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Article

Rodolphe Rapetti

(b Paris, Dec 7, 1862; d Paris, Jan 1, 1920).

French writer and critic. His fictional work developed rapidly from a naturalist concept of the novel (e.g. Chair molle, Paris, 1885) to a symbolist one (e.g. Etre, Paris, 1888). As an art critic, he played an important role in the first years of Neo-Impressionism. The few pieces that he wrote between 1886 and 1889 placed him in the top rank of contemporary critics and were of considerable influence. He was less interested in analysing the theoretical bases of Neo-Impressionism than in deciphering their implications, stressing the relationship of this new method of painting to Symbolism. He felt that the use by Seurat and his followers of a body of scientific theories on which to base their art was not only an indication of their adherence to the modernity that pervaded the century but also revealed an underlying tendency towards abstraction. At the same time fundamental visual concepts or ‘preconceived sensorial notions’ that had served as the basis of western art were called into question. In this regard, the ‘pictorial concern to interpret the pure phenomenon’ corresponded to the aspiration towards synthesis that marked Symbolism and was ‘in close correlation to contemporary philosophy, biology and physics in denying the existence of objects, declaring matter to be the mere appearance of vibratory movement that is the source of our impressions, our sensations, our ideas’ (...

Article

Swedish, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 24 May 1869, in Sala (Västmanland); died 1 October 1917, in Barcelona.

Painter. Figures, nudes, portraits, landscapes.

Symbolism.

Pont-Aven School.

In 1890 Ivan Aguéli met Émile Bernard, becoming his pupil before joining the Pont-Aven School. He had only two periods of painting, the first ...

Article

Spanish, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born in Madrid.

Sculptor.

Symbolism.

In addition to his studies at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, José Alcovero y Lopez also benefited from the advice of his father, José Alcovero y Amoros. In 1899...

Article

American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Active in Europe 1877-1881, and in Paris 1891-1901.

Born 7 October 1856, in Allegheny, Pennsylvania; died 31 May 1915, in New York.

Painter, muralist, illustrator. Portraits, figures, landscapes.

Symbolism, Art Nouveau.

John White Alexander worked as an office boy for ...

Article

Russian, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1873; died 1932.

Sculptor, draughtsman. Busts, monuments.

Symbolism.

Nicolai Andreevich Andreev received the authorisation to draw in Lenin's office in 1919; from these drawings, which later were also used by other artists, he executed a series of busts that made him famous. Andreev also sculpted the monuments in Moscow to Gogol and Herzen, the 19th-century revolutionary writer....

Article

French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 26 January 1861, in Etrépagny (Eure); died 1932, in Paris.

Painter (gouache), watercolourist, draughtsman. Figure compositions, nudes, portraits, still-lifes.

Symbolism.

Louis Anquetin went to school in Rouen. He was given an allowance by his father, a well-off shopkeeper, to go and study painting in Paris. In 1882 he entered the free academy run by Cormon, where he was heavily influenced by the Impressionists, particularly Monet, whom he revered, but also Degas (especially his Japonist periods). Anquetin was extremely talented and made an impression on Van Gogh, who met him during his time in Paris, and Toulouse-Lautrec, a close friend who also admired his work. Some sources claim that Anquetin, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Émile Bernard met at Cormon's academy. Because of his great skill, Anquetin experimented with many of the techniques he encountered, perhaps at the expense of developing a real personality of his own. In 1887 the rigours of Pointillism and Seurat's theories on 'scientific Impressionism' seduced him, but not for long. In 1888 he met Émile Bernard and his friends, and discovered that they all shared an enthusiasm for the work of Gauguin, his contemporary subjects and flat areas of colour with bold outlines, which was known at the time as Gauguin's Synthetism. Artists would gather at the Café Volpini, where they also exhibited their Symbolist/Synthetist paintings. Following on from their reflections on the works of Gaugin, Bernard and Anquetin defined one aspect of his work under the term 'Cloisonnism'. The question of which of them came up with this term would later be heavily disputed....

Article

French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born June 1864, in Clermont-Ferrand.

Painter. Portraits, genre scenes. Murals.

Symbolism.

Eugène Charles Assezat de Bouteyre was a pupil of Bouguereau, Gabriel Ferrier and Tony Robert-Fleury. He exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français in Paris between 1888 and 1934...

Article

French, 19th – 20th century, female.

Born c. 1880, in Toulouse.

Painter, watercolourist, pastellist, lithographer, draughtswoman. Figure compositions, portraits.

Symbolism.

Jane Atche placed her medieval-looking figures in a gothic setting. However, they were sometimes rendered in light brushwork which belonged more to the Impressionists than the Symbolists....

Article

French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 2 December 1866, in Paris; died 1930.

Painter, watercolourist. History painting, genre scenes, landscapes.

Symbolism.

Jean Francis Auburtin was a pupil of Puvis de Chavannes, whose influence can be seen in his work.

Auburtin painted genre subjects, landscapes, seascapes and fishing subjects, but most of all enjoyed painting mythological subjects, with nymphs, women and swans, or mermaids. These he painted in a subtly decorative style, harmonising the curves of the landscape with those of his figures. He produced large decorations for the staircase at the Sorbonne and also for the Palais de Longchamp in Marseilles. He was made an officer of the Légion d'Honneur in ...

Article

French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born c. 1860, in Durtal (Maine-et-Loire); died 1931.

Painter, pastellist. Portraits, genre scenes, landscapes.

Symbolism.

A pupil of Gérôme at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Axilette was well known for his portraits and particularly appreciated in Symbolist circles for his depiction of Maurice Barrès the Younger in his work ...

Article

Belgian, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1866, in Brussels; died 1928, in Schaerbeek.

Painter.

Symbolism.

Baretta was a student of Portaels. His painting shows Symbolist influence and has been designated literary. Baretta was a founding member of the Voorwaets movement, started in 1885, and work by him can be seen in the town hall in Furnes....

Article

Charlotte Humphreys

[Bugayev, Boris (Nikolayevich)]

(b Moscow, Oct 26, 1880; d Moscow, Jan 8, 1934).

Russian writer. He was a leading theorist and poet of the Russian Symbolist movement. In Russia Symbolism embraced a whole idealistic philosophy, strongly influenced by the eschatological and mystical teachings of Vladimir Solovyov (1853–1900) and by the belief, at the turn of the century, that Russia was on the threshold of a new era. The second generation of Russian Symbolist writers—Vyacheslav Ivanov, Aleksandr Blok and Andrey Bely—shared Solovyov’s Platonic concept that this world was merely a shadow of another, real, world to be intuitively divined and revealed by the poet. The anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner was a great influence on Bely; anthroposophy was to become an important component of the aesthetics of Russian Symbolism.

Music and rhythm were central to Bely’s lyrical works and theories. He defined music as the essence of reality, describing it as the absolute art form. Poetry was considered to be close to music because rhythm and sound were its prerequisites. Music acquired a deeper, mystical association for Bely, as a force linking the human and the divine and as an indication of universal harmony. His mystical and abstract approach to music, and his idea that the evocation of mood in art was more important than the representation of reality, were particularly relevant to the ...

Article

Czech, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 6 November 1872, in Chýnov; died 13 October 1941, in Chýnov.

Sculptor, engraver.

Symbolism.

Mánes Group.

Frantisek Bilek lived in Bohemia, working sometimes in Prague, sometimes in Chýnov. A student at the academy of fine art in Prague from ...

Article

Italian, 19th – 20th century, male.

Active in Casale Monferrato.

Born 14 March 1859, in Casale Monferrato (Piedmont); died 2 September 1933, in Turin.

Sculptor, engraver. Figures. Groups, monuments.

Symbolism, Art Nouveau.

Piedmont-born artist who is perhaps more properly regarded as being from the Lombard School, insofar as he trained at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan. Bistolfi's sculpture has a distinct pictorial edge. His earliest work comprised various groups (for example ...

Article

Swedish, 19th century, male.

Born 12 June 1816, in Skåne; died 1 February 1853, in Rome.

Painter. Mythological subjects, genre scenes, landscapes.

Symbolism.

From 1848 to 1850 Nils Blommér lived in Paris, then moved to Italy, remaining there until his death.

Even after he left his homeland, he remained attached to its legends and filled his compositions with ancient Scandinavian heroes in Romantic landscapes, most frequently bathed in moonlight, lending the figures a strange, ghostly look. His figures are painted with academic precision in the style of Munich painters of the mid-19th century. His last works, undoubtedly under Italian influence, are better balanced and lit by a more Mediterranean light....

Article

Finnish, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1 April 1871, in Nyslott; died 1947.

Painter. Figures, landscapes with figures, landscapes.

Symbolism.

Together with Pekka Halonen, Väinö Blomstedt had the rare privilege of studying for two months in 1894 under Paul Gauguin at the Vitti Academy in Paris. Examples of his work featured in ...

Article

Swiss, 19th century, male.

Active in Italy.

Born 19 October 1827, in Basel; died 16 January 1901, in San Domenico, near Fiesole.

Painter, sculptor. Mythological subjects, allegorical subjects, portraits, landscapes. Frescoes.

Symbolism.

Munich School.

Arnold Böcklin studied under J. W. Shirmer at the Düsseldorf Akademie between ...

Article

Russian, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1872, in Feodosija; died 1943.

Painter. Genre scenes.

Symbolism.

Konstantine Fedorovich Bogaevsky was a pupil of Ivan Konstantinovich Aiavazovsky at the St Petersburg academy and of Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi. He travelled around Europe and spent some time at the fortifications of the Crimea, where he completed numerous sketches and pictures. He exhibited in Russia and Germany....

Article

Russian, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1870, in Saratov; died 8 November 1905, in Tarusa.

Painter. Scenes with figures, figures.

Symbolism.

Golubaya Roza (Blue Rose) group.

Between 1890 and 1895, Borisov-Mussatov studied with Vasili Konovalov in his home town of Saratov, then at the Moscow academy of fine arts ...

Article

French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1867, in St-André-sur-Vieux-Jonc (Ain); died 1948, in St-Paul-de-Varax (Ain).

Painter. Religious subjects, mythological subjects, landscapes.

Symbolism.

Antoine Bourbon studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris at Gustave Moreau's studio where he associated with Georges Rouault. He exhibited Cleopatra...