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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

Aurélie Verdier

(b Saïda, Algeria, 1953).

French painter, sculptor, photographer, film maker, writer and installation artist of Algerian birth. Born to Spanish parents, he was much affected by North African as well as Southern European culture. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre. Despite a pervasive and diverse use of media, Alberola often stressed the coexistence of his different artistic practices as leading to painting alone. His paintings relied heavily on evocative narratives, at once personal and ‘historical’. Alberola conceived of his role as a storyteller, on the model of African oral cultures. Convinced that narratives could not be renewed, he argued that a painter’s main task was to reactivate his work through contact with his pictorial heritage. The main points of reference for his paintings of the early 1980s were Velázquez, Manet or Matisse, whose works he quoted in a personal way. In the early 1980s he undertook a series of paintings inspired by mythological subjects, which he combined with his own history as the principal subject-matter of his work. The biblical story of Susannah and the Elders as well as the Greek myth of Actaeon provided his most enduring subjects, both referring to the act of looking as taboo, as in ...

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

Shannen Hill

Apartheid, an Afrikaans word meaning ‘separateness’, was a system of racial segregation in South Africa that curtailed the economic, political, and social rights of black, coloured, and Indian people. Enforced through the legislation of the National Party, apartheid was the rule of the land between 1948 and 1994. Apartheid affected art and art-making in three primary areas: expressions of nationalism; limited access to education and commercial art markets for black, coloured, and Indian artists; and articulations of political resistance to this system of governance.

Although apartheid is equated with the 20th century, its notions of segregation predate this period. As descendants of Dutch settlers who first settled in southern Africa in 1651, Afrikaners were long at odds with people indigenous to this region and with British and German imperialists who sought to colonize it in the 19th century. In Afrikaner lore, the Great Trek (1835–52) represents the spirit of struggle to claim a land in the name of God. The pilgrimage was driven by a desire both to civilize a so-called heathen place through the introduction of Christianity and to establish a republic free of English intrusion in the heartland. This spirit is embodied by Pioneers (...

Article

Willemijn Stokvis

(b Constantine, Algeria, Jan 23, 1913; d Paris, Feb 12, 1960).

French painter, lithographer and writer. The Jewish intellectual milieu in which he grew up led to his interest in philosophy and religion, and from 1930 to 1934 he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. While in Paris, however, he was confronted with modern painting for the first time, and his interest in poetry was awakened. Recognizing a means of expressing his interest in magical phenomena, in 1941 he began to paint and write poetry. His activity in the Résistance and his Jewish ancestry led to his arrest in 1942; by pleading insanity he was able to save himself but was confined to the Sainte Anne asylum, where he wrote poetry and painted. In the autumn of 1944, shortly after leaving the asylum, his first and only collection of poems, Le Sang profond, was published, and he exhibited drawings at the Galerie Arc en Ciel.

During the immediate post-war years Atlan’s work was well received in Paris. He had a one-man show in ...

Article

David Cast

(b Durban, Transvaal, Nov 21, 1910; d Newark-on-Trent, Notts, Aug 9, 1943).

British painter of South African birth. He studied at Durban School of Art and after showing his work in 1930 earned enough money to travel to London, arriving there in 1931. Some years of poverty followed, and in 1935, a year after participating in an exhibition of paintings based on abstraction from nature (see Objective Abstraction), he gave up painting and became a journalist. He returned to painting, however, after the establishment in 1937 of the Euston Road School in London by William Coldstream, whom he had met in 1934, finding in the ideas and practices of its artists a way to accommodate both his social concerns and his admiration of a tradition of painting derived from Cézanne.

In the first paintings he produced in England Bell explored the lyrical possibilities of the paintings of Duncan Grant, but after meeting Coldstream he sharpened the social focus of his work and painted in a more formally disciplined manner. This way of working is evident in his best pictures, such as ...

Article

Simon Njami

(b Douala, 1962).

Cameroonian painter, sculptor and installation artist, active in France. He moved to Paris in 1974 and studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts; he began exhibiting in the late 1980s, showing in France, Switzerland, Spain and Greece, among other places. Unlike many African artists living in Europe, he never felt dislocated. His sculptures, canvases and installation pieces combine all manner of found objects and other material that he manufactures himself. With these he comments on issues of representation and artistic practice in the Western world, at the same time evoking the presence and/or absence of humans, and therefore memory. The objects he uses are symbolic as well: eggs signify renewal, for instance. His compositions are simple and striking, as is his use of colour. In one work, for example, a ‘mummified’ figure appears on each side panel in the same thick white paint as the ground, holding a red rose against a metal plate. Against the black centre panel is an orange dress, under which are white flowers....

Article

El Hadji Sy

(b St Louis, Sept 28, 1948).

Senegalese painter, sculptor and teacher. After graduating from the Institut National des Arts du Senegal, in Dakar (1972–7), he attended the Ecole Nationale Supérieure, Cachan, in France (1988). He took a position as a professor at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts, Dakar, in 1988 and was named head of the Departement Arts plastiques in 1996. From 1986 to 1996 he produced mainly paper collages, creating abstract, highly patterned works. He began working with accumulative wood and metal sculpture in 1996. His sculptural work, for example Untitled (1998; artist’s col.), makes use of organic materials such as straw, fiber and calabash. Both collages and sculptures are characterized by the notion of accumulation and the lyrical repetition of forms. Camara has participated in several group exhibitions in Africa and Europe, including Dak’Art ’96 and Dak’Art ’98. He received the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Merite from the government of Senegal in ...

Article

Silvia Lucchesi

(b Tunis, Aug 15, 1909; d Rome, Sept 6, 2004).

Italian painter. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Tunis. From 1930 to 1937 he settled in Paris, travelling frequently to Tunisia and Italy. His first experiments in non-figurative art date from c. 1934. During this period he became part of a circle of Milanese abstract artists, including Lucio Fontana and Osvaldo Licini, who were linked to the Galleria Il Milione, where Corpora exhibited in 1939. In 1945 he settled in Rome. Of all the Italian artists active during the first years after World War II, Corpora was among the most determined in rejecting the isolationism of Italian painting during the Fascist years and in putting forward a renewal of pictorial language that followed in the modern tradition of Fauvism and Cubism. In 1946, at the Galleria del Secolo in Rome, he took part in the exhibition Corpora, Fazzini, Guttuso, Monachi, Turcato in which for the first time the term ‘...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Lourenço Marques, Mozambique, Feb 2, 1938; d Porto, Mar 29, 2011).

Portuguese painter. He studied at the Escola de Belas Artes in Oporto, where he taught from 1963. In the 1960s Ângelo worked in sculpture, photography and experimental cinema as well as painting. Having won a scholarship, he attended St Martin’s School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art in London from 1967 to 1968.

In the 1960s he painted simplified motifs drawn from nature, applying the paint thinly but unevenly, thus allowing a certain luminosity to show through the brushstrokes from the ground beneath. More interested in the mechanisms of perception than in their objects, Ângelo dispensed with figurative references from 1970, and henceforth his paintings dealt with light and spatial ambiguity. The formats comprise large, luminous, monochromatic fields of colour, applied in transparent, modulated layers and are usually divided into a few large geometric shapes by fine, incisive dark lines.

B. F. Pinto de Almeida: Ângelo de Sousa...

Article

dele jegede

(b Buguma, 1958).

Nigerian sculptor, painter, and film maker, active in England. Born in Nigeria, Douglas Camp grew up in England but continued to visit Nigeria regularly. She was educated at the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA, (1979–80) and the Central School of Art and Design, London (1980–83), receiving a BA (Hons) in sculpture. From 1983 to 1986 she studied at the Royal College of Art in London, graduating with the MA degree in sculpture. She made her first steel sculpture, Church Ede, a rendering of a Kalabari funeral bed, after her father’s death in 1984. She then began to portray other elements of ritual life, such as masqueraders and their audiences, as in Kalabari Masquerader with Boat Headdress (1987). During the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s she worked almost exclusively in steel, often animating the pieces, as in Festival Boat (1985...

Article

Cecile Johnson

(b Cape Town, 1953).

South African painter, draughtswoman and collagist, active in the Netherlands. She studied the fine arts at the University of Cape Town, South Africa (1972–5), and continued studying art at the Ateliers ’63, Haarlem, the Netherlands (1976–8). In 1979–80 she followed a general course in psychology at the Psychological Institute of the University of Amsterdam. Dumas became known for her portraits and figurative works (see fig.). Her exhibition The Private Versus the Public (Amsterdam, Gal. Paul Andriesse) presented a number of group and individual portraits based on Polaroid photographs taken either by herself or from magazines (e.g. the Turkish Schoolgirls, 1.60×2.00 m, 1987; Amsterdam, Stedel. Mus.). Her emotional involvement with the subjects coupled with her distortion of the original photographs created unnaturalistic renderings that had characteristically a haunting edge. Other significant works include the Particularity of Nakedness (1.40×3.00 m, 1987; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus.). In the 1990s she produced such installation works as ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Tripoli, Libya, 1945).

Libyan painter. He returned to Libya in 1970 after graduating from the Plymouth School of Architecture and Design in England. In 1974 he was appointed consultant to the Festival of Islam in London, and in 1981 he settled in England. He typically uses individual letter forms based on the maghribī style of script typical of North Africa, setting one or two large letters against a richly textured abstract ground with accompanying excerpts from Arabic and world literature that address social and moral issues. His works have been exhibited in more than 60 solo and group exhibitions and can be found in many major museums. Chairman of Muslim Cultural Heritage Center in London, he has also been involved with several other cultural and intellectual institutions there.

A. O. Ermes: Ali Omar Ermes: Art and Ideas: Works on Paper (exh. cat., Oxford, Ashmolean, 1992)A. O. Ermeswith S. Rizvi: Reaching Out: Conversations on Islamic Art with Ali Omar Ermes...

Article

James P. W. Thompson

(b La Rochelle, Oct 24, 1820; d Saint-Maurice, Aug 27, 1876).

French painter and writer. The wide skies and sweeping plains of his native Charente region left him with a love of natural beauty for which he later found affinities in Algeria and the Netherlands. From his youth he showed academic intelligence, literary talent and artistic aptitude. In 1839 he was sent to Paris to study law, but he became increasingly interested in drawing. Although his father, a skilled amateur artist who had studied with Jean-Victor Bertin, never became reconciled to his son’s desire to pursue painting as a career, Fromentin was sent to study with the Neo-classical landscape painter Jean-Charles-Joseph Rémond (1795–1875); however, he preferred the more naturalistic Nicolas-Louis Cabat. Fromentin developed slowly as an artist and began to show real promise as a landscape draughtsman only in the early to mid-1840s. He published his first important piece of criticism on the Salon of 1845.

From 3 March to ...

Article

Betsy Cogger Rezelman

(b Cahirconlish, Co. Limerick, Aug 28, 1847; d Penzance, Cornwall, June 22, 1926).

Irish painter and writer. He attempted various professions, including diamond-mining and journalism in South Africa (1872–7), before becoming an artist. At the Koninklijke Academie, Antwerp (1878–80), under Charles Verlat, in Paris (1881–4) as a student of Carolus-Duran and in Venice (1885) Garstin became friends with future Newlyn school painters. Saint’s House and Field, Tangier (1885; Plymouth, City Mus. & A.G.), a small oil panel painted en plein air, exemplifies both the medium and the suggestive approach he preferred throughout his career. In 1886 he married and settled in Newlyn and then Penzance (1890). Financial pressures forced him to produce portraits and such large anecdotal genre scenes as Her Signal (exh. RA 1892; Truro, Co. Mus. & A.G.) for which his talents for simplified forms and surface design were less well suited. Though he exhibited widely, he received little recognition. Garstin supplemented his income by writing, lecturing, teaching and, from ...

Article

Jon Whiteley

(b Montpellier, Dec 15, 1807; d Paris, Aug 8, 1893).

French painter. He was trained by Eugène Devéria and Achille Devéria and made his first appearance at the Salon, in 1836, with Luca Signorelli da Cortona (Avignon, Mus. Calvet) and Flight into Egypt (untraced), the first of a number of religious pictures painted in the 1840s in the pleasant, sentimental manner of Eugène Devéria’s religious work. The Humility of St Elizabeth of Hungary (exh. Salon, 1843; Montpellier, St Louis), Conversion of the Magdalene (1845; Nogent-sur-Seine, parish church) and Adoration of the Shepherds (1846; Quesnoy-sur-Airaine, parish church) belong to an idea of the Rococo common in the 1840s. Glaize’s interest in 18th-century French art is also evident in Blood of Venus (exh. 1846) and Picnic (both Montpellier, Mus. Fabre). This element was less obvious in the 1850s. In 1852 he exhibited a scene of the savage heroism of the Women of Gaul: Episode from the Roman Invasion (Autun, Mus. Rolin), one of the first pictures on a theme that appealed to a new interest in the history of Gaul in the Second Empire. Increasingly, he adopted subject-matter favoured by the ...

Article

Timothy Ostler

(d’Alpoim Miranda) [Pancho]

(b Lisbon, May 13, 1925).

Portuguese architect, sculptor and painter, active in Africa. His childhood was spent in Mozambique and its offshore islands. From the age of 14 he was educated in Johannesburg, first at Maritz Brothers’ School and then at the University of the Witwatersrand School of Architecture, from which he graduated in 1949. After a brief period working as a draughtsman, he set up his own practice in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique, in 1950. His timing was fortunate: shortly afterwards a construction boom began that was to continue until the fall of the colonial government in 1974, and the bulk of his work was carried out during the 25 years preceding independence. He completed approximately 500 buildings, including churches, schools, houses, flats, restaurants and office buildings, in all parts of the country. The best of these rank among the finest post-war architecture in Southern Africa. In 1975 Guedes left Mozambique to take up the Chair in Architecture at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. With the pressure to build now greatly reduced, Guedes was able to treat later projects in Portugal and South Africa as labours of love....

Article

Anne-Marie Delage

(b Paris, March 25, 1840; d Paris, March 14, 1887).

French painter and writer. He was a student of François-Edouard Picot, Alexandre Abel de Pujol and Félix Barrias. After failing to win the Prix de Rome in historical landscape in 1861, he impulsively visited Algeria the following year; this journey, which he repeated ten times, determined his development as an Orientalist painter. He was a regular exhibitor at the Salon from 1861 where his combination of picturesque realism and academic composition was positively received by the State as illustrative of its Algerian policies (e.g. Evening Prayer in the Sahara, 1863; Paris, Mus. d’Orsay).

The Sahara (1867; Paris, Mus. d’Orsay), which depicts a camel skeleton in a desolate desert landscape, is an important 19th-century example of vanitas painting and evinces a philosophical strain in Guillaumet’s work. In the Labours series (1869–76) he brought out the poetic quality of the remote duars of Algeria and imbued his Orientalism with unusual naturalistic touches. After ...

Article

Dennis Radford

(b Dresden, Oct 16, 1813; d Stellenbosch, Oct 8, 1898).

German architect, builder, painter and photographer, active in South Africa. He showed a talent for drawing at an early age. In 1825 he entered the Akademie der Künste, Dresden, to study architecture, qualifying in 1829. He emigrated to Cape Town in 1838. His first commission in 1840 was the new Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Mary, Cape Town, undertaken with his partner Carel Sparmann, which was an unsuccessful venture. Hager then moved to Stellenbosch living principally by portrait painting (examples in Stellenbosch Mus.). It was not until 1854 that his next building, the Lutheran Church, Dorp Street, Stellenbosch, was built. Only in 1863, however, did he receive his first major commission, the remodelling of the Dutch Reformed Church, Stellenbosch. This involved the addition of a large nave, aisles and tower to the existing cruciform church. All the additions were strongly Gothic Revival in character, and the rest of the church was given a Gothic appearance. It would be an exaggeration to claim that it was Hager who introduced the Gothic style into Dutch Reformed churches, but it can be said that he introduced a purer strain of the Revival, although this was still far from ‘correct’. The church at Stellenbosch differs most from previous attempts to Gothicize Dutch Reformed churches in the tower, which has triple-stage base tracery windows surmounted by a broach spire. The open Gothic trussed roof marks its first appearance in Dutch Reformed churches. In ...

Article

Ingeborg Kuhn-Régnier

(b Vienna, Dec 4, 1914; d Mödling, Feb 25, 1995).

Austrian painter. He studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna from 1931 until 1936. During this period he also travelled to England, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Egypt. After he was designated a ‘degenerate’ artist in 1938 (see Entartete Kunst), exhibition of his work was forbidden in Germany. From 1941 until 1945 he was a soldier. Before allying himself with the style of Phantastischer Realismus, based in Vienna, his works were mainly Expressionist-influenced images of suburbs, still-lifes and female models, most of which he destroyed.

In 1946 Hausner joined the Art-Club and had his first one-man exhibition in the Konzerthaus, Vienna. A key work of this period, It’s me! (1948; Vienna, Hist. Mus.), shows his awareness of Pittura Metafisica and Surrealism in a psychoanalytical painting where the elongated being in the foreground penetrates what was apparently a real landscape, until it tears like a backdrop; another painting, ...