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Greta Stroeh

[Jean] (Peter Wilhelm)

(b Strassburg, Germany [now Strasbourg, France], Sept 16, 1886; d Basle, Switzerland, June 7, 1966).

French sculptor, painter, collagist, printmaker, and poet of German birth. The son of a German father and French Alsatian mother, he developed a cosmopolitan outlook from an early age and as a mature artist maintained close contact with the avant-garde throughout Europe. He was a pioneer of abstract art and one of the founders of Dada in Zurich, but he also participated actively in both Surrealism and Constructivism. While he prefigured junk art and the Fluxus movement in his incorporation of waste material, it was through his investigation of biomorphism and of chance and accident that he proved especially influential on later 20th-century art in liberating unconscious creative forces.

Following a brief period at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Strasbourg (1900–01), Arp received instruction from 1901 from a friend and neighbour, the painter and printmaker Georges Ritleng (1875–1972). He then attended the Kunstschule in Weimar (1904–7) and the Académie Julian in Paris (...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 16 September 1886, in Strasbourg; died 7 June 1966, in Basel.

Collage artist, engraver, sculptor, draughtsman, illustrator, poet.

Dadaism.

Der Moderne Bund, Dadaist groups in Zurich and Cologne, Artistes Radicaux, Das Neue Leben, Paris Surrealist Group, Abstraction-Création.

Hans Arp joined the École des Arts et Métiers in Strasbourg in 1902, at the age of 16. In 1903 he began painting and contributed to a local magazine. In 1904 he made his first trip to Paris. From 1905 to 1907 he studied under Ludwig von Hoffmann at the fine arts academy in Weimar, where he attended modern art exhibitions. He returned to Strasbourg, which his family then left for Weggis, on the edge of the Lac des Quatre Cantons in Switzerland. Between 1908 and 1910 he made a second trip to Paris and worked for a time at the Académie Julian. In Weggis he completed his first Abstract compositions and learned the art of modelling. In 1911 he co-founded the group...

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Born 1921, in Krefeld; died 23 January 1986, in Düsseldorf.

Performance artist, installation artist, assemblage artist, engraver.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus, Conceptual Art.

Joseph Beuys spent his youth in Cleves. Relatively little is known about his early years, but he is thought to have begun studying natural sciences when he was mobilised in 1941 as a bomber pilot in the Luftwaffe. In winter 1943, his plane was shot down over the Russian steppes near Sevastopol. According to Beuys, some Tatars found him buried in the cabin wreckage and just managed to save his life by smearing the wounds of his half-frozen body with animal fat and wrapping him in felt. There is some doubt as to the truth of parts of this story, but certainly the metaphorical power of the fat and felt became a recurring theme throughout the rest of his career....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1912, in Los Angeles; died 1992.

Painter, printmaker.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus.

John Cage is best known as an avant-garde composer and musician. As a member of the Fluxus group he took part in many of their happenings and was therefore at the heart of various artistic activities that extended into the visual arts. His introduction of the notion of chance into music coincided with the same approach in painting. He also used painting and print making as a means of expression and in Milan in ...

Article

Belgian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1949, in Gosselies.

Painter, draughtsman, designer, sculptor, engraver.

Coppee trained at the École des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. His works, some of which exhibit the hallmarks of a Dadaist approach, retain a naive spontaneity. He has also produced frescoes and stained glass windows....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1935, in Cincinnati.

Painter (gouache), watercolourist, assemblage artist, happenings artist, draughtsman, lithographer, photographer.

Neo-Dadaism, Pop Art.

Jim Dine spent his childhood in his father’s painting and plumbing tool shop. He studied at the University of Cincinnati and then at Ohio University, leaving with a Bachelor of Arts in 1957. He also followed courses at Boston Museum School. In 1958 he settled in New York, participating in the birth of Pop Art and, more especially, Happening Art, participating in avant-garde group exhibitions. However, this allegiance to Pop Art has to be moderated to some extent; even though historically he lived this experience, he always added a somewhat poetic, sentimental nuance and retained an attachment to pictorial problems, something that brought him closer to another artist who found himself isolated during this period: Cy Twombly....

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Born 2 December 1891, in Untermhaus, near Gera (Thuringia); died 25 July 1969, in Oehningen (Lake Constance), Switzerland.

Painter (gouache), watercolourist, pastellist, wood engraver, etcher, lithographer, illustrator. Figure compositions, figures, portraits, landscapes.

Dadaism, Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity).

Berlin Dada.

Otto Dix was the son of a railway worker and was apprenticed to a painter and decorator from 1905 to 1909. Between the ages of 14 and 17 he studied drawing at the school of decorative arts in Gera, then he took courses at the schools of fine arts in Dresden and Düsseldorf from 1910 to 1914, a period during which he spent some time in Berlin. He volunteered as a machine gunner in World War I and was wounded twice....

Article

Czech, 20th century, male.

Born 1932, in Plzen.

Painter, engraver.

Smidrove Group.

Bedrich Dlouhy studied at the academy of arts in Prague. A member of the Neo-Dadaist group Smidrove since 1954, he was an important representative of the Czech school which resisted Socialist Realism. He exhibited from his studio in ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 28 July 1887 , in Blainville; died 2 October 1968 , in Paris.

Painter (including gouache/mixed media), sculptor, printmaker, Ready-mades.

Dadaism, Surrealism.

Groupe de Puteaux, Société Anonyme, New York Dada.

Marcel Duchamp was one of seven children, four of whom were destined to become artists - Marcel himself, his brothers Gaston and Raymond (who came to be known as Jacques Villon and Duchamp-Villon, respectively), and his sister the painter Suzanne Duchamp, who later married Jean Crotti....

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Active from 1922–1941 and 1953–1970 in France, from 1941–1953 in the United States; from 1948 naturalised citizen in the United States, and from 1958 naturalised citizen in France.

Born 2 April 1891, in Brühl, near Cologne; died 1 April 1976, in ...

Article

Malcolm Gee

(b Brühl, nr Cologne, April 2, 1891; d Paris, April 1, 1976).

German painter, printmaker, and sculptor, naturalized American in 1948 and French in 1958. He was a major contributor to the theory and practice of Surrealism (see Two Children Are Threatened by a Nightingale, 1924). His work challenged and disrupted what he considered to be repressive aspects of European culture, in particular Christian doctrine, conventional morality, and the aesthetic codes of Western academic art. Until the mid-1920s he was little known outside a small circle of artists and writers in Cologne and Paris, but he became increasingly successful from c. 1928 onwards. After 1945 he was respected and honoured as a surviving representative of a ‘heroic’ generation of avant-garde artists.

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 19 May 1898, in Rome; died 1974.

Painter, engraver (wood).

Futurism, Dadaism.

Evola was initially part of the Futurist movement, but in 1918 he came into contact with Tristan Tzara and the Dada group in Zurich. He then joined the Dada movement, just as many Futurists were being influenced by the ideas expressed by Mussolini. He wrote two books in the ...

Article

Swiss, 20th century, male.

Born 16 August 1877, in Stampa; died 9 July 1947, in Zurich.

Painter, watercolourist, pastellist, mixed media, engraver, draughtsman. Designs for stained glass, designs for mosaics, murals.

Dadaism.

Augusto Giacometti was the younger brother of Giovanni Giacometti and the uncle of Alberto and Diego Giacometti. He has been almost forgotten today, but was well-known at the beginning of the 20th century for the monumental decorations which he was commissioned to produce. He studied at the school of decorative arts in Zurich for three years and then went to study in Paris in 1897, where he took a course at the École des Arts Décoratifs and also studied under Eugène Grasser at the training college for art teachers. He became a teacher at the art college in Florence in 1907. Between 1900 and 1916 he published his research into colour in a work entitled ...

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

Timothy O. Benson

(b Vienna, July 12, 1886; d Limoges, Feb 1, 1971).

Austrian photomontagist, painter, photographer, printmaker, writer, and theorist. He trained in the academic artistic tradition under his father, Victor Hausmann (1859–1920). In 1900 he went to Berlin, where he later became a central figure in Dada. His important friendship with the eccentric architect and mystical artist Johannes Baader (1875–1956) began in 1905. In the first years of the next decade he was associated with such artists as Erich Heckel and Ludwig Meidner and produced numerous paintings, including Blue Nude (1916; Rochechouart, Mus. Dépt.), and woodcuts, several of which were published in his book Material der Malerei Plastik Architektur (Berlin, 1918). These works blended Expressionism with the influences of artists then exhibiting at Herwarth Walden’s Sturm-Galerie: Fernand Léger, Alexander Archipenko, Robert Delaunay and Sonia Delaunay, Arthur Segal, and others. Around 1915 his widening contacts with the writers Salomon Friedländer and Franz Jung led to innumerable theoretical and satirical writings that were published in ...

Article

Benjamin Benus

(b Cologne, Sept 1, 1895; d Cologne, July 3, 1936).

German painter, draughtsman, and printmaker. Along with Franz Wilhelm Seiwert (1894–1933), Hoerle was one of the leading figures of the Cologne-based Gruppe Progressiver Künstler. During his studies at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Cologne in 1912, Hoerle first met several of the artists with whom he would later collaborate in the post-war Dadaist Stupid group—among them, Angelika Fick (1899–1923) and her brother Willy Fick (1894–1970). In 1917 Hoerle began contributing prints and drawings to the Berlin-based journal Die Aktion. The same year Hoerle was drafted into the German army and sent to the front—an experience that affected him deeply and had a lasting impact on his artwork. Hoerle’s Krüppelmappe (1919–20; priv. col.), for example, depicts the physical and psychological traumas experienced by wounded soldiers returning from the front, while the mechanized, automaton-like figures that appear in a number of his works after 1920—for example his now-lost oil painting ...

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Born 1 September 1895, in Cologne; died 3 July 1936, in Cologne.

Painter, draughtsman, engraver.

Dadaism.

Cologne Dadaist, Stupid Group, Gruppe Progressiver Künstler (Progressive Art Group).

Before dedicating himself to painting, Heinrich Hörle travelled to Belgium and the Netherlands. He then had a somewhat episodic training at the applied arts school in Cologne. He founded ...

Article

Romanian, 20th century, male.

Active in Switzerland from 1915 toc.1922, active then naturalised in Israel from 1942.

Born 24 May 1895, in Bucharest, born Marcel Iancu; died 21 April 1984, in Tel Aviv.

Painter, sculptor, engraver, illustrator, architect.

Dadaism.

Zurich Dadaist, Artistes Radicaux, Das Neue Leben, New Horizons...

Article

Ioana Vlasiu

(b Bucharest, 1895; d Ein Hod, 1984).

Romanian painter, printmaker, architect and writer. He was a pupil of the painter Iosif Iser and from 1915 studied architecture in Zurich. With Tristan Tzara, Hans Arp, Richard Huelsenbeck and Hugo Ball, Janco participated in the Dada performances of the Cabaret Voltaire (see Dada, §1 and Mask, c. 1919). Janco made props and posters for the Dada group and illustrated with engravings the books of Tristan Tzara; he broke with Dada in 1922. In 1918 he became involved with the Neue Leben group in Basle. After returning to Romania in 1920 he took part in all the major avant-garde exhibitions, showed at the Maison d’Art in Bucharest (1922) and was a member of the group Contimporanul (1924), which published an eponymous review and organized the first international avant-garde exhibition in December 1924. Janco was prolific as an artist, drawing, painting, engraving, designing buildings (e.g. Wexler House, ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 15 May 1930, in Allendale (South Carolina) or Augusta (Georgia).

Painter, sculptor, draughtsman, printmaker, mixed media, costume and set designer, illustrator. Encaustic.

Neo-Dadaism, Pop Art.

Jasper Johns grew up in South Carolina. He attended courses in art and painting at the University of South Carolina and, in 1948, enrolled in a commercial art school for two semesters in New York City. He served in the US Army for two years during the Korean War but was able to resume his studies at City College in New York in 1953, thanks to the GI Bill. It was at this time that he met his lifelong friend Robert Rauschenberg, the composer John Cage, and the dancer Merce Cunningham. He acted as artistic adviser for Cage and Cunningham’s dance company until 1972, collaborating with painters such as Robert Morris, Frank Stella, Bruce Nauman, and Andy Warhol. He lives and works in New York State and St Martin in the French West Indies. He has been a member of the New York Academy of Arts and Letters since 1988....