Girl in blue signed and dated 'Y. Grillo / 63' (lower right) oil on composition board 81 x 52.5cm (31 7/8 x 20 11/16in).
Born in 1934 in the Brazilian quarters of Lagos, Yusuf Grillo went on to become one of the most influential figures in Nigerian art. After studying extensively in Nigeria and the UK, Grillo became the Head of the Department of Art and Printing at Yaba College of Technology, a post he retained for more than 25 years. In Nigeria, Grillo's stained glass and mosaic works have been commissioned for a number of public buildings including churches, universities, government buildings and the Murtala Mohammed International airport.
Grillo is not a prolific painter, but as a member of the Zaria School, he is among Nigeria's most important artists. It can take him months or even years to work a painting to a state where he is comfortable letting it go. He takes his subject matter from human activity in the world around him, particularly the Yoruba world.
"Grillo avoids photographic realism. Instead, he stylizes and elongates the figures in his painting who [sic] are easily identified by their slimness, elegance and grace which, according to him, represent the contemporary ideal of beauty in an urban setting."
BIBLIOGRAPHY: P. Chike Dike and P. Oyelola (eds.) Master of Masters Yusuf Grillo: His Life and Works, (Nigeria, 2006), p.53