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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 (...


French, 20th century, male.

Born 16 September 1886, in Strasbourg; died 7 June 1966, in Basel.

Collage artist, engraver, sculptor, draughtsman, illustrator, poet.


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...


Romanian, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 15 June 1903, in Piatra Neamt; died 12 March 1966, in Paris.

Painter (including mixed media), watercolourist, pastellist, sculptor, ceramicist, engraver, draughtsman. Figures, portraits, landscapes, animals.

Surrealist group.

Victor Brauner's father ran a sawmill in Piatra Neamt, a small village in the Carpathian mountains in Romania. Brauner said that his childhood was marked by the atmosphere of a 'small village by the edge of a river', where he watched 'giant tree trunks, tied into rafts, on which people lived as they went down the river'. As a child, he witnessed the spiritualist sessions in which his father participated. After a brief stay in Vienna where he began his schooling and a trip down the Danube, he was back in Romania where he was drafted into compulsory work from 1916 to 1918. A pupil at the Braila evangelical school, he developed a passion for zoology and painted in the Belu cemetery in Bucharest. Between 1921 and 1923, he took courses at the fine arts school and the free academy in Bucharest, then spent time by the Black Sea in Falticeni and Balchík, where he painted his 'Cézannian landscapes'. In 1924, he founded the review ...


Belgian, 20th century, male.

Born 1936, in Boom.

Painter, sculptor of assemblages, installation artist.

Camiel Van Breedam exhibited principally in Belgium, notably in Brussels in 1991. He is not formally aligned with the Surrealists, although their influence suffuses his work, which bristles with strange objects and disturbing images. Van Breedam has also produced what he terms assemblages (assemblies) and environnements (environments)....


French, 20th century, male.

Born 30 June 1906, in Ste-Croix-Hague (Manche); died 1992.

Engraver, collage artist, sculptor, poet.

Revolutionary Surrealism group.

Max Bucaille was inspired by the collages of Max Ernst that he found in old magazines when he was a student at the Sorbonne in the Faculty of Science. He was a mathematics teacher at the lycée in Creteil and published collections of poetry, collages and reproductions of his gouaches in ...


Belgian, 20th century, male.

Active since 1961 active in France.

Born 26 April 1922, in Haine-St-Pierre; died 27 September 2005, in Paris.

Sculptor, collage artist, photomontage artist, monotype artist, illustrator. Designs for jewellery, monuments.

Kinetic Art.

Groups: Hainaut Surrealist group, Haute Nuit, Madí, CoBrA.

Pol Bury first stayed in France between 1929 and 1932. In 1938 he attended the academy of fine arts in Mons. In 1940 he made his debut in Surrealism with a journal entitled ...


Spanish, 20th century, male.

Born 1908, in Os de Balaguer near Lérida; died 19 August 1998, in Lérida.

Sculptor of assemblages, draughtsman.

ADLAN Group, Paris Surrealist group.

Cristofol, initially apprenticed as a carpenter and cabinet maker, was at the same time learning how to draw, but in fact started off as a sculptor. During the early 1930s he frequented the avant-garde artistic milieux of Barcelona. In ...


French, 20th century, male.

Born 28 July 1887 , in Blainville; died 2 October 1968 , in Paris.

Painter (including gouache/mixed media), sculptor, printmaker, Ready-mades.

Dadaism, Surrealism.

Groupe de Puteaux, Société Anonyme, New York Dada.

Marcel Duchamp was one of seven children, four of whom were destined to become artists - Marcel himself, his brothers Gaston and Raymond (who came to be known as Jacques Villon and Duchamp-Villon, respectively), and his sister the painter Suzanne Duchamp, who later married Jean Crotti....


Belgian, 20th century, male.

Active from 1958 and naturalised in France.

Born 20 January 1939, in Ostend.

Painter, sculptor, draughtsman, installation artist, collage artist, mixed media.



Kermarrec studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1958 to 1963 and, during the same period, was one of the organizers, with Pierre Gaudibert and Jacques Poli, of the ...


French, 20th century, male.

Born 30 June 1936, in Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Painter, draughtsman, poet, sculptor, assemblage artist, installation artist, performance artist.

Neo-Dadaism, Visual Poetry.

Surrealist group.

At the age of 15, Jean-Jacques Lebel, whose father was an art specialist, was exchanging letters with André Breton and mixing with the Surrealists (he was later excluded, with Alain Jouffroy, in ...


French, 20th century, male.

Sculptor of assemblages.

While refusing to be associated with any avant-garde, whether historical, modern or post-modern, Alain Léonési has produced Dadaist assemblies, Surrealist symbolical objects, New Realism accumulations and conceptual installations. Under the general title Fantasies, he assembled every kind of rejected crockery, taking great care with the play of shapes and colours. Collective exhibitions include: Cabinet d'Amateur, Sète and École des Beaux-Arts, Angers (...


Chilean, 20th century, male.

Active in the USA, in Italy, France.

Born 11 November 1911, in Chiloe (Santiago); died 23 November 2002, in Civitavecchia, near Rome.

Painter (including gouache), watercolourist, pastellist, mixed media, sculptor, engraver, draughtsman, illustrator.

Surrealist group.

Roberto Matta came from a wealthy family and was of Spanish and Basque descent. He studied at the Colegio del Sagrado Corazón (Sacred Heart college) in Santiago de Chile. There is some confusion about the dates relating to his early life at least up to 1939. He went on to study in the fine arts department at the Catholic University, specialising in architecture, and was awarded his degree in 1931. By 1928 he had opened an interior design firm in Santiago but in 1932 abandoned the enterprise to travel around Italy, Spain, Yugoslavia, Russia and England. He then went to Paris where he worked for a number of years at Le Corbusier's firm, notably on the plans for the ...


Danish, 20th century, male.

Active in Los Angeles.

Born 1894; died 1954.

Painter (mixed media), sculptor, designer.

Knud Merrild was a member of the Californian Post-Surrealists.

London, 22-23 March 1995: Relief (1936, assemblage of wood and paper with oil paint on synthetic resin, 15½ × 11½ ins/39.5 × 29.5 cm) ...


Spanish, 19th – 20th century, male.

Active in Spain and also in France from 1919.

Born 20 April 1893, in Barcelona, Spain; died 25 December 1983, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Painter (including mixed media/gouache), watercolourist, etcher, lithographer, sculptor, ceramicist, illustrator. Murals, stage sets, tapestries.

Grupo Courbet, Paris Dada Group, Paris Surrealist Group...


Louisa Buck

(b London, Oct 14, 1900; d Chiddingly, E. Sussex, April 23, 1984).

English patron, poet, painter, sculptor and collagist. After completing his BA at Queens’ College, Cambridge, in 1922, he worked as a painter in France from 1922 to 1935 and through Max Ernst became closely involved with the Surrealist group in Paris. On his return to England, he established the British Surrealist Group and in 1936 organized the first International Surrealist Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries in London, which provided Britain’s first full-scale exposure to the movement. He took part in most of the group’s activities and was secretary and treasurer of its showcase, the London Gallery, as well as co-editor of its publication, the London Gallery Bulletin.

Penrose began collecting art in the early 1930s and in 1938 bought Paul Eluard’s collection of Surrealist, African and other art. This included 40 major works by Max Ernst, including the Elephant Celebes (1921; London, Tate), several paintings by Giorgio De Chirico, most notably the ...


Spanish, 20th century, male.

Born 1943, in Majorca.

Sculptor (mixed media).

Joan Riera Ferrari creates assemblages in harmonious blues and reds, adhering to certain movements, like Surrealism, or to the emblematic figures of contemporary art, like Christo or Andy Warhol. His work is in keeping with a radical view of a revival of the object in plastic art....


Czech, 20th century, male.

Active and naturalised in France.

Born 1922, in Karlstein near Prague, to Russian parents; died 12 May 1976, in the Pyrenées.

Painter (including gouache), collage artist, sculptor, engraver.

Nouvelle Figuration.

Paris Surrealist group, Phases. Paris School.

Serpan graduated in biology and mathematics at the Sorbonne in Paris. He started to paint in ...


French, 20th century, male.

Born 31 August 1935, in Boulogne-Billancourt.

Painter, watercolourist, sculptor of assemblages, installation artist. Scenes with figures. Artists' books.

Surrealist group.

Jean Claude Silbermann discovered poetry in 1953 - the year he left school. He was inspired by, in particular, Apollinaire ( ...


American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1946, in Boston (Massachusetts).

Sculptor, installation artist.

Sandy Skoglund creates room-size installations with a Surrealistic dreamlike quality, created over months and painted in bright colours, such as pink for floors and yellow for walls. They are furnished with familiar and repeating objects modelled from clay and painted, such as coat hangers, spoons, chewing gum, foxes, squirrels or cats. When the installation is finished, Skoglund photographs it with people in it, and the photograph is considered the end result of her work. She describes her work as 'a Frankensteinian model where the human beings have created a world that is out of control and turns on them'. She taught at the University of Hartford Art School in Connecticut (...


Czechoslovak, 20th century, female.

Born 1942.

Sculptor, ceramicist.

Jindra Vikova creates assemblages of mixed volumes where the surfaces are often covered in paintings. All the elements are figurative but with Surrealist perversions.

Apart from in the former Czechoslovakia, she has exhibited in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Germany and Poland....