad Autónoma, Mexico. From 1971 he taught at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, Panama City, of which he was director from 1980 to 1982. Under the influence of Pop art he produced semi-abstract paintings that combined geometric shapes and lines with sensuous parts of human anatomy painted with an airbrush and set in vaporous spaces of flowing colors. A typical example is Profiles of Attraction (1976; Panama City, Mus. A. Contemp.). In later works such as Attack II (1987; Panama City, Mus. A. Contemp.) he added expressionist brushstrokes for visual contrast.

Gasteazoro, M. Homenaje. Panama City, Gal. Etcétera, 1982. Exhibition catalog.Oviero, R. “Luis Aguilar Ponce: Ahora mi pintura se une a la humanidad.” La Prensa [Panama City] (Oct 19, 1984): 1B....

Article

Lelia Delgado

(b Barcelona, Venezuela, April 22, 1907; d Oct 13, 1976).

Venezuelan painter. He was self-taught and painted his first portraits and self-portraits c. 1930. In 1965 his first exhibition was held at the Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas. His paintings, which later included nudes, possess a very particular atmosphere, developing from a small focal point, to which successive layers of paper or card are added, creating the effect of a collage; heavily and energetically worked, the works are small scale, which lends a further intensity to their expressiveness. Aguilera Silva had exhibitions throughout Venezuela, and examples of his work are held in the Galería de Arte Nacional, Caracas....

Article

Horacio Safons

(b Federal, Entre Ríos, Aug 22, 1928; d Buenos Aires, Feb 19, 1996).

Argentine painter, draughtsman and collagist. He studied under Juan Batlle Planas from 1950 to 1953 and quickly established the terms of his work, rooted ideologically in Surrealism and indebted in particular to the work of René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico. All the elements of his mature art are evident in an early painting, Burning of the Hasidic School in Minsk in 1713 (1954; artist’s col.): architecture, space, light and ordered series. He developed an essentially intellectual approach, working in a variety of media (paintings, drawings, gouaches and collages) in rigorous sequences and picturing objects in cold impersonal light that confers on them a sense of distant majesty. The most common motif is that of a geometric, almost abstract structure, often in the form of a tower pierced by rows of large plain windows. Aizenberg’s work, while far removed from the Surrealist presumption of achieving a synthesis of wakefulness and dream, acquires its strength through the ordering of the unreal and the strange in the search for a transcendent essence capable of perturbing and jolting the viewer by bringing into play the archetypes of silence and solitude....

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

Eleanor Jones Harvey

(b Allegheny, PA, Oct 7, 1856; d New York, May 31, 1915).

American painter and illustrator. He began his career in New York in 1875 as a political cartoonist and illustrator for Harper’s Weekly. In 1877 he went to Paris for his first formal art training, and then to Munich, where he enrolled at the Kunstakademie under Gyuala Benczúr. In 1878 he joined a colony of American painters established by Frank Duveneck in Polling, Bavaria. In 1879 they travelled to Italy, where Alexander formed friendships with James McNeill Whistler and Henry James. In 1881 he returned to New York, working as an illustrator for Harper’s, as a drawing instructor at Princeton and as a highly successful society portrait painter (see fig.). He also exhibited at the National Academy of Design. By 1893 his reputation in both Europe and America had soared, and in 1895 he was awarded a prestigious commission for a series of murals entitled the Evolution of the Book...

Article

Monica E. Kupfer

(b Panama City, Sept 5, 1949).

Panamian painter. A graduate of the University of Panama’s Architecture School, he became a full time painter following his first solo exhibition in 1979. From 1980 to 1983 he studied at the Art Students League in New York, his only formal training as an artist. Alfaro is best known for his beautifully rendered oil paintings but has also produced drawings, pastels and three-dimensional pieces. His first images were portraits of young women surrounded by surreal elements or in dream settings. From 1983 he painted humorous images of traditional or religious subjects such as church processions, as well as portraits of imaginary ecclesiastical figures and war heroes; capitalizing on Panama’s strong Catholic tradition. Alfaro even invented his own saints, including the Virgin of All Secrets (1986; see colour pl. I, fig.). By 1990, his compositions became increasingly baroque, crowded with human figures in often menacing natural environments that suggest abundant iconographic, literary and historical interpretations. Towards the end of the decade, Alfaro began to isolate and increasingly distort his models, achieving an expressive deformation characteristic of his disturbing view of humanity and personal vision of surrealism....