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Article

Horacio Safons

(b Federal, Entre Ríos, Aug 22, 1928; d Buenos Aires, Feb 19, 1996).

Argentine painter, draughtsman and collagist. He studied under Juan Batlle Planas from 1950 to 1953 and quickly established the terms of his work, rooted ideologically in Surrealism and indebted in particular to the work of René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico. All the elements of his mature art are evident in an early painting, Burning of the Hasidic School in Minsk in 1713 (1954; artist’s col.): architecture, space, light and ordered series. He developed an essentially intellectual approach, working in a variety of media (paintings, drawings, gouaches and collages) in rigorous sequences and picturing objects in cold impersonal light that confers on them a sense of distant majesty. The most common motif is that of a geometric, almost abstract structure, often in the form of a tower pierced by rows of large plain windows. Aizenberg’s work, while far removed from the Surrealist presumption of achieving a synthesis of wakefulness and dream, acquires its strength through the ordering of the unreal and the strange in the search for a transcendent essence capable of perturbing and jolting the viewer by bringing into play the archetypes of silence and solitude....

Article

Paule Thévenin

[Antoine Marie Joseph]

(b Marseille, Sept 4, 1896; d Ivry-sur-Seine, March 4, 1948).

French writer, draughtsman, stage designer, actor and director . He learnt to draw and paint in 1918–19 while staying in an establishment near Neuchâtel where he had been sent suffering from a nervous complaint that had begun in 1914. There he was prescribed opium in May 1919. He arrived in Paris in the spring of 1920 and visited salons, galleries and studios, produced art criticism (see Oeuvres complètes, ii), continued to sketch small portraits of himself or his family and composed poems. In the atelier of Charles Dullin (1885–1949), where he trained as an actor, he was asked to design the costumes for several performances. Nevertheless, after an attempt in 1923 to paint the portrait of a young friend and her father, he abandoned painting and drawing. Through the painter Elie Lascaux (b 1888), whom he knew from Max Jacob’s circle, he met the art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and the artists of his gallery. He became a friend of André Masson in particular and soon became a regular visitor at Masson’s studio in the Rue Blomet, then also frequented by other painters such as Joan Miró, Jean Dubuffet and Georges Malkine and visited by writers Robert Desnos (...

Article

Sarah Wilson

(b Piatra Neamt, Moldavia, June 15, 1903; d Paris, March 12, 1966).

Romanian painter, sculptor and draughtsman, active in France. As a child, he shared his father’s passionate interest in spiritualism, heralding a lasting preoccupation with the occult. In 1912 he accompanied his family to Vienna, and from 1916 to 1918 attended the evangelical school at Brăila, near Galaţi, studying zoology with great enthusiasm; he also started to paint. In 1921 he spent a brief period at the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest, where his first exhibition was held in 1924 at the Galerie Mozart. The same year, Brauner and the poet Ilarie Voronca founded the review 75HP, in which he published his manifesto of ‘Pictopoésie’ and an article on ‘Le Surrationalisme’. From 1928 until 1931 he worked with the Dada and Surrealist review UNU, which reproduced his drawings and paintings. Settling in Paris in 1930, he met Constantin Brancusi, who introduced him to photography, and Yves Tanguy, through whom he met the major Surrealists. He lived in the same building as Tanguy and Alberto Giacometti. His premonitory ...

Article

Vanina Costa

(b Nantes, Sept 17, 1907; d Paris, May 8, 1977).

French painter, sculptor, draughtsman and poet. He moved in 1926 to Paris, where he became involved with Surrealism, soon afterwards publishing his first collection of poems, Opoponax (Paris, 1927). In 1934 he exhibited a series of automatic drawings, which were followed by images produced with the assistance of objets trouvés: in Street Object (1936; Paris, Pompidou), for instance, he placed a sheet of paper on the road and then drove a car over it so as to leave the imprint of the tyre tracks. Another work of this period consisted of a bus sign bearing the same letters as his initials, so that it could be read as his signature. He also produced assemblages in a Surrealist spirit, such as Morphology of Desire (wood, plaster, metal, candle and torch, 1934–7; Paris, Pompidou). After World War II Bryen turned increasingly towards painting, through which he became a leading exponent of ...

Article

Andrew Causey

(b London, March 29, 1905; d Hastings, Oct 22, 1976).

English painter, illustrator and stage designer. As a student at the Chelsea Polytechnic (1921–3) and the Royal College of Art (1923–5) he became a talented figure draughtsman. In the second half of the decade he spent much time in France painting intricately detailed urban scenes, which depicted the low life of Toulon and Marseille. Works such as the watercolour Toulon (1927; priv. col., see Causey, cat. no. 33) were executed in a meticulously finished and vividly coloured decorative style. Burra usually used watercolour and tempera and occasionally collage oil paints.

Burra took ideas from Cubism, Dada (notably George Grosz) and, especially, Surrealism, but his work is also linked with the English satirical tradition of William Hogarth, Thomas Rowlandson and Isaac Cruikshank: Burra loved burlesque and poked fun at people’s pretensions and excesses of style and behaviour, as in John Deth (Homage to Conrad Aiken) (...

Article

French.

Painter.

He studied at the Versailles school of fine arts and architecture, and between 1971 and 1975 joined the Mirabelle Dors and Maurice Rapin's surrealist group. At the same time as working in advertising as a graphic artist, between 1972 and 1987, he continued to paint....

Article

Leland M. Roth and Gordon Campbell

(John)

(b Vienna, Sept 22, 1890; d New York, Dec 27, 1965).

American architect, stage designer, furniture designer and writer of Austrian birth. In 1920 he worked with Adolf Loos in Vienna. He was also in contact with the artists associated with De Stijl and began experimenting with innovative theatre designs. In 1924 he produced the Endless Theatre design. The ‘Endless’ was a double-curved shell of reinforced concrete that could enclose any irregularly traditional divisions into floor, wall, and ceiling but offered the inhabitant an open interior that could be modified at will. For the theatre he adapted the ‘Endless’ by devising a double-spiral stage interconnected by ramps and rings of spectator seats. Kiesler believed that the Endless Theatre, without proscenium or curtain, projecting out into the audience, with perpetually moving walls bathed in light of ever changing colour, would promote greater interaction between actors and audience.

For the celebrated Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925...

Article

Austrian, 20th century, male.

Active and naturalised in the USA.

Born 1880 or 1896, in Vienna; died 1965, in New York.

Sculptor.

Surrealism.

Frederick Kiesler was an architect who became involved with the Surrealists in 1937. He constructed the Art of this Century gallery in ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 13 June 1920, in Rennes; died 1999.

Painter. Figures, landscapes.

Surrealism.

The son of an architect, Yves Laloy gave up his professional activities in 1951 and set out to explore the countries around the Mediterranean. He then decided to work in deep-sea fishing in Newfoundland, which enabled him to devote himself to painting in the off-season. He worked the boats for three seasons and quit after the death of a sailor in tragic circumstances....

Article

Tirza Latimer

[Markovitch, Henriette Theodora]

b Paris, Nov 22, 1907; d Paris, July 16, 1997

French photographer and painter. Maar’s father was Croatian and her mother was from La Touraine in western France. She grew up in Argentina, where her father practised architecture, and was repatriated in 1926 to study at the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, Ecole de Photographie and the Académie Julien in Paris. In the early 1930s she set up her first photography studio with her collaborator, Pierre Kéfer, sharing the darkroom with Georges Brassaï.

Maar was closely associated with the Surrealists in the mid-1930s, signing political tracts, taking photographs of the movement’s members and exhibiting in group exhibitions. She was seeing Georges Bataille when, in 1936, the poet Paul Eluard introduced her to Pablo Picasso at the Café Deux Magots. Picasso was apparently intrigued by her dark beauty, her edginess, her theatricality and her violence. According to Françoise Gilot: ‘She was wearing black gloves with little pink flowers appliquéd on them. She took off the gloves and picked up a long, pointed knife, which she began to drive into the table between her outstretched fingers to see how close she could come to each finger without actually cutting herself. From time to time she missed by a fraction of an inch and before she stopped playing with the knife, her hand was covered with blood’ (Gilot, pp. 85-6). Picasso, playing the scene out to its fullest, later enshrined the bloody gloves for display in his apartment. Picasso described Maar as his ‘weeping woman’ and painted her obsessively for almost a decade. She sat for portraits that included ...

Article

Spanish, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1952.

Painter, draughtsman, engraver.

The painting of Benito Marcos has its roots in Abstract Surrealism, its plastic preoccupation being with the arrangement in space of uncertain architectural forms. He has shown his works in solo exhibitions including: 1981, 1989, Bergamo; ...

Article

(Antonio Sebastián )

(b Santiago, Nov 11, 1911; d Tarquinia, IT, Nov 23, 2002).

Chilean painter, printmaker and draughtsman. He was educated at the Sacré Coeur Jesuit College and at the Catholic University of Santiago, where he studied architecture (1929–31). In 1933 he went to Europe and worked in Le Corbusier’s atelier in Paris. At the end of 1934 Matta visited Spain, where he met the poet and playwright Federico García Lorca (1898–1936), and Salvador Dalí. The following year he went to Scandinavia (where he met the architect Alvar Aalto) and to Russia, where he worked on housing design projects. He was in London for a short period in 1936 and worked with Walter Gropius and László Moholy-Nagy. Employment with the architects of the Spanish Republican pavilion at the Paris International Exhibition (1937) brought him into close contact with Picasso’s Guernica (1937; Madrid, Prado), which greatly impressed him. Another important influence at this time was Marcel Duchamp, whose work he first saw in ...

Article

Eric M. Wolf

( Houston )

American art collection that opened in 1987. In 2015 the collection contained approximately 17,000 objects, specializing in modern and contemporary art (with particular strength in Surrealism, School of Paris, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, and Minimalism), antiquities, Byzantine art, and the art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. While the vast majority of works in the museum come from the collection of its late founders, John and Dominique Menil, de, the museum continues to collect and grow its art collection.

The main building was designed by architect Renzo Piano and was his first solo museum commission (he had previously partnered with Richard Rogers in the design of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris) and his first commission in the USA. In 2013 this building won the Twenty-Five Year Award of the American Institute of Architects, recognizing architectural design of lasting significance. Sited in a residential neighbourhood in Houston’s Montrose district, the modestly scaled museum building is surrounded by bungalows, houses, and smaller satellite galleries creating a campus-like environment. These surrounding properties are owned by the Menil Foundation and are painted a grey matching that of the wooden cladding on the main building. The museum features the first iteration of Piano’s signature glass roof, here suspended over large ferro-concrete ‘leaves’ or fixed louvres, which regulate the natural light entering the galleries. In addition to gallery space, the main building contains a conservation laboratory with studios for painting, object, and paper treatment, a research library, archives, museum offices, and the second floor ‘treasure rooms’, a sort of curated art storage making a large portion of the museum’s collection immediately available to curatorial staff and visiting scholars....

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 7 July 1948, in Paris.

Painter. Landscapes, architectural views.

Daniel Peccoux is married to the painter Léni-Dael. He paints fantastic architectural views in Surrealist-style landscapes. He has taken part in exhibitions, including the Salon des Indépendants in Paris in ...

Article

British, 20th century, male.

Born 1900, in London; died 13 April 1984, in London.

Collage artist, draughtsman.

English Surrealist Group.

Roland Penrose was the son of the portrait painter James Doyle Penrose. He studied architecture at Cambridge. He lived in Paris from 1922 to 1935...

Article

Lourdes Font

(b Paris, 1902; d Paris March 14, 1955).

French fashion designer (see figs 1 and 2 ). From 1925 to 1953, Rochas was an innovator in Paris fashion. In the1930s he was known for architectural suits and coats, bold graphic patterns and Surrealist details, and in the post-war period for romantic designs inspired by the 19th century.

Rochas founded his Paris couture house in 1925, and within two years copies of his modern and practical daywear were sold in New York City department stores. In 1929 he was among those leading the way toward a new silhouette by raising waistlines and lowering hemlines. In 1931 he was inspired, like Elsa Schiaparelli , by the South-east Asian architecture and Balinese dancers at the Exposition Coloniale in Paris. By the end of the year he had shown broader shoulders and fuller sleeves in his collections. He continued the South-east Asian theme with his ‘Angkor’ coat of 1934, which had peaked shoulders, sleeves forming sharp points at the elbow and a silver-plated belt shaped like a palm frond. Other designs had flanges at the neckline and shoulders that projected from the body like cantilevered walls (...

Article

Belgian, 20th century, male.

Active in France, England and Belgium.

Born 1907, in Brussels, to an English mother; died 1975, in Brussels.

Painter, architect. Cityscapes.

Surrealism.

Willi Rondas initially studied singing, but later qualified as an architect in Paris. He practised as an architect in the Belgian Congo (currently Democratic Republic of Congo) before turning to paint in Paris in ...

Article

(b Nantes, April 10, 1880; d Milan, Sept 26, 1950).

French painter, stage designer and illustrator. After working briefly in an architect’s office in Nantes, he moved to Paris and enrolled at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, which he disliked. He then worked on designs for the Exposition Universelle of 1900 before entering the Ecoles des Langues Orientales to learn Japanese and modern Greek. After this he studied at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs under Eugène-Samuel Grasset and then, from 1902 to 1904, at the Académie Julian under Jean-Paul Laurens. He first exhibited paintings in 1906 at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and in 1907 and 1908 at the Salon des Indépendants. About 1910 Roy came into contact with the Fauves and the circle of writers around them, such as Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire, an association that influenced his style away from its earlier academicism. In 1913, through Alberto Savinio, he met and quickly became a friend of de Chirico, who was to be a great influence on his work. The following year Roy copied ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1927, in Rome.

Painter, sculptor, decorative artist.

Sterpini's early work shared much with fantasy art in its broadest sense. From this his work moved towards Surrealism. In 1963, in association with the architect Fabio de Sanctis, he founded the Officina Undici...