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Roberto Pontual

(b Fortaleza, May 26, 1922; d Paris, Oct 6, 1967).

Brazilian painter. In the first half of the 1940s, while still in his native state of Ceará, he was very active in the introduction of modernist ideas. In 1945 he moved to Rio de Janeiro and in 1946 to Paris, where he spent most of the rest of his life. In Paris, where he studied at the Ecole Supérieure de Beaux-Arts and at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, he first painted landscapes and portraits (e.g. Self-portrait, 1947; Rio de Janeiro, Gilberto Chateaubriand priv. col.) that combined elements from Surrealism and Expressionism. He later adopted a gestural abstraction that maintained its links with the outside world through analogies established in poetic titles (e.g. Flowing like a Waterfall, 1964; Rio de Janeiro, Roberto Marinho priv. col.). At the beginning of his stay in France he was briefly part of an informal association with two other artists sharing a similar artistic language, ...


Adam M. Thomas

(b Minden, Jan 15, 1902; d Austin, TX, Dec 8, 1985).

American painter of German birth. Kelpe moved to Hannover to study art and architecture in 1919. In the early 1920s he was exposed to the leading abstract trends in European modernism, including Suprematism and Constructivism. Kelpe developed an abstract painting vocabulary characterized by geometric order, hard edges, overlapping planes, and interpenetrating shapes before immigrating to the United States in 1925. He eventually settled in Chicago, where he had his first solo exhibition in 1932 at the Little Gallery. In the late 1920s Kelpe applied found objects to his paintings, as exemplified by Construction with Lock and Key (1927; Washington, DC, Hirshhorn). He abandoned such constructions by the early 1930s in favor of integrating in paint recognizable gears, wheels and machine parts into his abstract compositions. Machine Elements (1934; Newark, NJ, Mus.), with its stacked semi-abstract machine and factory forms, is representative of his work during the period. Kelpe worked for the Public Works of Art Project in ...


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)....


Susan Fisher Sterling

(b São Paulo, Dec 2, 1896; d São Paulo, Nov 6, 1964).

Brazilian painter. Malfatti is acknowledged as the artist who brought European and American modernism to Brazil in 1917 and was a key figure in the Semana de Arte Moderna in São Paulo in 1922. The daughter of immigrants—her father was an Italian engineer and her mother was of German descent—Malfatti first studied at Mackenzie College in São Paulo before leaving for Berlin in 1912, where she learnt about German Expressionism from Lovis Corinth and Bischoff Culn at the Lewin Funcke Academy while also attending the influential fourth international Sonderbund exhibition of modern art in Cologne. Although she returned to Brazil in 1914, she left once again for New York in 1915, where she studied at the Independent School of Art with Homer Boss (1882–1956) until May 1916. Boss was extremely important in encouraging Malfatti’s early experimentation with Expressionism, resulting in important works such as O Farol (‘The Lighthouse’, ...


Giulio V. Blanc

(García )

(b Havana, Oct 31 1897; d Havana, Feb 1, 1969).

Cuban painter and teacher. He is generally considered to be the initiator of modernism in Cuba. From 1910 he studied at the Academia de S Alejandro in Havana and taught elementary drawing there until 1925, when he went to Paris. There he formed part of the Latin American artistic and literary Grupo de Montparnasse and abandoned academic painting. On his return to Cuba in 1927 he participated in the Asociación de Pintores y Escultores exhibition in Havana, which marked the official beginning of modern painting in Cuba. As a teacher and avant-garde painter he had a considerable influence on painters of his own and succeeding generations.

Víctor Manuel reconciled Parisian modernism with traditional Cuban themes and elements in order to create works that were at once culturally specific and cosmopolitan. Tropical Gypsy (1927; Havana, Mus. N. B.A.) is his best-known painting, referring to Gauguin and modern European art while seeking to portray a national icon, the ...


Deborah Cullen

[MoMA] (New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 by patrons Lillie P(lummer) Bliss, Cornelius J. Sullivan and Rockefeller family §(1) to establish an institution devoted to modern art. Over the next ten years the Museum moved three times and in 1939 settled in the Early Modern style building (1938–9) designed by Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone that it still occupies at 11 West 53 Street. Subsequent renovations and expansions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s by Philip Johnson, in 1984 by Cesar Pelli and in 2002–4 by Yoshirō Taniguchi (b 1937). MoMA QNS, the temporary headquarters during this project, was subsequently used to provide art storage. In 2000, MoMA and the contemporary art space, P.S.1, Long Island City, Queens, announced their affiliation. Recent projects are shown at P.S.1 in Queens in a renovated public school building.

According to founding director, Alfred H(amilton) Barr...


Louise Noelle

(b Mexico City, July 6, 1905; d Mexico City, Jan 18, 1982).

Mexican architect, painter and teacher. He studied architecture at the Universidad Nacional de México and qualified as an architect in December 1935. Among his teachers were José Villagrán and Guillermo Zárraga, the latter of whom in particular exerted a powerful rationalist influence on O’Gorman’s early development. This influence was further strengthened in 1924, when O’Gorman discovered the writings of Le Corbusier. His subsequent membership of the Communist Party cemented his adherence to a functionalist aesthetic and resulted in designs for a number of houses executed in an austere, almost featureless style that nevertheless remained faithful to Le Corbusier’s ideas on plasticity. These included the Casa Cecil O’Gorman (1929), the Casa y Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, built for the artists in 1930–32; and his own house (1931–2), all in the residential district of San Angel in Mexico City.

The innovative approach taken in these works provoked considerable adverse comment, but it impressed ...


Ricardo Pau-Llosa

(b Camagüey, Jan 24, 1895; d Havana, Feb 19, 1949).

Cuban painter and draughtsman. He studied briefly at the Academia de S Alejandro in Havana under Leopoldo Romañach (1862–1951) and became a notable figure in Cuba’s first generation of modernists, who broke with the 19th-century academic style during the 1920s in a search for a national identity. His monochromatic paintings, dominated by white and ochre, are the least Cuban in subject-matter of the work produced by this generation, although ironically he was the only one who never left Cuba.

Ponce de León worked primarily in oil on canvas but also made pencil drawings and pastels. He led a bohemian life racked by alcoholism and poverty, dying of tuberculosis. His principal subject-matter was the figure, but he painted some landscapes bordering on pure abstraction, for example Fish and Landscape (Havana, Mus. N. B.A.). His paintings are melancholic, as, for example, the figure painting Tuberculosis (1934; Havana, Mus. N. B.A.), and embody a Cuban fatalism, which is often eclipsed by the sensuous clichés of the tropics. Ponce de León was the founder of ...


W. Jackson Rushing

(William IV)

(b Breckenridge, MN, Oct 6, 1937; d Scottsdale, AZ, Feb 10, 2005).

American painter, printmaker and photographer. He studied art in high school under Oscar Howe (b 1915), the Sioux modernist painter, and later with Wayne Thiebaud at Sacramento City College, CA (1957–8). After participating in the Southwest Indian Art Project sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1961, Scholder acknowledged his Native American heritage and taught at the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe (1964–9). In 1967 he achieved recognition for his Indian Series: fluid, painterly, semi-abstract portraits that challenged both the romantic stereotype of the Noble Savage and the strictures of traditional Native American painting. These sensuously coloured, but troubling images, such as Indian No. 1 (1967; Washington, DC, priv. col., see Taylor and others, 1982, p. 54) are subjected to violent Expressionist distortions resulting from rapid, bravura brushwork.

From 1970 Scholder made lithographs, for example the Indians Forever Suite (1970–71...