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Greta Stroeh

[Jean] (Peter Wilhelm)

(b Strassburg, Germany [now Strasbourg, France], Sept 16, 1886; d Basle, Switzerland, June 7, 1966).

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 abstract art and one of the founders of Dada in Zurich, but he also participated actively in both Surrealism and Constructivism. While he prefigured junk art and the Fluxus movement in his incorporation of waste material, it was through his investigation of biomorphism and of chance and accident that he proved especially influential on later 20th-century art in liberating unconscious creative forces.

Following a brief period at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Strasbourg (1900–01), Arp received instruction from 1901 from a friend and neighbour, the painter and printmaker Georges Ritleng (1875–1972). He then attended the Kunstschule in Weimar (1904–7) and the Académie Julian in Paris (...

Article

Lesley Ma

[Zhuang Zhe]

(b Peking [now Beijing], Dec 12, 1934).

Taiwanese painter of Chinese birth, active also in the USA. Chuang Che was a son of Chuang Yen (1899–1980), the calligrapher, connoisseur, and chief custodian of the Chinese imperial art collection, who moved his family alongside the national treasures after the eruption of the Sino-Japanese war in 1937, settling in Taiwan in 1948, and becoming the first deputy director of the National Palace Museum in Taipei in 1965. In 1958 Chuang Che graduated from the Art Department of what later became the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei and joined the Fifth Moon Group (Wuyue huahui), a leading modernist painting society in postwar Taiwan.

Chuang’s solid foundation in Chinese calligraphy and painting acquired through his upbringing prompted him to seek alternative ways to continue the legacy. In his early career, he made expressionist, mostly abstract, oil paintings, deliberately avoiding the familiar Chinese materials of ink and brush. Inspired by the abstract paintings of ...

Article

Chitqua  

David Clarke

[Tan Chet-qua; Chen]

(b possibly 1728; d Guangzhou, 1796).

Chinese portrait modeler. Chitqua ran a business in Guangzhou making portrait figurines for clients among the Western traders. His statuettes (generally around a foot or so in height, and thus easily portable) were executed in the medium of unfired clay subsequently painted. Chitqua’s work is characterized by a realism which places emphasis on accurately individualized representation of facial features and attention to detail in the treatment of dress. Similar figurines, albeit of lesser sophistication, exist from earlier in the 18th century.

Chitqua visited London between 1769 and c. 1772. He produced a number of figurines and (reportedly) busts during his time in England, and attained a high degree of social celebrity, meeting King George III and many prominent individuals. James Boswell and Josiah Wedgwood both record meeting Chitqua, for instance, and the latter also sat for a portrait, which is lost today. Regarded in England as an artist rather than an artisan, he exhibited one of his portrait sculptures in the second Royal Academy exhibition (...

Article

(b New York, April 1, 1933; d Riverhead, NY, Nov 29, 1996).

American installation artist and painter. His father intended him to become a priest and from 1947 to 1952 he attended a seminary in Brooklyn, New York. In 1954 he studied at the University of Maryland Extension Program in Osan-Ni in Korea and in 1956 at the New College for Social Research in New York. He continued these art history studies in 1957–9 at Columbia University, New York, but was self-taught as an artist. His early work of the late 1950s and early 1960s was influenced by contemporary American art and included paintings with added objects.

By 1961 Flavin had begun to make Minimalist works using incandescent or fluorescent electric lights, such as Icon I (1961; see 1969 exh. cat., p. 125), which consisted of a monochrome painted wooden square with a fluorescent light mounted on the top edge. He frequently dedicated pieces to historic and contemporary art figures who inspired him. A series of ‘monuments’ dedicated to Russian Constructivist Vladimir Tatlin extended this technique into what became his mature style: installations, usually temporary, using white or coloured fluorescent light tubes (...

Article

Renato Barilli

(b Rosario, Santa Fé, Feb 19, 1899; d Comabbio, nr Varese, Sept 7, 1968).

Italian painter, sculptor and theorist of Argentine birth. He moved with his family to Milan in 1905 but followed his father back to Buenos Aires in 1922 and there established his own sculpture studio in 1924. On settling again in Milan he trained from 1928 to 1930 at the Accademia di Brera, where he was taught by the sculptor Adolfo Wildt; Wildt’s devotion to the solemn and monumental plasticity of the Novecento Italiano group epitomized the qualities against which Fontana was to react in his own work. Fontana’s sculpture The Harpooner (gilded plaster, h. 1.73 m, 1934; Milan, Renzo Zavanella priv. col., see 1987 exh. cat., p. 118) is typical of his work of this period, with a dynamic nervousness in the thin shape of the weapon poised to deliver a final blow and in the coarse and formless plinth. Soon afterwards, together with other northern Italian artists such as Fausto Melotti, Fontana abandoned any lingering Novecento elements in favour of a strict and coherent form of abstraction. In ...

Article

Éva Bajkay

(b Budapest, April 15, 1936).

Hungarian painter, conceptual artist and teacher. By 1956 he was familiar with most modernist tendencies. In 1960 he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest, having already taken part in exhibitions as an undergraduate. Lakner’s unique Hungarian mixture of Surrealism and naturalism was primarily influenced by the Hungarian painter Tibor Csernus (b 1927). Lakner’s first works were precisely executed naturalistic life studies and still-lifes, imbued with a magical quality (e.g. Scraps of Metal, 1960; Budapest, priv. col.). In other works repetition and density are used to create special effects. From 1962 the influence of Pop art is apparent in his works representing everyday objects, which lacked emotional or personal meaning (e.g. Microscopes, 1960; Budapest, N.G.). Dark tones and metallic shadows characterize his use of colour. Robert Rauschenberg’s art was influential after Lakner saw it at the Venice Biennale of 1964. He was also influenced by montage, in particular John Heartfield’s Dada and Neo-Dada works. He drew upon his knowledge of art history for such montages as ...

Article

Iliana Cepero

(b Rio de Janeiro, 1960).

Brazilian painter, mixed media artist, and installation artist. From 1980 to 1982 she studied at the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage in Rio de Janeiro. Some of her fellow students were the painters Adriana Varejão and Daniel Senise (b 1955). Milhazes belongs to a generation of Brazilian artists who emerged in the 1980s and returned to painting. Some of these artists were Leda Catunda (b 1961), Jac Leirner, Cristina Canale (b 1961), José Leonilson (1957–1993), along with Varejão and Senise.

Her work is characterized by the use of vibrant colors and kaleidoscopic motifs drawn from Brazilian visual culture, including the floats and costumes of carnival, antique lacework, Baroque architecture, ceramics, and music. Her recurring set of circular, linear, and symmetrical colorful forms are carefully distributed inside a grid structure. She found inspiration in a wide variety of artists and movements, in Brazil and abroad, including Tarsila, Matisse, Bridget Riley, Sonia Delaunay, Mondrian, Cruz Diez, Constructivism, and geometric abstraction....