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Article

Kenneth W. Prescott

(b Erie, PA, May 23, 1930).

American painter, printmaker and sculptor. He trained at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, OH (1948–53), and under Albers family, §1 at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture in New Haven, CT (1953–5). In his paintings of the late 1940s and early 1950s he depicted everyday city life, as in The Bridge (1950; artist’s priv. col., see Lunde, pl. 66). In 1957 he moved to New York, where from 1957 to 1958 he worked as a conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and from 1959 to 1961 as a silver designer for Tiffany and Co. During this period he began to produce abstract paintings, using either organic or geometric repeated forms, as in Winter Recipe (1958; New York, Mr and Mrs David Evins priv. col., see Lunde, pl. 100). These led in the early 1960s to asymmetric and imperfectly geometric works, such as ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1905, in Pendleton (Oregon); died July 1970, in Long Island.

Painter, sculptor, engraver.

Action Painting, Post-painterly Abstraction.

American Abstract Artists (AAA).

John Millard Ferren worked as an artisan sculptor in San Francisco after initial studies in Los Angeles. He only began to paint in ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 25 June 1923, in San Mateo (California); died 4 November 1994, in Santa Monica (California).

Painter (including gouache), watercolourist, lithographer, sculptor.

Post-painterly Abstraction.

Sam Francis studied medicine and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Called up during the war, he served in the USA Army Air Corps ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Active from 1948 to 1954 in France.

Born 31 May 1923, in Newburgh (New York).

Painter, sculptor, engraver.

Post-painterly Abstraction.

Ellsworth Kelly attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in the early 1940s. In 1943, he was called up and sketched views of the French countryside and Paris while taking part in the Liberation. Back in the USA in 1945, he studied under Karl Zerbe at the Boston Museum School. He returned to France and enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris under the GI bill. He stayed on for six years, getting to know Jean Arp, Georges Vantongerloo, Michel Seuphor, Brancusi, Picabia, Magnelli, Giacometti, Miró and Calder. In 1954, he returned to New York....

Article

Patterson Sims

(b Newburgh, NY, May 31, 1923).

American painter, sculptor, and printmaker. He was one of the major practitioners of abstract art in the USA after World War II; as early as the 1950s he developed an individual approach that influenced the course of Minimal art, colour field painting, hard-edge painting, and Post-painterly Abstraction without becoming fully a part of any of these movements (see fig.). He was encouraged at high school by a sympathetic art teacher, although his parents were reluctant for him to be an artist and agreed to support only his training in the technical arts, which he pursued at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York (1941–2). In 1943 he was inducted in the US Army where, at his request, he was assigned to the camouflage unit. In 1944 he travelled to Europe, where a short stay in Paris inspired him to return to France at the end of the decade. Following his military discharge (...

Article

David Anfam

(b New York, Jan 29, 1905; d New York, July 4, 1970).

American painter, sculptor, printmaker, and writer. He was a major exponent of Abstract Expressionism whose reductive idiom employing large chromatic expanses exerted a considerable impact on abstract art after World War II. His writings and pronouncements also contributed to the accompanying theoretical debates during and after the 1960s about meaning in non-figurative expression.

After studies at the Art Students League, New York, in 1922 and 1929 Newman destroyed most of his basically realistic initial output and stopped painting by about 1939–40. He explained that the world historical crisis then had rendered traditional subject-matter and styles invalid, necessitating the search for a new, awe-inspiring content appropriate to the moment. A series of essays and catalogue introductions throughout the 1940s reiterated this aesthetic quest. Their polemical stance focused upon the need for a break with outworn European traditions (including such native continuations as American Scene painting), chaos as a wellspring of human creativity, and the irrelevance of beauty in times of terror. Instead, he resurrected the venerable concept of the Sublime for a metaphysical ‘art which through symbols will catch the basic truth of life which is its sense of tragedy’ (‘The Plasmic Image’, unpublished essay, ...

Article

Marco Livingstone

(Milton Ernest)

(b Port Arthur, TX, Oct 22, 1925; d Captiva Island, FL, May 12, 2008).

American painter, sculptor, printmaker, photographer, and performance artist. While too much of an individualist ever to be fully a part of any movement, he acted as an important bridge between Abstract Expressionism and Pop art and can be credited as one of the major influences in the return to favour of representational art in the USA. As iconoclastic in his invention of new techniques as in his wide-ranging iconography of modern life, he suggested new possibilities that continued to be exploited by younger artists throughout the latter decades of the 20th century.

Rauschenberg studied at Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design from 1947 to 1948 under the terms of the GI Bill before travelling to Paris, where he attended the Académie Julian for a period of about six months. On reading about the work of Josef Albers he returned to the USA to study from autumn 1948 to spring ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 12 May 1936, in Malden (Massachusetts).

Painter, collage artist, sculptor, printmaker, mixed media.

Colour Field Painting, Post-painterly Abstraction, Minimal Art.

Frank Stella studied painting at the Phillips Academy in Andover and history at Princeton University, graduating in 1958. In 1959 he moved to New York, and took part in his first major exhibition, Sixteen Americans, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The following year he held his first solo exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York, showing his earliest irregularly shaped canvases. Stella visited Europe in 1961, staying mainly in Britain, Spain, and France, before moving on to Morocco. In the same year he married the art critic Barbara Rose. In 1982, he spent a year in Rome at the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1983, he was appointed a professor at Harvard University and gave a series of lectures there....

Article

Ruth L. Bohan

(b Belostok, Russia [now Białystok, Poland], April 18, 1881; d Great Neck, NY, Oct 4, 1961).

American painter, printmaker, sculptor, and writer of Russian birth. He was born of Orthodox Jewish parents and in 1891 immigrated with his family to America. After settling in Brooklyn, NY, Weber attended the Pratt Institute (1898–1900), where he studied art theory and design under Arthur Wesley Dow. Dow’s extensive knowledge of European and Far Eastern art history, together with his theories of composition, made a lasting impression on Weber. Weber was in Paris from 1905 to 1908 and studied briefly at the Académie Julian. He developed a close friendship with Henri Rousseau and helped to organize a class with Henri Matisse as its instructor. Visits to the ethnographic collections in the Trocadéro and other Parisian museums extended his sensitivity to non-Western art, while travels through Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands broadened his knowledge of the Old Masters.

For several years following his return to America in January 1909...