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Article

Francis Summers

revised by Atteqa Ali

(b Karachi, 1935).

Pakistani conceptual artist, sculptor, painter, activist, writer, and curator, active in England. Originally trained as a civil engineer, Araeen began painting in the 1950s while living in Karachi, Pakistan, where he and a few artists created art in a modern style that was not fully accepted in the cultural milieu of the time. Lack of positive reception in Pakistan prompted his move to London in 1964, where he found more like-minded artists and gained further exposure to contemporary art. This helped him to develop his practice, which gradually shifted from painting to sculpture. Araeen was especially influenced by the works of Anthony Caro and Sol LeWitt, and started producing objects in a highly reduced abstract vocabulary, becoming a pioneer of British Minimalism. He drew on his experience as a civil engineer when constructing grid-like forms using lattice patterns similar to window structures. His sculpture Second Structure (1966–1967) employed crossing elements imbued with political content and articulated his solidarity with the oppressed around the world. Moving to London did not result in reception so different from Karachi—museums and galleries in England overlooked his work and did not provide support for him as an artist. These acts of institutional marginalization appalled Araeen and fueled the politicization of his art and life. He began to make art addressing identity politics and racism and became active in groups such as the Black Panthers. In ...

Article

Armando  

[Dodeweerd, H. D. van]

(b Amsterdam, 1929).

Dutch painter, draughtsman, writer and sculptor. In 1950 he studied art history at the University of Amsterdam. He had his first one-man show at the Galerie Le Canard in Amsterdam in 1954, the year in which he began to write poetry. Influenced by the Cobra group, his early drawings of the 1950s are spontaneous and have a tendency towards abstraction; he often drew them in the dark or with his left hand, as in Drawing (1954; Berlin, Alte N.G.). From 1954 to 1959 he produced a number of largely abstract works that were influenced by Dubuffet and Jean Fautrier; for these he used thickly impastoed paint, as in Criminal Painting (1957; Venlo, Mus. Van Bommel–Van Dam). In 1957 he was one of the founder-members of the Nederlandse Informele Groep (Informelen), with the Dutch painters Kees van Bohemen (1928–85), Jan Henderikse (b 1937), Henk Peeters (...

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

Michael Compton

(b Brussels, Jan 28, 1924; d Cologne, Jan 28, 1976).

Belgian painter, sculptor, printmaker, draughtsman, film maker and poet. He lived in poverty for 20 years as a bohemian poet in Brussels; with no artistic training he turned to visual art in 1964 as an ironic gesture, with an exhibition at the Galerie St Laurent in Brussels. He launched himself caustically into the art market with a brief text printed on the invitation: ‘I too wondered if I could not sell something and succeed in life … Finally the idea of inventing something insincere finally crossed my mind and I set to work straightaway’ (quoted in 1980 exh. cat., p. 13). In the 11 years that remained to him he established himself, in more than 70 one-man exhibitions, as an artist of considerable influence in terms not of style or sensibility but of attitude and approach.

Broodthaers regarded his art as a defence of European high cultural traditions in the face of barbarian threats and especially of western commercialism. His strategy allowed him to appropriate techniques and media from Nouveau Réalisme, Pop art, conceptual art and performance art so as to subvert them to his own aims; he emphasized the craftsmanship of his art but without any trace of academic technique or dexterity, as his work was often executed by others. At its most personal his work employed techniques associated with poetry but applied by him not only to words but to images and symbols, with a particular emphasis on irony, metonymy, tautology and synecdoche....

Article

Vanina Costa

(b Nantes, Sept 17, 1907; d Paris, May 8, 1977).

French painter, sculptor, draughtsman and poet. He moved in 1926 to Paris, where he became involved with Surrealism, soon afterwards publishing his first collection of poems, Opoponax (Paris, 1927). In 1934 he exhibited a series of automatic drawings, which were followed by images produced with the assistance of objets trouvés: in Street Object (1936; Paris, Pompidou), for instance, he placed a sheet of paper on the road and then drove a car over it so as to leave the imprint of the tyre tracks. Another work of this period consisted of a bus sign bearing the same letters as his initials, so that it could be read as his signature. He also produced assemblages in a Surrealist spirit, such as Morphology of Desire (wood, plaster, metal, candle and torch, 1934–7; Paris, Pompidou). After World War II Bryen turned increasingly towards painting, through which he became a leading exponent of ...

Article

(b Lille, May 21, 1921; d Paris, July 23, 1999).

French painter, writer and sculptor. He began painting at the age of 12 and was producing pointillist works at the age of 18. He studied architecture for two years at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris as a preparation for his painting. In about 1943 he began painting abstract works, and he remained an abstract painter for the rest of his career. He was associated with the group of abstract artists who exhibited at the Galerie Denise René in Paris, including Hans Hartung, Nicolas de Stäel and Serge Poliakoff, and he himself exhibited there from 1945 to 1956. Together with Sonia Delaunay, Hans Arp, Antoine Pevsner and others he was a co-founder of the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles in Paris in 1945. In the following year he was awarded the first Kandinsky prize.

Dewasne’s painting The Great She-bear (1958; Paris, Pompidou), with its violently contrasting colours, is characteristic of his mature abstract style. In response to the criticism that his style consisted of technique alone, he founded the ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1907, in Milan; died 29 September 1998, in Milan.

Painter, sculptor, illustrator, designer, architect, writer. Mosaics, monuments (fountains).

Futurism.

MAC (Movimento Arte Concreta).

Bruno Munari was self-taught and began working as a graphic artist in 1925, producing illustrations for many magazines under the pseudonym ...

Article

Deborah Cullen

[MoMA] (New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 by patrons Lillie P(lummer) Bliss, Cornelius J. Sullivan and Rockefeller family §(1) to establish an institution devoted to modern art. Over the next ten years the Museum moved three times and in 1939 settled in the Early Modern style building (1938–9) designed by Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone that it still occupies at 11 West 53 Street. Subsequent renovations and expansions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s by Philip Johnson, in 1984 by Cesar Pelli and in 2002–4 by Yoshirō Taniguchi (b 1937). MoMA QNS, the temporary headquarters during this project, was subsequently used to provide art storage. In 2000, MoMA and the contemporary art space, P.S.1, Long Island City, Queens, announced their affiliation. Recent projects are shown at P.S.1 in Queens in a renovated public school building.

According to founding director, Alfred H(amilton) Barr...

Article

Piero Pacini

(b Modena, June 20, 1894; d Rome, June 17, 1956).

Italian painter, decorative artist, stage designer, architect, sculptor and writer. He studied at Lucca, Turin and Rome, where he briefly attended the Accademia di Belle Arti, and his work earned the appreciation of his teacher Duilio Cambellotti (b 1876). In 1912 he joined the studio of Giacomo Balla and belonged to a Futurist art collective through which he met the leaders of the movement. In April and May 1914 he exhibited with other Futurists at the Galleria Sprovieri in Rome and, shortly afterwards, in Prague. Figure+Window (1914; Rome, priv. col.; see Menna, 1967, fig.) exemplifies the experiments he was carrying out at the time. He was particularly interested in the use of combinations of different materials and in theoretical speculation, writing in 1915 the manifestos Scenografia e coreografia futurista, Scultura dei colori e totale and Architettura futurista.

Prampolini met Tristan Tzara in Rome in 1916 and took part in the international ...

Article

Italian, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1858, in San Marino; died 19 May 1911, in Rome.

Painter, sculptor, architect, art critic. Murals.

Emilio Retrosi produced an enormous fresco for the Palazzo della Reggenza in San Marino, the decoration adorning the façade of the national theatre, and various paintings on display in Rome at the Palazzo Doria Pamphili, the Palazzo del Quirinale and the Vatican....

Article

Belgian, 20th century, male.

Born 24 November 1886, in Antwerp; died 1965, in Paris, as the result of an accident.

Painter, sculptor, architect, writer.

Neo-Plasticism.

Georges Vantongerloo II was a pupil at the academies in Antwerp and Brussels. Called up during World War I, he was wounded and evacuated to the Netherlands, where he was interned. He made the acquaintance of Theo van Doesburg and was a member of the De Stijl group in ...

Article

Danish, 19th – 20th century, male.

Active also active in France.

Born 7 September 1863, in Copenhagen; died 1958, in Cannes, France.

Painter, draughtsman, engraver, sculptor, potter, architect, pastellist, art writer. Figures, portraits, landscapes, landscapes with figures.

Jens Ferdinand Willumsen studied under Kroyer at the Kunstakademi in Copenhagen. He visited France (Paris, 1889-1889) and Spain, where he was influenced by El Greco. He returned to Paris and lived there from 1890 to 1894. A visit to Pont Aven and Le Pouldu in 1890 saw him forge a friendship with Gauguin and Sérusier and, on his return to his native Copenhagen, he and a number of other Danish painters and sculptors launched the ...