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Article

Lenka Bydžovská

(b Velké Lišice, nr Chlumec nad Cidlinou, Jan 22, 1883; d Prague, March 27, 1979).

Czech painter, writer and theorist. In 1902–4 he studied at the Prague School of Applied Art and in 1904–7 at the Academy of Fine Arts. After visiting Dresden, Berlin, Munich and Paris, he returned to Prague and joined Eight, the, which had been set up by his former fellow students; he exhibited at the group’s second show in 1908. His early work was influenced by the ideas of Bohumil Kubišta, with whom he shared a workshop. Although basically an uncomplicated, sensual painter, he attempted to keep well informed about contemporary artistic trends. In 1910–14 he became a fervent devotee of Cubism and, together with Emil Filla, adhered faithfully to the style of Picasso and Braque. He was one of the founders (1911) of the Group of Plastic Artists and contributed theoretical articles to its journal, Umělecký měsíčník. No consistent reconstruction of his paintings before World War I can be made because most of his Cubist works were later destroyed. His process of crystallization in relation to the painting of space culminated in ...

Article

Vojtěch Lahoda

(b Hronov, March 23, 1887; d Bergen-Belsen, April 1945).

Czech painter, printmaker and writer. He studied weaving (1901–3) in Vrchlabí and then from 1904 to 1910 decorative painting at the School of Applied Arts in Prague, where he was influenced by the highly decorative art of the Secession. During this period he wrote stories with his brother, the novelist Karel Čapek (1890–1938). In 1910 they went to Paris for nearly a year, where Josef Čapek studied painting at the Académie Colarossi and became a friend of Apollinaire. In 1911 he and his brother co-founded the Cubist-orientated Group of Plastic Artists. Čapek attempted to modify Cubism by introducing elements of Expressionism and Symbolism. His efforts dumbfounded some members of the group, and in 1912 he and various of his friends parted company with it. From 1915 he began to achieve a synthesis of Cubism, Neo-classicism and a personal symbolism (e.g. the Man in the Hat, 1915...

Article

Daniel Robbins

(b Paris, Dec 8, 1881; d Avignon, June 23, 1953).

French painter, printmaker and writer. He grew up in Courbevoie, a suburb of Paris, and as a student at the Collège Chaptal became interested in theatre and painting. At 19, his father put him to work in the family interior design and fabric business, an experience that contributed to a lifelong respect for skilled workmanship. The first paintings he exhibited, at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1902, were Impressionist in character, but the work accepted within two years at the Salon d’Automne showed a shift to social themes, a tendency that accelerated until 1908. Compulsory military service from 1903 to 1905 thrust him into the company of working-class people, arousing a permanent sense of solidarity with their aspirations and needs. The results were immediately apparent in the Association Ernest Renan, which he helped to establish in 1905, a kind of popular university with secular and socialist aims. He was also one of the founders of a community of intellectuals based near Paris, the ...

Article

Christopher Green

[González Pérez, José Victoriano Carmelo Carlos]

(b Madrid, March 23, 1887; d Boulogne-sur-Seine, May 11, 1927).

Spanish painter, draughtsman, illustrator and writer, active in France. His artistic career was spent almost exclusively in France, where he was considered one of the leading Cubist painters from 1912 until his death. An artist valued for the depth and consistency of his approach rather than as an innovator, he is recognized for his independent and distinctive approach to Cubism and as one of its most influential later practitioners and theoreticians.

Gris specialized in mathematics, physics and engineering at the Escuela de Artes y Manufacturas in Madrid from 1902 to 1904; he later described this phase of his education as formative. His approach to Cubism, which has often been called scientific in its logic and precision, may well have been affected by his knowledge of technical drawings. He broke his scientific studies, however, to train briefly with the academic painter José Moreno Carbonero (1860–1942), and he decided to become an artist. From ...

Article

Radomíra Sedláková

(b Prague, March 12, 1882; d Prague, Aug 1, 1956).

Czech architect, designer, theorist and teacher. He graduated in architecture from the Czech Technical University, Prague, where he studied under Josef Schulz and Josef Zítek, and from 1906 to 1907 he was a student of Otto Wagner at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna. In 1908 he worked in Jan Kotěra’s studio in Prague. His early work was influenced by the modernism of Wagner and Kotěra, but he perceived a danger of uniformity in a purely rationalist approach to architecture. In 1911, together with Josef Chochol, Josef Gočár, Vlastislav Hofman (1884–1964), Emil Filla, Václav Špála, Antonín Procházka, Otto Gutfreund and others, he founded the Group of Fine Artists, which sought a more artistic approach to architecture, and in 1912 he and Gočár founded the Prague Art Workshops for the design of arts, crafts and furniture. Within the Group of Fine Artists, Janák developed the principles of Czech Cubism...

Article

Radomíra Sedláková

(b Prague, June 5, 1893; d Brno, June 7, 1974).

Czech architect, theorist, graphic artist, designer, teacher and writer. He graduated in architecture from the Czech Technical University, Prague, where he studied with Jan Koula (1855–1919), Josef Fanta and Antonín Balšánek (1865–1921). While still studying he became a member of the Mánes Union of Artists. During the period 1921 to 1928 he practised in Mladá Boleslav and in 1925 he was appointed Professor of Architecture at the Technical University in Brno. At the same time he was a founder-member of Socialistická scéna (Socialist Stage), for which he worked as stage manager, set designer and graphic artist. Kroha’s early work was based on a distinctive conception of Cubism, as in the Crematorium in Pardubice (1919), and Expressionism, as in the Catholic church, Prague-Vinohrady (1918–19), which he formulated in a series of extremely varied competition designs for buildings that were full of tension and explosiveness. His works at Mladá Boleslav, especially the State Technical College (...

Article

Anthony Parton

(Fyodorovich)

(b Tiraspol, Moldova, June 3, 1881; d Fontenay-aux-Roses, nr Paris, May 10, 1964).

Russian painter, stage designer, printmaker, illustrator, draughtsman and writer of Moldovan birth. He was a leader of the Russian avant-garde before World War I but came to prominence in the West through his work for Serge Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. During the 1920s he played a significant role within the Ecole de Paris and continued to live and work in France until his death.

He was the son of Fyodor Mikhailovich Larionov, a doctor and pharmacist, and Aleksandra Fyodorovna Petrovskaya, but he grew up in his grandparents’ home in Tiraspol. He completed his secondary education at the Voskresensky Technical High School in Moscow and in 1898 entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Here he studied under Valentin Serov and Konstantin Korovin, and he also became friendly with Natal’ya Goncharova who was to remain his lifelong companion and colleague. Larionov’s work soon caught the imagination of collectors and critics. In ...

Article

Daniel Robbins

(b Bordeaux, July 5, 1885; d Paris, Jan 25, 1962).

French painter, critic and teacher. From the age of 12 he was apprenticed by his father to a maker of wood-carvings. He followed the course in decorative arts at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux and did not definitively abandon ornamental sculpture for painting until 1905. Perhaps as a consequence, Lhote was one of the few 20th-century artists and theoreticians who not only accepted the term ‘decorative’ in connection with art but also exalted it, finding in mural painting the highest public realization of his ambitions. Like Albert Gleizes and Fernand Léger, he welcomed the limitations of wall painting because its conditions insisted on flatness as integral to a large plane surface.

The first paintings shown by Lhote to a large public in Paris, at the Salon d’Automne of 1907, were characterized by vigorous brushstrokes and bright colours. While they had affinities with Fauvism, they were already disciplined by his admiration for Cézanne, visible in the break-up of surfaces into smaller planes. These early works were mostly landscapes; a few larger religious paintings from as late as ...

Article

Troels Andersen

(Severinovich)

(b Kiev, Feb 26, 1878; d Leningrad [now St Petersburg], May 15, 1935).

Russian painter, printmaker, decorative artist and writer of Ukranian birth. One of the pioneers of abstract art, Malevich was a central figure in a succession of avant-garde movements during the period of the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917 and immediately after. The style of severe geometric abstraction with which he is most closely associated, Suprematism (see fig.), was a leading force in the development of Constructivism, the repercussions of which continued to be felt throughout the 20th century. His work was suppressed in Soviet Russia in the 1930s and remained little known during the following two decades. The reassessment of his reputation in the West from the mid-1950s was matched by the renewed influence of his work on the paintings of Ad Reinhardt and on developments such as Zero, Hard-edge painting and Minimalism.

Article

David Elliott

(Vladimirovich)

(b Bagdadi, Georgia, July 19, 1893; d Moscow, April 14, 1930).

Russian poet, critic, graphic designer and painter of Georgian birth. Although best known as a poet and playwright he studied painting at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1911–14) and, as a member of the Futurist group Hylea, was a pioneer of what later became known as Performance art. Mayakovsky’s family moved to Moscow on the death of his father in 1906, and he soon became involved in left-wing activities, for which he was repeatedly arrested. On passing the entrance examination of the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in August 1911, his political activities shifted their focus to bohemian épatage. In the class for figure painting Mayakovsky met David Burlyuk, who with his brothers Nikolay Burlyuk (1890–1920) and Vladimir Burlyuk (1886–1917) and the ‘aviator poet’ Vasily Kamensky (1864–1961), formed the core of the Russian Futurist movement. Adopting a stance similar to that of Marinetti, whose Futurist manifesto (...

Article

Daniel Robbins

(b Nantes, June 24, 1883; d Paris, Nov 3, 1956).

French painter, critic and poet. Although he came from a military family, following the early death of his father he pursued his own interests in mathematics, music and painting. By 1900 he was a student at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Nantes, where he worked under the portrait painter Hippolyte Touront. After sending three pictures to the Salon des Indépendants in 1903, he moved to Paris with the proceeds from their sale. Thus, from the age of 20, Metzinger supported himself as a professional painter, a fact that may account for some of the shifts to which his art submitted in later years. He exhibited regularly in Paris from 1903, taking part in 1904 in a group show with Touront and Raoul Dufy at the gallery run by Berthe Weill and also participating in the Salon d’Automne in that year. By 1906 he had enough prestige to be elected to the hanging committee of the Salon des Indépendants. By the time he began dating his works around ...

Article

(b Amersfoort, March 7, 1872; d New York, Feb 1, 1944).

Dutch painter, theorist, and draughtsman. His work marks the transition at the start of the 20th century from the Hague school and Symbolism to Neo-Impressionism and Cubism. His key position within the international avant-garde is determined by works produced after 1920. He set out his theory in the periodical of Stijl, De, in a series of articles that were summarized in a separate booklet published in Paris in 1920 under the title Le Néo-plasticisme (see Neo-plasticism) by Léonce Rosenberg. The essence of Mondrian’s ideas is that painting, composed of the most fundamental aspects of line and colour, must set an example to the other arts for achieving a society in which art as such has no place but belongs instead to the total realization of ‘beauty’. The representation of the universal, dynamic pulse of life, also expressed in modern jazz and the metropolis, was Mondrian’s point of departure. Even in his lifetime he was regarded as the founder of the most ...