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Article

Aleca Le Blanc

(b São Paulo, Jun 20, 1914; d São Paulo, Dec 22, 2010).

Brazilian visual artist and designer. The formal training Barsotti received was in drawing and chemistry, and by the 1950s he had established a professional career in design, working in São Paulo during the postwar period. From 1954 to 1964 he ran a studio with Willys de Castro (1926–1988), a life-long collaborator and fellow artist, called Estúdio de Projetos Gráficos, where he created costume design, graphic design, and textile design, among other things. During this period he focused his artistic efforts exclusively on geometric abstraction, then the dominant style of the avant-garde in Brazil under the rubric of Concrete art. However, Barsotti did not immediately affiliate with any of the groups that promoted it, such as the dogmatic Grupo Ruptura in São Paulo. He was not, strictly speaking, a devotee of Concrete art, which required that the geometric composition be entirely preconceived, divorced from observed reality, and visually represent a mathematical formula. On this matter, de Castro applauded his friend in a ...

Article

Henry Adams

(b Neosho, MO, April 15, 1889; d Kansas City, MO, Jan 19, 1975).

American painter, illustrator, and lithographer. One of the most controversial personalities in American art, both in his lifetime and today, Thomas Hart Benton was a key figure in the American Regionalist movement of the 1930s, when he focused on working-class American subject-matter and was outspoken in his denunciation of European modern painting. Today he is best remembered for this phase of his life, and much criticized because of it. But Benton’s long career is not easily reduced to a single moment or achievement: his legacy was more complex. As a young struggling artist in Paris and New York, he was a leading American modernist and abstractionist, and in his early maturity he became the teacher and lifelong father figure for Jackson Pollock, the most famous of the Abstract Expressionists. He was also a major American writer, who wrote on art and whose autobiography of 1936 became a best-seller. He was also a notable figure in American music who collected American folk songs and devised a new form of harmonica notation that is still in use....

Article

Roy R. Behrens

(Karel Joseph)

(b Cleveland, OH, Aug 23, 1906; d Red Wing, MN, Dec 26, 2004).

American painter and theorist. Biederman worked as a graphic designer for several years before studying art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1926 to 1929. A week after his arrival he saw a painting by Cézanne that greatly influenced his subsequent thought. He lived in New York from 1934 to 1940, except for a nine-month period in 1936–7 when he lived in Paris. He began to make reliefs in 1934. His visits in Paris to the studios of Mondrian, Georges Vantongerloo, César Domela and Antoine Pevsner made him aware of De Stijl, Neo-Plasticism, Abstraction-Création and Constructivism. He also met Léger, Miró, Arp, Kandinsky, Robert Delaunay, Alberto Giacometti, Picasso and Brancusi.

Shortly before returning to New York in 1938, Biederman made his first abstract reliefs, which he termed ‘non-mimetic’ (e.g. New York, Number 18, 1938; New York, Met.). In the same year, while visiting Chicago, he attended a seminar given by the Polish-born writer Alfred Korzybski, founder of the General Semantics Institute, which strongly influenced his later theories about history as an evolutionary process. He moved to Red Wing, near Minneapolis, MN, in ...

Article

Hans Frei

(b Winterthur, Dec 22, 1908; d Zurich, Dec 9, 1994).

Swiss architect, sculptor, painter, industrial designer, graphic designer and writer. He attended silversmithing classes at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich from 1924 to 1927. Then, inspired by the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (1925), Paris, by the works of Le Corbusier and by a competition entry (1927) for the Palace of the League of Nations, Geneva, by Hannes Meyer and Hans Wittwer (1894–1952), he decided to become an architect and enrolled in the Bauhaus, Dessau, in 1927. He studied there for two years as a pupil of Josef Albers, László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Klee and Vasily Kandinsky, mainly in the field of ‘free art’. In 1929 he returned to Zurich. After working on graphic designs for the few modern buildings being constructed, he built his first work, his own house and studio (1932–3) in Zurich-Höngg; although this adheres to the principles of the new architecture, it retains echoes of the traditional, for example in the gently sloping saddle roof....

Article

J. Harwood

revised by Maria-Laura Steverlynck

(b Montevideo, Nov 6, 1902; d Montevideo, Jun 2, 1985).

Uruguayan painter. Costigliolo studied painting as part of the Bellas Artes group in Montevideo between 1921 and 1925 under the teachings of planista painters Vicente Puig (1882–1965) and Guillermo Laborde (1886–1940), followed by a period of graphic art production between 1929 and 1946. The period 1946–1950 heralded a stage of neo-purist, machinist art and abstraction, following which Costigliolo became a key figure in the development of non-figurative art in Uruguay, co-founding the Grupo de Arte No Figurativo in 1952. In 1953, during a time of economic prosperity and optimism in his country, Costigliolo entered his non-representational phase, revolutionizing and modernizing Uruguayan art along with his wife, María Freire. In the creation of innovative abstract art that embraced both national and international traditions, Costigliolo’s concrete geometric aesthetic owed a debt to, and expanded on, the work of such Uruguayan precursors as the hugely influential Joaquín Torres Garcia, as well as the ideals of Russian Constructivism and ...

Article

Philip Cooper

(b Paris, May 16, 1898; d Châtenay-Malabry, Seine-et-Oise, July 21, 1964).

French painter, printmaker, illustrator and sculptor. An illegitimate child, he was given his mother’s surname but was brought up by his grandmother. On the death of both his father and grandmother in 1908 he joined his mother in London, where he entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1912. Finding the teaching too traditional, he left to enrol at the Slade School of Fine Art, which had a reputation for being more avant-garde, though he was again disappointed. He then decided to work alone and devoted himself to painting, concentrating on nudes and still-lifes. He also regularly visited the Tate Gallery, where he was particularly impressed by the works of Turner. In 1917 he was called up for the French Army, but because of his poor health he was soon transferred to the auxiliary corps. Suffering from a pulmonary complaint, he lived in the Tyrol from 1920 to 1921 and was finally discharged from the army in ...

Article

Anthony Parton

(Sergeyevna)

(b Negayevo, Tula Province, June 16, 1881: d Paris, Oct 17, 1962).

Russian painter, stage designer, printmaker and illustrator. She was a leading artist of the Russian avant-garde in the early 20th century but became a celebrity in the West through her work for Serge (de) Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. During the 1920s she played a significant role within the Ecole de Paris and continued to live and work in France until her death.

She was the daughter of Sergey Mikhaylovich Goncharov, an architect, and Yekaterina Il’icha Belyayeva but grew up in her grandmother’s home at Ladyzhino, near Kaluga, in Tula Province. She attended the Fourth Gymnasium for Girls in Moscow and in 1898 entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture as a sculpture student where she was taught by Paolo Troubetskoy. At the school Goncharova became friendly with Mikhail Larionov. He became her lifelong companion and colleague, and he encouraged her to relinquish sculpture for painting. Goncharova’s early work comprised mainly pastels, which were exhibited in ...

Article

David Boxer

(b Portland, Jamaica, Jan 25, 1931; d St Catherine, Jamaica, Jun 15, 1980).

Jamaican painter. In 1953 he left Jamaica to study advertising design at the Art Center School in Los Angeles. In 1955, however, he moved to the Los Angeles County Art Institute, where he studied painting and graphic art for five years; he returned to Jamaica in the early 1960s and continued to work in advertising while painting and exhibiting regularly. In the 1960s and 1970s, along with Karl Parboosingh, he became a major force in the development of abstract art in Jamaica, and in 1970 he established in Kingston the John Peartree Gallery, which for ten years was to be the principal venue for exhibitions of abstract and modernist art in Jamaica. Hyde’s own art ranged from an Expressionism influenced by the American painter Rico Lebrun (1900–1964) in California in the late 1950s, to a more abstract vision developed in Jamaica in the 1960s and 1970s, where the Abstract Expressionist style of New York provided the technical basis for extended series devoted principally to dance, the female nude, and Jamaican flora. After ...

Article

David Anfam

(Rowe)

(b Wilkes-Barre, PA, May 23, 1910; d New York, May 13, 1962).

American painter. His first academic training was at Boston University from 1931 to 1935 and in London at the Heatherley School of Art from 1937 to 1938 as an illustrator and draughtsman. Two main tendencies emerged at an early stage that would later develop into a powerful contribution to the ‘gestural’ trend within Abstract Expressionism. Numerous small graphics, sketches, and oils and the mural series Hot Jazz (Norfolk, VA, Chrysler Mus.), painted for a New York bar in 1940, reveal an interest in translating animated subjects into quick, rudimentary strokes. Kline admired and found inspiration in a wide range of artists notable for their fluency in handling paint, including Rembrandt, Goya, Manet, Sargent, and Whistler. By contrast, an inclination to compose in terms of simplified areas was derived from academic training and perhaps also reflected Kline’s memories of his native Pennsylvania’s coal-mining region, with its stark scenery, locomotives, and similar massive mechanical shapes, to which the titles of his later abstract images sometimes referred. ...

Article

Anna Bentkowska

(b Warsaw, May 25, 1948).

Polish painter. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (1965–71) under Stefan Gierowski. After a short period of abstract painting he began to create his ‘autobiographical paintings’, which he described as ‘subjected to perceived reality’ (1980 exh. cat.). At first Korolkiewicz painted rather naive, large-scale portraits of a little boy in childhood situations such as playing on a slide. He also depicted interiors and landscapes with photographic precision by means of transparencies. In 1978 he painted Breakfast (Warsaw, N. Mus.), a pensive portrait of himself at a table with a half-eaten meal. This work exemplifies Korolkiewicz’s debt to Photorealism and his interest in depicting real situations, people and places, but, because of the distressing silence, eerie light and lack of activity, it also gives a surrealist image of the world. The Garden of the Romantic (1978; Kraków, N. Mus.) initiated the series of ...

Article

Petr Wittlich

[Frank]

(b Opočno, Sept 22, 1871; d Puteaux, Paris, June 21, 1957).

Bohemian painter and graphic artist, active in France. A pioneer of European abstract painting, he first trained at the School of Arts and Crafts at Jaroměř under Alois Studnička (1842–1927). From 1887 until 1891 he studied at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts under Professor František Sequens (1836–96), a late Nazarene, who directed an atelier of religious painting. He continued his studies at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna (1892–3), under Professor August Eisenmenger (1830–1907). In 1894 he met the painter and natural philosopher Karl Diefenbach (b 1851), who impressed him with his ideas of a return to nature. Kupka’s paintings of this period (e.g. Quam ad causam sumus?, ?1894) are untraced. In 1895 he settled in Paris, earning his living as an illustrator for periodicals. In 1899 he exhibited a genre painting, the Bibliomaniac (Prague, N.G., Trade Fair Pal.), at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts without notable success. He first achieved fame with his satirical cycles in anarchistic style, ...

Article

Anthony Parton

(Fyodorovich)

(b Tiraspol, Moldova, June 3, 1881; d Fontenay-aux-Roses, nr Paris, May 10, 1964).

Russian painter, stage designer, printmaker, illustrator, draughtsman and writer of Moldovan birth. He was a leader of the Russian avant-garde before World War I but came to prominence in the West through his work for Serge Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. During the 1920s he played a significant role within the Ecole de Paris and continued to live and work in France until his death.

He was the son of Fyodor Mikhailovich Larionov, a doctor and pharmacist, and Aleksandra Fyodorovna Petrovskaya, but he grew up in his grandparents’ home in Tiraspol. He completed his secondary education at the Voskresensky Technical High School in Moscow and in 1898 entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Here he studied under Valentin Serov and Konstantin Korovin, and he also became friendly with Natal’ya Goncharova who was to remain his lifelong companion and colleague. Larionov’s work soon caught the imagination of collectors and critics. In ...

Article

Cruz Barceló Cedeño

(b Uracoa, Monagas, Oct 18, 1926).

Venezuelan painter and graphic designer. He studied painting at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas in Caracas (1942–6). At the age of 21 he won the highest award for national painters and went to France. He was a member of the Venezuelan group in Paris, Los Disidentes, who opposed traditional Venezuelan landscape painting. At this time he produced works of an abstract–lyrical tendency, which he varied so that they approached geometric abstraction. In 1952 he returned to Caracas, where, between 1953 and 1955, he executed a series of murals for the university campus. In 1957, with the sculptor Carlos González Bogen (b 1920), he founded in Caracas the Cuatro Muros gallery, with the purpose of propagating abstract art in Venezuela. Manaure was also one of the pioneers of graphic design in Venezuela. In 1958–67 he returned to easel painting, with works whose lyrical figuration and subjective landscapes border on the oneiric. Subsequently his art began to show the influence of Constructivism (e.g. ...

Article

Philip Cooper

(b Boulogne-sur-Mer, Jan 27, 1921).

French painter, sculptor, designer and illustrator. He left Boulogne-sur-Mer in 1933 to attend the Lycée Hoche in Versailles, where he learnt Greek, Russian and Spanish. Over the next few years he was educated at various secondary and university institutions in Rouen, Cambrai and Douai, studying law at Douai in 1941. He started to paint landscapes and portraits in oils in 1942 and the following year taught English at the Lycée in Douai. He worked as an interpreter for the US Army at Cambrai in 1944 and in that year read Edward Crankshaw’s Joseph Conrad: Some Aspects of the Art of the Novel (London, 1936), which impressed upon him the importance of style; he cited it as an influence on his first experiments with abstraction, such as Inception (1944; artist’s col., see Quignon-Fleuret, p. 9), with dark amorphous forms suggestive of primordial creation. The following year he began to use drip techniques, as in ...

Article

Christina Lodder

[Puni, Ivan (Al’bertovich)]

(b Kouokkala, Finland [now Repino, St Petersburg Region, Russia], Feb 22, 1892; d Paris, Dec 28, 1956).

Russian painter, illustrator and designer, active in France. He was educated at the gymnasium and then at the military academy in St Petersburg. Between 1909 and 1912 he visited Italy and France. In Paris he studied at the Académie Julian and stayed with his compatriot, the artist Yury Annenkov. He became friendly with Osip Zadkine and other Russian artists and began to experiment with Fauvism and early Cubism. Very few paintings remain from this period, although Walk in the Sun (1912; Zurich, M. et Mme Berninger priv. col., see Berninger and Cartier, vol. i, p. 31), painted after he returned to Russia, indicates an interest in expressive colour, surface texture and perspectival distortions.

On his return to St Petersburg, Pougny was introduced by Nikolay Kul’bin into avant-garde circles, and he exhibited with the Union of Youth group in the winters of 1911–12 and 1913–14. Breaking with them in January 1914...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Casilda, Santa Fé, Jun 21, 1940; d 1992).

Argentine painter, draughtsman, and graphic designer. He studied drawing and painting in Santa Fé with the Argentine painters Gustavo Cochet (1894–1979) and Juan Grela (1914–1992) and began exhibiting his work in 1963. Until 1966 he was aligned with the work of Argentine painters grouped together under the label of Nueva Figuración (Luis Felipe Noé, Ernesto Deira, Jorge de la Vega, and Romulo Macció), combining figurative references with freer elements derived from Abstract Expressionism. During the next couple of years he worked simultaneously in two very different ways. In one group of works he adopted a rational style that had the formal simplicity of Minimalism and the emphasis on the transcendence of ideas over matter characteristic of conceptual art. One such work, Water in Every Part of the World (exh. Buenos Aires, Mus. A. Mod., 1967; see 1984 exh. cat., p. 13), consisted of fifty one-liter bottles filled with water, each bearing a label indicating its source of origin; the authenticity of the New York water was confirmed by Sol LeWitt, one of his collaborators on the project. During this same period, however, Renzi worked with other artists from the town of Rosario on ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Como, Feb 5, 1901; d Como, Sept 7, 1957).

Italian painter and designer. He studied painting at the Scuole Techniche in Como (1918–23), where he met Giuseppe Terragni and Mario Radice. Attracted by Futurism, he taught painting at the Scuola di Arte Applicata (1919–37) and the Collegio ‘Baragiola’ (1920–28), Como, and became a poster designer and satirical cartoonist for La Zanzara (1922–4). As secretary to the Istituto Nazionale di Setificio (1923–9), he produced designs for silk, but his paintings (some pseudonymously signed Boroscki, Prague) remained rooted in Novecento classicism. In 1932 Rho followed Radice’s adoption of finely poised geometric abstraction, and subsequently they encouraged younger artists, notably Carla Badiali (b 1907) and Aldo Galli (1906–81). They formed the Gruppo di Como with Terragni and other Rationalist architects and established links with the Galleria del Milione in Milan. In 1936 the group organized the abstract section of the Como ...

Article

(b Minsk, Belorussia, Nov 21, 1893; d Łódź, Dec 26, 1952).

Polish painter, theoretician, typographer and draughtsman. On completion of his engineering studies at the Moscow Military Academy, he was drafted into the Tsarist army in 1914; seriously wounded, he subsequently began his artistic studies in the post-Revolutionary academies in Moscow, Vkhutemas and Inkhuk. In 1920–22 he was associated with Unovis, and during this period he was influenced by Suprematism, whose principles would in later years form the basis of his polemics. In 1921 he married the sculptor Katarzyna Kobro, and at the beginning of 1922 they both moved to Poland. He published his first articles on the Russian avant-garde in the Kraków periodical Zwrotnica in 1922. Strzemiński organized the Wystawa Nowej Sztuki (‘Exhibition of new art’) in Wilno (now Vilnius, Lithuania) in 1923, which acted as a manifesto of Polish Constructivism; he exhibited Suprematist architectural projects, Cubist paintings and Synthetic Compositions as well as Suprematist abstract works constructed from simple forms in contrasting colours. With Strzemiński’s help, in ...