Friday, August 27, 2010

(Social) Realism: Panama Art

Roberto Lewis (1874-1949)

(b Panama City, 30 Sept 1874; d Panama City, 22 Sept 1949). Panamanian painter and teacher. He studied painting in Paris at the Acadamie des Beaux-Arts and in the studio of Leon Bonnat, combining the influence of academic and Post-Impressionist art. On his return to Panama in 1912 he was commissioned to paint the interiors of several new public buildings, among them the Teatro Nacional and the Palacio de Gobierno, which he decorated in the official Neo-classical style. He was an accomplished portraitist and numbered among his sitters many political figures, including numerous Panamanian governors and all the presidents of Panama from 1904 to 1948.

Humberto Ivaldi (1909-1947)
(b Panama City, 24 Dec 1909; d Panama City, 10 March 1947). Panamanian painter and teacher. He studied under Roberto Lewis and in 1930 won a scholarship to the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid, where he spent five years. On his return to Panama, Ivaldi taught at the Escuela Nacional de Pintura, later becoming its director, a post he held until his death. His academic background was apparent in the careful and detailed rendering of his traditional still-lifes and many portraits, for example Mitzi Arias de Saint Malo (c. 1947; Panama City, Guillermo Saint Malo priv. col., see Wolfschoon, p. 444). His particular contribution within a Post-Impressionist idiom was most evident in genre paintings and in landscapes, such as Wind on the Hill (1945; Panama City, Jorge Angelini priv. col., see Wolfschoon, p. 443), which were often characterized by dynamic diagonal compositions, free brushwork and great sensitivity to the atmospheric quality of colours.

World (Social) Realist Art (Index of Countries)
This blog page is part of an ongoing project by artist and part-time lecturer Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin ( to explore Realist / Social Realist art from around the world. The term Realism is used in its broadest sense to include 19th century Realism and Naturalism as well as 20th century Impressionism (which after all was following in the path of Courbet and Millet). Social Realism covers art that seeks to examine the living and working conditions of ordinary people (examples include German Expressionism, American Ashcan School and the Mexican Muralists).

Click here for (Social) Realist Art Definitions, World (Social) Realism and Global Solidarity, Art and Politics, Social Realism in history and Country Index.

Suggestions for appropriate artists from around the world welcome to

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