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David Anfam

Term applied to a movement in American painting that flourished in the 1940s and 1950s, sometimes referred to as the New York School or, very narrowly, as Action painting, although it was first coined in relation to the work of Vasily Kandinsky in 1929. The works of the generation of artists active in New York from the 1940s and regarded as Abstract Expressionists resist definition as a cohesive style; they range from ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Active in the USA from 1933.

Born 19 March 1888, in Bottrop (Westphalia), Germany; died 25 March 1976, in New Haven (Connecticut).

Painter.

Post-painterly Abstraction, Op Art.

American Abstract Artists (AAA).

Josef Albers joined the fine art academy in Berlin in 1913. He trained as an art teacher there in 1915, before continuing his studies at the school of applied arts in Essen from 1916 to 1919 and in Munich. In 1920 he became a student at the Bauhaus, which had just opened in Weimar the previous year. In 1923, just before the Bauhaus moved to its new premises in Dessau, Gropius appointed him a teacher, initially in the stained glass workshop on the basis of experiments he had been conducting since 1921 in ‘pictures of coloured glass’, and then in the furniture workshop, where he created industrial prototypes, most notably an armchair made from shaped laminated wood, dating from 1928. In 1928 Albers took over management of the preliminary course (‘Vorkurs’) founded by Johannes Itten....

Article

Ilene Susan Fort

American group of painters and sculptors formed in 1936 in New York. Their aim was to promote American abstract art. Similar to the Abstraction–Création group in Europe, this association introduced the public to American abstraction through annual exhibitions, publications and lectures. It also acted as a forum for abstract artists to share ideas. The group, whose first exhibition was held in ...

Article

Kenneth W. Prescott

American painter, printmaker and sculptor. He trained at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, OH (1948–53), and under Albers family, §1 at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture in New Haven, CT (1953–5). In his paintings of the late 1940s and early 1950s he depicted everyday city life, as in ...

Article

Robert Saltonstall Mattison

American painter. Baziotes was brought up in Reading, PA, by his Greek immigrant parents. When his father’s business failed in the mid-1920s, he was exposed to poverty and the life of illegal gambling dens and local brothels, all of which later contributed to the spirit of evil lurking in his paintings. In the early 1930s he worked briefly for a company specializing in stained glass for churches, which may have affected the mysterious and translucent painted environments in his later canvases. His early interest in poetry was heightened by his close friendship with the Reading poet Byron Vazakas, who introduced him to the work of ...

Article

Henry Adams

American painter, illustrator, and lithographer. One of the most controversial personalities in American art, both in his lifetime and today, Thomas Hart Benton was a key figure in the American Regionalist movement of the 1930s, when he focused on working-class American subject-matter and was outspoken in his denunciation of European modern painting. Today he is best remembered for this phase of his life, and much criticized because of it. But Benton’s long career is not easily reduced to a single moment or achievement: his legacy was more complex. As a young struggling artist in Paris and New York, he was a leading American modernist and abstractionist, and in his early maturity he became the teacher and lifelong father figure for Jackson Pollock, the most famous of the Abstract Expressionists. He was also a major American writer, who wrote on art and whose autobiography of ...

Article

Roy R. Behrens

American painter and theorist. Biederman worked as a graphic designer for several years before studying art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1926 to 1929. A week after his arrival he saw a painting by Cézanne that greatly influenced his subsequent thought. He lived in New York from ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1 July 1907, in St Petersburg; died 1984, in New York.

Painter, sculptor.

Groups: The Ten, American Abstract Artists (AAA).

Ilya Bolotowsky studied in Baku (in present-day Azerbaijan), then in a French institution in Constantinople. He arrived in the USA in ...

Article

Joyce Zemans

Canadian painter, critic and writer of English birth. He emigrated in 1905 to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. In 1921 he moved to Toronto to work as an editor and publisher. He is best known as a pioneer of abstract painting in Canada. His show (...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1907, in Yonkers (New York); died 1961, in New York.

Painter (including gouache/tempera), draughtsman. Figures.

American Abstract Artists (AAA).

Byron George Browne was influenced by the work of John Graham, Arshile Gorky and Willem de Kooning. He was a founding member in 1936 of the American Abstract Artists group, an organisation based in New York that was dedicated to the exhibition of abstract art. Browne often specialised in colourful still-life paintings in the Synthetic Cubist style. Although an abstract painter, he seldom painted works that did not contain references to figures or nature, distilling them into geometric shapes, as in his tempera painting ...