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Article

Hungarian, 20th century, male.

Died 1941.

Painter, draughtsman. Figure compositions. Murals.

Allazio de Abacco spent some time in Rome. Influenced by German Expressionism in 1910, he was very active in Hungary between the wars producing murals for public spaces to publicise social schemes.

Article

David Anfam

Term applied to a movement in American painting that flourished in the 1940s and 1950s, sometimes referred to as the New York School or, very narrowly, as Action painting, although it was first coined in relation to the work of Vasily Kandinsky in 1929. The works of the generation of artists active in New York from the 1940s and regarded as Abstract Expressionists resist definition as a cohesive style; they range from Barnett Newman’s unbroken fields of colour to De Kooning family, §1’s violent handling of the figure. They were linked by a concern with varying degrees of abstraction used to convey strong emotional or expressive content. Although the term primarily denotes a small nucleus of painters, Abstract Expressionist qualities can also be seen in the sculpture of David Smith, Ibram Lassaw and others, the photography of Aaron Siskind and the painting of Mark Tobey, as well as in the work of less renowned artists such as ...

Article

David Anfam

Term applied to the work of American Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and, by extension, to the art of their followers at home and abroad during the 1950s. An alternative but slightly more general term is gestural painting; the other division within Abstract Expressionism was colour field painting.

The critic Harold Rosenberg defined action painting in an article, ‘The American Action Painters’ (1952), where he wrote: ‘At a certain moment the canvas began to appear to one American painter after another as an arena in which to act. …What was to go on canvas was not a picture but an event’. This proposition drew heavily, and perhaps crudely, upon ideas then current in intellectual circles, especially in the wake of Jean-Paul Sartre’s essay L’Existentialisme est un humanisme (Paris, 1946; Eng. trans., 1948), which claimed that ‘there is no reality except in action’. In the 1940s Herbert Ferber, Barnett Newman and others had already characterized their creative process in similar terms; Rosenberg was probably also inspired by photographs of Pollock at work (rather than the actual paintings) that emphasized his apparent psychological freedom and physical engagement with materials (e.g. ...

Article

British-Pakistani, 20th century, female.

Born 1917, in London, England; died 1994, in Lahore (Punjab), Pakistan.

Painter.

Modern Expressionism.

Anna Molka, born in London of Polish and Russian-Jewish parents, studied at St. Martin’s School of Art in London and then at the Royal College of Art (RCA). During this period she converted from Judaism to Islam and married Sheikh Ahmed, then an Indian student at the RCA. They moved to India permanently in ...

Article

Annie Dell’Aria

Term coined during the height of Abstract Expressionism in the USA, with particular relevance to the work of painter Jackson Pollock. The ‘all-over’ quality of works such as Lavender Mist: Number 1, 1950 (Washington, DC, N.G.A.) refers to its lack of compositional structure (no apparent foreground, middleground, or background) as in traditional representational painting. It also suggests the lack of spatial delineations or focal points of any kind, creating an entirely abstract work that asserts the canvas’s flat surface and eschews any attempt at representational or symbolic interpretation (see fig.). The large scale of Pollock’s drip paintings made their all-over quality all the more impressive as the sprawled paint made the viewer survey the entire surface. Though initially used to describe Pollock’s drip paintings, the term was later applied to the colour field painters of the second generation of Abstract Expressionists. Furthermore, the term ‘all-over’ can be applied to a variety of abstract design strategies (for example, some works by Cy Twombly)....

Article

Swiss, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 28 March 1868, in Solothurn; died 1961, in Oschwand (Bern).

Painter, watercolourist, pastellist, engraver, lithographer, sculptor. Figure compositions, portraits, landscapes, still-lifes.

Die Brücke group. School of Pont-Aven.

Cuno Amiet began his artistic training under Frank Buchser in Feldbrunnen from 1884 to 1886. From 1886 to 1888 he trained at the academy of fine art in Munich. From 1888 to 1891 he trained under the guidance of William Bouguereau and Tony Robert-Fleury at the Académie Julian in Paris. Up to that point he had been influenced by Impressionism, which was still very much in evidence. Then in 1892, he went to Pont-Aven and made contact with O'Connor, Émile Bernard, Sérusier and Armand Seguin. They introduced him to the ideas and techniques suggested by Gauguin to those who would soon be classed as the École de Pont-Aven. They would also call themselves 'Nabis'....

Article

(b Solothurn, March 28, 1868; d Oschwand, July 6, 1961).

Swiss painter and sculptor. From 1884 to 1886 he received irregular lessons from the Swiss painter Frank Buscher (1828–90). In the autumn of 1886 he attended the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Munich and the following year met Giovanni Giacometti, who was to be a lifelong friend. In 1888 he visited the Internationale Kunstausstellung in Munich, where he was particularly impressed by the work of Jules Bastien-Lepage and Whistler. This prompted him to go to Paris to continue his studies, and from 1888 to 1891 he attended the Académie Julian, working under William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Tony Robert-Fleury and Gabriel Ferrier. While in Paris he also met Paul Sérusier, Maurice Denis and other Nabis artists, though his own painting of this period was most influenced by Impressionism. In 1892 he was advised to visit Pont-Aven in Brittany, where he met Emile Bernard, Armand Séguin and Roderic O’Conor, as well as seeing the works of Vincent Van Gogh and Gauguin at first hand. This brief period had a decisive effect upon his work, leading to such Synthetist paintings as ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1907, in Raymond (Washington); died 1994.

Painter.

Darrel Austin set himself the task of rendering the dramas and conflicts of the human condition, via an Expressionist vision, between the two world wars.

New York, 11 Nov 1959: Lady of the Night...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1936.

Painter.

Edward Avedesian painting has evolved over the years from abstract expressionism, minimalism and pop-abstraction, through colour field painting in the 1970s, and then to a form of bold figuration. He has exhibited his work in New York and Los Angeles, notably at the Mitchell Algus Gallery in New York in ...

Article

Croat, 20th century, male.

Born 1890, in Jastrebarsko.

Painter, art critic.

Ljubo Babic studied in Zagreb, Munich and Paris. His painting evolved from the 1920s Yugoslavian Neo-Realism to a style of Expressionism depicting simplified forms in vivid colours. He was also known as an art critic....

Article

Swedish, 20th century, male.

Born 1911, in Halmstad; died 1981.

Painter, sculptor.

Neo-Constructivism.

Olle Baertling settled in Stockholm in 1928 and started painting in 1938. At the beginning of his career he was an Expressionist, but then began to paint portraits under the influence of Matisse. He subsequently studied under André Lothe and Léger in Paris in ...

Article

Dutch, 20th century, male.

Born 1912, in Eindhoven.

Painter, watercolourist. Scenes with figures.

Bakel was self-taught. He was interested in Flemish expressionists and organized exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum in Eindhoven. In 1946, he spent some time in Paris and he spent further periods at Pont-Aven (in ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 1886, in Lyons; died 1926.

Painter, pastellist. Landscapes, flowers.

Lyons School.

Adrien Bas participated in the Salon d'Automne in Paris, notably in 1919 and 1920. His landscapes have rather an Expressionist feel, particularly when executed in pastel. This is achieved by emphasising the volumes and planes with the use of luminous colours....

Article

Judith Zilczer

Term applied to a group of American artists active in San Francisco from 1950 to the mid-1960s who forged a vibrant brand of figurative expressionism. Originating in the studios and art schools of postwar San Francisco, the movement transcended its regional identity to attain national recognition as a major trend in mid-20th-century American art.

Around 1950, painters David Park, Elmer Bischoff, Richard Diebenkorn and James Weeks (1922–98) adapted the gestural style and painterly techniques of Abstract Expressionism to create luminous canvases devoted to recognizable subjects including genre scenes, figure paintings and the local landscape of the Bay Area. These four “founders” were soon joined by slightly younger artists—Nathan Oliveira, Paul Wonner (1920–2008) and Theophilus Brown (b 1919), as well as former students Joan Brown (1938–90), Bruce McGaw (b 1935) and the lone sculptor, Manuel Neri (b 1930). Although Park and his fellow artists would deny they had created a new movement, their shared sensibilities resulted in the cohesive style and widespread influence of the Bay Area Figurative school....

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Born 1878.

Painter. Landscapes.

Der Blaue Reiter group.

In around 1911 or 1912, Bechtejeff formed part of the Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) group, in which he does not seem to have played an active part. He sought to give his art a modernist style....

Article

Christian Lenz

(b Leipzig, Feb 12, 1884; d New York, Dec 27, 1950).

German painter, draughtsman, printmaker and teacher. He was one of the most important German painters of the 20th century. He was initially influenced by traditional styles, but during World War I he rejected perspective and classical proportion in favour of a more expressive objective art. He was persecuted by the Nazis in the 1930s but continued to work, painting his celebrated secular triptychs in the late 1930s and the 1940s.

Beckmann showed artistic promise from an early age, painting as early as c. 1898 a Self-portrait with Soap Bubbles (mixed media on cardboard; priv. col.; see Lackner, 1991, p. 10). After training at the Kunstschule in Weimar (1900–03), he studied under the patronage of Julius Meier-Graefe in Paris. There he became acquainted with the works of the Impressionists, Cézanne, van Gogh and probably such early French paintings as the Avignon Pietà. From 1903 until the outbreak of World War I he lived mostly in or near Berlin. He began painting landscapes and from ...

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

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

Belgian, 20th century, male.

Painter.

In the course of an adventurous life, Benoit produced a body of work that, despite some Naïve aspects in terms of technique, nevertheless belongs in other respects to the Belgian Expressionist movement.

Article

Jan Minchin

(Vladimir Jossif)

(b Vienna, Oct 13, 1920).

Israeli painter of Austrian birth, active in Australia. He grew up in Warsaw. His father, the pseudonymous Jewish writer Melech Ravitch, owned books on German Expressionism, which were an early influence. Conscious of rising anti-Semitism in Poland, Ravitch visited Australia in 1934 and later arranged for his family to settle there. Bergner arrived in Melbourne in 1937. Poor, and with little English, his struggle to paint went hand-in-hand with a struggle to survive. In 1939 he attended the National Gallery of Victoria’s art school and came into contact with a group of young artists including Victor O’Connor (b 1918) and Noel Counihan, who were greatly influenced by Bergner’s haunting images of refugees, hard-pressed workers and the unemployed, for example The Pumpkin-eaters (c. 1940; Canberra, N.G.). Executed in an expressionist mode using a low-toned palette, they were among the first social realist pictures done in Australia.

In 1941...