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Alexander Nagel

[Fr. postautel, retable; Ger. Altar, Altaraufsatz, Altarbild, Altarretabel, Altarrückwand, Retabel; It. ancona, dossale, pala (d’altare); Sp. retablo]

An image-bearing structure set on the rear part of the altar (see Altar, §II), abutting the back of the altarblock, or set behind the altar in such a way as to be visually joined with the altar when viewed from a distance. It is also sometimes called a retable, following the medieval term retrotabulum [retabulum, retrotabularium].

The altarpiece was never officially prescribed by the Church, but it did perform a prescribed function alternatively carried out by a simple inscription on the altarblock: to declare to which saint or mystery the altar was dedicated. In fact, the altarpiece did more than merely identify the altar; its form and content evoked the mystery or personage whose cult was celebrated at the altar. This original and lasting function influenced the many forms taken by the altarpiece throughout its history. Since the altarpiece was not prescribed by the Church, its form varied enormously. For this reason, it is often impossible, and historically inaccurate, to draw neat distinctions between the altarpiece and other elements occasionally associated with the altar apparatus. For example, movable statues, often of the Virgin and Child, were occasionally placed on altars according to ritual needs, and at those times fulfilled the function of the altarpiece....


Freya Probst

(b Hanau, July 1874; d Berlin, July 3, 1913).

German silversmith, sculptor and painter. He attended the Zeichenakademie and the Kunstgewerbeschule in Hanau then studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Berlin, and the Académie Julian in Paris, before finally becoming a student of the sculptor Louis Tuaillon at the Kunstakademie, Berlin. From 1894 to 1903 he worked at the renowned silverware factory of Bruckmann & Söhne in Heilbronn, modelling goblets, cutlery, sports prizes and medals etc. In collaboration with Otto Rieth, professor at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin, Amberg made a silver fountain (h. 3.2 m) for the Exposition Universelle, Paris, in 1900.

After designing the silver for the Town Hall of Aachen (1903) and spending a year in Rome (1903–4), Amberg completed his most important work, the design of the Hochzeitszug (Berlin, Tiergarten, Kstgewmus.), a table centre for the wedding of Wilhelm (1882–1951), Crown Prince of Germany and Prussia and Herzogin Cecilie von Mecklenburg-Schwerin (...


British, 19th century, male.

Born 18 June 1828, in London; died 4 December 1905.

Sculptor, engraver, metal worker, draughtsman. Religious subjects, allegorical subjects, figures. Busts.

Henry Armstead studied at the Royal Academy in London and became a member of the Academy in 1875. He exhibited a large number of busts and reliefs ...


French, 20th century, male.

Born 1 July 1929, in Besançon; died 24 February 2001, in Paris.

Sculptor, medallist, draughtsman. Allegorical subjects. Busts, groups.

Charles Auffret entered the studio of Pierre Honoré at the École des Beaux-Arts in Dijon in 1947, trained at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris between ...


French, 20th century, male.

Born 31 August 1914, in Paris; died c. 1970, as the result of an accident.

Painter, sculptor, medallist. Monuments.

After a number of years engraving medals with portraits of famous figures such as Picasso and Le Corbusier, Bacchus turned to monumental sculpture, creating monuments commemorating the Resistance for Nîmes, Troyes, Tarbes and Paris. He exhibited at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the Salon d'Automne, Salon Comparaisons, Salon de la Jeune Sculpture and Salon des Artistes Décorateurs de Paris, as well as in London, Stockholm, Warsaw, São Paulo, Mexico, Tokyo and Rome. He won the Grand Prix de Rome for engraving in ...


French, 19th – 20th century, female.

Born in Lyons.

Painter, sculptor. Nudes, portraits. Medals.

Jeanne Bardey's work was wide-ranging and included painted or sculpted portraits, three-dimensional nudes and medals.

She exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in 1909 and 1910 and then at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, of which she became a member in ...


French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 23 October 1840, in Trappes (Seine-et-Oise); died 1922.

Sculptor, painter, metal worker. Portraits.

Aristide Barré exhibited eight silver plaques at the Salon of 1901. He received an honourable mention at the Salon des Artistes Français in 1903.

Gray: Portrait of an Old Peasant Woman...


French, 18th century, male.

Born 3 August 1793, in Paris; died 10 June 1855, in Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Engraver, medallist, draughtsman. Coins, banknotes, postage stamps, seals.

Barre was apprenticed at the age of twelve to a carver, foundry worker and gilder. Four years later, he was drafted into the fire service in Paris, where he worked until ...


Belgian, 20th century, male.

Born 1883, in Brussels; died 1975.

Painter, engraver, sculptor, medallist. Landscapes, still-lifes.

De Bast attended the École St-Luc and the art academies of Brussels and Mechelen. He became head of production at the national stamp printing studio of Belgium.



Rainer K. Wick

[Bauhaus Berlin; Bauhaus Dessau, Hochschule für Gestaltung; Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar]

German school of art, design and architecture, founded by Walter Gropius. It was active in Weimar from 1919 to 1925, in Dessau from 1925 to 1932 and in Berlin from 1932 to 1933, when it was closed down by the Nazi authorities. The Bauhaus’s name referred to the medieval Bauhütten or masons’ lodges. The school re-established workshop training, as opposed to impractical academic studio education. Its contribution to the development of Functionalism in architecture was widely influential. It exemplified the contemporary desire to form unified academies incorporating art colleges, colleges of arts and crafts and schools of architecture, thus promoting a closer cooperation between the practice of ‘fine’ and ‘applied’ art and architecture. The origins of the school lay in attempts in the 19th and early 20th centuries to re-establish the bond between artistic creativity and manufacturing that had been broken by the Industrial Revolution. According to Walter Gropius in ...


Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Painter, sculptor, mixed media, architect.

Bedel's works are metaphorical. In relief to varying degrees, he combines shiny metal with dull organic materials to create models that resemble towns, while privileging the evocation of the book form. He gives poetic expression to his pessimistic preoccupations concerning the future of humanity....


French, 20th century, female.

Painter, sculptor. Portraits. Statues, busts, medals.

Between 1910 and 1924, Élisa Beetz-Charpentier exhibited at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, becoming an associate in 1905. As a portrait painter, her favourite subjects were children, whereas as a sculptor she enjoyed modelling dancers....


French, 20th century, male.

Born 8 August 1898, in Algiers; died 1 January 1982, in Ivry-sur-Seine.

Sculptor, medallist, watercolourist, draughtsman. Nudes. Monuments, statues, groups, busts.

Paul Belmondo fought in World War I and studied architecture from 1921 to 1924. He made his Salon debut at a young age, winning a second-class medal, and subsequently exhibited at the Salon des Tuileries and the Salon d'Automne, where he won the Prix Blumenthal in 1926 and the Grand Prix Artistique de l'Afrique du Nord (North Africa Art Prize). In 1929, he enrolled as a student of Jean Boucher at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, with a grant from the French government in Algeria. A bust by the young Belmondo caught the attention of Rodin's pupil Charles Despiau, and Belmondo soon became Despiau's pupil and friend. Later in life, Belmondo acknowledged the importance of Despiau's guidance in encouraging him to follow in Rodin's tradition. He became a member of the Salon d'Automne in 1939, but was mobilised once again during World War II. However, in 1942, he became a member of the jury of the Salon des Tuileries. Belmondo taught at the École des Beaux-Arts from 1952 to 1969, and was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur in 1954. He was awarded the City of Paris's Grand Prix des Beaux-Arts in 1956 and a gold medal at the Paris Salon of 1958. He was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1960, and subsequently became its president. In 1966, he was made a Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He received a silver medal from the City of Paris the following year and an honorary medal at the Paris Salon of 1971. In 1972, he was made a Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur and an officer of the Order of Leopold of Belgium....


French, 20th century, female.

Born 27 November 1927, in Nice.

Painter, medallist, sculptor. Figures, portraits, landscapes, still-lifes, flowers, animals.

From 1940-1947, Jacqueline George was educated at charitable schools run by the Order of the Légion d'Honneur, before studying painting with Jules Cavaillès, who encouraged her love of vivid colour. In ...


Italian, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 10 January 1903, in Varese (Lombardy); died 7 February 1964.

Sculptor, medallist, draughtsman, designer. Figures, nudes, portraits, architectural views, landscapes, seascapes, flowers.

Flaminio Bertoni studied composition and sculpture under Giuseppe Talamoni in the 1920s and frequented the ateliers of sculptors Lodovico Pagliaghi and Enrico Butti in Varese. After a short stay in Paris, he opened his own atelier in Varese in ...


Mark Jones

(b Paris, Jan 17, 1913; d Paris, 1994).

French painter, sculptor, medallist and designer. He studied in Paris, at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and was much influenced by his friendship with Maurice Denis. He worked principally as a painter, adopting the saturated colours of Henri Matisse in landscapes and figure studies often based on observation of ‘exotic’ cultures, notably Mediterranean and North African. In the mid-1960s a new rawness emerged in his work, derived from ‘primitive’ examples and new materials associated with his experiments in other media. He executed tapestry designs for Aubusson, posters (winning the Grand Prix de l’Affiche Française in 1984), costumes and sets for ballets at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, reliefs and murals. In 1965 he took up medal-making, expressing in his numerous metallic works for the Paris Mint that obsession with found objects which is also evident in his large-scale sculpture and in his posters.

Bénézit Roger Bezombes: Nice, débarcadère du Levant...


Swiss, 20th century, male.

Born 22 December 1908, in Winterthur; died 9 December 1994, in Berlin.

Sculptor, painter, architect, designer.

Groups: Abstraction-Création, Die Allianz, Concrete Art Group of Zurich.

Max Bill studied to be a silversmith from 1924 to 1927 at the Kunstgewerbeschule (college of arts and crafts) in Zurich. After attending a lecture by Le Corbusier, however, he changed his mind and opted for architecture. He studied at the Bauhaus in Dessau between ...


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....


Austrian, 19th – 20th century, male.

Active in the USA from 1889.

Born 6 December 1867, in Vienna; died 10 May 1915, in New York.

Painter, sculptor, medallist.

Karl Bitter studied at the fine arts academy in Vienna and under Edmund Heller; he left Austria in ...


Spanish, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in France.

Born 1952, in Benicarlo.

Painter, sculptor, engraver, medallist. Landscapes with figures, urban landscapes. Statuettes.

Jorge Borras trained at the Real Academia Catalana de Bellas Artes de San Jorge in Barcelona. He is general secretary of the association of Spanish artists and intellectuals in France. Borras specialised in statuettes of young women captured in everyday postures. A certain softness of form is balanced by graceful signs of movement. For the Paris Mint, he created a medallion of Pope Benedict XIII, the last Avignon pope....