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Article

Japanese, 20th century, male.

Born 1900, in Tokyo.

Painter.

Kongo Abe spent time in France when Surrealism was emerging. The movement had a great influence on him and he introduced Surrealist ideas to Japan on his return.

Article

Belgian, 20th century, male.

Born 1918, in Damprémy.

Painter. Designs for jewellery.

Rémi van den Abeele studied at the academy of fine art in Mons. In the Belgian Surrealist circle centring around the painters Magritte and Delvaux, the poet Mesens, and many other artists, Van den Abeele went practically unnoticed until the 1960s. His Surrealism arises from unexpected juxtapositions of different objects, based on the method used by the poet Lautréamont, the objects being painted in ...

Article

British, 20th century, female.

Born 1 December 1904, in Buenos Aires, to a Scottish father and an American mother; died 17 November 1991, in London.

Painter, collage artist.

Surrealism.

London Group, English Surrealist Group.

Eileen Agar trained initially under Leon Underwood, and subsequently under Henry Tonks at the Slade School of Art in London until 1926. Although flirting with Post-Impressionist techniques fashionable at that time, early works such as her ...

Article

Whitney Chadwick

(b Buenos Aires, Dec 1, 1899; d London, Nov 17, 1991).

English painter of Argentine birth. She arrived in England in 1906; in 1924 she studied with Leon Underwood (1890–1975), and she attended the Slade School of Fine Art, London, from 1925 to 1926; she also studied art in Paris from 1928 to 1930. She was a member of the London Group from 1933, and her work was selected by Roland Penrose and Herbert Read for the International Surrealist Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries, London, in 1936. Agar exhibited with the Surrealists both in England and abroad. From 1936 she experimented with automatic techniques and new materials, taking photographs and making collages and objects, for example The Angel of Anarchy (fabric over plaster and mixed media, 1936–40; London, Tate). By the 1960s she was producing Tachist paintings with Surrealist elements.

with A. Lambirth: A Look at My Life (London, 1988) Eileen Agar: Retrospective Exhibition (exh. cat., London, Commonwealth Inst., 1971)...

Article

Beninese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1964.

Painter (mixed media).

Simplice Ahouansou is self-taught. In a manner that shows affinities with Surrealism, some of his paintings comment with irony on certain aspects of modern Western civilisation, such as communication, or protection of private property, while other works seem more firmly anchored in the artistic traditions of his native country of Benin....

Article

Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Born 1928.

Painter. Scenes with figures.

A follower of the Surrealist painter, Juán Battle Planas, Aizenberg took up experiments in collage undertaken by Max Ernst. He created small pictures that present minuscule figures contemplating the dusk from high terraces in unknown towns in vast landscapes with infinite horizons. He used grey or gilt tonalities, which makes his canvases more intimate and secret....

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

Belgian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1948, in Antwerp.

Painter, watercolourist, graphic designer. Figures.

Roger van Akelyn evokes the anguish inherent in the human condition, sometimes using quasi-surrealist imagery.

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1927, in Turin.

Painter.

Lorenzo Alessandri, noted for his depictions of scenes of atrocities, was a member of the Surrealist movement.

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born in Turin.

Painter.

Enrico Alimandi trained only in painting. He stayed in Paris in 1928 and was a member of the Futurist movement from 1929 to 1932. He then became interested in Surrealism. He had solo exhibitions of his paintings in Turin (...

Article

Elizabeth Ferrer

(b Mexico City, Feb 4, 1902; d Mexico City, Oct 19, 2002).

Mexican photographer. Álvarez Bravo’s interest in photography began in his adolescence while living in Mexico City in the 1910s, the years of the Mexican Revolution. He left school at the age of 13 to help support his family but pursued his creative interests by studying foreign photography magazines and receiving instruction from the German photographer based in Mexico, Hugo Brehme. Álvarez Bravo’s earliest images, made with a large-format Graflex camera, reflected the romantic pictorialist mode identified with Brehme’s generation. By 1925, however, he turned to a modernist aesthetic inspired by the photographs Edward Weston made in Mexico in the mid-1920s as well as those of Tina Modotti, who accompanied Weston and remained in the country until 1930. During this era Álvarez Bravo came to know Modotti as well as the artists who led Mexico’s cultural renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s, including Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and Rufino Tamayo. Also central to this circle was ...

Article

Brazilian, 20th century, male.

Born 1914; died 1972.

Painter.

Oswald de Andrade was probably the son of the writer and art theorist, Mario de Andrade. His art, which reveals Surrealist lyricism and folkloric fantasy, has been likened to that of Chagall.

Article

Hungarian, 20th century, female.

Born 1913; died 1991.

Painter. Figure compositions.

Symbolism.

European School group.

The wife of Imre Amos, an important representative of the Surrealist trend in Hungary, Margit Anna had virtually the same career in her own painting. In her youth her paintings were in the Post-Impressionist tradition. Chagall's work influenced her with his poetry, linking the memory of childhood and the creation of fantasy. The search for childhood innocence prevails over the inspiration of fantasy, perhaps because the Surrealist model had faded for her with the death of her husband in ...

Article

Hajo Düchting

[Apollinaire de Kostrowitzky, Guillaume Albert Wladimir Alexandre]

(b Rome, Aug 26, 1880; d Paris, Nov 9, 1918).

French poet and writer. He loved to hint at his ‘dark’ origins: he was the illegitimate son of Angélique-Alexandrine Kostrowitzky, an eccentric beauty from a Polish noble family under the protection of the Roman Curia, and Francesco Flugi d’Aspermont, a former officer in the Royal Army of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. When the liaison ended Apollinaire was placed under the wing of the Bishop of Monaco, Monseigneur Theuret, and went through an exciting period of travel and education in Catholic schools on the French Riviera, where his mother had settled. Apollinaire liked to ascribe his genesis to a cardinal or even to Pope Pius IX himself.

While still a schoolboy, Apollinaire took a keen interest in literature and poetry, not only in the work of the Symbolists Stéphane Mallarmé (1842–98) and Paul Verlaine (1844–96) but also in the writings of the Naturalist school. In ...

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

Portuguese, 20th century, male.

Born 1934; died 1978.

Painter.

Conceptual Art.

Compared with other Portuguese artists, Antonio Areal was relatively isolated. After a period in which his work was Informel, yet close to the experiments in Surrealism, he wrote an important work on Conceptual Art....

Article

Chilean, 20th century, male.

Born 1913, in La Serena.

Painter.

A painter and a poet, Arénas took part in two Surrealist exhibitions that he organised himself in 1941 and 1948.

Article

Belgian, 20th century, male.

Born 1928, in Braine-le-Comte; died 1974.

Painter.

Marcel Arnould was self-taught and at first painted Surrealist-style abstract pictures. He became a member of the Phases group founded by Édouard Jaguer and Jacques Lacomblez, whose ideas were closely aligned to those of CoBrA. Their aim was to try to 'confront the phases of reality by moving towards the imaginary that surrounds us everywhere'. He took part in the Biennale in Paris in ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1963.

Painter, draughtsman, collage artist, illustrator.

David Aronson, drawn to occultism, paints Surrealistically absurd images, which are sometimes frightening or disturbing. He has produced a set of paintings on the subject of the Holocaust. He also illustrates works for young readers....

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 (...