first in art education since 1901
Davis Art
2014 Catalog
art education curriculum
Artist Biographies
Select a letter below to see the biographies for artists
whose last names start with that letter.
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Paik, Nam June (United States, b.1932)
Korean-born Paik studied music, art history, and philosophy in Japan and Germany before settling in the United States. Since 1969, he has pioneered the development of video art-the exploration of video imagery for non-commercial uses. He is internationally known for his experimental uses of video as a component of sculpture and as an element in musical performances.

Palladio, Andrea (Italy, 1508-1580)
The architect Palladio designed and built many of the buildings in his hometown of Vicenza, Italy. He is best known for his villas, or large country homes. His buildings reflect the quiet elegance of Mannerism rather than the severe discipline of the Renaissance. Palladio also wrote and illustrated a book about architecture. It became an international guide that inspired architects for more than 200 years.

Paula Modersohn-Becker (Germany, 1876-1907)
Paula Modersohn-Becker would probably have become a dominant figure in the German Expressionist movement if she had not died at the age of 31. She traveled often to France to see the work of Gauguin, introducing his simplified forms, exotic color, and use of line to Germany.

Pei, I. M. (United States, b.1917)
Pei designed many hotels and government structures in the United States and was also commissioned to design an addition to the Louvre Museum in France. Based on the pyramid shape, the building was greeted with dismay and criticism when it was first built. Today, Parisians are proud of this modern landmark in their city. Pei has remained a Modernist throughout his career. His most current work continues to reflect the basic tenets of the movement and is clear proof of the enduring importance of this style of architecture.

Peláez del Casal, Amelia (Cuba, 1897-1968)
Peláez was among the first artists in Cuba to study art in Europe and to explore abstraction. Her still life paintings are often filled with patterns and colors that refer to the Cuban or Caribbean environment. Her flat decorative compositions influenced many other artists in Cuba.

Pelli, Cesar (Argentina/United States, b.1926)
Somewhat critical of the overuse of eclecticism in Post-Modern Construction, Pelli believes in the importance of placing a building sensitively into its environment. One of his more prominent commissions is the World Financial Center in New York. Located at the tip of Manhattan Island, the towers instantly became an integral part of the city's skyline. The stepped set-backs and variously shaped copper tops that crown each building, give the work its Post-Modern flavor.

Peña, Amado (United States, b.1943)
Peña works in serigraphy, a silkscreen process. His Hispanic and American Indian background is reflected in his choice of subjects and themes for his prints. Characteristic of his work is the strong use of strong patterns and multiple outlines that echo the major shapes.

Penn, Irving (United States, b.1917)
Penn began his career as a photographer for Vogue magazine and is recognized for his portraits. He photographs his subjects, usually celebrities, in unusual and visually interesting environments.

Pereira, Irene Rice (United States, 1907-1971)
Pereira's abstract style of painting evolved through several stages. She is best known for her paintings based on shimmering intersections of geometric lines and shapes with subtle shifts in colors and textures. Through these works, the artist hoped to express what she called 'the reality of space and light and infinite possibilities for change.'

Perry, Beatrice (United States, 20th century)
The landscape near her childhood home in Michigan has had a significant influence on Perry's work. She has also been inspired by the philosophy of the Bauhaus, a German art school that emphasized simplicity, lack of pretense, honesty with materials, and art as a positive force in society.

Peterdi, Gábor (United States, b.1915)
Peterdi was born in Hungary. He immigrated to the United States and, with other painters of the 1940s and 1950s, explored printmaking. Peterdi became well-known for his complex combinations of various printing techniques and processes. His major sources of ideas were the landscape, plants, and the unseen growth process (seeds germinating).

Piano, Renzo (United States, b.1937) and Richard Rogers (United States, b.1933)
Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers created the Georges Pompidou National Center of Art and Culture in Paris-the talk of the town when it was first built. It turned functional style on its head by turning it inside out. The exterior placement and lively coloring of the mechanical systems of this building surprise the viewer. They also make the viewer realize the amount of equipment, normally hidden, that is required to make a large building function. The building adheres to Modernist ideas, but with a visually sensational twist.

Picasso, Pablo (Spain, 1881-1974)
Picasso was a creative innovator of ideas and techniques and a master of many styles. His early work has been called his Blue Period because he painted beggars, derelicts, and poor families with a predominately blue palette. In 1907, Cubism, a form of abstraction, burst onto the art scene. Although not considered a Cubist painting, Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon is the painting that is credited with beginning the Cubist movement. After Cubism, Picasso changed his style dramatically. He created the painting, Guernica, which is one of the most devastating social protest pictures ever composed.

Pierce, Delilah (United States, 1904-1992)
Pierce, an African American, studied and exhibited with artists who explored Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s. Many of her works are inspired by the effects of light and atmosphere seen in the sky and the sea. She is also interested in scientific illustrations that record the effects of light and color.

Piero della Francesca (Italy, 1420-1492)
Piero studied art in Florence, Italy, which was one of the art centers of Europe. The space in his compositions is carefully designed, and his figures appear unemotional. Their poses and facial expressions make them seem almost frozen in action. The artist also wrote a book about painting. Piero's masterpiece is a fresco cycle that depicts The Legend of the True Cross.

Pisarro, Camille (West Indies/France, 1830-1903)
Pisarro was born in the West Indies. He moved to France when he was a young man to start his career as an artist. His Impressionist paintings are known for capturing the feeling of a place. Pisarro's favorite subjects were the streets of Paris viewed from above.

Pollock, Jackson (United States, 1912-1956)
After working through realistic and abstract periods, Jackson Pollock began his series of drip paintings. His new technique completely freed him from the use of traditional brushes and opened the door to Abstract Expressionism. While it appears that Pollock's paintings are haphazard, he completely engaged himself in releasing his own creativity and the possibilities of the paint. He was truly the force behind the paint's movement. His final works and thus be viewed as an interchange between the 'will' of the paint and the inner forces of the artist.

Pompon, Frannois (France, 1855-1923)
Pompon became well-known for his sculptures of animals. He created over 300 works in which the essential characteristics of species are portrayed in a lively yet dignified style.

Poussin, Nicolas (France, 1593/94-1665)
The painter Poussin liked Classical art and believed that the subject matter for a work of art should be grand, heroic, or divine. In his own work he stressed balance, composition, and the elimination of unnecessary details. But sometimes, as in Rape of the Sabine Women, he filled a painting with swirling activity and strong brushwork. Although Poussin was the most important Baroque painter in France, he lived and worked in Rome, Italy, for many years.

Prandtauer, Jacob (Austria, 1660-1726)
In the eighteenth century, Austria and southern Germany began many large building projects. One was a Benedictine Abbey that the architect Jacob Prandtauer designed for a rocky cliff above the Danube River. The abbey is topped by an ornate dome and two bell towers. Each tower has an onion dome, which is a common feature in the region. Like other Baroque structures, Prandtauer's buildings have elegant exteriors and interiors of swirling movement.

Pressley, Daniel (United States, 1918-1971)
Pressley, an African American, had no formal art training but drew, modeled clay, and whittled from the age of seven. He kept a diary with sketches and comments about his life. He created about seventy-five relief sculptures, which are today highly regarded by collectors.

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