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Henri Béhar

French writer. He took up writing as a career after studying medicine during World War I. He was mobilized in 1917 at the same time as his friend André Breton, with whom he had contributed poems to Pierre Reverdy’s Nord-Sud. His first critical article, ‘Du décor’, published in ...

Article

Greta Stroeh

French sculptor, painter, collagist, printmaker, and poet of German birth. The son of a German father and French Alsatian mother, he developed a cosmopolitan outlook from an early age and as a mature artist maintained close contact with the avant-garde throughout Europe. He was a pioneer of ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 16 September 1886, in Strasbourg; died 7 June 1966, in Basel.

Collage artist, engraver, sculptor, draughtsman, illustrator, poet.

Dadaism.

Der Moderne Bund, Dadaist groups in Zurich and Cologne, Artistes Radicaux, Das Neue Leben, Paris Surrealist Group, Abstraction-Création.

Hans Arp joined the École des Arts et Métiers in Strasbourg in 1902, at the age of 16. In 1903 he began painting and contributed to a local magazine. In 1904 he made his first trip to Paris. From 1905 to 1907 he studied under Ludwig von Hoffmann at the fine arts academy in Weimar, where he attended modern art exhibitions. He returned to Strasbourg, which his family then left for Weggis, on the edge of the Lac des Quatre Cantons in Switzerland. Between 1908 and 1910 he made a second trip to Paris and worked for a time at the Académie Julian. In Weggis he completed his first Abstract compositions and learned the art of modelling. In 1911 he co-founded the group...

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Born 21 June 1876, in Stuttgart; died 15 January 1955, in Bavaria.

Architect, photomontage artist, collage artist, writer.

Dadaism.

Johannes Baader, who was active as an artist for three years, from 1918 to 1921, was a former architect who had created the plans for the famous Hagenbeck Zoo in Stellingen. After the age of 40, he became a follower and champion of the Dada movement in Berlin, calling himself ...

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Born in Cologne; died 1927, in the Tyrol.

Poet, collage artist, photomontage artist.

Dadaism.

Johannes Baargeld was the son of a banker from Cologne and was involved in the revolutionary unrest following World War I as one of the founders of the Communist party in the Rhineland. He established a left-wing extremist newspaper of art and politics, ...

Article

German collagist, draughtsman, writer and publisher. Although he came from an upper middle-class family, after serving as a volunteer in World War I he became a pacifist and a supporter of democratic socialism on Soviet lines. In 1918 he began a political career as a committee member of the mid-Rhine district of the Independent Social-Democratic Party, a Marxist party that had split from the Social-Democratic Party of Germany. The short-lived journal he edited, ...

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Active in Switzerland.

Born 1886, in Pirmassens; died 1927, in San Abbondio, Switzerland.

Mixed media, poet.

Dadaism.

Zurich Dadaist.

Ball was a poet, producer and founder of the Dada movement in Zurich. His Cabaret Voltaire brought together all the intellectuals and artists in exile, who, at the height of the war in ...

Article

Peter W. Guenther

German writer and performer . After studying sociology and philosophy at the universities of Munich and Heidelberg he began working as a stage manager at the theatre in Plauen in 1910. He wrote a number of plays while in Munich in 1912. He also wrote poetry and was charged with obscenity for his poem ...

Article

Henri Béhar

French writer. While still an adolescent he came under the influence of Paul Valéry and Gustave Moreau, who for a long period were to influence his perception of beauty. From that time on, his poetic creation interrelated with his reflections on art, which like Gide’s were conditioned by a moral code. He considered that it is not possible to write for a living, but only from interior necessity; in the same way, painting must always derive from an irrepressible need for self-expression. These criteria guided Breton both in his dealings with the ...

Article

Belgian, 20th century, male.

Born 1896, in Termonde; died 1965, in Antwerp.

Painter, poet.

Dadaism.

Primarily an Expressionist poet, Gaston Burssens wrote several collections of poems. His painting was Expressionist at the outset, later developing into Dadaistic and Surrealist figuration.

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1884, in Naples; died 1977, in Livorno (Tuscany).

Poet, draughtsman, painter, watercolourist, sculptor.

Dadaism, Futurism.

Francesco Cangiullo was the elder brother of Pasquale Cangiullo. He participated in the Dada activities at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich in around 1919. His friends Marinetti and Balla involved him in Futurist activities. He wrote theoretical works about Futurist theatre and became artistic director of the Compania del Teatro della Sorpresa. He was also a poet, and in ...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

Portuguese painter and poet. He studied fine art and music and in 1942 took part in the meetings at the Café Herminius of a group of students, including Cruzeiro Seixas and Fernando de Azevedo, engaged in Dada activities. His writings for Júlio Pomar’s art page in the newspaper ...

Article

Allan Doig

Dutch painter, architect, designer and writer. He was officially registered as the son of Wilhelm Küpper and Henrietta Catharina Margadant, but he was so convinced that his mother’s second husband, Theodorus Doesburg, was his father that he took his name. Little is known of his early life, but he began painting naturalistic subjects ...

Article

Francis M. Naumann

French painter, sculptor and writer, active also in the USA. The art and ideas of Duchamp, perhaps more than those of any other 20th-century artist, have served to exemplify the range of possibilities inherent in a more conceptual approach to the art-making process. Not only is his work of historical importance—from his early experiments with Cubism to his association with Dada and Surrealism—but his conception of the ready-made decisively altered our understanding of what constitutes an object of art. Duchamp refused to accept the standards and practices of an established art system, conventions that were considered essential to attain fame and financial success: he refused to repeat himself, to develop a recognizable style or to show his work regularly. It is the more theoretical aspects implicit to both his art and life that have had the most profound impact on artists later in the century, allowing us to identify Duchamp as one of the most influential artists of the modern era....

Article

Swedish draughtsman, film maker, painter and writer. After a limited education in Sweden he emigrated to Germany in 1897, where he received a commercial training at Flensburg that year. Around 1900 he began work as a bookkeeper at a watch factory in Le Locle in Switzerland, and from ...

Article

Valerie Holman

French writer and collector. He was an innovative poet and was intimately involved with the Surrealist movement from its inception. He maintained a lasting friendship with Max Ernst, and his first wife Gala later married Salvador Dalí. He counted Pablo Picasso as one of his closest friends and dedicated more poems to him than to any other artist. Surrealist painters constantly stressed the importance of the inspiration they derived from the poets in their circle, in which Eluard was a central figure, largely because of his great sensitivity to the ways in which art and language could enhance each other. Not only did he publish numerous works dedicated to contemporary artists—notably ...

Article

German, 19th – 20th century, female.

Active from 1910 active in the USA.

Born 1874, in Swinemünde (now Swinoujscie, Poland); died 14 December 1927, in Paris.

Sculptor of assemblages, poet.

Dadaism.

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven returned to Berlin in 1923, having spent the years from 1910...

Article

Daniel Robbins

French painter, printmaker and writer. He grew up in Courbevoie, a suburb of Paris, and as a student at the Collège Chaptal became interested in theatre and painting. At 19, his father put him to work in the family interior design and fabric business, an experience that contributed to a lifelong respect for skilled workmanship. The first paintings he exhibited, at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris in ...

Article

Timothy O. Benson

Austrian photomontagist, painter, photographer, printmaker, writer, and theorist. He trained in the academic artistic tradition under his father, Victor Hausmann (1859–1920). In 1900 he went to Berlin, where he later became a central figure in Dada. His important friendship with the eccentric architect and mystical artist Johannes Baader (...

Article

Richard Sheppard

German writer, painter and doctor. He met Hugo Ball in 1912 and became involved with the Munich circle associated with the journal Revolution and Franz Pfemfert’s circle in Berlin associated with Die Aktion. Huelsenbeck moved to Zurich in February 1916, becoming a central member of the ...