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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

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....

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Buenos Aires, Jan 25, 1923; d July 31, 1993).

Argentine draughtsman, painter and printmaker. He was self-taught and in 1943 began to illustrate publications throughout Latin America, continuing to do so for more than 20 years. His early work consisted of highly emotive ink drawings marked by an intricacy of design and lack of idealization, for example The Vacuum II (1976). He later worked in both pastels and oils to create spectral images of love, death, eroticism and the obscure world of nightmares, fears and terrors. Critics sometimes spoke of these in terms of Magic Realism, although he did not subscribe to any specific stylistic tendency. He often treated human heads and figures in fragmentary form, as if they were the victims of violent torture, and with a veiled but sarcastic humour.

With time Alonso gradually simplified his drawings and replaced his invented characters with fictional objects and childhood memories, moving towards more intimate and abstract work, for example in the pastel ...

Article

Nicola Coleby

(b Mexico City, Aug 29, 1892; d Mexico City, April 4, 1985).

Mexican painter and draughtsman. He studied at the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City from 1910. In 1917 he was employed as a draughtsman by the Ministry of Agriculture and began to attend the Escuela de Pintura al Aire Libre de Santa Anita under Alfredo Ramos Martínez, his palette gradually lightening. In 1920 he was appointed assistant draughtsman in the Ministry of Education and then tutor at the Academia de San Carlos. In 1922 he was commissioned by the Ministry of Education to paint a mural, the Landing of the Cross (fresco, 7×8 m; Mexico City, Escuela N. Prep.), an allegorical depiction of the implantation of Catholicism in New Spain in the 16th century, with large classical figures set in a steeply inclined composition. Over the next 40 years, Alva de la Canal painted six public murals with allegorical and historical themes, such as the Life of Morelos (encaustic and fresco, ...

Article

Francis Summers

revised by Martin R. Patrick

(b Antwerp, Aug 22, 1959).

Belgian-born interdisciplinary artist, active in Mexico. He studied architecture at the Institut d’Architecture de Tournai in Belgium (1978–83) and at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura in Venice (1983–6). Alÿs moved to Mexico in 1987 and his art practice initially concentrated on Mexico City as a laboratory of urban living, often documented in the form of evocative, conceptually layered photographs, sculptures, and videos. In the slide series Ambulantes (Pushing and Pulling) (1992–2002), Alÿs photographed street vendors and workers as they passed by carting a wide variety of goods within a ten-block vicinity of his studio. For his project entitled The Liar, The Copy of the Liar (1997) Alÿs created small images of suited men inspired by the commercial sign painters of Mexico City, and subsequently commissioned from them larger versions in their own styles. In this process Alÿs deferred authorship into a semantic chain. Hovering between the banal and the surreal, these works have an uncanny theme, of individuals observed in situations that defy explanation....

Article

Monica E. Kupfer

(b Santiago de Veraguas, March 25, 1869; d Panama City, Nov 12, 1952).

Panamanian painter, draughtsman and printmaker. He is known chiefly as the designer of the national flag (1903) of Panama. He studied business administration and had a long career in public office. When Panama became independent in 1903, he became Secretario de Hacienda and in 1904 Consul-General ad-honorem to Hamburg. In 1908 he moved to New York, where he studied with Robert Henri, who strongly influenced his style of vigorous drawing, loose brushwork, distorted expressionist images and sombre colours, as in Head Study (1910; Panama City, R. Miró priv. col.; see Miró). He produced most of his work between 1910 and 1914 and again after the late 1930s; his main subject was the human figure, but he also painted portraits, landscapes and still-lifes. On his return to Panama in the 1930s he worked as an auditor in the Contraloría General. After his retirement he resumed painting and produced some of his most passionate works, such as ...

Article

José Miguel Rojas

(b San José, June 1, 1907; d 1998).

Costa Rican engraver, painter, illustrator, draughtsman, writer and critic. He studied for a year from 1931 at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes but was otherwise initially self-taught, using Louis Gonse’s L’Art japonais (Paris, 1883) as a source. He produced a series of caricature drawings, influenced by Cubism, in the Album de dibujos de 1926. During 1929 he met the sculptors Juan Manuel Sánchez and Francisco Zúñiga (the latter was also a printmaker), and through his interest in German and Mexican Expressionist printmakers, he developed a passion for wood-engraving. His first wood-engravings were published in the periodical Repertorio Americano (1929). He went on to contribute wood-engravings and drawings to collections of short stories and poetry, educational books, periodicals and newspapers. In 1931 he taught drawing and wood-engraving at the Escuela Normal in Heredia. He exhibited at the Salones Anuales de Artes Plásticas in San José (1931–6...

Article

Milan Ivelić

(b Santiago, 1918; d Jun 1993).

Chilean painter and printmaker. After studying architecture at the Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago he won a scholarship that enabled him to continue his studies at Columbia University, New York, from 1943 to 1945. Having painted sensitive watercolors from nature while living in Chile, his journey to New York had a disquieting effect on him: he translated his experience of the concrete city, with its massive buildings dwarfing the anonymous inhabitants wandering the streets, into nearly abstract geometric compositions. He remained in New York to work with Stanley William Hayter from 1948 to 1950 and later traveled to Spain.

On his return to Chile in 1953 Antúnez founded Taller 99, a workshop modeled on Hayter’s Atelier 17, which had far-reaching effects on the development of printmaking in Chile. His renewed contact in Chile with the natural landscape and its fields, beaches, and mountains allowed him to return to intimate, sensitively colored scenes, as in the ...

Article

W. Iain Mackay

(b Islay, Arequipa, 1867; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, Feb 20, 1941).

Peruvian painter and draughtsman. His family moved to Chile when he was four, and in 1882 he entered the Escuela de Bellas Artes de Santiago. In recognition of his rejection of an offer of Chilean nationality, the Peruvian government invited him to Lima in 1887 to assist him with his studies. In 1890 he went to Paris, continuing on to Rome where he studied under Francisco Pradilla at the Academia Española de Bellas Artes and again in Paris under Jean-Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant at the Académie Julien in 1893. In Paris he was commissioned to paint important society and government figures; in 1908 the American banker and collector J. Pierpont Morgan summoned him to New York, where he lived for 20 years, painting 120 portraits. In 1926 he became a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris and three years later he settled in Paris again. His painting was academically accomplished and realist in style, influenced by Leonardo, Rembrandt and Hans Holbein. He was a careful observer of detail, and he achieved astonishing physical resemblance to his subjects. The prominent figures he portrayed include ...

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

Margarita González Arredondo

(b Calgary, Dec 9, 1930; d Mexico City, July 12, 1992).

Canadian painter, draughtsman and sculptor, active in Mexico. After studying in Canada at the Vancouver School of Art (1944–5) and Banff School of Fine Arts (1947–8) he moved to Mexico City, where he continued his training at the Escuela de Pintura y Escultura La Esmeralda (1948–9) and from 1950 worked as one of a team of assistants to David Alfaro Siqueiros. He began soon after to produce murals, such as The People Don’t Want War (acrylic, 2×2.5 m, 1952; Mexico City, Inst. Poli. N.) and Scenes from Don Quixote (acrylic on concrete, 1957; Cuernavaca), following these with many others in Mexico, the USA, Canada, Cuba and Nicaragua. He was also prolific as a draughtsman and easel painter, often working on a large scale, and to a lesser extent as a sculptor. Working in an Expressionist style and concentrating his attention on the human figure—sometimes contorted, flayed or treated in a robot-like manner—he treated biblical themes as well as more contemporary subjects such as the victims of Nazism or of the bombing of Hiroshima. In ...

Article

Jorge Glusberg

(Fernando )

(b Buenos Aires, July 12, 1937; d Buenos Aires, April 12, 2011).

Argentine sculptor, painter and architect. As an artist he was self-taught. Making reference to biological and chemical experiments to construct metaphors of the relationships between science and art, he began in 1968 to analyse the role of the individual in society through his first Animal Habitat, consisting of glass objects with water and fish, and Microzoos of ants, lizards, fish, tortoises, vegetables and honeycombs. At the Venice Biennale in 1970 he showed The Biotron (see Glusberg, p. 142), a cage for bees containing an artificial meadowland with 24 flowers that supplied a sugary solution; the bees could choose between the artificial device and the gardens that surrounded the Biennale. In later works he designed mazes for rats, ants, cockroaches and fish, as well as contraptions displaying the behaviour of plants (e.g. Fitotron, 1972, see Glusberg, p. 141), not to encourage scientific observation but to suggest to the spectator possible applications of the experiment....

Article

Monica E. Kupfer

(b Panama City, Sept 5, 1927; d Panama City, Nov 6, 1968).

Panamanian painter and draftsman. He studied under Humberto Ivaldi in the 1940s. In 1950 he won a scholarship to the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, but he returned to Panama after only a year and a half because of health problems. There he painted constantly until his death, but he remained a marginal figure in Panamanian art circles. He specialized in portrait drawings rendered with sparse but expressive ink lines and dramatic semi-abstract landscapes in tempera. In his oil paintings he favored strong contrasts, somber colors, and dynamic brushwork....

Article

Dolores M. Yonker

(b Port-au-Prince, Jan 29, 1931).

Haitian painter and draughtsman. He was introduced to the Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince by Hector Hippolyte, his neighbour at the time, when he was only 15; his seriousness and tenacity were already apparent. From the first his drawings were densely detailed. Working towards a mastery of colour as well as an illusion of volume modelled in light and dark, Bigaud demonstrated a mature command of his art in the great Terrestrial Paradise (1952; Port-au-Prince, Mus. A. Haït.), painted when he was just 21. He has been called a popular realist, as he delighted in the festivals of carnival and Rara, representing them in full action and colourful detail. His Self-portrait in the Carnival Costume of the Fancy Indian (WI, Flagg priv. col.) demonstrates his love for lush detail and the golden colours that suffuse many of his paintings. His genre scenes are material rather than dreamlike, solid and respectful of the limitations of naturalism. The ritual and mystery of Vodoun are presented as he observed them in reality. His masterpiece in Ste Trinité Episcopal Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, the ...

Article

Milan Ivelić

(b Valparaíso, Nov 8, 1936; d Taroudant, June 4, 2011).

Chilean painter and draughtsman. He studied painting in Santiago in 1947–8 with the Chilean painter Miguel Venegas, then lived in Spain from 1961 to 1972 before moving to Tangiers. His entire artistic career has been conducted outside his native country.

Bravo initially worked as a portrait painter, supporting himself in Spain through commissions, which also introduced him into Spanish high society. His sitters included General Franco and his family. Later, while still in Spain, he began painting packages and wrapped objects in a polished, highly detailed realist style bordering on Photorealism but consciously related to the Spanish still-life tradition represented by Zurbarán and Velázquez, whose work he greatly admired. He remarked that he hoped to be regarded as one of the few 20th-century painters to have respected the work of the Old Masters and learnt from it.

Working with both oil paints and pastels, after moving to Morocco, Bravo combined objects with human figures in interior spaces, displaying perfect control of the luminous atmosphere and the strict perspective. While his technical facility was undeniable, the ambiguity of his subject-matter and the mysteriousness of his settings, tempering the clarity of the figures and objects, led him beyond the mere reproduction of appearances. Unlike the Photorealists, who tended to present their images as straightforward visual evidence, Bravo used his motifs as a way of dealing with obsessions such as narcissism or the random meeting of figures unconnected in time. An illusory and confusing interplay between reality and representation is central to Bravo’s work, leaving the spectator unsure whether what he is seeing lies inside or outside the painting....

Article

Cecilia Suárez

(b Quito, Sept 8, 1939).

Ecuadorean painter, graphic designer, sculptor, installation artist, architect and teacher. He studied architecture at the Universidad Nacional de Bogotá, Colombia. He worked for the Graham Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC, and received a grant to attend the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, where he worked with György Kepes. Later he became a professor at the arts faculty of the Universidad Central, Quito. Bueno worked first in graphic design before going on to experiment with the incorporation of technology into art, using laser beams, mechanical pumps, plastic, glass and such elements as water, fire and air, for example in 49 Tubes, exhibited at the Bienal de Arte Coltejer in Medellín in 1972. He also combined visual art with music in such works as Flame Orchards, with music by Paul Earls, which won joint first prize with Kepes in the same exhibition. Exploration into ecological and environmental art led him to experiment with the idea of an aerial view of the urban landscape incorporating military camouflage sheets....

Article

Paulo J. V. Bruna

(b São Paulo, Aug 4, 1909; d nr Rio de Janeiro, June 4, 1994).

Brazilian landscape architect, painter and designer. He studied painting at a private school in Berlin from 1928 to 1929, and during this time he frequently went to the Botanical Gardens at Dahlem to study the collections of plants that were arranged in geographical groupings, providing useful lessons in botany and ecology. He thus learnt to appreciate many examples of Brazilian flora that were rarely used in Brazilian gardens, an experience that had a lasting effect on him. In 1930 he entered the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro to study painting; he also took a course in ecology at the Botanical Gardens in Rio. From 1934 to 1937 he was Director of Parks and Gardens at Recife, leaving when he established his own practice as a landscape architect in Rio de Janeiro. To this period belong the gardens of the Casa do Forte, where aquatic plants predominate, and the gardens he designed for the Praça Euclides da Cunha, where his studies of the ...

Article

Jorge Glusberg

(b Paraná, Entre Ríos, Dec 28, 1942).

Argentine painter, draughtsman and collagist. She studied at the Escuela Provincial de Artes Visuales in Paraná and at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes ‘Ernesto de la Cárcova’ in Buenos Aires. Taking the cue for her well-crafted works from Surrealism but concentrating her attention on fortuitous encounters in everyday life, she fluctuated between a meticulously detailed photographic realism and an artificial imagery of old porcelain dolls and turn-of-the-century postcards, posters and advertising handbills. Generally working in series, she combined the sinister and the humorous, sometimes in a single work, as in Sublime Portrait of my Mother (1978; see Glusberg, p. 455), a frontal view of a masked woman with a vacant and enigmatic smile. An early triptych, the Family of the Condemned (1974), is in the national collection in Buenos Aires (Mus. N. B.A.).

J. Glusberg: Del Pop-art a la Nueva Imagen (Buenos Aires, 1985), pp. 455–8...

Article

Roberto Pontual

(Resende )

(b Barra Mansa, Aug 10, 1899; d Valinhos, June 4, 1973).

Brazilian painter, draughtsman, architect and sculptor. He was in Europe from 1910 to 1922 and lived first in Paris and then in London; he studied civil engineering at Armstrong College, University of Durham, and painting in the evening at the King Edward VII School of Fine Arts. On his return to Brazil he settled in São Paulo. His design of 1927 for the headquarters of the government of São Paulo state, although never realized, made him one of the pioneers of modern Brazilian architecture (Dahler, pp. 130–31). During the 1930s in particular he was one of the liveliest figures in the cultural life of the country, responsible for radicalizing the initial successes of Modernism. In 1931 his interest in the psychology of the masses led him to put on the performance Experience No. 2 in São Paulo. In the same city in 1932 he founded the Clube dos Artistas Modernos and the Teatro de Experiência, where he mounted, to great public scandal, his ...

Article

Ticio Escobar

(b Concepción, Oct 20, 1937).

Ticio Escobar

Paraguayan painter and engraver. His training was in architecture, and this had a considerable influence on his painting style, but although he also studied art in Madrid (1964–5) and Paris (1969–70), he was basically self-taught as an artist. After the 1950s, when he went through an initial phase oscillating between a rather wildly dramatic style and another that favoured formal organization, he settled on a more stable personal style in the 1960s. His most frequently used technique, xylopintura, involved the use of wood-engraving tools to cut into plywood; the variations in the layers and the end- and cross-grain absorbed dyes and paints in different ways, and the image emerged from the process, for example in the xilopainting Icarus (1966; Washington, DC, A. Mus. Americas). In 1977 he began to develop a series of constructions entitled Reflections on Dürer, in which he analysed his own expressive vocabulary and at the same time made a moving statement on human liberty. These works undoubtedly reflected the influence on Colombino of the Paraguayan ...