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Rodolphe Rapetti

French writer and critic. His fictional work developed rapidly from a naturalist concept of the novel (e.g. Chair molle, Paris, 1885) to a symbolist one (e.g. Etre, Paris, 1888). As an art critic, he played an important role in the first years of ...

Article

Kirk Ambrose

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in ...

Article

Anne van Loo

He was a pupil of the Symbolist painter Jean Delville but started using geometric forms after discovering the work of František Kupka. In 1923 he began to collaborate on the avant-garde journal 7 Arts together with Pierre-Louis Flouquet (1900–67) and Karel Maes (...

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Charlotte Humphreys

He was a leading theorist and poet of the Russian Symbolist movement. In Russia Symbolism embraced a whole idealistic philosophy, strongly influenced by the eschatological and mystical teachings of Vladimir Solovyov (1853–1900) and by the belief, at the turn of the century, that Russia was on the threshold of a new era. The second generation of Russian Symbolist writers—Vyacheslav Ivanov, Aleksandr Blok and Andrey Bely—shared Solovyov’s Platonic concept that this world was merely a shadow of another, real, world to be intuitively divined and revealed by the poet. The anthroposophy of ...

Article

Catherine Cooke

Russian poet and theorist. He is generally seen as the leader of the Russian Symbolist movement in non-visual arts, but he was also closely associated with Symbolist painters and graphic artists through the glossy journals that were mouthpieces for their synthesist philosophy. Thus during 1901–04...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 19 January 1913, in Ben Chicao, Algeria; died 4 November 1997, in Clermont-Ferrand.

Painter, lithographer, writer.

Symbolism.

School of Algiers.

René-Jean Clot was a painter prior to becoming a well-known writer. He spent three years studying law in Algiers before moving to Paris, where he was a pupil of Gromaire, Othon Friesz and Despiau at the Académie Scandinave. During this period, his ...

Article

Belgian, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 19 January 1867, in Louvain; died 1953, in Brussels.

Painter, draughtsman, illustrator, writer. Figure compositions, figures. Murals.

Symbolism.

Jean Delville was a pupil of Portaels at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. He began exhibiting with the group Flight...

Article

Lebanese, 20th century, male.

Active then naturalised in the USA.

Born 6 January 1883, in Bécharré; died 10 April 1931, in New York.

Painter, watercolourist, draughtsman, sculptor, poet. Figures, portraits.

Symbolism.

Together with his family, Khalil Gibran left the Lebanon at the age of 12, and settled in Boston, where his artistic talent brought him to the attention of well-known writers and artists. He had to return to the Lebanon in ...

Article

Henri Béhar

French writer. His opinions were formed by his knowledge of Stéphane Mallarmé and Symbolism, and he counted figurative art among the Nourritures terrestres (Paris, 1897). This work, together with the novel Les Faux-monnayeurs (Paris, 1926), confirmed him as an intellectual master to several generations in search of freedom. Although he did not write extensively about the aesthetic of his era, Gide was associated with painters throughout his life, especially those he met in the 1890s, such as Gauguin, Denis, Bonnard, Redon and Van Rysselberghe. He also collected works by these artists, buying ...

Article

Julius Kaplan

Belgian painter, illustrator, sculptor, designer, photographer and writer. He was one of the foremost Symbolist artists and active supporters of avant-garde art in late 19th-century Belgium. His wealthy family lived in Bruges from 1859 to 1864, moved to Brussels in 1865, where Khnopff remained until his death, and spent their summers at a country home in Fosset, in the Ardennes. Fosset inspired numerous landscapes that owe a strong debt to Barbizon-style realism (see ...

Article

French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 8 August 1874, in Lachapelle-aux-Pots; died August 1966, in Le Mans.

Painter, poet, musician.

Tristan Klingsor became known in 1895 for his poetry tinged with Symbolism and a certain humour. Previously he had tried his hand at musical composition. Despite his close friendship with Maurice Ravel, Klingsor began to move in the direction of the visual arts but without abandoning his poetry. He studied at the École du Louvre in Paris. He was in turn a landscape painter, a portraitist, and a painter of still-lifes, and proved to be a moving painter of reality. He also wrote some critical studies, notably on Chardin, Hubert-Robert and Cézanne....

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 23 February 1927, in Damelevières (Meurthe-et-Moselle).

Painter, sculptor, illustrator, draughtsman, writer. Interiors with figures, still-lifes, urban landscapes. Murals.

Symbolism.

Initially a teacher, then an advisory counsellor, Marchal moved to Paris, where he attended the Académie de la Grande-Chaumière and received guidance from Ossip Zadkine. He settled in Arras and then in Castres. He was a member of several societies and groups of the Commission Nationale d'Étude de la Pédagogie du Dessin. He was the author of a ...

Article

French writer, theorist and critic. Writing under the pseudonym of Camille Mauclair, his first book was Eleusis (1894). Though a comparative latecomer to Symbolism, he here expounded his version of its aesthetic. He broadly defined the symbol as ‘tout ce qui paraît’ and emphasized the importance of the dream. Mostly the work is influenced by Stéphane Mallarmé, whom he greatly admired, and is, in its philosophical aspects, derived from Arthur Schopenhauer. He was sympathetic to the Pre-Raphaelites, Edward Burne-Jones and others in England, and saw the Symbolists as achieving similar results in France....

Article

French critic. He was greatly interested in Symbolism, and in Le Mouvement idéaliste en peinture (Paris, 1896) he charted the rise of ‘idealist art’, claiming that the idealist movement had first publicly emerged at the Exposition des Peintres du Groupe Impressionniste et Synthétiste, organized by the Pont-Aven group at the Café Volpini, Paris, in ...

Article

Dutch painter, theorist, and draughtsman. His work marks the transition at the start of the 20th century from the Hague school and Symbolism to Neo-Impressionism and Cubism. His key position within the international avant-garde is determined by works produced after 1920. He set out his theory in the periodical of ...

Article

Franco Bernabei

Italian critic. His taste was influenced by Symbolism, as can be seen in several areas of his work: the volume entitled Arte aristocratica (Naples, 1892), the studies on contemporary literature written in 1896, his translation and introduction of the Symbolist poem Belkiss by the Portuguese writer Eugénio de Castro, and his strong interest in Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé. From ...

Article

American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 19 March 1847, in New Bedford (Massachusetts); died 28 March 1917, in Elmhurst (New York).

Painter, writer. Figures, landscapes, seascapes.

Symbolism.

Albert Pinkham Ryder was born and brought up in the whaling port made famous by Herman Melville, but came with his family to New York in 1867. He received advice from the engraver William E. Marshall, who had studied in Paris. In 1972 he enrolled at the National Academy in New York. In 1877 he was one of the founders of the Society of American Artists; in 1902 became an associate member of the National Academy and a full member in 1906. He was awarded a silver medal in Buffalo in 1901. He travelled to Europe on several occasions but gradually abandoned painting....

Article

Lithuanian, 20th century, male.

Active in Germany.

Born 11 September 1892, in Kaukehmen (now Jasnoje) or Tilsit (now Sovetsk); died 1982.

Painter, draughtsman, poet.

Symbolism.

The details of Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern's biography are not easy to check and are known essentially from the artist himself. He was apparently born into a large family, and his father was a postilion. He was placed in a reform school at an early age, and his various professions - circus stable boy, smuggler, healer - made for a colourful existence. More certain information is available from the periods spent in prison and psychiatric hospitals that punctuated his life....

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 28 March 1909, in Paris; died 2 July 1990, in Paris.

Painter, sculptor, poet. Figures, landscapes.

Symbolism.

Sébastien trained at the École Boulle in Paris from 1924 to 1928. He was initially interested in decoration and architecture, then photography, and taught himself to paint and sculpt. He travelled in Morocco, Yugoslavia (now Serbia and Montenegro) and Venice, as well as on French soil, in Brittany. In ...

Article

Danish, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1864; died 1937.

Painter, designer, art writer. Portraits, genre scenes.

Symbolism.

Harald was the husband of Agnes Slott-Möller. An idealist and neo-Romantic who was strongly influenced by the English Pre-Raphaelites, Harald Slott-Mötter is noted for several portraits of the Danish writer and literary critic Georg Brandes....