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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

Ian M. E. Shaw

Ancient Egyptian art style that takes its name from Amarna, (Tell) el-, the site of the capital city during the reigns of Akhenaten (reg c. 1353–c. 1336 bc) and Smenkhkare (reg c. 1335–c. 1332 bc). Amarna-style painting and sculpture were characterized by a move away from the traditional idealism of Egyptian art towards a greater realism and artistic freedom. This new sense of vigour and naturalism is most apparent in surviving fragments of paintings from the walls and floors of palaces (Cairo, Egyp. Mus., and Oxford, Ashmolean; see Egypt, ancient §X 2.). The statuary and reliefs, mainly from el-Amarna, Thebes and Hermopolis Magna, represent the royal family and their subjects in a style that was initially grotesque and often crude, as the artists struggled to come to terms with the new approach (see Egypt, ancient §IX 3., (viii)). However, they eventually reached a high degree of sophistication and beauty, exemplified by the painted limestone bust of Queen ...

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

C. Hobey-Hamsher

(fl later 4th century bc–early 3rd).

Greek painter. Born in Egypt, Antiphilos was a pupil of Ktesidemos. Although none of his works survives, he painted both large and small pictures and was famous for the facility of his technique (Quintilian: Principles of Oratory XII.x.6). Pliny (Natural History XXXV.114, 138) listed many of his pictures, which included portraits (Philip II and Alexander the Great with the Goddess Athena, in Rome in Pliny’s day; Alexander the Great as a Boy, also taken to Rome; and Ptolemy I of Egypt Hunting) and mythological subjects (Hesione; Dionysos; Hippolytos Terrified of the Bull; and Cadmus and Europa), all of which were in Rome in Pliny’s day. He also painted genre pictures: A Boy Blowing a Fire, a painting much admired for the reflections cast about the room and on the boy’s face, and Women Spinning Wool. The Egyptian city of Alexandria was an artistic centre famous for the depiction of comic figures and grotesques in several media. In that context, Antiphilos contributed a picture of a man called ...

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

Baya  

[Mahiedinne, Baya]

(b Borj al-Kiffan, Dec 1931; d Blida, Nov 11, 1998).

Algerian painter. Orphaned at the age of five, she was adopted by a French family who took her to Algiers in 1943. She taught herself to paint, and in 1947 her work, recommended by André Breton, was exhibited at the Galerie Maeght in Paris. In 1949, living at Vallauris in France, she worked on sculptures and pottery, which were exhibited in 1950 at the Maison de l’Artisanat in Algiers; in the same year she married and moved to Blida. While raising a family she stopped painting but resumed in 1963, when she had an exhibition of her early work in Algiers. The following year she participated with other Algerian painters in an exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. In 1966 she had a solo exhibition at the Galerie Pilote in Algiers and thereafter exhibited regularly in Algiers, as well as in Casablanca, Brussels, Marseille and Paris. The distinctive style of her early paintings, such as ...

Article

Konjit Seyoum

[Eskender, Alexander]

(b Addis Ababa, July 22, 1937; d Washington, DC May 4, 2003).

Ethiopian painter of Armenian descent, active in the USA. Boghossian studied at St Martin’s School of Art and the Central School in London from 1955 to 1957. He then moved to Paris to study at the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. During his Paris years, Boghossian embraced Pan-Africanist ideals and participated in the Negritude movement. Skunder returned to Ethiopia in 1966 and taught at the Fine Arts School in Addis Ababa, where he exerted considerable influence on young Ethiopian artists, until 1969. In 1967 he was awarded the Haile Selassie I Award for Fine Arts. He migrated to the United States in 1970 and became active in the Black Power movement. He joined Howard University in 1972 where he taught until 2001. During his tenure at Howard he inspired many Ethiopian diaspora and African American artists. Skunder drew on African mythology and Ethiopian Orthodox Church art to create mystical universes populated with masks, creatures, magical forms, and symbols. In works such as ...

Article

Susan T. Goodman

(b Meknès, Morocco, 1942).

Israeli painter and mixed-media artist of Moroccan birth. He emigrated to Israel in 1949 and studied art at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem (graduating in 1971) and the Central School of Art in London before receiving a BA degree in Social Science and History of Art at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1973). His mixed-media works of the 1970s conveyed his sense of physical dislocation at being estranged as a Moroccan refugee in Israel; the human figure appeared as an essential element of this theme of displacement and homelessness. In 1975 he returned to drawing and painting in works such as Analogical Work on Computers (1977; Tel Aviv Mus. A.), in which faceless, generalized figures function as symbols in a non-specific space. From 1975 to 1977 Cohen Gan lived in New York, where he studied at Columbia University (MFA, 1977), before settling in Tel Aviv, where he combined scientific systems with introspective autobiographical references in narrative paintings such as the series ...

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

Rupert Featherstone

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

(b Alexandria, March 1925; d March 7, 1966).

Egyptian painter. He showed an early interest in art, and at the secondary school of al-Halmiyya in Cairo was taught by the Egyptian painter Hussein Youssef Amin. While at this school, he won a prize for his poster for a government health programme. In 1944 he began to study at the School of Fine Arts in Cairo, and was one of the younger members of the Contemporary Art Group founded in 1946 by Amin. By the late 1940s he was introducing in his paintings literary and philosophical references, as well as highly original and nightmarish images. In 1949 he was arrested with Hussein Youssef Amin because his painting Hunger (retitled Theatre of Life, 1948; artist’s col., see Karnouk, p. 31) was considered an attack on the government. Both were released following the intervention of the Egyptian painters Muhammad Nagy and Mahmud Said.

In 1950 al-Gazzar completed his degree and began to teach at the School of Fine Arts, 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

Adam M. Thomas

[Osvaldo Luigi]

(b Cairo, Egypt, April 9, 1906; d Amagansett, NY, Sept 3, 1956).

American painter of Italian origin. After residing in Europe, his family relocated to New York in 1914. Guglielmi studied at the National Academy of Design from 1920 to 1925 and became a naturalized citizen in 1927. He arrived at his first mature painting style in the early 1930s. Guglielmi was among the principal practitioners of Social Surrealism, an American variant of European Surrealist art that adapted some of its imagery and techniques but eschewed its sexual symbolism and psychic automatism. Guglielmi rooted his pictures in the physical world in order to address social and political issues but, unlike Social Realism, did so through the use of unexpected or irrational juxtapositions and disorienting variations in scale. Although Guglielmi was not actively engaged in politics, many of his paintings contain expressly political, if sometimes ambiguous, content, such as Phoenix (The Portrait in the Desert) (1935; Lincoln, U. NE, Sheldon Mem. A.G.), in which a foreground portrait of Vladimir Lenin presides over a deserted landscape of factories and rubble....

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, ...

Article

[Isyākhim, M’hammad]

(b Djennad, nr Azzefoun, 1928; d Algiers, Dec 1, 1985).

Algerian painter. Wounded by a home-made bomb in 1943, his left arm was amputated and he was hospitalized for two years. From 1947 to 1951 he studied first at the Société des Beaux-Arts and then at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Algiers, while simultaneously training in miniature painting with Omar Racim (1883–1958). In 1953 he continued his studies at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he worked in the painting atelier of Raymond Legueult (1898–1978), graduating in 1958. While in Paris, Issiakhem witnessed the development of Abstract Expressionism and other artistic styles, which he quickly adopted. A pioneer of modern Algerian art, he was one of the founders of the Algerian National Union of Plastic Arts in 1963 and held exhibitions in Algeria and abroad. Attracted by left-wing ideas, he travelled to Vietnam in 1972 and Moscow in 1978. In his work, male figures are surrounded by forms, signs and blotches in sombre colours, while his female figures express drama and silent suffering (e.g. ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Mostaganem, March 14, 1930; d Mostaganem, 1991).

Algerian painter. A self-taught artist, he worked in France initially as a printer but later came to occupy a central position in the development of modern Algerian painting. He developed an abstract style of painting in the artistic milieu of Paris, exhibiting work at the Jeune Peintre exhibition in Paris in 1955, and at the Salon de Réalités Nouvelles in 1955, 1957 and 1958. On returning to Algeria in the early 1960s he devoted himself to painting, engraving and producing designs for the theatre, and in the following years he exhibited work in Europe, Japan, the Middle East, Russia and the USA. His paintings explore calligraphic compositions and motifs of Arab–Berber origin and display a sophisticated use of colour. Such oil paintings as Kabylie (1.14×1.62 m, 1960; Paris, Inst. Monde Arab.) and Olive Tree Mediterranean (1.16×0.89 m, 1977; see 1978 exh. cat.) were inspired by his experience of landscape. His works are in numerous collections, including the Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris, and the Musée National des Beaux-Arts, Algiers....

Article

C. Hobey-Hamsher

Greek painter of unknown date. According to Pliny (XXXV.16), it was either Kleanthes or the otherwise unknown Philokles of Egypt who invented outline drawing. Athenagoras (xvii) gave credit to the otherwise unknown Saurios of Samos for the invention of this technique, but included Kleanthes in his list of the earliest artists (those who worked before the gods were depicted), incorrectly assuming that secular subjects were depicted before divine ones. Indeed, deities were shown in at least two of the three paintings by Kleanthes held in the Temple of Artemis Alpheiosa in the territory around Olympia (Strabo: VIII.343; Athenaeus: VIII.346b–c): the Birth of Athena and Poseidon Offering a Tunny Fish to Zeus (Zeus was in labour, perhaps with the second birth of Dionysos). The third painting was the Fall of Troy. No other painting by Kleanthes is recorded, and none of his work survives.

Pauly–Wissowa; Thieme–Becker Athenaeus: Deipnosophists Athenagoras: Intercession Concerning the Christians...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Aïn Beida, Jan 20, 1947).

Algerian painter and graphic artist. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Algiers, and in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Ecole des Arts Décoratifs and Institut d’Urbanisme de l’Académie de Paris. After returning to Algeria he worked at the Bureau d’Etudes des Tanneries and the Bureaux d’Etudes des Textiles, and he then went to Tunisia, where he became cultural adviser at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Tunis. Inspired by the calligraphic movement in Arab painting in the 1960s, he explored the potential of abstract calligraphic compositions in graphic art to great effect (e.g. the engravings Testament of the Enemy, 1981) and also utilized such media as wood, silk, parchment and ceramics for this purpose, often with a minimal use of colour. Since 1970 he has exhibited his work in Europe, the Middle East, Japan, South America and the USA, and has won numerous awards.

Third World Biennale of Graphic Art...