Antúnez, Nemesio (1918–1993)

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Antúnez, Nemesio (1918–1993)

Nemesio Antúnez (b. 1918; d. 19 May 1993), Chilean artist, whose work is characterized by optical and psychological effects achieved by means of perspective distortions and geometric configurations. Antúnez's work has been classified as surrealist, due to the unusual effects resulting from his manipulation of space. He studied architecture at Catholic University in his native Santiago from 1937 to 1943 and at Columbia University in New York City in 1945. A fellowship enabled him to study with Stanley W. Hayter of Atelier 17 in New York in 1947. In 1950 he followed Hayter to Paris. After returning to Chile in 1953, he organized Taller 99, an artists' collective. In the late 1950s his work anticipated op art effects, with an emphasis on expression. He executed a mural, Heart of the Andes, at the United Nations (1966). A characteristic presentation of space in Antúnez's painting consists of rectangular boxes telescoping out of one another as though suspended in a void. Seemingly transparent planes and figures are used to create the illusion of endless expanses of space. Minuscule anthropomorphic figures often populate these spatial configurations (e.g., New York, New York 10008, 1967). His work consolidates the heritage of geometric art and surrealism, two strong movements in the art of Latin America.

Antúnez held several administrative posts, including director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, University of Chile, Santiago (1961–1964), cultural attaché at the Chilean embassy, New York City (1964–1969); director, National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago (1969–1973).

See alsoArt: The Twentieth Century .


Lowery S. Sims, "New York Dada and New World Surrealism," in Luis Cancel et al., The Latin American Spirit: Art and Artists in the United States, 1920–1970 (1988), pp. 174-175.

Additional Bibliography

Palmer Trias, Montserrat. N. Antúnez. Santiago de Chile: Ediciones ARQ, Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 1997.

Verdugo, Patricia. Conversaciones con Nemesio Antúnez. Santiago de Chile: Ediciones ChileAmérica, 1995.

                                         Marta Garsd