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Article

Native American (Choctaw), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1959, in Phoenix.

Beadworker, painter, fashion designer, glass artist , performance artist.

Marcus Amerman is a distinguished Choctaw artist who works in a number of media and in performance (as a figure called ‘Buffalo Man’) but is best known for creating his own approach to the Native American tradition of beadworking. Amerman has a BA in Fine Art from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and also studied at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and the Anthropology Film Center. He lives and works north of Santa Fe. Amerman uses a highly mimetic style in his beadwork to recreate, and hence reclaim, Indian images from history, as in his beaded version of the famous D.F. Barry photograph, ...

Article

Dennis Raverty

(b Charlotte, NC, Sept 2, 1911 or 1912; d New York City, Mar 12, 1988).

African American painter, collagist, and author. Bearden is best known for his collages, which often addressed urban themes (e.g. The Dove). He was a founding member of Spiral, a group of African American artists who started meeting at his downtown New York studio in 1963. He also published essays and cartoons, designed book jackets, magazine and album covers, and is widely regarded as the first African American artist to successfully enter the mainstream of the contemporary art world. The posthumously published book he co-authored with Harry Henderson, A History of African-American Artists: From 1792 to the Present (1993), in a very short time became an almost canonical text in the field.

Bearden’s family moved permanently to Harlem, a predominately black neighborhood of New York City, in 1920. His mother, Bessye Bearden, was the New York correspondent for the Chicago Defender, an African American newspaper, and through her Bearden was introduced to many of the artists, writers, and intellectuals associated with the ...

Article

Sharon Matt Atkins

(b Oakland, CA, Aug 26, 1925; d Tucson, AZ, June 4, 2009).

American painter, printmaker and teacher. Colescott produced highly expressive and gestural paintings that addressed a wide range of social and cultural themes and challenged stereotypes. Interested in issues of race, gender and power, his work critiqued the representation of minorities in literature, history, art and popular culture. Stylistically, his work is indebted to European modernism, particularly Cubism and Expressionism, but also makes references to African sculpture, African American art and post–World War II American styles.

Colescott was introduced to art at an early age. His mother was a pianist and his father was a classically-trained violinist and jazz musician. Through his parents’ social circles, he often found himself surrounded by creative individuals as he was growing up, like his artistic mentor, the sculptor Sargent Johnson (1888–1967). Colescott received his BA in 1949 and later his MFA in 1952 from the University of California, Berkeley. He also studied with ...

Article

(b Toronto, Aug 24, 1920; d Wolfville, Nova Scotia, July 16, 2013).

Canadian painter. He moved with his family to Amherst, NS, in 1929; his father, a Scottish immigrant, worked in steel construction, his mother was a milliner. His work at a local art class came to the attention of Stanley Royle (1888–1961), an English artist teaching at Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB, who persuaded him to study art. Colville studied for a BFA at Mount Allison University and on graduating in 1942 joined the Canadian Army, serving in the infantry until 1946. In May 1944 he was appointed an Official War Artist; he served in England, at the landings in southern France, and with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division in Holland and Germany. He returned to Canada in October 1945 and on his demobilization in the following year began teaching at Mount Allison University, remaining in that post until 1963, when he resigned to paint full-time. The war art experience had a profound effect on his development, both in the need rapidly to master techniques and by the special circumstances of being both an observer of and participant in momentous events. He rejected the concern with landscape that dominated Canadian painting, instead valuing the traditions of figurative art ranging broadly from ancient Egypt through Renaissance painting to the work of Manet. He was especially drawn to American artists such as Thomas Eakins and, among 20th-century painters, to Ben Shahn and Edward Hopper....

Article

Avis Berman

(b Roxbury, MA, Sept 14, 1867; d New York, NY, Dec 23, 1944).

American illustrator. Gibson’s graphic creation, the “Gibson Girl,” became a symbol of upper-middle-class American womanhood from 1890 to 1914. The Gibson Girl’s appearance and dress were widely imitated and her popularity helped shape social attitudes at a time when women’s roles were undergoing dramatic changes.

Growing up in Massachusetts and New York City, Gibson entered the Art Students League at 16, studying there for two years. In 1885 he left school to make a living as an illustrator. Gibson drew in pen-and-ink, his medium for the rest of his career, but his early sketches were stiff and labored. In 1886 he sold his first drawing for $4 to Life, a weekly humor magazine. Emulating the draftsmanship of the British cartoonists John Leech, Charles Keene, George Du Maurier and Phil(ip William) May, Gibson developed a freer and more economical style. He successfully sold arch scenes of politics and society to Life...

Article

Native American (Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 1 April 1943, in Los Angeles.

Sculptor, painter, printmaker, jewellery maker.

The Chiricahua Apache artist Bob Haozous, son of the well-known Apache sculptor Allan Houser (Haozous is the indigenous name which became Houser when anglicised), is a noted figure in his own right, having the distinction of contributing work to two Venice Biennales (...

Article

David M. Sokol

(b Russian Poland, April 10, 1872; d New York, July 26, 1946).

American painter of Russian-Polish origin. He claimed to have carved wooden ceremonial objects as a young boy, but ceased to create until he retired from his clothing manufacturing concern and began to paint. When Sidney Janis was arranging an exhibition of American folk art for the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, in 1939, he saw Hirshfield’s naive works in a gallery in New York. He exhibited two in the show and organized a one-man show for the artist in 1943; he also purchased two works, including Beach Girl (1937; New York, MOMA). In such paintings Hirshfield based large areas of the overall design on the fabrics with which he worked during his years in business, and his outlined forms on the art of patternmaking. In this and slightly later works, such as Inseparable Friends (1941; New York, MOMA), an ambiguous treatment of young female sexuality is played off against the patterns and the repetition of forms....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 13 September 1928, in New Castle (Indiana).

Painter, sculptor. Stage sets, stage costumes, posters.

Pop Art.

Robert Indiana trained at the John Herron School of Art, Indianapolis, in 1945 and 1946, then at the Munson-Williams Proctor Institute, Utica (New York), Art Institute of Chicago from 1949 to 1953, Skowhegan School of Painting (Maine), University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art, and then in London. Afterward, he travelled to Mexico, Europe, and the interior of the USA. In 1958, he moved to New York and, in 1978, settled in Vinhalven, on an island in Maine....

Article

Pauline Antrobus

(b Lima, 1889; d Lima, 1970).

Peruvian designer, painter and teacher. She taught drawing in local schools before entering the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Lima in 1919. Inspired by Peru’s indigenous heritage and the love of her country, Izcue often depicted Indian and Inca themes in her paintings (e.g. Untitled, 1924; Lima, Palacio de Gobierno). With her twin sister Victoria, she created the ‘Incaic decorative art’ style of interior design in the early 1920s. She illustrated the children’s book Manco Capac: Leyenda nacional (1923) at the request of Rafael Larco Herrera. He covered the publication costs of Izcue’s El arte peruano en la escuela (Paris, 1926), which showed children how indigenous motifs could be used to decorate various handicrafts. After graduating in 1926, Izcue received a grant to travel to Paris, where she attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and studied with Fernand Léger and Marcel Gromaire. To finance living in Paris, she produced Peruvian-influenced fashion accessories, and in ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 31 May 1929, in New York; died 5 February 1999.

Painter. Stage sets, stage costumes.

Nicholas Krushenick studied at the Art Students League in New York from 1948 to 1950, and subsequently at the Hans Hoffman School, from 1950 to 1951...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 19 August 1949, in Pasadena.

Painter (including gouache), collage artist, draughtsman, performance artist, lithographer. Stage sets, stage costumes.

Robert Kushner studied at the University of California, San Diego, where he received a BA. In 1971 he travelled in Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, Europe and India with Amy Goldin. He lives and works in New York. His early work in the 1970s was performance art in which his costumes (or lack of them) were as important as the performance. He was a founder of the Pattern and Decorative movement of the 1970s, and his numerous decorative works are inspired by Matisse. He views his work as a continuation and update of a vast conservative tradition, and believes in the importance of beauty in everyday life....

Article

British, 20th century, male.

Born 13 January 1904, in London; died 13 July 1978, in St James, Barbados.

Painter (mixed media), stage set designer, costume designer, interior designer, architect.

Oliver Messel's grandfather was leading Punch cartoonist, Linley Sambourne. He studied under Henry Tonks at the Slade School of Art in London ...

Article

Ticio Escobar

(b Asunción, Jan 6, 1948).

Paraguayan painter. He studied in the studio of the painter Cira Moscarda but was basically self-taught and gained his formative experience in various Latin American countries working as a designer of theatre costumes and scenery. His early work, biting and irreverent in style, and with psychedelic and Pop art elements, created a considerable stir in Paraguay’s artistic community. Much of this work was in the form of drawings and paintings, but he also devised environments, happenings, audio-visual experiences and montages (see Escobar, 1984, pp. 172, 194). His subject-matter comprised unrealistic hybrid characters, animals and objects from Classical mythology, popular Latin American subjects, kitsch opera, circus and cabaret, television and gossip columns, portrayed in a style linked to Latin American Magic Realism and to expressionist caricature. Humour, eroticism and the absurd animate his work, giving it a flavour of hallucination and nightmare.

O. Blinder and others: Arte actual del Paraguay (Asunción, 1983), pp. 47, 48, 49, 162, 173, 174, 192...

Article

American, 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1939, in New York City.

Illustrator, painter, textile and shoe designer. Figures and portraits, commercial art, fashion design, computer art.

In a period when it was difficult for American women to have active careers as visual arts professionals, Barbara Nessim excelled as an artist and an illustrator. Beginning in the early 1960s, she became popular as she crafted an aesthetic of emotionally appealing figures and simply rendered still-life objects. Her career has spanned five decades and Nessim continues to break new ground combining digital techniques with other art forms, such as illustration and painting.

Born in the Bronx, Nessim was encouraged to study at the School of Industrial Art by her mother, who had experience in clothing design. Nessim then majored in illustration and graphic art at Pratt Institute. Her experience at Pratt influenced the trajectory of her career. She became lifelong friends with classmates such as sculptor Nancy Grossman and with professors such as painter Richard Lindner. After she graduated in ...

Article

Peter Bermingham

(b Richmond, VA, Nov 10, 1827; d New York, March 31, 1912).

American painter and stained-glass designer. He grew up in Clarksville, TN, where his stepfather was a tailor and his mother a milliner. In 1846 his request to be accepted as Asher B. Durand’s pupil was turned down, but Newman managed three years later to exhibit in the American Art-Union in New York. In 1850 he studied with Thomas Couture in Paris for five months. On a second trip to Paris in 1854, he visited Jean-François Millet in Barbizon. He worked as a portrait painter and occasional teacher of drawing, before serving briefly as an artillery lieutenant in the Confederate Army. After the Civil War, he apparently remained in New York, apart from a trip to Barbizon in 1882 and to Paris in 1908.

Although in 1872–3 he advertised himself as a portrait painter in Nashville, TN, and in the 1870s worked briefly as a stained-glass designer, Newman was primarily a painter of small compositions with a few figures, usually with a well-known religious, literary, or secular theme. One of his favourite subjects was the Virgin and Child (e.g. ...

Article

Jorge Luján-Muñoz

(b Guatemala City, March 4, 1951).

Guatemalan painter, sculptor and designer. He trained first as an architect from 1969 to 1972 at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura of the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. In 1972 he attended the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, where he studied mural painting and ceramics. On his return to Guatemala in 1972 he continued his architectural studies at the Universidad de San Carlos in Guatemala City from 1973 to 1974 and also became interested in the ethnological study of the Indians of the country, especially in their textiles.

In his paintings Ordóñez combined acrylic paint, sometimes with textured surfaces or luminous varnishes, with superimpositions of fine lines, vivid colour and screenprinting. Executed in editions of 12, each with individual finishing touches, they portray such subjects as the natives of Guatemala and landscapes. He also made sculptures, especially in clay, designed clothing and served as consultant to the Museo Ixchel del Traje Indígena in Guatemala City....

Article

Native American (Warm Springs, Wasco and Yakima), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1943, in Oregon.

Ceramicist, glass artist, mask-maker, jewellery artist, printmaker, sculptor. Public art.

‘Giving voice to my ancestors’ is a central concern of the Pacific Northwest and Oregon-based artist Lillian Pitt. Much of the work she creates in a variety of media (ceramics, glass, bronze, and other materials) contains a strong awareness of the deep histories of her peoples and their 12,000-year existence in the Columbia River Basin in Oregon. Born and raised at Warm Springs Indian Reservation near Madras, Oregon, she directly descends from the three tribal peoples based there after a historic treaty removed them from their homelands along the Columbia River....

Article

American, 20th century, female.

Born 8 October 1930, in New York.

Painter, engraver, sculptor, mosaicist, performance artist, mixed media. Figure compositions, scenes with figures. Murals, costumes.

Faith Ringgold trained at City University, New York. While still in New York, in 1971 she co-founded, with Kay Brown, ...

Article

Canadian, 20th century, male.

Born 1889; died 1984.

Painter (mixed media/gouache), designer, jeweller. Stage sets.

Rolph Scarlett was drawn to abstract painting at the beginning of his career. His association with Salomon R. Guggenheim and Hilla Rebay in the 1930s and 1940s was the decisive factor in determining the direction that his career was to take. They were very taken with his work and promoted it at the museum of non-objective painting, eventually called the Salomon R. Guggenheim Museum. He was a speaker there, his job being to publicise the works of Kandinsky and Rudolph Bauer and raise awareness of them in the USA. He became the most fervent defender of Modernist theories in the US....

Article

Joyce Zemans

(Leonard)

(b Shoeburyness, Essex, Feb 4, 1909; d Vancouver, BC, Nov 22, 1998).

Canadian painter, draughtsman and writer of English birth. In 1912 his family emigrated to British Columbia. Educated at Victoria College, BC (1926–7), and the Provincial Normal School in Victoria (1929), he studied art at the Euston Road Art School, London (1937), the André Lhote School of Art, Paris (1938), and the Art Students’ League, New York (1948–9). From 1929 to 1937 he taught art to children in Vancouver and in 1938 joined the Vancouver School of Art, where he was head of painting and drawing from 1945 to 1966. In 1944–5 he served with the Canadian war artists. In 1955 he became the first instructor at the Emma Lake Workshop, Regina College, Sask. He also executed costume and poster designs for theatre and dance, as well as murals for Edmonton Airport, the National Arts Centre, Ottawa, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Vancouver....