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Article

José Miguel Rojas

(b San José, June 1, 1907; d 1998).

Costa Rican engraver, painter, illustrator, draughtsman, writer and critic. He studied for a year from 1931 at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes but was otherwise initially self-taught, using Louis Gonse’s L’Art japonais (Paris, 1883) as a source. He produced a series of caricature drawings, influenced by Cubism, in the Album de dibujos de 1926. During 1929 he met the sculptors Juan Manuel Sánchez and Francisco Zúñiga (the latter was also a printmaker), and through his interest in German and Mexican Expressionist printmakers, he developed a passion for wood-engraving. His first wood-engravings were published in the periodical Repertorio Americano (1929). He went on to contribute wood-engravings and drawings to collections of short stories and poetry, educational books, periodicals and newspapers. In 1931 he taught drawing and wood-engraving at the Escuela Normal in Heredia. He exhibited at the Salones Anuales de Artes Plásticas in San José (1931–6...

Article

Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Watercolourist.

Ansa is a teacher of graphic arts and colour theory at the French Institute for the Restoration of Art. In the book The Eagle's Secret (Albin-Michel, 2000), Henri Gougaud describes the turbulent career of Luis Ansa, the 'painter-shaman'. He teaches oriental lacquering, wash procedures and painting in Paris. The Adac gallery and studio held a solo exhibition of his works in Paris in ...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Vila Nova de Gaia, Jan 17, 1923; d 2002).

Portuguese painter, graphic artist, critic and art administrator . In 1947 he was a founder-member of the Grupo Surrealista de Lisboa, with which he exhibited in 1949. By 1952 he was one of the few remaining members of the original group still involved in Surrealism. That year he held a large exhibition with two other artists, showing Occultations, photographs in which parts of the images were masked by overpainting. At the time he was more interested in the process of image-making, in the unconscious genesis of images and their internal rhythms, than in the result as an aesthetic object. From the mid-1950s, Azevedo’s paintings were almost entirely abstract and gestural, with greater overt affinities to lyrical abstraction than to automatism, for example Painting (1961; Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian). While in smaller works he often returned to the Surrealist use of collaged photographs introducing an element of shock or surprise, in his paintings there is an overriding interest in morphological dissolution and mutation, which remains lyrical rather than violent....

Article

Mariana Katzarova

(b Dolni Dŭbnik, nr Pleven, July 24, 1901; d Sofia, Jan 23, 1958).

Bulgarian cartoonist, illustrator, draughtsman, painter, teacher, editor and critic. In 1926 he studied painting at the Academy of Art, Sofia, and although he was later known for his paintings, he achieved greater fame as a political and social cartoonist and newspaper and magazine illustrator. His early cartoons are courageous commentaries on political events in Bulgaria from 1925 to 1934, wittily satirizing the monarchy and dictatorships. He also mocked the machinations of the various bourgeois political parties as they fought for power. Among his most celebrated cartoons are the Kidnapping of the Constitution and the Tsar’s Family, published in the Sofia newspapers Zemedelsko Zname and Sturetz, as well as Suvremennik and other left-wing publications. He also illustrated the series Spanish Chronicle (1936). In 1940 he began freelancing for the anti-Fascist satirical newspaper Sturshel (Sofia) and in 1941 became its editor. During World War II he executed many political cartoons opposing Fascism and Nazism (e.g. ...

Article

Roy R. Behrens

(Karel Joseph)

(b Cleveland, OH, Aug 23, 1906; d Red Wing, MN, Dec 26, 2004).

American painter and theorist. Biederman worked as a graphic designer for several years before studying art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1926 to 1929. A week after his arrival he saw a painting by Cézanne that greatly influenced his subsequent thought. He lived in New York from 1934 to 1940, except for a nine-month period in 1936–7 when he lived in Paris. He began to make reliefs in 1934. His visits in Paris to the studios of Mondrian, Georges Vantongerloo, César Domela and Antoine Pevsner made him aware of De Stijl, Neo-Plasticism, Abstraction-Création and Constructivism. He also met Léger, Miró, Arp, Kandinsky, Robert Delaunay, Alberto Giacometti, Picasso and Brancusi.

Shortly before returning to New York in 1938, Biederman made his first abstract reliefs, which he termed ‘non-mimetic’ (e.g. New York, Number 18, 1938; New York, Met.). In the same year, while visiting Chicago, he attended a seminar given by the Polish-born writer Alfred Korzybski, founder of the General Semantics Institute, which strongly influenced his later theories about history as an evolutionary process. He moved to Red Wing, near Minneapolis, MN, in ...

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

Catherine Cooke

(Yakovlevich)

(b Moscow, 1873; d Moscow, Oct 9, 1924).

Russian poet and theorist. He is generally seen as the leader of the Russian Symbolist movement in non-visual arts, but he was also closely associated with Symbolist painters and graphic artists through the glossy journals that were mouthpieces for their synthesist philosophy. Thus during 1901–04 he contributed to the literary section of Mir iskusstva (‘World of Art’), and from 1904 to 1909 he was editor of Vesy (‘The scales’); in 1906–07 he wrote for Zolotoye runo (‘Golden fleece’) and during 1909–11 for Apollon, as well as for several literary journals. Becoming aware as a student of the growing ‘decadent’ trend in European poetry he set out consciously in 1893 to lead such a movement in Russia, publishing three small poetry collections in 1894–5 with a schoolfriend, A. Miropolsky-Lang. His translations of European poets such as Paul Verlaine initially brought him more respect than his early poems. Drawing heavily on formal and technical innovations abroad, Bryusov developed a theory of artistic synthesis that emphasized technical precision and control of form over mimetic or theosophical concerns. This attention to detail and emphasis on the aesthetic was symptomatic of the ‘first generation’ of Russian Symbolists, who, under the leadership of Bryusov and Konstantin Bal’mont (...

Article

Jeremy Howard and Sergey Kuznetsov

(Dmitriyevich)

(b Saratov, Feb 25, 1905; d 1994).

Russian critic and art historian. His interests extended from the history of Russian graphic art to Western European art, particularly that of the 19th century, and during the Brezhnev era he possessed a virtual monopoly on the publication of books on the latter. Having first studied mathematics, he went on to gain a degree in the history and theory of art from Moscow University. He then began a career in museums, working first for the art historian Viktor Lazarev in the Dutch and French art departments of the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, then in the engravings department of the museum (1932–8). There he added important graphic works by Soviet artists to the collection, and this expression of loyalty to the Soviet state ensured his future career. His early achievements included co-organizing, in Moscow and Leningrad (now St Petersburg), jubilee exhibitions of graphic art (1932–3) dedicated to 15 years of Soviet power. His approach was expressed in ...

Article

Christian Michel

(b Paris, March 19, 1730; d Paris, March 7, 1809).

French engraver, illustrator and writer. He came from a poor family and trained with Guillaume Dheulland (c. 1700–c. 1770) by drawing cartouches for maps. He also had lessons from Pierre-Edmé Babel, a goldsmith and designer of ornament. Having designed mainly cartouches, coats of arms and various types of ornament in the 1750s, he gained recognition as a designer of culs-de-lampe and fleurons, which were considered indispensable for all lavishly produced books. In particular, he produced 57 illustrations for La Fontaine’s Contes in the Fermiers Généraux edition (Paris, 1762) and 38 fleurons and culs-de-lampe for Ovid’s Metamorphoses in Lemire’s and Bassan’s edition (Paris, 1767–71). His long-standing acquaintance Charles-Nicolas Cochin II entrusted him with engraving two plates for the Conquêtes de l’Empereur de la Chine (1767–73; Roux, nos 227–8), an important series of large-scale prints on which the best French engravers were being employed. Large plates are, however, rare in Choffard’s oeuvre; he devoted himself mainly to book decoration, such as fleurons for the Abbé de Saint-Non’s ...

Article

Henry Adams

(b Veracruz, March 13, 1880; d Stamford, CT, Jan 10, 1961).

Mexican illustrator, writer, gallery owner, and publisher, active in the USA. He was the son of a wealthy Mexican lawyer and publisher. De Zayas started his career as an artist by providing drawings for his father’s newspaper in Veracruz. In 1906 he moved on to Mexico City’s leading newspaper, El Diario, but a year later, after the ascension of the dictator Porfirio Diaz, whom the newspaper had opposed, he fled to the USA. There he landed a position making caricatures for the New York Evening World. Shortly after his arrival in the USA, he came into contact with Alfred Stieglitz, who staged solo shows of De Zayas’s caricatures at his gallery Gallery 291 in 1909 and 1910, both of which proved to be huge popular successes.

In 1910 De Zayas traveled to Paris, where he stayed almost a year, scouting out adventurous forms of modern art for Stieglitz, notably the cubist work of Picasso and African sculpture. On his return, equipped with knowledge of European modern art and inspired by the work of the French modernist ...