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Kathleen James-Chakraborty

After the closure in 1933 of the Bauhaus in Berlin, its staff and students dispersed. Many found their way to the USA, where they became highly influential teachers as well as artists and architects. The pedagogical methods developed at the school, particularly in the preliminary course, became commonplace in all levels of art education, as the former centrality in America of life drawing to instruction in the visual arts was now challenged by experimentation with abstract principles of composition and the qualities of individual materials.

Josef and Anni Albers family were the first Bauhäusler to immigrate to the USA. They arrived in 1933 and quickly took up positions at Black Mountain College, NC. In 1950 Josef became chair of the department of design at Yale University, New Haven, CT, from which he retired in 1958. His increasingly rigorous investigations into geometry and colour culminated in a series of paintings entitled ...

Article

Iain Boyd Whyte

(b Hamburg, April 14, 1868; d Berlin, Feb 27, 1940).

German architect, designer and painter. Progressing from painting and graphics to product design and architecture, Behrens achieved his greatest successes with his work for the Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), in which he reconciled the Prussian Classicist tradition with the demands of industrial fabrication.

After attending the Realgymnasium in Altona, he began his painting studies in 1886 at the Kunstakademie in Karlsruhe. From there he moved to Düsseldorf, where he studied with Ferdinand Brütt. In December 1889 Behrens married Lilli Krämer, and the following year the couple moved to Munich, where he continued his studies with Hugo Kotschenreiter (1854–1908). Behrens was one of the founder-members of the Munich Secession (see Secession, §1) in 1893 and, shortly afterwards, a founder of the more progressive Freie Vereinigung Münchener Künstler, with Otto Eckmann, Max Slevogt, Wilhelm Trübner and Lovis Corinth. He also joined the circle associated with the magazine Pan, which included Otto Julius Bierbaum, Julius Meier-Graefe, Franz Blei, Richard Dehmel and Otto Eckmann....

Article

Elizabeth Bonython

[pseud. Summerly, Felix]

(b Bath, July 15, 1808; d London, April 18, 1882).

English art administrator, industrial designer and museum director. His art education began at the age of 15, when he learnt watercolour technique from David Cox and perspective drawing from Charles Wild (1781–1835). In 1826 Cole met the philosopher John Stuart Mill, under whose influence he became a lifelong Benthamite; Cole’s reform of English design was determined by his commitment to Utilitarianism.

In 1823 Cole began working for the Public Record Office. His complaints about its inefficiency led to the reform of the Record Commission, of which he became Assistant Keeper in 1838. In the same year he was involved in the introduction of the Penny Post. In 1843 he commissioned John Callcott Horsley to design the first commercial Christmas card. He also wrote children’s books and tourist guides under the name Felix Summerly, a pseudonym he had already used for articles and pamphlets.

In 1846 Cole designed the Felix Summerly Tea Service, produced by ...

Article

Gilbert Herbert

(Adolf Georg)

(b Berlin, May 18, 1883; d Boston, MA, July 5, 1969).

American architect, industrial designer and teacher of German birth. He was one of the most influential figures in the development of the Modern Movement, whose contribution lay as much in his work as theoretician and teacher as it did in his innovative architecture. The important buildings and projects in Gropius’s career—the early factories, the Bauhaus complex at Dessau (1925–6), the Totaltheater project for Berlin, the housing estates and prefabricated dwellings—were all more than immediate answers to specific problems. Rather, they were a series of researches in which he sought prototypical solutions that would offer universal applicability. They were also didactic in purpose—concrete demonstrations, manifestos, of his theories and beliefs. His theories sought to integrate the individual and society, art and industry, form and function and the part with the whole. He left Germany for England in 1934; three years later he emigrated to the USA, where he continued to teach, write and design for the rest of his life....

Article

Wanda Kemp-Welch

(b Dorpat, Russia [now Tartu, Estonia], April 21, 1908; d Warsaw, Aug 25, 1988).

Polish architect, designer and teacher. He graduated in architecture from Warsaw Technical University (1936) and then received a scholarship to study in Italy. His work in the 1930s included the design of posters in the style of Tadeusz Gronowski (b 1894); he also designed two tourist hostels (1933–5; with Tadeusz Sieczkowski), in Czarnohora, Ukraine, and he won first prize in a competition (1935; with others) for the development of Pole Mokotowskie, the southern quarter of Warsaw, which was not executed. Other work included interior and exhibition design, for example the interior of the Polish pavilion (1939) at the World’s Fair, New York. In 1938 he began a long teaching career at Warsaw Technical University; he first taught architectural design under Rudolf Świerczyński and after 1945 he taught architectural history and industrial design there. In 1945 he also became Director of the urban planning studio at BOS, the Office for the Reconstruction of the Capital. One of his major works was the design (...

Article

Susan Morris

(b Cologne, 1731; d Oxford, Dec 12, 1812).

English painter and printmaker of German birth. The son of a watchmaker, he moved to England c. 1754 and taught music and drawing in London, Lewes and Bristol before settling in Oxford as a drawing-master and leader of the band at the city’s Music Room. In 1763 he published 12 etchings of views near Oxford; further sets of etchings followed in 1771 and 1772. His only Royal Academy exhibit was a watercolour landscape, shown in 1773 when he was listed as an honorary exhibitor. There is no evidence that he sold his work. Nearly 500 drawings by Malchair are in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; these include unpretentious cottage subjects and panoramic views of the city (e.g. Oxford in Flood Time, from Shotover Hill, 1791) characterized by an atmospheric haziness achieved through blurred pencil lines and grey or pastel wash. Visits to north Wales in 1789, 1791 and 1795 encouraged him to use bolder grey washes, strong pencil lines and vertiginous mountain compositions as, for example, in ...

Article

Roy R. Behrens

(b Lafayette, AL, Nov 7, 1903; d Columbus, OH, Dec 1, 1981).

American artist, designer and teacher . His childhood interest in drawing was counterbalanced by parallel involvements in science and engineering. He took high school courses in engineering drawing, which he went on to study at Ohio State University (OSU) in 1921. Soon after, he changed his major to architecture, then art, eventually earning a degree in fine arts in 1927. Hired the following year to teach basic drawing, he remained on the OSU art faculty until his retirement in 1974. The most eventful phase of his life began in 1941, when, in response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he devised an extraordinary method (which he credited to Rembrandt) of using drawing to improve the visual acuity of students, with the intention that they might then better detect the presence of enemy airplanes. This teaching method, for which he also admitted indebtedness to Paul Cézanne and the Gestalt psychologists, consisted of asking his students to draw from projected slides in a pitch black room called a flash laboratory. Each slide was projected for only one-tenth of a second, in response to which the students drew from memory in total darkness. By collaborating with non-art members of the OSU faculty (especially educational psychologist Ross L. Mooney and optical physiologist Glenn A. Fry), Sherman was able to argue persuasively that the accuracy of his students’ perception had improved markedly by drawing in the flash laboratory, so much so that members of the university football team were required to work with him daily, with the goal of improving their passing. The results of this teaching method were formally presented in ...