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Article

Ađalsteinn Ingólfsson

(b Reykjavík, Feb 4, 1922).

Icelandic painter, writer and designer. He studied engineering in 1941–2 at the University of Iceland, Reykjavík, and architecture privately. He then studied at the Icelandic School of Arts and Crafts (Myndlista-og handíÐaskóli Íslands), Reykjavík (until 1943), the Kongelige Kunstakademi in Copenhagen (1945–6), the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris (1947–8) and with Marcel Gromaire in Paris (1949–50). He promoted the movement towards abstract art in Iceland in 1948–52, particularly in its theoretical aspects.

Ágústsson came to geometric abstraction through an interest in Renaissance compositional theory and the theories of the Bauhaus. His meeting with Victor Vasarely in Paris in 1953 encouraged him to continue with a highly reductive series of paintings on which he had embarked shortly before. Later that year Ágústsson was one of the organizers of the Autumn Exhibition (Haustsýningin), the first group show of geometric abstraction in Iceland. At its opening he gave a lecture that became a kind of manifesto for the movement. He followed it up with a series of articles in the cultural review ...

Article

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....

Article

Bengt von Bonsdorff

(b Helsinki, Aug 19, 1924).

Finnish painter, sculptor and printmaker. He studied at the Central School of Industrial Arts in Helsinki (1946–9) and practised drawing at the Free Art School. His earliest work consisted mostly of figure drawings and still-lifes (e.g. the coloured wood engraving Chair Still-life, 1946; see 1982 exh. cat., no. 1). He was drawn to Synthetic Cubism in the spirit of Juan Gris and to faces and masks similar to those in the works of Picasso or in non-Western art. These representations soon gave way to the purely abstract. Nordström first exhibited in 1947 at Nuorten näyttely (‘Exhibition by young artists’; Helsinki, A. Exh. Hall). Two years later he held his first one-man exhibition. It was the first in Finland that consisted entirely of paintings influenced by Constructivism. Nordström developed his abstract programme in a very short time at the end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s. It was then that the foundation of his painting was laid, both technically and formally. This also applied to the prints and three-dimensional constructions, which were small at first (e.g. the coloured wood engraving ...