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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

Rigmor Lovring

(b Copenhagen, Dec 24, 1909; d Halmstad, Sept 13, 1957).

Danish painter and writer. He was the son of the art historian and museum director Carl V. Petersen (1868–1938), who introduced him to the visual arts at an early age. His extensive knowledge of art history had a considerable influence on the development of his paintings and artistic theories. He had private painting lessons before beginning studies at the Kunstakademi in Oslo in 1929. In 1930–31 he studied with Paul Klee, Vasily Kandinsky and Oskar Schlemmer at the Bauhaus in Dessau, after which he returned to Denmark inspired by new conceptions of a completely abstract art. He became a central figure in Danish artistic life in the 1930s. He was a founder-member of the Danish artists’ group Linien (The Line) in 1933, at that time an association of abstract and Surrealist artists, and he edited the group’s journal of the same name.

Bjerke-Petersen was an active artistic experimenter. He favoured Constructivist abstraction at the beginning of the 1930s. His ideas, based on first-hand knowledge of the newest international developments in the art of the time, as for example in the Bauhaus-influenced ...

Article

Harry Rand

[Adoian, Vosdanig Manoog]

(b Dzov, Turkish Armenia, April 15, 1904; d Sherman, CT, July 21, 1948).

American painter of Armenian birth. One of the most illustrious artists of the post-war New York School, he began his life in possibly the most obscure circumstances of any international modern master. His father emigrated to the USA to avoid conscription into the Turkish Army in World War I; in the Turkish persecution of the Armenians, Gorky’s mother died in her son’s arms after a 120-mile march. With his sister (who later figured prominently in his paintings) Gorky made his way to the coast and then, by ship, to the USA, arriving at New York in April 1920.

Gorky settled into a community of Armenians in New England and attempted a reconciliation with his father, but when that failed he moved from Massachusetts to New York City (c. 1925). There he assumed his pseudonym, claiming to be a cousin of the Russian writer, Maksim Gor’ky whose name, however, was a ...

Article

German, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 22 September 1874, in Fürth (Bavaria).

Painter, draughtsman, pastellist.

Surrealist, then Abstract.

Ferdinand Götz attended the academy in Munich and studied under C. von Marr. A few of his pastel portraits, drawings and oil paintings featured at the Munich Secession in ...

Article

Ferenc Tóth

(b Bia, nr Budapest, Dec 8, 1922; d Paris, Sept 11, 2008).

Hungarian painter, active in France. He began his studies at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest, in 1941 under Vilmos Aba-Novák (1894–1941) and Béla Kontuly (1904–83). At this time he started to experiment with various techniques, including washing out figures from a basic colour with a brush dipped in water, and scratching out outlines in thick, almost dry paint with a pointed instrument. This anticipated his later methods of production, influenced by Max Ernst. In 1947 he had an exhibition of selected works at the Budapest Forum Salon. His painting On the Balcony (1947–8; Pécs, Mod. Hung. Mus.) has a hallucinatory quality, which represents the transition to his Surrealist works of the 1950s. In 1948 Hantai visited Italy and in 1949 he settled permanently in Paris. At the end of 1952 he became acquainted with André Breton, who wrote the preface to the catalogue of Hantai’s first French exhibition, held in ...

Article

Leena Peltola

(b Turku, Aug 9, 1904; d Turku, June 22, 1955).

Finnish painter. He studied at the Drawing School of the Turku Arts Association from 1920 to 1924. He initially concentrated on human subjects, using dense tones, and his paintings attracted attention at the Finnish art exhibition in Stockholm in 1929. His earliest stimulus came from his teacher Edwin Lydén (1879–1956)—also from Turku—who had become familiar with the work of Paul Klee and Kurt Schwitters in Munich. Mäkilä’s style changed during his first trip to Paris in 1930–31. He began to concentrate on his individual vision in preference to painting from the model, creating fantastic, dream-like images with a refined use of colour. In 1939 Alvar Aalto helped him to obtain an invitation to the La Sarraz castle in Switzerland, whose owner, Hélène de Mandrot, was a generous patron. There he again came into contact with international art. Around this time he produced the significant works Poésie (1938...

Article

José Corredor-Matheos

(b Barcelona, April 20, 1893; d Palma de Mallorca, Dec 25, 1983).

Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker and decorative artist (see fig.). He was never closely aligned with any movement and was too retiring in his manner to be the object of a personality cult, like his compatriot Picasso, but the formal and technical innovations that he sustained over a very long career guaranteed his influence on 20th-century art. A pre-eminent figure in the history of abstraction and an important example to several generations of artists around the world, he remained profoundly attached to the specific circumstances and environment that shaped his art in his early years. An acute balance of sophistication and innocence and a deeply rooted conviction about the relationship between art and nature lie behind all his work and account in good measure for the wide appeal that his art has continued to exercise across many of the usual barriers of style.

Article

Ronald Alley

(b Montreal, bapt Oct 7, 1923; d Île-aux-Grues, Quebec City, Mar 13, 2002).

Canadian painter and sculptor. From an early age he drew extensively and painted landscapes from nature. From 1939 to 1941 he studied at Montreal Polytechnic while also taking a correspondence course in architecture. He temporarily abandoned painting in 1941, but from 1943 to 1945 he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Montreal and at the Ecole du Meuble, where he spent most of his time. He and like-minded painters, later known as Automatistes, Les, met regularly in the studio of Paul-Emile Borduas, one of the teachers at the Ecole du Meuble, to discuss their ideas and in particular their interest from c. 1945 in abstract art, Surrealism and automatic techniques.

Riopelle first visited Paris in 1946, and in 1947 he decided to settle there. He was included by André Breton and Marcel Duchamp in the last major group show of the Surrealist movement at the Galerie Maeght in 1947...

Article

Shigeo Chiba

(b Toyama, Toyama Prefect., Dec 7, 1903; d Tokyo, Jan 1, 1979).

Japanese writer and critic. He was already fascinated by Surrealism when he graduated from the English Department of Keio University, Tokyo, in 1931, and had translated André Breton’s Le Surréalisme et la peinture (Paris, 1928) in 1930. He also had a profound concern for the visual arts, regarding Surrealism as a ‘metamorphosis of the power of poetry’. In his major work Kindai geijutsu (‘Modern art’) he discussed the opposition between abstract art and Surrealism as a means of identifying the nature of contemporary art. Because of his involvement with art movements, in 1941, with Ichirō Fukuzawa, he was arrested by the political police, who regarded Surrealism as a branch of the Communist Party, and he was detained for eight months.

After World War II and particularly during the 1950s, Takiguchi continued to be involved with art movements and wrote criticism in which he showed a sharp sensitivity capable of detecting the contemporary vanguard. His translations of work by ...

Article

Lourdes Cirlot

(b Barcelona, Dec 13, 1923; d Barcelona, February 6, 2012).

Spanish Catalan painter, draughtsman, printmaker and sculptor. He was encouraged by his home environment to form an early interest in cultural and intellectual matters, especially in music and literature; his father was a lawyer and his mother came from a family of booksellers. He first came into contact with contemporary art as a teenager through the magazine D’Ací i D’Allà, published in Barcelona, and during the Spanish Civil War (1936–9), while he was still at school, he taught himself to draw and paint. As early as 1942, when he was recovering from a lung infection, he produced pictures clearly influenced by van Gogh and Picasso (e.g. Figure, 1945; Barcelona, Josep Gudiol priv. col., see Cirici, 1971, p. 67); during this period of enforced rest and tranquillity he dedicated most of his time to reading French and Russian novels. In 1944 he began studying law at Barcelona University while also attending evening classes in drawing at the Academia Valls....