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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

Nelly Perazzo

(b Pergamino, Buenos Aires, Sept 22, 1894; d Buenos Aires, Feb 21, 1976).

Argentine painter, stage designer, and illustrator. He studied drawing in Buenos Aires under the Italian painter Augusto Bolognini (b 1870) and at the Academia Nacional before moving in 1923 to Paris, where he worked in Charles Guérin’s studio and at the Académie Colarossi. He also studied in the studios of André Lhote and Othon Friesz and became associated with other Argentine artists based in Paris. Like others of his generation and nationality, he sought in the 1920s to escape from pictorial provincialism by rejecting academic norms, as in Still Life (1926; Rosario, Mus. Mun. B.A.). He learned how to paint while living in France and developed a range of imagery typical of Argentine art without showing any great originality.

More than any other painter, Basaldúa depicted life in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, concentrating humorously and without sentimentality on the wide boys, dance-hall girls, loose women, and handsome, dangerous men of the tango in such pictures as the ...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Torroella de Montgri, Catalonia, Mar 3, 1911; d Buenos Aires, Oct 8, 1966).

Argentine painter, printmaker, illustrator, sculptor, and stage designer of Spanish Catalan birth. He arrived in Buenos Aires in 1913. Although his uncle, José Planas Casas (b Catalonia, 1900; d Argentina, 1960), taught him the rudiments of art, he was basically self-taught and began to exhibit his work in 1934. Synthesizing ideas from Zen philosophy, psychoanalysis, and the theories on cosmic energy espoused by the Austrian psychologist Wilhelm Reich with his interests in automatism, poetry, and painting, he found a creative sense of direction from an early age. He applied his methods not only to paintings but to stage designs, illustrations, collages, prints, polychrome sculptures, and boxlike constructions; as a painter he worked both in tempera and in oil, and he also produced seventy-two murals.

In 1936 Batlle Planas inaugurated a Surrealist phase with a series entitled Paranoiac X-rays, followed by another group of pictures, Tibetan Series, populated by spectral figures related to works by Yves Tanguy. Between ...

Article

Louise Noelle

(b Mexico City, Mar 22, 1923; d Mexico City, Apr 20, 2002).

Mexican painter, printmaker, and illustrator. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas and with Carlos Alvarado Lang. Although he painted some murals and a good number of easel pictures, he was active primarily as a printmaker and as an illustrator of books, magazines, and journals. He founded the satirical newspapers Ahí va el golpe (1958) and El coyote emplumado (1960) and from its inception in 1962 acted as art director and illustrator for the newspaper El día. From 1945 to 1959 Beltrán was associated with the Taller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico City, acting as its president for several years and sharing its populist, political, and nationalist principles. Placing his art at the service of social concerns and using protest as his main weapon, he expressed himself with particular force in his prolific production of drawings and in masterful linocuts such as Exodus (...

Article

Margarita González Arredondo

revised by Ana Garduño

(b Mexico City, Jun 10, 1940).

Mexican painter, sculptor, illustrator, and stage designer. Coen was self-taught when he took up painting in 1956 with the encouragement of Diego Rivera, but from 1956 to 1960 he studied graphic design with the American publicist Gordon Jones. During those years he worked in an Abstract Expressionist manner, although he soon incorporated figurative elements and, from around 1963 onward, elements of fantasy.

In the 1950s until the early 1970s, he was one of the indispensable creators of the collective exhibitions organized by the Juan Martín Gallery, the most important platform for vanguard art in Mexico City at that time. This gallery also dedicated four individual exhibitions to the work of Coen. In 1967 he went to Paris on a French government grant. In the following year he was a founder-member of the Salón Independiente, where he began to exhibit acrylic sculptures of the female torso.

He systematically returned to working the image of the feminine. These were followed between ...

Article

Horacio Safons

(b Buenos Aires, Jan 14, 1915; d Barcelona, Oct 14, 1965).

Argentine painter, sculptor, performance artist, conceptual artist, poet, and illustrator. After studying in Buenos Aires at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes and with Cecilia Marcovich and Tomás Maldonado, he quickly established a reputation for his scandalous views, attracting extreme disapproval and equally strong support. After delivering a lecture at the Juan Cristóbal bookshop, Buenos Aires, entitled “Alberto Greco y los pájaros” he was briefly imprisoned for his “Communism and subversive acts.” On his release in the same year he travelled to Paris on a French government grant, selling drawings and watercolors in the cafés and studying painting with Fernand Léger and printmaking with Johnny Friedlaender. Between 1956 and 1958 he lived in São Paulo, where he became aware of Art informel; he painted in this style in the late 1950s and early 1960s (Glusberg 1985, 284–285).

As early as 1959, when he had returned from São Paulo to Buenos Aires, Greco had expressed his corrosive vision of society through the form of his work. In his shows he exhibited tree trunks and rags for cleaning window gratings or floors. He moved again to Paris in ...

Article

Cruz Barceló Cedeño

revised by Alana Hernandez

(b Valencia, Jun 21, 1926; d Caracas, Nov 26, 2010).

Venezuelan painter and engraver. Guevara Moreno is known as the pioneer of Geometric Abstraction in Venezuela. He studied at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas, Caracas, subsequently becoming an illustrator and cartoonist on various publications in Caracas. He went to Paris in 1949, where he attended André Lhote’s studio and later the Atelier d’Art Abstrait, when it was directed by Jean Dewasne. In Paris he took part in the activities of the groups Los Disidentes and Arte Madí. Guevara Moreno’s work from this period was characterized as Constructivist in nature and attracted considerable critical attention in Paris. In 1954 he returned to Venezuela and subsequently returned to figurative painting, which was influenced by critical realism. Guevara Moreno represented Venezuela in the biennales of São Paulo and Venice and was awarded several important national prizes, including the National Award for Painting and the National Award for Drawing and Graphic Arts.

Paz Castillo, F....

Article

Mari Carmen Ramírez

(b San Juan, 1913; d San Juan, Feb 20, 2004).

Puerto Rican printmaker, painter, illustrator, and teacher. He grew up in New York City and from 1937 to 1942 studied there at the Art Students League and at Pratt Institute before doing four years’ military service. After World War II, he returned to New York as a designer for Cartier, the jewelers where he had been apprenticed as a student, and studied at the Art School of the Brooklyn Museum, where he met Max Beckmann and Rufino Tamayo. In 1950 he returned to Puerto Rico, where he was the principal founding member of the Centro de Arte Puertorriqueño and joined the staff of the Division of Community Education, becoming its Graphic Arts Director in 1951.

Homar is credited as the artist most responsible for promoting printmaking in Puerto Rico. He trained other important artists, such as Antonio Martorell, José Rosa, and Myrna Báez, and ran workshops at Cali in Colombia and in Havana, Cuba, helping to extend his influence further afield in Latin America. While serving as director of the graphic workshop of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, the most important in Puerto Rico, from ...

Article

Jorge Alberto Manrique

(b Mexico City, 1867; d Mexico City, 1941).

Mexican painter, illustrator, and teacher. He entered the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City in 1884. After studying with Santiago Rebull and José Salomé Pina, he soon devoted himself to the painting of historical subjects favored by liberal critics in an attempt to create a Mexican school of painting, as in Columbus at Rábida and the Founding of Tenochtitlán (both Mexico City, Mus. Pal. B.A.). The highest recognition he received was for a painting of great breadth and aspiration, for which he was awarded a medal when it was exhibited in Philadelphia in 1893: the Torture of Cuauhtémoc (1892; Mexico City, Mus. Pal. B.A.) in which, with a sort of academic realism, the dignity of the last Aztec emperor is portrayed in a sordid setting, contrasted with the suffering of the king of Tlacopan and the cold indifference of the conquistadors. He was a professor at the Academia, had work commissioned in Europe (...

Article

Laura Suffield

(b Montevideo, Uruguay, Feb 11, 1872; d Ditchling, Sussex, Nov 26, 1944).

British calligrapher, typographer and teacher. He went to Great Britain to study medicine at Edinburgh. Poor health forced him to abandon medicine, but he took up the study of calligraphy, influenced by his investigations of letter shapes in manuscripts in the British Museum, London. From 1899 until 1912 he taught writing and lettering at the London County Council School of Arts and Crafts; from 1901 he also taught at the Royal College of Art. From 1910 to 1930 he designed type for the Cranach Press of Graf Harry Kessler (1868–1937) in Weimar and from 1916 to 1929 worked on an alphabet of block letters, based on the proportions of Roman capitals, for London Transport designs and posters. Johnston was a leading member of the artistic community known from 1920 as the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic, was President of the Arts and Crafts Society (1933–6...

Article

Margarita González Arredondo

(b Mexico City, Aug 26, 1896; d Mexico City, Jan 28, 1971).

Mexican painter, stage designer, illustrator, and writer. He studied in Mexico City at the Escuela al Aire Libre de Coyoacán and at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, before living in Paris from 1922 to 1930, where he trained as a stage designer from 1928 to 1930 in the studio of Charles Dullin. In Paris he attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and became aware of Surrealism; he was one of the first artists to introduce the style to Mexico. In his characteristic small-scale oil paintings, such as Children with Cage (Mexico City, Mus. N. A.), in which two girls are silhouetted in front of a curtain, he combined neo-Impressionist brushwork and a highly theatrical handling of light with absurd elements. He abandoned his career as a painter at an early age, concentrating in the 1930s and 1940s on designing for the stage as well as making his name as a critic and playwright....

Article

Mari Carmen Ramírez

(b Santurce, Puerto Rico, 1939).

Puerto Rican printmaker, painter, draftsman, illustrator, and performance artist. He studied in Spain in 1961–1962 under Julio Martín Caro and with Lorenzo Homar at the graphic arts workshop of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (1962–1965). He inherited a social and political commitment from Puerto Rican artists working in the 1950s, but introduced wit and irony to his satirical treatment of political themes in prints, posters, and illustrations. From the late 1960s, for instance, he produced portfolios of woodcuts in which he combined texts and images as a way of commenting on social and political events.

Martorell founded the Taller Alacrán in 1968 with the aim of mass-producing art at affordable prices. In the 1970s he began to experiment with innovative printmaking techniques, for example in a series of cut-out works influenced by Pop art, in which he played on stereotypes of authoritarianism in Latin America. In subsequent prints he explored the painterly qualities of woodcuts on a monumental scale. From the late 1970s, however, he was increasingly concerned with innovative live performances that combined printmaking and painting with the movement of actors. From ...

Article

Leonor Morales

revised by Deborah Caplow

(b Mexico City, Jun 30, 1902; d Mexico City, Feb 8, 1969).

Mexican printmaker, painter, and illustrator. He studied in Mexico City at the Academia de San Carlos (1917–1919) and at the Escuela de Pintura al Aire Libre de Chimalistac (1920–1922). During the 1920s he was associated with Estridentismo (the Stridentist Movement), from 1925 to 1928 working as an illustrator for Stridentist publications such as Horizonte and Norte de Veracruz. After exhibiting his work for the first time in the USA in 1930 he held several exhibitions abroad, and in 1939 he received a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation to travel in the United States. Méndez was foremost among the political printmakers whose work paralleled that of the Mexican muralists.

In 1934 Méndez was a co-founder of the Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios (LEAR), a leftist artists’ organization. Méndez was on the editorial board of LEAR’s journal Frente a Frente (Face to Face), published between 1934 and ...

Article

Leonor Morales

revised by Deborah Caplow

(b Guadalajara, Feb 19, 1887; d Mexico City, Oct 13, 1968).

Mexican mural and easel painter, printmaker, illustrator, and stage designer. In 1903 he began studying painting in Guadalajara under Félix Bernardelli, an Italian who had established a school of painting and music there. He produced his first illustrations for Revista moderna, a magazine that promoted the Latin American modernist movement and to which his cousin, the poet Amado Nervo, also contributed poetry. In 1905 he enrolled at the Escuela Nacional de Arte in Mexico City; his teachers included Antonio Fabrés, Julio Ruelas, Leandro Izaguirre (1867–1941), and Germán Gedovius. Some of his fellow students were Diego Rivera, Francisco de la Torre, Saturnino Herrán, Angel Zárraga, and Jorge Enciso. In 1905 Montenegro won a grant to travel to Europe, first studying at the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid. In 1907 Montenegro moved to Paris, where he continued his studies and immersed himself in the world of contemporary art, meeting Cocteau, Picasso, Braque, and Gris, among others....

Article

Giulio V. Blanc

revised by Ingrid Eliott

(b Yaguajuay, nr. Placetas, Jan 5, 1896; d Havana, Apr 8, 1968).

Cuban painter, ceramicist, and illustrator. Peláez studied under Leopoldo Romañach (1862–1951) at the Academia de San Alejandro in Havana, where she became interested in Impressionism. She graduated in 1924 and lived in Paris from 1927 to 1933, studying at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, and the Ecole du Louvre. She also studied composition and color, as well as manuscript illustration, with the Russian Constructivist and stage designer Alexandra Exter. While in Paris, Peláez held an individual exhibition at the Galerie Zak in Paris in 1933 and in 1934 returned to Cuba. During these years Peláez illustrated various literary manuscripts, including Léon-Paul Fargue’s Sept poèmes (1933; unpubd.), Luis Amado Blanco’s Poema desesperado (1937), and her uncle Julián del Casal’s La agonía de Petronio (1937, unpubd.). Peláez is celebrated in Cuba and in the world of Latin American art for the stylistically innovative still lifes set in Spanish colonial domestic interiors that she developed in Havana during the 1930s and 1940s. During the 1950s, Peláez was a pioneering ceramicist in Cuba (...

Article

Alexandra Kennedy

(b Quito, Aug 18, 1842; d Quito, June 24, 1906).

Ecuadorean painter, illustrator, draughtsman, engraver, and teacher. He attended the first Escuela de Bellas Artes in Quito (1872–5) and was one of the most prolific and versatile Romantic artists in 19th-century Ecuador, working in several genres. His portraits of important figures included that of the historian Federico González Suárez (1883; Quito, Mus. A. Mod.). He illustrated González Suárez’s archaeological work Estudio histórico sobre los Cañaris (Quito, 1878), among others, and contributed illustrations of snails and molluscs for the French naturalist Auguste Cousin’s Faune malacologique de la République de l’Equateur (c. 1893–7; Quito, Archv Nat. Hist. Banco Cent. del Ecuador). In connection with the nationalist movement, Pinto tirelessly explored costumbrista and indigenist themes in dozens of drawings, watercolours, and engravings, many of them inspired by Cantares del pueblo ecuatoriano (1892) by the Romantic poet Juan León Mera. He painted such landscapes as El Chimborazo...

Article

Giulio V. Blanc

(b Havana, Feb 14, 1912; d Havana, Apr 7, 1985).

Cuban painter, ceramicist, and illustrator. Although he attended some classes at the Academia de S Alejandro in Havana, he taught himself to paint by studying the work of a number of artists, especially Picasso, without allowing these influences to dominate his own strong personality. Like many of his Cuban contemporaries he portrayed local scenes in combination with cosmopolitan elements. Portocarrero’s earliest important paintings, the interiors of the old Havana Cerro quarter, were painted in the 1940s. In colourful, baroque still-lifes and in interiors with figures such as Interior (1943; Havana, Mus. N. B.A.), the horror vacui of Cuban colonial architecture and interior decoration is exploited to the fullest. During the late 1940s and early 1950s Portocarrero produced abstract and semi-abstract paintings that stressed colour and geometry. He also produced a series of pen-and-ink drawings entitled Masks depicting, for example, a couple in formal dress (Havana, Mus. N. B.A.). Other series from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s include cityscapes, cathedrals, Afro-Cuban deities, women, and the carnival. All these series are characterized by strong colour, a love of the fantastic, and complex lines and forms, as seen in ...

Article

Jorge Luján-Muñoz

(b Chicacao, Suchitepéquez, May 7, 1937; d 2004).

Guatemalan painter, sculptor, illustrator, and writer. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas in Guatemala City between 1953 and 1960 and was inspired by his rural, working-class background to depict the themes, forms, and colour of the life of the Guatemalan common people. In the mid-1960s, together with Roberto Cabrera and Elmar Rojas, he founded the Vértebra group. His paintings, mainly in oils, tended towards the flashy and experimented with varied textures. Subsequently he showed a preference for bright, dazzling colours based on the designs of Guatemalan fabrics. Ironic and highly expressive, his form of realism became increasingly simple and effective, while continuing to stress its origins in popular culture. Bird of Powder (1961), The Jet (1963), and Rebel Angel (1967; all Guatemala City, Dir. Gen. Cult. & B. A.) are typical of his style. He has also worked successfully on book illustrations and excelled as a short-story writer, with several literary prizes to his credit....

Article

Carlos Lastarria Hermosilla

(b Santiago, Feb 12, 1934).

Chilean painter, printmaker, photographer, and illustrator. He studied under the painter Agustín Calvo (b 1878) and then at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Montevideo, Uruguay, and under Henri-Georges Adam in Paris. While living in Paris from 1950 to 1962 he familiarized himself with techniques of drawing and printmaking. On his return to Chile in 1962 he taught at the Escuela de Arte of the Universidad Católica in Santiago, but he later devoted himself exclusively to his art.

Toral worked first as a printmaker in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and he also received commissions to illustrate volumes of poetry by Pablo Neruda. By the end of the 1960s, however, he worked primarily as a painter. In his Totem series initiated in 1967, for example, he depicted human faces as if imprisoned in enormous blocks, introducing a vein of fantasy that became characteristic of his art. A favorite theme was the conflict between the material and the spiritual, as in his series ...

Article

Alexandra Kennedy

(b Caranqui-Imbabura, Oct 25, 1845; d Ibarra, March 15, 1920).

Ecuadorean painter. He was self-taught as an artist. Between 1870 and 1874 he was appointed as the sole illustrator to a team of German scientists, including the naturalist Wilhelm Reiss and the geologist Alfons Stübel, who undertook volcanic surveys in Ecuador. Stübel trained him to make scientific oil paintings of landscapes in situ, emphasizing the details of flora and the exact location of mountains and rivers. A few of the 66 works executed during these years are in the Städtische Reiss-Museum, Mannheim. This scientific vision of the Andean landscape, combined with the freedom of the contemporary Romanticism, created a personal style that changed little and made him one of the most important 19th-century landscape painters in Latin America. His scientific paintings served as models for such later works as the Eastern Mountain Range from Tiopullo (1874; Quito, Banco Cent. del Ecuador) and the Deer Hunt (1918; Guayaquil, Mus. Antropol. & Mus. A. Banco Cent. del Ecuador). Troya executed portraits of notable Ecuadorean society figures, including the politician and historian ...