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Article

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

French, 20th century, male.

Born 16 September 1886, in Strasbourg; died 7 June 1966, in Basel.

Collage artist, engraver, sculptor, draughtsman, illustrator, poet.

Dadaism.

Der Moderne Bund, Dadaist groups in Zurich and Cologne, Artistes Radicaux, Das Neue Leben, Paris Surrealist Group, Abstraction-Création.

Hans Arp joined the École des Arts et Métiers in Strasbourg in 1902, at the age of 16. In 1903 he began painting and contributed to a local magazine. In 1904 he made his first trip to Paris. From 1905 to 1907 he studied under Ludwig von Hoffmann at the fine arts academy in Weimar, where he attended modern art exhibitions. He returned to Strasbourg, which his family then left for Weggis, on the edge of the Lac des Quatre Cantons in Switzerland. Between 1908 and 1910 he made a second trip to Paris and worked for a time at the Académie Julian. In Weggis he completed his first Abstract compositions and learned the art of modelling. In 1911 he co-founded the group...

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Born 1921, in Krefeld; died 23 January 1986, in Düsseldorf.

Performance artist, installation artist, assemblage artist, engraver.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus, Conceptual Art.

Joseph Beuys spent his youth in Cleves. Relatively little is known about his early years, but he is thought to have begun studying natural sciences when he was mobilised in 1941 as a bomber pilot in the Luftwaffe. In winter 1943, his plane was shot down over the Russian steppes near Sevastopol. According to Beuys, some Tatars found him buried in the cabin wreckage and just managed to save his life by smearing the wounds of his half-frozen body with animal fat and wrapping him in felt. There is some doubt as to the truth of parts of this story, but certainly the metaphorical power of the fat and felt became a recurring theme throughout the rest of his career....

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 28 July 1887 , in Blainville; died 2 October 1968 , in Paris.

Painter (including gouache/mixed media), sculptor, printmaker, Ready-mades.

Dadaism, Surrealism.

Groupe de Puteaux, Société Anonyme, New York Dada.

Marcel Duchamp was one of seven children, four of whom were destined to become artists - Marcel himself, his brothers Gaston and Raymond (who came to be known as Jacques Villon and Duchamp-Villon, respectively), and his sister the painter Suzanne Duchamp, who later married Jean Crotti....

Article

Swiss, 20th century, male.

Born 16 August 1877, in Stampa; died 9 July 1947, in Zurich.

Painter, watercolourist, pastellist, mixed media, engraver, draughtsman. Designs for stained glass, designs for mosaics, murals.

Dadaism.

Augusto Giacometti was the younger brother of Giovanni Giacometti and the uncle of Alberto and Diego Giacometti. He has been almost forgotten today, but was well-known at the beginning of the 20th century for the monumental decorations which he was commissioned to produce. He studied at the school of decorative arts in Zurich for three years and then went to study in Paris in 1897, where he took a course at the École des Arts Décoratifs and also studied under Eugène Grasser at the training college for art teachers. He became a teacher at the art college in Florence in 1907. Between 1900 and 1916 he published his research into colour in a work entitled ...

Article

Hungarian, 20th century, male.

Born 21 March 1887, in Érsekujvár; died 1967, in Budapest.

Painter (including gouache), watercolourist, graphic designer, engraver, collage artist, sculptor.

Dadaism, Constructivism.

Lajos Kassák ran away from home aged 13. He started his working life as a blacksmith and locksmith. He came into contact with the workers' movement and contributed to the Social Democrat magazine ...

Article

Éva Bajkay

(b Ersekujvar, Hungary, March 21, 1887; d Budapest, July 22, 1967).

Hungarian writer, painter, theorist, collagist, designer, printmaker and draughtsman. His family moved to Budapest in 1904, and, after finishing an apprenticeship as a blacksmith, in 1908 he began publishing stories and poems. In 1909–10 he travelled across Western Europe and spent some time in Paris, becoming acquainted with modern art and anarchist ideas. He published short stories, plays and poems in Budapest and from November 1915 he edited the periodical A Tett (‘The deed’), which was anti-militarist and discussed socialist theories and avant-garde ideas. In summer 1916 he spent time in the Kecskemét artists’ colony with his brother-in-law Béla Uitz and under his influence executed his first ink drawings (e.g. Landscape, 1916; Budapest, N.G.). Progressive young artists and aesthetes grouped themselves around Kassák; after A Tett was banned in September 1916, he started in November a new periodical, MA (‘Today’; see MA group), which he edited with Uitz (to ...

Article

Swedish, 20th century, male.

Active in the United States.

Born 1929, in Stockholm.

Sculptor, painter, mixed media, watercolourist, lithographer, draughtsman, performance artist.

Neo-Dadaism, Pop Art.

The son of a Swedish consular official, Claes Oldenburg arrived in the United States with his family in 1929. From 1946 to 1950, he studied art and literature at Yale. After working as a reporter and illustrator, he abandoned journalism in 1952 and attended the Art Institute in Chicago until 1954, exhibiting thereafter in local galleries. In 1956, he settled in New York, where he survived on odd jobs, through which he became familiar with the New York street scene. He met Allan Kaprow, the American artist, art theorist, and main creator of ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 22 January 1879, in Paris; died 30 November 1953, in Paris.

Painter (including gouache), watercolourist, collage artist, engraver, draughtsman. Portraits, nudes, urban landscapes, landscapes.

Dadaism.

Groupe de Puteaux, Section d’Or, Dadaists of New York, Zurich, and Paris.

Francis Picabia was born into a cultivated and extremely wealthy family, to a French mother and a Hispano-Cuban father. He enjoyed his considerable family legacy until about 1940, spending profligately. His family encouraged his artistic vocation, and after a painting was accepted by the Salon des Artistes Français in 1894, he studied successively at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1897 in Fernand Cormon’s studio, at the École des Arts Décoratifs in 1901, the Académie du Louvre, and the Académie Humbert, where he met Braque and Marie Laurencin. In 1909, he married Gabrielle Buffet. In 1911, he met Marcel Duchamp, who brought him into the...

Article

Dutch, 20th century, male.

Active from 1904 in France, from 1915 in Switzerland.

Born 20 April 1884, in Freiburg im Breisgau; died 1957, in Utrecht.

Painter, collage artist, lithographer. Landscapes, still-lifes.

Dadaism.

Zurich and Berlin Dadaist groups.

Otto van Rees was of Dutch extraction but was born in Germany. He moved to Holland at a very early age. Initially a self-taught artist, he is believed by some commentators to have studied subsequently under Jan Toorop. Van Rees moved to Paris in ...

Article

Astrid Schmetterling

(b Miesbach, Upper Bavaria, Aug 21, 1894; d Keilberg, nr Aschaffenburg, Feb 25, 1982).

German painter, collagist, printmaker and photographer. He studied briefly at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich (1913–14) and in 1913 began to make Expressionist woodcuts, which were published in magazines such as Die Aktion (Berlin), Die Weissen Blätter (Leipzig) and Sirius (Zurich). From 1915 to 1920 he lived in Zurich and Geneva, where he was associated with the Dada movement. He continued creating woodcuts but also made reliefs, paintings and collages from newspaper cuttings and other printed papers. At the same time he became interested in abstracting photography and using it in a more metaphoric way. In 1918, while living in Geneva, he created his first ‘schadographs’, such as Untitled (Fish; 1918; New York, MOMA), contact prints of collages and objects on photosensitive paper. Like Man Ray’s rayographs and Moholy-Nagy’s photograms, these cameraless photographs reproduced the negative image of the textures placed on them, creating a new form of representation....

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Born 20 June 1887, in Hanover; died 8 January 1948, in Ambleside (Cumbria), England.

Painter, collage artist, assemblage artist, draughtsman, sculptor, engraver. Portraits, landscapes, still-lifes.

Dadaism.

Hanover Dadaist Group.

Nothing in Kurt Schwitters’ early work gave any indication of his subsequent career as an innovator. He completed his secondary school studies in Hanover and enrolled at the fine arts academy in Dresden, where he duly attended classes given by K. Banzer, G. Kuehl, and E. Hegenbarth. It would appear that he visited Munich in 1913 and, if that was indeed the case, he may have been influenced by the Expressionists of the...

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Active from 1955 also active in France and in Spain.

Born 14 October 1932, in Leverkusen; died 3 April 1998, in Berlin.

Painter (mixed media), draughtsman, engraver, sculptor, sculptor of assemblages, performance artist, installation artist, video artist.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus, Affichisme.

Labor Group...