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Hans Frei

(b Winterthur, Dec 22, 1908; d Zurich, Dec 9, 1994).

Swiss architect, sculptor, painter, industrial designer, graphic designer and writer. He attended silversmithing classes at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich from 1924 to 1927. Then, inspired by the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (1925), Paris, by the works of Le Corbusier and by a competition entry (1927) for the Palace of the League of Nations, Geneva, by Hannes Meyer and Hans Wittwer (1894–1952), he decided to become an architect and enrolled in the Bauhaus, Dessau, in 1927. He studied there for two years as a pupil of Josef Albers, László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Klee and Vasily Kandinsky, mainly in the field of ‘free art’. In 1929 he returned to Zurich. After working on graphic designs for the few modern buildings being constructed, he built his first work, his own house and studio (1932–3) in Zurich-Höngg; although this adheres to the principles of the new architecture, it retains echoes of the traditional, for example in the gently sloping saddle roof....


Júlíana Gottskálksdóttir

(b Strýta, HamarsfjörÐur, Nov 15, 1892; d 1993).

Icelandic painter. On completing his apprenticeship as a goldsmith in 1919, Jónsson studied painting in Copenhagen (1919–21) and in Germany, at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin (1921–5), and Der Weg, Schule für Neue Kunst, Dresden (1922–5). In 1922 he started producing Cubist and geometric paintings, both abstract and with figurative elements. In 1925, the year he returned to Iceland, he showed works of this kind at Der Sturm-Galerie in Berlin. Despite the stylistic connections with, for instance, Constructivism, the content of Jónsson’s geometric works is largely subjective, and the significance of the forms both symbolic and aesthetic. The Dice of Fate (1925; Reykjavík, N.G.), for example, is an abstract geometric work, marked by the interplay of two-dimensional forms and planes and depth brought out by the use of colour. The basic geometric forms unite to create a dice, a sphere and a ray, and take on a symbolic meaning in the artist’s interpretation of existential questions suggested by the title....