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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Saar, Betye (United States, b.1926)
Saar, an African American, is known for her assembled box sculptures made from found and natural materials such as wood, leather, fabric, and shells. Saar often reworks and alters stereotypical images of African Americans.

Saarinen, Eero (United States, 1910-1961)
Saarinen was involved in the construction of many beautiful structures, but he is considered important because of his contribution to the design of air terminals. Before Saarinen, airport facilities failed to equal in quality and design the advances made in the aircraft themselves. His sculptured, organic structures were the exception. They almost seem capable of flight themselves. In his magnificent terminal for Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC, there is nothing left of traditional building design. The entire building gives the appearance of floating.

Safdie, Moshe (Israel, b.1938)
Working mostly in his native land, Safdie has created some of the most unique and practical urban dwelling units yet conceived. He created the dramatic structure Habitat for Expo 67 in Montreal. Mass-produced, pre-cast, one-piece concrete units (each a complete apartment) were transported to the site and stacked like giant building blocks by huge cranes. The units came in different sizes with different interior arrangements, thus avoiding the uniformity of traditional apartments.

Sage, Kay (United States, 1898-1963)
Sage, a self-taught painter, is known for her stark, desolate landscapes in the Surrealist style. Her work often incorporates elements of human faces, architecture, and draperies. Sage also created mixed media constructions.

Salvadore Dali (Spain, 1904-1989)
Salvadore Dali was part of a movement called Surrealism, an attempt to get 'beneath the realistic surface of life' into a dream world of unreality. Dali became the most famous Surrealist. The Persistence of Memory, perhaps his best-known work, is a small painting of soft objects that are usually metallic and solid. The limp watches, gigantic ants, and a partial face on a plane of immense depth are all startling objects. Dali used exacting realism in every part of his paintings, thus rejecting abstraction and any other simplified form of art.

Samaras, Lucas (United States, b.1936)
Lucas Samaras has a strong interest in constructing environments, and his Mirrored Room #2 is a prime example. The sparkling reflections in the room fragment our vision and trick our senses. There is a sensation of being suspended in space. Samaras integrates the art with outside space by placing mirrors along its exterior that reflect and blend with the surrounding environment.

Sandoval, Arturo (United States, 20th century)
Sandoval is interested in using a variety of fiber-like materials to create what he calls 'high tech textiles.' He has used media such as old microfilm and magnetic tape; thin, mirror-like plastics; newspapers and magazines. At age forty, he discovered that three generations of men in his family had been weavers in Mexico.

Sant'Elia, Antonio (Italy, 1888-1916)
Sant'Elia was a Futurist who prepared designs for utopian cities that included interconnected buildings and transportation systems. Sant' Elia designed Citta Nuova (New City) as an actual community that would serve the needs of the people who used it. World War I prevented it from being built.

Sanzio, Raphael (Italy, 1483-1520)
The High Renaissance painter Raphael was a master of balance and harmony. Greatly admired in his lifetime, he enjoyed the social life in Rome, Italy, where he lived and worked. Although Raphael did not have a long life, he painted many works. One of his greatest is a fresco called The School of Athens. His work inspired many artists of later generations.

Sargent, John Singer (United States, 1856-1925)
Sargent was a master portrait painter who produced nearly four hundred portraits during his career. Fluid brushstrokes characterized his portraits. Although he had many wealthy clients, he became tired of portraiture and spent the last years of his life focusing on landscape and genre subjects.

Scarpa, Siglinda (United States, 20th century)
Scarpa creates mosaics for interior and exterior walls, floors, windows, doors, and fireplaces. Her style combines ancient Italian techniques with her own contemporary ideas.

Schapiro, Miriam (United States, b.1923)
Canadian-born Schapiro is known for her innovative combinations of collage materials, especially fabrics and paint. Much of her work has been inspired by the rich array of patterns and textures in textiles and her work on feminist issues in the art world.

Schwitters, Kurt (Germany, 1887-1948)
Schwitters was the ultimate master of Dada, an artistic movement that responded to the incomprehensible devastation resulting from World War I. He was a scavenger who gathered junk items from everywhere to include in his art such as ticket stubs, candy wrappers, and assorted trash. The artist glued these objects to the ground and added some paint to make images, or assemblages, that were partly three-dimensional. He recycled the refuse from a society that he was demeaning into works of art for the same society to see. Viewers were disgusted at the sight of it, but the message was delivered.

Scott, John (United States, b.1940)
Scott, an African American, is known for his unique approaches to sculpture, printmaking and cast paper construction. He is influenced by people and places he sees. Some of his works are based on African art forms and his concern about the oppression of minority groups.

Segal, George (United States, 1924-2000)
George Segal was concerned with people engaged in everyday activities. He dipped surgical gauze in plaster and wrapped it around the person posing for him. Each section of the fast-drying plaster was cut off as soon as it dried. The parts were then assembled to make a hollow cast of the person. There is nothing amazing or dramatic about the figures or their poses. They are simply realistic slices of American life-people going about their everyday jobs and routines.

Seurat, George (France, 1859-1891)
The Post-Impressionist painter Seurat is known for applying color in tiny dots, each about the size of a pencil eraser. From a distance, the viewer's eyes visually mix the dots to create other colors. This technique is called 'pointillism.' Before starting each work, the artist made many sketches in oils, charcoal, and crayon. Seurat's largest and most impressive work is A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.

Severini, Gino (Italy, 1883-1966)
Severini spent most of his life in Paris. He was an important link between Italian Futurists and the European art world. His own paintings centered on ways to portray movement and action through the use of fragmented and overlapped visual elements.

Shahn, Ben (United States, 1898-1969)
Ben Shahn was the early leader of Social Realism, a movement that focused on ordinary people and the many injustices imposed on them by an uncaring society. Shahn hated injustice in any form. Through his art, he criticized and commented on the judicial system, racial injustice, and the plight of migrant workers and miners. His work as a photographer, muralist, and printmaker gave him a variety of media with which to communicate.

Sheeler, Charles (United States, 1883-1965)
After going through several phases and styles, Charles Sheeler found himself close to the thinking of the great Renaissance designers. Instead of people, Sheeler chose machinery, buildings, and manufactured products as his subject because he enjoyed their geometric lines and solid structure. His interest in photography led him to believe that light is the great designer. His carefully-composed paintings combine the structure of abstraction with a realistic presentation of subject matter.

Shinn, Everett (United States, 1876-1953)
Shinn was a member of the Ashcan School, a group of artists who realistically portrayed contemporary American urban life. Shinn's subject matter included theater and music hall activities. He also painted portraits and murals. He worked as an illustrator for newspapers and many children's books.

Siqueiros, David Alfaro (Mexico, 1896-1974)
Siqueiros spent many years of his life in prison because of his revolutionary ideas and political connections. During the last twenty years of his life, he designed murals of incredible dimension and powerful, emotional impact. His mural entitled The March of Humanity on Earth and Toward the Cosmos is the main feature of the Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros, a huge structure in Mexico City, that is the home for many cultural arts.

Siska, Sissi (United States, 20th century)
Siska designs large-scale works and wall hangings for private and commercial architectural settings. Her work combines ancient batik and modern resist methods for dyeing fabric. Much of her work is inspired by the concept that tropical imagery is a welcomed contrast for people who live in the city.

Skidmore Owings and Merrill
Gordon Bunshaft was the chief designer for the architectural firm, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Bunshaft was responsible for an important architectural development: the all-glass exterior of the Lever House in New York. Like Gothic architecture, the design seems to defy gravity. Sheathed in green-tinted glass, the building reflects clouds, sky, sun and the surrounding environment. It was so successful in appearance and function that it became the model for hundreds of glass and metal skyscrapers.

Sloan, John (United States, 1871-1951)
John Sloan was one of the most talented of The Eight, a group of Philadelphia illustrators who banded together to exhibit their paintings. These Expressionist painters were called 'The Ashcan School' because their realism became expressions of poverty and ugliness. Sloan believed that a work of art need not have beautiful subject matter to be valid. He understood life in the city and fully enjoyed painting any city scene, no matter how trivial.

Smith, David (United States, 1906-1965)
David Smith was one of the first American sculptors to weld steel into powerful sculptural forms. He welded cubes of various sizes and proportions from stainless steel. The hollow forms were then assembled in a variety of combinations and burnished to produce a slightly textured surface. These reflective planes pleased him because 'the surfaces were lightened and unified with the atmosphere.' Smith was in a highly productive period of his life when he died suddenly in an automobile accident.

Soleri, Paolo (United States, b.1919)
Born in Italy, Soleri is known for his arcologies, or blends of architecture and ecology. Soleri advocates the use of multilevel buildings that can house more than 50,000 people so that land will be protected from development and preserved as a natural resource.

Soyer, Moses (United States, 1899-1975)
Soyer immigrated to the United States, along with his twin, Raphael, who was also an artist. During the 1930s Depression, both artists painted portraits of their friends and realistically portrayed the social problems and the hopeless feelings of many people during the era.

Speed, Martin (United States, b.1954)
Speed's earliest memory of fine art, from the age of five, is seeing a book of old master artworks and especially the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. Speed believes that the computer will be the preferred artistic medium in the future.

Spruce, Everett (United States, b.1908)
Spruce, a Surrealist, is known for his desolate landscapes. These paintings, as well as his works that include figures and animals, were inspired by his native Southwest. Spruce worked in impasto-thick opaque paint-that he applied with his fingers or a palette knife.

Steen, Jan (The Netherlands,1625-1679)
The artist Jan Steen enjoyed the unexpected. His oil paintings usually show the interior of Dutch homes. They are often crammed with children, animals, upset baskets, and other humorous touches. Steen also liked to show older folks enjoying the pleasure of young children. The painting The Feast of St. Nicholas is among his best-known works.

Steichen, Edward (United States, 1879-1973)
Steichen was one of the first people to think of photography as an art form. At an early age, he began to understand the qualities that could make a photograph into a work of art. Steichen argued that photographers must use their cameras to find their own ways to express themselves. He is well known for portrait photographs and cityscapes, including The Flatiron Building.

Steinberg, Paul (United States, b.1914)
Steinberg was born in Romania and trained as an architect. He is best known as a master of drawing in which calligraphy and humor are combined. He was a cartoonist for The New Yorker, but many of his works are also in museums around the world.

Stella, Frank (United States, b.1936)
Frank Stella is an advocate of the shaped canvas. His geometric designs make use of the unframed edges as part of the painting. Unlike other Color Field painters, Stella uses colors that are extremely varied. His protractor series often combines fluorescent paints and metallic colors that are visually jarring. The colors are carefully chosen to cause visual movement.

Stella, Joseph (Italy, 1880-1946)
Like other Abstract artists, Stella was concerned with the design on the canvas and how the various parts related to one another. He came from Italy to the United States at the age of twenty-five, but returned to his homeland when Futurism, a branch of abstract art, was in its developmental stages. Stella brought this particular type of abstraction to his interpretations of New York. His painting of the Brooklyn Bridge is a visual song of praise to a structure that was considered an industrial and engineering triumph.

Stepanova, Varvara (Russia, 1894-1958)
Stepanova worked with other Russian artists who were interested in the Futurist movement. She also designed textiles, stage sets, posters and type. Much of Stepanova's artwork is planned around geometric shapes, an influence from artists who admired the geometric elements in modern machinery.

Stieglitz, Alfred (United States, 1864-1946)
Stieglitz was a photographer who was intent on recording whatever he saw around him directly, without resorting to special effects like double-exposure or double printing. Yet, his photographs have an underlying composition of forms. His best-known work, The Steerage, reflects form, shape, and meaning. He captured this moment while sailing to Europe, and described the scene as 'a picture based on related shapes and deepest human feelings.'

Storm, Howard (United States, 20th century)
Storm is known for his paintings of landscapes, which are composed around unusual views and developed with strong color relationships. The landscapes are often visual metaphors for an intensive response he has had to the particular environment.

Strickland, William (United States, 1788-1854)
Although Strickland was best known as an architect, he was also a painter, engraver, illustrator, cartographer, and scenery designer for the theater. In 1832, Strickland rebuilt and redesigned much of the 100 year-old Independence Hall using architectural ideas from England known as Georgian style (for King George).

Stuart, Gilbert (United States, 1755-1828)
As a young man, Stuart studied painting in England with the artist Benjamin West. He is best known for his portraits of figures such as Mrs. Richard Yates and George Washington. Stuart did not like to flatter his subjects, so he painted his sitters as he saw them. He was the most inventive of early American painters. He is especially known for his use of many colors to create skin tones.

Sugarman, George (United States, b.1912)
Sugarman works with sheets of metal with cut-out areas, bending or intertwining and welding them to create one large sculpture. He often paints in bold colors. He believes that the space in and around sculpture is vital to the overall effect of the work.

Sullivan, Louis (United States, 1856-1924)
To find the beginnings of Modernism, one must go back to Louis Sullivan, who was one of the earliest architects to use steel construction. Sullivan believed that 'form follows function.' The grid pattern of steel structure is evident in his buildings, and the use of ornamentation is limited. The stark simplicity of his designs heralded the beginning of modern architecture in America.

Suzor-Cóte, Marc-Auréle de Foy (Canada, 1869-1937)
Suzor-Cóte; was one of a group of Canadian who developed moody atmospheric paintings of Canadian landscapes using techniques developed by the Impressionists. Many of the works are somber in mood and composed of subtle variations of one or two hues.

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