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Jonathan Stephenson

revised by Andy Penaluna

Hand-held painting instrument, of about the same size as or slightly larger than a pen, that delivers paint in a controlled spray. It is connected to a supply of compressed air by a flexible hose and draws paint from an integral reservoir or attached cup. Depending on the sophistication of the model, the user may control the supply of air and paint and the spray pattern in varying degrees. Additional effects are achieved by a form of stencilling, using special masking film or other means to protect areas of the artwork that are either yet to be worked upon, or have already been completed by the artist. An airbrush may be used with any paint if it is sufficiently thinned and contains pigment particles that are suitably fine. Dyes are also employed. Versions of several media exist that are specifically intended for airbrush application.

Airbrush evolved due to popularisation of the photograph and a demand for enlarged photographic likenesses, especially in portraiture. Crayon and pastel were commonly employed. In an attempt to provide more permanent and expeditious alternatives, pigment atomisation devices were designed in the 1870s. Frank E. Stanley of Auburn, Maine, and Abner Peeler of Fort Dodge, Iowa patented alternative forms of artist’s atomisers, termed ‘Paint Distributors’. In ...


Bojan Ivanov

(b Skopje, Feb 25, 1935).

Macedonian painter. In 1962 he graduated from the Academy of Arts in Belgrade, where he studied under the painter Ljubica Sokićh (b 1914). After returning to Skopje, Anastasov began to work in the field of non-figurative art. In the 1960s he focused on the structural qualities of the painting’s surface, which he rendered with layers of red and black impasto. By the end of the 1960s, stimulated by Photorealism, he abandoned crude brushwork and the traditional colours of Macedonian embroideries in favour of an urban sensibility. During the 1970s he exhibited works from his series Man and Skies (1974–6) and Man and Time (1977–9). In the 1980s he produced the series Man and Space, a statement on the human condition (e.g. Man and Space XXVI, 1981; Skopje, Mus. Contemp. A.), with numerous tiny, alienated human silhouettes populating immense interiors and empty spaces rendered in pale, attenuated colours. Between ...


Janet Bishop

(b San Francisco, CA, May 14, 1932).

American painter. Native of the San Francisco Bay Area, known for careful observation and explicit use of snapshot-like photographic source material for paintings of family, cars, and residential neighborhoods. The artist rose to national and international prominence in early 1970s as part of the Photorealist movement (see Photorealism).

From the 1960s, Bechtle pursued a quiet realism based on the things he knew best, translating what seem to be ordinary scenes of middle-class American life into paintings. Following an early childhood in the Bay Area and Sacramento, his family settled in 1942 in Alameda, an island suburb adjacent to Oakland where his mother would occupy the same house for almost 60 years. The neighborhood appears in many of Bechtle’s paintings.

Bechtle earned both his BFA (1954) and his MFA (1958) at Oakland’s California College of Arts and Crafts, where he studied graphic design and then painting. During his student years and into the 1960s, Bechtle was influenced by Pop art’s precedent for the use of commercial subject matter and techniques. He was likewise interested in Bay Area figuration, especially the subjects and structure of paintings by ...


Milan Ivelić

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

Chilean painter and draftsman. He studied painting in Santiago in 1947–1948 with the Chilean painter Miguel Venegas, then lived in Spain from 1961 to 1972 before moving to Tangiers. His entire artistic career was 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 learned 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....


Marco Livingstone

(b London, Jan 29, 1936; d London, Sept 29, 2005).

English painter and printmaker. He began his studies in 1956 at Chelsea School of Art, London, continuing at the Royal College of Art (1960–63), one year below the students identified as originators of Pop art. A reticent man, he remained wary of being identified with any movement but came to be associated with Pop art chiefly through his participation in the New Generation exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, in 1964.

In the early 1960s Caulfield’s painting was characterized by flat images of objects paired with angular geometric devices or isolated against unmodulated areas of colour. In Portrait of Juan Gris (1963; priv. col., see Livingstone, 1981 exh. cat., no. 5) Caulfield paid tribute to the Cubist painter, whose work, with that of other early modernists such as Léger and Magritte, set the terms for the stylization and formal rigour of his own still-lifes, landscapes and interiors. He adopted the anonymous technique of the sign painter, dispensing with visible brushwork and distracting detail and simplifying the representation of objects to a basic black outline in order to present ordinary images as emblems of a mysterious reality. He deliberately chose subjects that seemed hackneyed or ambiguous in time: not only traditional genres (e.g. ...


(b Monroe, WA, July 5, 1940).

American painter and printmaker. He studied (1960–65) at the University of Washington, Seattle, at Yale University, and at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna. During this period he painted biomorphic abstract works, influenced by the avant-garde American art of the previous two decades. After a brief experiment with figurative constructions, he began copying black-and-white photographs of a female nude in colour on to canvas. After abandoning this approach he used a black-and-white palette, which resulted in the 6.7 m long Big Nude (1967–8; artist’s col., see Lyons and Storr, p. 14). Finding this subject too ‘interesting’, he turned to neutral, black-and-white head-and-shoulder photographs as models, which he again reproduced in large scale on canvas, as in Self-portrait (1968; Minneapolis, MN, Walker A. Cent.). He incorporated every detail of the photograph and allowed himself no interpretative freedom. Working from photographs enabled him to realize the variations in focus due to changing depth of field, something impossible when working from life. He continued in the black-and-white style until ...


Marco Livingstone

(b Hartlepool, Cleveland, Oct 8, 1936).

English painter, draughtsman and printmaker. His childhood was spent in South Wales and from 1942 to 1960 in North Wales, near Wrexham. After studying at Wrexham School of Art (1960–61) and (as a Fine Art student) at the University of Reading (1961–4), he moved immediately to Liverpool, where he remained until 1982. During those years he taught at St Helens School of Art (1964–6) and in the Faculty of Art at Liverpool Polytechnic (1967–82). From 1970 to 1975 he painted in a Photorealist style, as in Scillonian Pumps (acrylic on canvas, 2.56×3.06 m, 1974; Southport, Atkinson A.G.), an uncannily still and empty view of a petrol station with overtones of the work of Edward Hopper. In 1978 he painted seven enormous portraits, all the same size (3.04×2.02 m), on commission from the Arts Council of Great Britain; shown together suspended in the concourse of Lime Street Station, Liverpool, as a single work entitled ...


Francis Summers

(b Cheshire, 1946).

English sculptor and draughtsman. He studied painting at Hull and Manchester College of Art (1963–7), and then moved to London, where he studied at the Slade School of Art (1967–9). Davis’s early work, similar to some of the photorealist sculptors in America, such as Duane Hanson, involved casting figures and dressing them in clothes, for example Young Man (1969–71, London, Tate). He often made group scenarios that suggest of ritual, a suggestion enhanced by the formal clothes the figures wore and also by the masks or hats that Davies placed on them. In works such as Three Figures (1971; see 1985 exh. cat.) there is a dynamic of dominance and submission between the figures, with one kneeling on the floor, another standing on a chair in front of him. Davies subsequently moved away from the extreme realism of these works and began to make work that was more obviously sculpted, such as ...



(b Denver, CO, Nov 24, 1941).

American sculptor. He studied at the University of Colorado, Boulder (1961–5), and was an art assistant at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque (1966–8). He had his first one-man show at the OK Harris Gallery in New York in 1970. He rapidly developed a style of casting and then painting fibreglass or polyvinyl acetate sculptures of figures from live models. His techniques evolved to include refinements for achieving his hyper-realistic effects, including layering paint and glazes to depict a variety of skin surfaces and veins, creating individual characteristics such as moles and freckles, and implanting hair instead of adding wigs (see fig.). The extreme verism of his work links it to Photorealism, although it lacks the strong cultural identity evident in much Photorealist sculpture and painting. Many of the sculptures are of one or two young, elegant, and casually posed nude figures, as in ...


Mark W. Sullivan

(b Long Beach, CA, Nov 4, 1944).

American painter and printmaker. Eddy studied at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu (BFA, 1967, MFA, 1969) and came to prominence in the early 1970s as an exponent of Photorealism, producing airbrushed paintings based on photographs of automobiles (e.g. Untitled, 1971; Aachen, Neue Gal.), the displays in shop windows or still-lifes, as in New Shoes for H (1973; Cleveland, OH, Mus. A.). He treated similar subjects in screenprints and in colour lithographs such as Red Mercedes (1972; see 1973 exh. cat., p. 35). Rather than basing a painting or print on a single photograph, as was the case with other photorealists, Eddy would work from as many as 40 photographs to ensure a consistently sharp focus for his often spatially complex images.

From the 1980s Eddy’s focus shifted away from photorealism towards metaphysics, with images placed in porteic relationships to one another; describing his art as ‘echoing ecosystems’....


Christopher Brookeman

(b Kewanee, IL, May 14, 1932).

American painter. He moved with his family to Chicago, where he studied at the Art Institute (1952–6), before going to New York, where most of his paintings are set (although later works were often finished in his house in Maine). His first one-man show was held at the Allan Stone Gallery, New York, in 1968. He sustained a careful commitment to an unvarying subject-matter, usually the built environment of Manhattan, and to Photorealism. His realism is deceptive in that he rearranges the structure of what he originally sees and records through photographs, which form the basis of the final easel-size paintings, to reconstruct reality. He also expands the viewer’s information and sensory field beyond the powers of the naked eye, giving a depth and intensity of vision that only artistic transformation can achieve. Since the paintings are based on more than one photograph, the viewer of an Estes painting perceives, for example, a shop-front window, with a richness that is created by the artist’s technical skills. We can see the surface of the window glass, what it is reflecting, and what is behind it. This characteristic effect is wittily achieved in his ...


John-Paul Stonard

(b Mörigen, Switzerland, Mar 8, 1930).

Swiss painter and printmaker. From 1947 to 1950 Gertsch studied at the Max von Mühlenen School of Painting in Bern. During this time he had his first solo exhibition (Galerie Simmen, Bern, 1949). His early works were influenced by Pop art. In 1969 he made his first realist painting, Huaa …! (1969; dispersion on unprimed canvas, 1.70 × 2.61 m; see Ronte and Ammann, 1986, p. 89), taken from a magazine picture of David Hemmings on horseback in the anti-war film Sergeant in the Light Brigade. He quickly developed a photo-realist style with single and group portraits. These were very large paintings taken from photographs, predominantly of children and young people enjoying free time, painted from slides projected on the canvas. The series was concluded with the painting Patti Smith V (1979; acrylic on unprimed canvas, 2.57 × 3.91 m; see Mason and Ronte, 1989), one of five large paintings of the poet and rock musician, each painted with a meticulous photo-realism....


José Corredor-Matheos

(b Tomelloso, La Mancha, Jan 6, 1936).

Spanish painter, draughtsman and sculptor. He lived in Madrid from 1949 and studied painting there from 1950 to 1955 at the Escuela de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. He came from a prosperous farming family and continued to reflect the cycles of nature in his work even after his move to the capital. His art evolved from primitivist and Surrealist influences to a strict realism that hinted at profound truths beyond surface appearances, for example in drawings such as Remainder from a Meal (1971; Baltimore, MD, Mus. A.) and in oil paintings such as Death Mask of César Vallejo (1962; Cleveland, OH, Mus. A.). He also occasionally produced sculptures, which he sometimes worked on over a long period, including life-size human figures in painted wood (e.g. Man and Woman, 1968–86; see 1986 exh. cat., pp. 10–11), editioned bronzes of heads and figures, and bronze reliefs cast from plaster originals (e.g. the ...


Style of painting popular in Europe and the USA mainly from the 1920s to 1940s, with some followers in the 1950s. It occupies a position between Surrealism and Photorealism, whereby the subject is rendered with a photographic naturalism, but where the use of flat tones, ambiguous perspectives, and strange juxtapositions suggest an imagined or dreamed reality. The term was introduced by art historian Frank Roh in his book Nach-Expressionismus: Magischer Realismus (1925) to describe a style deriving from Neue Sachlichkeit, but rooted in late 19th-century German Romantic fantasy. It had strong connections with the Italian Pittura Metafisica of which the work of Giorgio De Chirico was exemplary in its quest to express the mysterious. The work of Giuseppe Capogrossi and the Scuola Romana of the 1930s is also closely related to the visionary elements of Magic Realism. In Belgium its surreal strand was exemplified by René(-François-Ghislain) Magritte, with his ‘fantasies of the commonplace’, and in the USA by ...


Deborah A. Middleton

American group of artists active in the 1950s and 1960s who were part of a movement that was reacting to Minimalism, Abstract Expressionism and conceptual art by choosing to represent traditional subjects of nudes, portraiture, still lifes, landscapes and urban street scenes that often were plain and ordinary. The rise of consumerism and mass production inspired New Realist artists who returned to representing subjects as everyday and common visual encounters and experiences. The New Realist movement is in contrast to earlier forms of realism practiced by European artists whose works embody idealism or romanticize the commonality of the subject. New Realism is also associated with the emergence of Photorealism, where the camera captured the momentary fleeting naturalism of the subject. A common approach characteristically unifying New Realist artworks is the notion of the presence of the subject, which is understood as the representation of a neutral peripheral visual experience that exposes the subject prior to its discovery as a cognitive translation, intellectual or emotional response. Paintings and drawings present the perception of the real in a direct, clear and straightforward way using conventional drawing and painting techniques, and classical compositional approaches. Subjects are acutely observed and revealed with precise attention to detail and technical draftsmanship to disclose the detached presence of the subject itself....


Meyer Raphael Rubinstein

Movement of French and other European artists announced by the publication in Paris of a short manifesto of 27 October 1960, drawn up by the French critic Pierre Restany (b 1930) and signed by the original Nouveaux Réalistes. These were Arman, the French artist François Dufrêne (1930–82), Raymond Hains, Yves Klein, Martial Raysse, Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely and the French artist Jacques de la Villeglé (b 1926).

The Nouveaux Réalistes were a loosely organized band of artists, working in a variety of media, but chiefly distinguished by their reaction against the prevailing aesthetic of Lyrical Abstraction or Art informel. In contrast to the abstract painters of the late 1940s and 1950s, the Nouveaux Réalistes favoured materials taken from everyday urban life. Their work can be seen as a response to the rise of an American-style, consumer society in post-war Europe, and as a reaction against abstraction it had much in common with that of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, while their embrace of popular culture foreshadowed ...


Kristina Wilson

(b Los Angeles, CA, Feb 28, 1977).

American painter and sculptor. Wiley grew up in south central Los Angeles and at the age of 11 his mother began enrolling him in weekend art classes at area museums. He attributed his later focus on the genre of portraiture to his early exposure to portraits in the Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, by Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the San Francisco Art Institute and then received an MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2001. He subsequently became the artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem. It was during this residency that Wiley developed the artistic program that would structure his career for most of the next two decades: large-scale oil portraits of African American men wearing 21st-century hip-hop-inflected attire (sweatshirts, down jackets, jeans, jewelry) in poses taken from Old Master paintings. Instead of a coherent narrative background, these figures stand against an abstracted ground and are surrounded by ornate patterns that swirl behind them and occasionally over their bodies. After his initial focus on African American men, his subjects expanded to include African American women (...