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Article

Henri Béhar

(b Paris, Oct 3, 1897; d Paris, Dec 24, 1982).

French writer. He took up writing as a career after studying medicine during World War I. He was mobilized in 1917 at the same time as his friend André Breton, with whom he had contributed poems to Pierre Reverdy’s Nord-Sud. His first critical article, ‘Du décor’, published in Le Film (16 Sept 1918), praised the novelty of the cinema and the aims of modern life, which he defined as progress, novelty of experience, liberty of artistic expression and inspiration of love. These were his main concerns when he founded the review Littérature (1919), together with Breton and the French writer Philippe Soupault. Fascinated by Tristan Tzara and by the collages of Max Ernst, he wrote his poems Feu de joie (Paris, 1920) and his parodic stories Anicet and Les Aventures de Télémaque (both Paris, 1922) under the influence of Dada, whose techniques he borrowed and to which he added his own insolence. Experimentation with subconscious motivations led to the formation of the ...

Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Active in the USA since 1961.

Born 6 July 1936, in Nagoya (Aichi Prefecture).

Painter.

Conceptual Art.

Neo-Dadaist Organisers group.

Shusaku Arakawa studied medicine and mathematics at Tokyo University (1954-1958) and art at Musashino Art University, Tokyo. He began his career in the 1960s when he concerned himself with the representation of impossible space, which corresponded to Marcel Duchamp’s scientific interest in the fourth dimension. In 1960 he was involved in anti-art and Neo-Dadaism in Tokyo and produced his first happenings....

Article

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

Amelia Pavel

In 

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Born 21 June 1876, in Stuttgart; died 15 January 1955, in Bavaria.

Architect, photomontage artist, collage artist, writer.

Dadaism.

Johannes Baader, who was active as an artist for three years, from 1918 to 1921, was a former architect who had created the plans for the famous Hagenbeck Zoo in Stellingen. After the age of 40, he became a follower and champion of the Dada movement in Berlin, calling himself ...

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Born in Cologne; died 1927, in the Tyrol.

Poet, collage artist, photomontage artist.

Dadaism.

Johannes Baargeld was the son of a banker from Cologne and was involved in the revolutionary unrest following World War I as one of the founders of the Communist party in the Rhineland. He established a left-wing extremist newspaper of art and politics, ...

Article

(Gruenwald, Alfred Emanuel Ferdinand]

(b Stettin, Pomerania [now Szczecin, Poland], Oct 9, 1892; d nr Chamonix, France, 17 or Aug 18, 1927).

German collagist, draughtsman, writer and publisher. Although he came from an upper middle-class family, after serving as a volunteer in World War I he became a pacifist and a supporter of democratic socialism on Soviet lines. In 1918 he began a political career as a committee member of the mid-Rhine district of the Independent Social-Democratic Party, a Marxist party that had split from the Social-Democratic Party of Germany. The short-lived journal he edited, Der Ventilator, which published six issues in Cologne in February and March 1919, was a satirical magazine directed against the Social Democrat government in Berlin.

Having discovered the work of de Chirico and come under the influence of Dada, in autumn 1919 Baargeld became an opponent of tradition and convention in art as well, setting himself particularly against Expressionism. In November 1919 he and Max Ernst, who together can be said to have founded the Cologne branch of ...

Article

(b Geneva, Feb 25, 1872; d Lausanne, Jan 1, 1938).

Swiss painter and multimedia artist . From 1890/91 she studied under Hugues Bovy (1841–1903) and Denise Sarkissof at the Ecole d’Art in Geneva. A travel scholarship enabled her to study in Munich for a year. From 1904 until the outbreak of World War I Bailly lived in Paris, where she associated with Cubist artists, including Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, Fernand Léger, Marie Laurencin and Sonia Lewitska (1882–1914). From 1905 to 1926 she exhibited regularly at the Salon d’Automne. From 1906 to 1910 her work was influenced by Fauvism, and from 1910 she became interested in Cubism and Futurism: Equestrian Fantasy with Pink Lady (1913; Zurich, Gal. Strunskaja) is reminiscent of the work of Gino Severini or Franz Marc in its rhythmic movement and planar fragmentation of horses and riders into coloured patterns. Other paintings of this period that are also indebted to these movements include ...

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Active in Switzerland.

Born 1886, in Pirmassens; died 1927, in San Abbondio, Switzerland.

Mixed media, poet.

Dadaism.

Zurich Dadaist.

Ball was a poet, producer and founder of the Dada movement in Zurich. His Cabaret Voltaire brought together all the intellectuals and artists in exile, who, at the height of the war in ...

Article

Peter W. Guenther

(b Pirmasens, Feb 22, 1886; d San Abbondio, Switzerland, Sept 14, 1927).

German writer and performer . After studying sociology and philosophy at the universities of Munich and Heidelberg he began working as a stage manager at the theatre in Plauen in 1910. He wrote a number of plays while in Munich in 1912. He also wrote poetry and was charged with obscenity for his poem Der Henker (pubd in Revolution, 15 Oct 1913) but was later exonerated on account of its ‘unintelligibility’. About this time he experimented with Expressionist painting. His plans to form, with Vasily Kandinsky, a new type of experimental Expressionist theatre in Munich were interrupted by the beginnings of World War I. Ball volunteered but was rejected for health reasons. He became a pacifist and published poetry and prose in several journals.

Ball became a leading figure in the development of the Dada movement, and he is credited with inventing the name. In 1915, with Richard Huelsenbeck, he organized Expressionist readings in Berlin. In May of the same year he emigrated with ...

Article

Swiss, 20th century, male.

Born 3 May 1886, in Basel; died 9 October 1942.

Painter, sculptor.

Dadaism, Neo-Constructivism.

Groups: Artistes Radicaux, Das Neue Leben.

From 1917, Baumann exhibited at the Galerie Dada in Zurich and in 1918 he became a member of the group The New Life...

Article

Ben  

Swiss, 20th century, male.

Active from 1949 active in France.

Born 18 July 1935, in Naples, to an Irish mother and a Swiss-French father.

Painter (mixed media), installation artist.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus, Conceptual Art, Mail Art.

Ben spent periods in Turkey, Egypt and Greece before settling in Nice in 1949. At the age of 16 he broke off his studies, working in a bookshop and then becoming a second-hand goods dealer. However, Ben never ceased to contemplate the legacy created by Marcel Duchamp and the consequences of the ...

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

20th century, male.

Born 1897; died 1969.

Collage artist.

Dadaism.

An official photographer on Harper's Bazaar and U.S. Vogue; celebrated for his fashion photography. Erwin Blumenfeld also produced Dadaist-inspired collages while living in Amsterdam in 1914.

London, 4 Dec 1985: Self-portrait (1922, pastel, 16¼ × 12¼ ins/41 × 31 cm) ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 7 March 1926, in Halfway (Oregon); died 5 December 2008, in Cologne.

Painter, sculptor. Multimedia.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus.

From 1946 to 1950, George Brecht studied physical sciences at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy & Science, and from 1950 to 1955, he trained as a chemist. He met John Cage in ...

Article

Henri Béhar

(b Tinchebray, Feb 19, 1896; d Paris, Sept 28, 1966).

French writer. While still an adolescent he came under the influence of Paul Valéry and Gustave Moreau, who for a long period were to influence his perception of beauty. From that time on, his poetic creation interrelated with his reflections on art, which like Gide’s were conditioned by a moral code. He considered that it is not possible to write for a living, but only from interior necessity; in the same way, painting must always derive from an irrepressible need for self-expression. These criteria guided Breton both in his dealings with the Surrealist group (of which he was the uncontested leader) and in his articles on painting, collected in editions of Le Surréalisme et la peinture (first published in 1928).

Breton’s family were of modest means. He was educated in the modern section of a lycée, without any Latin or Greek, and had embarked on a study of medicine when he was called up to serve in World War I. During this period he was drawn to poetry by his fascination with Arthur Rimbaud. His meeting with the aesthete Jacques Vaché temporarily dulled his interest in Rimbaud, and instead he turned to Guillaume Apollinaire, whose advice and friendship were a significant influence on him. Through Apollinaire he came into contact with Marie Laurencin, Derain, De Chirico and Picasso, and became friendly with the French poet and novelist Philippe Soupault. The review ...

Article

Belgian, 20th century, male.

Born 1896, in Termonde; died 1965, in Antwerp.

Painter, poet.

Dadaism.

Primarily an Expressionist poet, Gaston Burssens wrote several collections of poems. His painting was Expressionist at the outset, later developing into Dadaistic and Surrealist figuration.

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

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1884, in Naples; died 1977, in Livorno (Tuscany).

Poet, draughtsman, painter, watercolourist, sculptor.

Dadaism, Futurism.

Francesco Cangiullo was the elder brother of Pasquale Cangiullo. He participated in the Dada activities at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich in around 1919. His friends Marinetti and Balla involved him in Futurist activities. He wrote theoretical works about Futurist theatre and became artistic director of the Compania del Teatro della Sorpresa. He was also a poet, and in ...