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 Antonio Esteves  (1910 - 1983)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: naive religious and other fantasy painting

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An example of work by Antonio Esteves
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from George's Art & Antiques:
Antonio Esteves was born May 17, 1910 in Rio De Janiero and died July 2, 1983 in Brooklyn, New York.  Soon after arriving to America at an early age, his mother died and his father was always away at sea. He had to care for himself living on the streets of New York City.  Eventually he obtained work as a superintendent at various Brooklyn apartment buildings.  Circa 1970 he was seriously injured in a boiler explosion at one of the apartment complexes. As a result of his injuries he began utilizing art as a form of therapy.

His first exposure to art was a "paint by numbers" kit, which he quickly abandoned.  He then began painting on his own developing a style based on his imagination that fulfilled a personal need for expression involving religion and fantasy. His work is a primitive/naive style that varied in images.

Esteves lived in a building directly across from the Brooklyn Museum, which sponsored an annual outdoor art show.  The first year he entered art at the show, he sold some of his paintings and also won a prize.

In 1976 the Brooklyn Museum exhibited one of Esteve's paintings where gallery owner Stephen Gemberling liked what he observed and became his agent.  Esteves completed approximately 150 paintings during his later part of life, which were painted on various materials including recycled wood panels, boards and canvas.  He used many types of paint including house paint left over from apartment renovations that he did not have to pay for.  His art work can be found in the collection of the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City.

Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century American Folk Art and Artists by Chuck and Jan Rosenack (1990).

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