Brazil - 1914 - 1994
Iberê Bassanti Camargo, (born Nov. 18, 1914, Restinga Sêca, Brazil—died Aug. 9, 1994, Pôrto Alegre, Brazil), Brazilian artist who was a leading Abstract Expressionist painter who experimented with colour and form, using bold gestures and heavy paint encrusted on huge canvases. Camargo, who confessed that his first toys were a pencil and paper, was a loner who drew inspiration from childhood memories of his native countryside. After studying at a local art school, he continued his education (1939) at the Institute of Fine Arts in Pôrto Alegre before attending the National School of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro. He launched a professional career as a printmaker and returned to the National School of Fine Arts as the inaugural teacher of printmaking. Camargo dabbled in figurative and Constructivist art before exploring the limits of Abstract Expressionism. His style, initially typified by a light-hued pallette, was later marked by gloomy dark colours, anthropomorphic forms, and monstrous figures that produced an unsettling effect. Camargo, who saw himself as a cyclist peddling against the wind, also frequently used cyclists as a theme. His lack of artistic conformity--he would not bend to producing fashionable Surrealist-inspired fantastic art or to Brazilian abstract and conceptual art--resulted in the exclusion of his works from a retrospective of Latin-American art mounted in the U.S. and Europe.