A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art

By Ian Chilvers | Go to book overview
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Saatchi, Charles (1943- ). Iraqi-born British businessman and art collector. In 1970 he was co-founder with his brother Maurice of Saatchi & Saatchi, which became the world's largest advertising agency. He has devoted much of his enormous wealth to buying contemporary art on a huge (almost industrial) scale, and in 1985 the Saatchi Collection was opened to the public in a new gallery (converted from a warehouse) in St. John's Wood, north London. While his patronage has been welcomed by many (not least the artists who have benefited from it), others have been critical of the way in which his bulk buying has given him such power in the art market. He helped to create the boom in *Neo-Expressionism and *Neo-Geo. In 1997 a selection of work from the Saatchi Collection was loaned to the * Royal Academy as an exhibition entitled 'Sensation' (see AVANT-GARDE). One of the artists represented in the exhibition, Chris Ofili ( 1968- ), was quoted in the Sunday Times as saying: 'The problem with the whole Saatchi phenomenon is that there are a lot of young artists who are trying to get success so quickly. They don't conceive ideas that will last a long time. They just want to get the attention of this buyer overnight and make a bit of money. Some of those with works already in his collection produce half-hearted crap knowing he'll take it off their hands.' The article in which the quotation appeared commented that Ofili work The Holy Virgin had 'generated much of the exhibition's controversy because of its [use of] female genitalia and his trademark, elephant dung'.

Sabogal, José (1888-1956). Peruvian painter, born in Cajabamba. After extensive travels in Europe, North Africa, and South America, he settled in Lima in 1919 and the following year became a professor at the city's Escuela de Bellas Artes. From 1933 to 1943 he was director of the School and in this position exerted a strong influence on other artists. He was indeed the dominant figure in Peruvian art in his lifetime and he was responsible for awakening an interest in the native arts and crafts of his country. However, Edward *LucieSmith writes: 'Despite Sabogal's keen consciousness of his messianic role in Peruvian art and his success in instilling this consciousness into those who surrounded him, his connection with Indian culture remained superficial. His pictures offer representations of Indian life without in any way participating in it' ( Latin American Art of the 20th Century, 1993).

Sage, Kay (1898-1963). American *Surrealist painter, born in Albany, New York, to wealthy parents. She was mainly self-taught as an artist. In 1900-14 and 1919-37 she lived in Italy (she was married to an Italian prince, 1925-35), and Giorgio de *Chirico was an early influence on her work. In 1937 she moved to Paris, where she met * Tanguy in 1939. He followed her to the USA in 1940 and they married later that year. From the time of her return to America architectural motifs became prominent in her work--strange steel structures depicted in sharp detail against vistas of unreal space--and her pictures also included draperies from which faces and figures sometimes mistily emerged ( Tomorrow is Never, Metropolitan Museum, New York, 1955). Sage also made mixed-media constructions. Tanguy's sudden death in 1955 cast a shadow over her last years and she committed suicide. Between 1957 and 1962 she published four collections of her poems, one of which, Mordicus ( 1962), was illustrated by * Dubuffet.

Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts. Norwich. Gallery and study centre presented to the University of East Anglia (together with an endowment to maintain it) by Sir Robert


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