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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

German, 20th century, male.

Born 1880; died 1966.

Architect, painter.

Die Brücke group.

Fritz Bleyl was an architecture student at the Dresden technical high school. He met Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, together with whom he founded The Bridge ( Die Brücke...

Article

Paul Vogt and Ita Heinze-Greenberg

International movement in art and architecture, which flourished between c. 1905 and c. 1920, especially in Germany. It also extended to literature, music, dance and theatre. The term was originally applied more widely to various avant-garde movements: for example it was adopted as an alternative to the use of ‘Post-Impressionism’ by Roger Fry in exhibitions in London in 1910 and 1912. It was also used contemporaneously in Scandinavia and Germany, being gradually confined to the specific groups of artists and architects to which it is now applied.

Expressionism in the fine arts developed from the Symbolist and expressive trends in European art at the end of the 19th century. The period of ‘classical Expressionism’ began in 1905, with the foundation of the group Brücke, Die, and ended c. 1920. Although in part an artistic reaction both to academic art and to Impressionism, the movement should be understood as a form of ‘new ...

Article

Belgian, 20th century, male.

Born 1939, in Ghent.

Painter. Landscapes.

A self-taught painter, De Gezelle is an architect. He has developed from naive Expressionism to a more direct expression from nature.

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Born 31 July 1883, in Döbeln (Saxony); died 1970, in Radolfzell.

Painter, engraver.

Die Brücke group.

Erich Heckel studied architecture at the technical university in Dresden in 1904-1905; his fellow students included Kirchner, Fritz Bleyl and Karl Schmitt-Rottluf. As a group they were passionate about the ferment of artistic expression resulting from the Munich Jugenstil movement, which would later come to be regarded as one of the wellsprings of 20th century art. Heckel settled in Berlin on his return from World War I, having served in the medical corps in Belgium for the duration. In 1937, the Nazis confiscated 729 of his canvases, declaring his work 'degenerate'. During World War II, his studio was destroyed in a bombardment in 1944, and he then settled in Hemmenhofen. After the war, he was appointed professor at the academy of arts in Karlsruhe from either 1945 or 1949 to 1954....

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1946.

Painter, draughtsman, engraver.

John Himmelfarb is an architecture graduate from Harvard University. He is an exponent of Abstract Expressionism whose development of line has been described as 'dramatic'. His often calligraphic drawings and paintings spring from jazz rhythms or an allusive imagery. Himmelfarb is best known for the gigantism of his 'works in progress' executed in full view of the public, much in the way of a performance. He has benefited from grants from the National Education Association and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. He has shown his works in solo exhibitions mostly in the Midwest but also at the University of Connecticut, Fairfield, and at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Christchurch, New Zealand....

Article

Czechoslovak, 20th – 21st century, female.

Active in Belgium.

Born 2 July 1949, in Ostrava.

Painter. Scenes with figures, urban landscapes, architectural views.

Scarlet Nikolska was the pupil of the Czech Expressionist painter Karel Soucek at the academy of fine arts in Prague. In her early years, Scarlet Nikolska's paintings drew on her memories of Prague, using warm yet slightly shadowy tones to depict silhouettes or faces emerging from the fog, the overall ambiance creating a sense of melancholic resignation. Then, following a trip to Brazil, her palette became lighter and brighter and she allowed herself to experiment with audacious and occasionally slightly disconcerting colour ranges. Upon her return to Czechoslovakia, by now a country that had gone through a period of great political upheaval, Scarlet Nikolska's inspiration seemed to be rekindled. Her compositions found a certain depth and at the same time an easiness and deftness of touch. She has been participating in group exhibitions since ...

Article

Lucius Grisebach

(b Eckersbach, Zwickau, Dec 31, 1881; d West Berlin, June 19, 1955).

German painter and printmaker. He was apprenticed as a decorator in Zwickau from 1896 to 1900, when he moved to Dresden to enrol at the Kunstgewerbeschule, where he met the architect Wilhelm Kreis and the painter Otto Gussmann (1869–1926) and obtained decorative commissions. He continued his studies from 1902 until 1906 as Gussmann’s pupil at the Dresden Kunstakademie. Through Kreis, Pechstein was introduced to Erich Heckel in 1906 and was invited by him to join Brücke, Die, a group founded in the previous year that was quickly to become a major force in the rise of German Expressionism (see Expressionism §1). The founders of the group were all architecture students, leaving Pechstein as the only member to have received formal academic training as a painter. He remained closely involved with the group until 1910, drawing and painting in the studios of Heckel and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in Dresden and also working communally with them ...

Article

Belgian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 2 July 1953, in Ronse, near Renaix.

Painter.

In 1953 Jean-Pol Soudan took architecture lessons at the art academies in Tournai, Brussels, Lille and London. During his Expressionist period he painted the Flemish Ardennes and the sea. The paintings from his Lyrical Abstract period contain esoteric signs of different origins, astrological symbols as in all works of this genre, Egyptian, Aztec signs and so on. He has spoken of an 'austral', 'cosmic' vision....

Article

(b Warsaw, Feb 24, 1885; d Jeziory, Polesie, Sept 17, 1939).

Polish writer, art theorist, painter and photographer . He was the son of the architect, painter and critic Stanisław Witkiewicz (1851–1915), creator of the ‘Zakopane style’ ( see Poland, Republic of §II 3. ). He spent his childhood in Zakopane in the Tatra Mountains and was educated at his family home, a place frequented by artists and intellectuals, and also through his many travels to Eastern and Western Europe. From his wide acquaintance with contemporary art, he was particularly impressed by the paintings of Arnold Böcklin. Witkiewicz’s often interrupted studies (1904–10) under Józef Mehoffer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków had less influence than his lessons in Zakopane and Brittany with Władysław Slewiński, who introduced him to the principles of Gauguin’s Synthetism. Witkiewicz abandoned the naturalism of his first landscapes, executed under the influence of his father, rejected linear perspective and modelling and began to use flat, well-contoured forms and vivid colours, as in ...