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Article

Italian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 17 July 1947, in Milan.

Painter, sculptor, theorist.

Arte Povera, Conceptual Art.

Adriano Altamira put forward his first critical observations on the phenomena of vision in 1967. Next he began to use minimalist structures, plaits and interlacings, like some of the methods used in France by the ...

Article

M. N. Sokolov

(Mikhailovich)

(b Moscow, June 10, 1925; d Feb 29, 2012).

Russian painter, sculptor, theorist and teacher. He attended the Surikov Institute of Art in Moscow (1942–7), where he completed undergraduate and postgraduate studies; his teachers there were Aristarkh Lentulov, Pavel Kuznetsov and Lev Bruni. He obtained a doctorate in art history and was a specialist in the historiography of Russian art. In 1948 he established an independent studio, which was unique for its time and which provided the base for the New Realist movement, a kind of monumental tachism. Over several years approximately 600 artists and architects passed through the studio. In 1962 he organized one of the first public exhibitions of avant-garde art in Moscow. Displayed at the Central Exhibition Hall (Manezh), it was wildly slandered by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the moment that proved most symptomatic of the end of a period of political thaw. From 1964 artists of the New Realist movement worked at Belyutin’s dacha at Abramtsevo, north of Moscow; unofficial exhibitions of their work were held there annually. 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

Ester Coen

(b Reggio Calabria, Oct 19, 1882; d Sorte, Verona, Aug 17, 1916).

Italian sculptor, painter, printmaker and writer. As one of the principal figures of Futurism, he helped shape the movement’s revolutionary aesthetic as a theorist as well as through his art. In spite of the brevity of his life, his concern with dynamism of form and with the breakdown of solid mass in his sculpture continued to influence other artists long after his death.

Boccioni spent his childhood years in Forlì, Genoa and Padua, then finished his studies in Catania and began to involve himself with literature. In 1899 he moved to Rome, where he developed a passionate interest in painting and frequented the Scuola Libera del Nudo. In Rome he met Gino Severini, with whom he made visits to the studio of Giacomo Balla, who taught them the basic principles of the divisionist technique and encouraged them to experiment with the application of colour in small overlapping brushstrokes. Inspired by his own pictorial experiments, Balla also urged them to develop a compositional method using angles and foreshortening analogous to photographic techniques. It was Balla who first introduced them to the use of complementary colours, which Boccioni later expressed in increasingly dramatic and violent ways, and it was Balla who instilled in him the love of landscape and nature that remained a constant feature of all his painting. In his first years of activity, closely following his master’s teaching, Boccioni produced oil paintings, sketches, pastels, studies in tempera and advertising posters....

Article

In the 20th century, discussion of the relationship between Byzantine art and the art of the Latin West evolved in tandem with scholarship on Byzantine art itself. Identified as the religious imagery and visual and material culture of the Greek Orthodox Empire based at Constantinople between ad 330 and 1453, studies of Byzantine art often encompassed Post-Byzantine art and that of culturally allied states such as Armenian Cilicia, Macedonia, and portions of Italy. As such fields as Palaiologan family manuscripts and wall paintings, Armenian manuscripts, and Crusader manuscripts and icons emerged, scholars identified new intersections between Western medieval and Byzantine art. Subtle comparisons emerged with the recognition that Byzantine art was not static but changed over time in style and meaning, although most analyses identified Byzantine art as an accessible reservoir of the naturalistic, classicizing styles of antiquity. Scholars considering the 7th-century frescoes at S Maria Antiqua and mosaics at S Maria in Cosmedin, both in Rome, and the 8th-century frescoes at Castelseprio and Carolingian manuscripts such as the Coronation Gospels of Charlemagne (Vienna, Schatzkam. SCHK XIII) used formal comparisons with works such as pre-iconoclastic icons at St Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai, along with the history of Byzantine iconoclasm, to argue for the presence of Greek painters in the West. Similarly, Ottonian and Romanesque painting and luxury arts, such as ivories, provided examples of the appropriation of Byzantine imperial imagery. Yet the study of works such as the great 12th-century ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 7 June 1931, in Eatonton (Georgia).

Painter, draughtsman (including ink), collage artist, print artist, sculptor, collector, art historian. Religious subjects, figures, portraits, figure compositions, scenes with figures, landscapes. Designs for stained glass.

David C. Driskell earned a BFA at Howard University in ...

Article

Renato Barilli

(b Rosario, Santa Fé, Feb 19, 1899; d Comabbio, nr Varese, Sept 7, 1968).

Italian painter, sculptor and theorist of Argentine birth. He moved with his family to Milan in 1905 but followed his father back to Buenos Aires in 1922 and there established his own sculpture studio in 1924. On settling again in Milan he trained from 1928 to 1930 at the Accademia di Brera, where he was taught by the sculptor Adolfo Wildt; Wildt’s devotion to the solemn and monumental plasticity of the Novecento Italiano group epitomized the qualities against which Fontana was to react in his own work. Fontana’s sculpture The Harpooner (gilded plaster, h. 1.73 m, 1934; Milan, Renzo Zavanella priv. col., see 1987 exh. cat., p. 118) is typical of his work of this period, with a dynamic nervousness in the thin shape of the weapon poised to deliver a final blow and in the coarse and formless plinth. Soon afterwards, together with other northern Italian artists such as Fausto Melotti, Fontana abandoned any lingering Novecento elements in favour of a strict and coherent form of abstraction. In ...

Article

Native American (Cheyenne and Arapaho), 20th–21st century, male.

Born 22 November, 1954, in Wichita (Kansas).

Painter, draughtsman, sculptor, printmaker, installation artist, conceptual artist, educator.

Edgar Heap of Birds is one of the most distinguished North American indigenous artists of his generation. His works reveal a distinctly critical and historical awareness of the ways that American Indian peoples, their histories and their viewpoints have been ignored and written over under colonialism. He has received numerous honours, presenting his work in competition for the United States Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale (...

Article

Sook-Kyung Lee

One of the characteristics of Korean contemporary art is a continuous effort in employing and interpreting international art practices and discourses. Art movements from Europe and North America in particular, including Abstract Expressionism, Art informel, Minimalism, Conceptual art and Post-modernism, have influenced many Korean artists’ styles and ideas since the 1950s, providing formal and conceptual grounds for critical understandings and further experiments. Whilst some artists who maintained traditional art forms such as ink painting and calligraphy exercised modernist styles and abstract forms largely within the norms and conventions of traditional genres, a large group of artists proactively adapted to Western styles, employing new materials and techniques as well as the notions of avant-garde and experimentalism (see fig.).

A major critique of the reception of Western art and aesthetics came from ‘Minjung art’ (People’s Art) in the 1980s as part of instigating a nationalist and politically charged art strategy. Several art historians and critics who emerged in the 1990s also expanded the scope of the debate with postcolonial and pluralist points of view. The shift in social, economic and political environments played an important role in changing sensibilities in art, along with the advances of technology and new media in the 2000s. The high degree of diversity and sophistication of Korean art in terms of media and subject matters became widely acknowledged within and outside the nation, and an increasing number of artists started to work on the cutting edge of international art....

Article

American, 20th century, female.

Born 27 February 1924, in New Orleans.

Painter, draughtswoman, watercolourist, print artist (including linocuts), sculptor, art historian. Figures, portraits, genre scenes, landscapes.

Samella Lewis studied with Elizabeth Catlett at Dillard University, New Orleans, and Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia. In 1951 she obtained her doctorate from Ohio State University, Columbus, the first African-American woman to receive her doctorate in art history and fine art. In ...

Article

Russian, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 8 August 1943, in Tripoli, USSR (now Republic of Georgia)

Photographer, painter, sculptor, printmaker, installation artist.

Soviet Nonconformist Art; Moscow Conceptualism.

Collective Actions (group).

Igor Makarevich grew up Tbilisi, Georgia before moving to Moscow in 1951. From 1955 to 1962...

Article

French, 19th–20th century, male.

Born 31 December 1869, in Le Cateau-Cambrésis (Nord); died 3 November 1954, in Nice.

Painter, draughtsman, engraver, lithographer, sculptor, illustrator, theorist. Artists’ books.

Fauvism.

Henri Matisse was born to parents who owned a grocery shop in Bohain, a small town in northern France. After his schooling in St Quentin, he began his law studies in Paris in 1887–1888. In 1889, he returned to St Quentin, where he worked as a clerk in a law firm but was soon taken ill. It was during his lengthy convalescence that he decided to turn to painting. In 1891, he returned to Paris and enrolled at the Académie Julian, where he studied under the painter William Bouguereau. In 1893, Matisse left the Académie and joined Albert Marquet, Georges Rouault, Charles Camoin, and Henri Manguin at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he studied with Gustave Moreau. From 1895, he lived at 19 Quai St Michel in Paris, an address that he kept for the rest of his life....

Article

Éva Bajkay

(b Braşov, Aug 13, 1884; d Braşov, March 17, 1960).

Hungarian painter, printmaker, wood-carver, sculptor and writer. He studied at the School of Craft and Design in Budapest (1901–2), and at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich (1902–5). In 1906–8 he lived in Paris, carving picture frames. As a painter and printmaker he was influenced by the work of Matisse, Cézanne, van Gogh, Munch and Gauguin, as well as by German Expressionism. He was preoccupied with the force of colour and the effect of one colour on another. In his oil paintings, watercolours and linocuts he strove to express the emotions he experienced through landscape (e.g. Bright Landscape, oil on canvas, 1916; Pécs, Pannonius Mus.), but he did not go as far as Kandinsky towards total abstraction. He was associated with various avant-garde groups, including the Activists, the MA group, and Der Sturm in Berlin, and he had numerous one-man shows in Europe. His Soul Flowers...

Article

Valerio Rivosecchi

(b Ferrara, March 21, 1885; d Rome, Jan 4, 1958).

Italian painter, sculptor and writer. He began painting and sculpting at a very young age in his native city. In 1902 he was apprenticed to a wood-carver in Genoa and in the following year he took part in the activities of the artistic and literary publication Ebe. In 1910 he moved to Rome, where he lived for the rest of his life. Melli rapidly established himself as a prominent figure in Roman artistic circles. In 1914 he became a member of the steering committee of the Rome Secession, at which he showed Woman with Hat (Zoe Lampronti) (bronze, h. 375 mm, c. 1913; Rome, G.N.A. Mod.), and, with Vincenzo Constantini, Garzia Fioresi and Cipriano Efisio Oppo, founded the ‘Gruppo Moderno Italiano’. In 1918, together with Mario Broglio (1891–1948) and others, he founded the journal Valori plastici. He showed his paintings in the exhibitions that it promoted: a travelling exhibition in Germany in ...

Article

Terence A. Senter

(b Bácsborsod, Mohol Puszta, Hungary, July 20, 1895; d Chicago, Nov 24, 1946).

American painter, sculptor, photographer, designer, film maker, theorist, and teacher, of Hungarian birth. Moholy-Nagy’s importance in the 20th century is based as much on his theories as on his practical work. His ideologies related to the relationship between space, time, and light, and the interaction of man with these forces. His great achievement was that he applied his mystical outlook to highly practical enterprises and always recognized the purpose behind his creativity.

Moholy-Nagy’s ambition developed when he exchanged village life for the city of Szeged after his father left his family. Academically outstanding, Moholy-Nagy read law for a year at Budapest University before joining the artillery in World War I. Influential praise for his war sketches converted his aspiration from literature to art. His Expressionist style, social conscience, and investigation of light paralleled trends in the Hungarian avant-garde, from ...

Article

Richard Humphreys

(Herman Edward Karl Julius)

(b Hannover, June 20, 1887; d Kendal, Westmorland, England, Jan 8, 1948).

German painter, sculptor, designer and writer. He studied at the Kunstakademie in Dresden (1909–14) and served as a clerical officer and mechanical draughtsman during World War I. At first his painting was naturalistic and then Impressionistic, until he came into contact with Expressionist art, particularly the art associated with Der Sturm, in 1918. He painted mystical and apocalyptic landscapes, such as Mountain Graveyard (1912; New York, Guggenheim), and also wrote Expressionist poetry for Der Sturm magazine. He became associated with the Dada movement in Berlin after meeting Hans Arp, Raoul Hausmann, Hannah Höch and Richard Huelsenbeck, and he began to make collages that he called Merzbilder. These were made from waste materials picked up in the streets and parks of Hannover, and in them he saw the creation of a fragile new beauty out of the ruins of German culture. Similarly he began to compose his poetry from snatches of overheard conversations and randomly derived phrases from newspapers and magazines. His mock-romantic poem ...

Article

Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel

The final decades of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century witnessed an increasing propensity for artists to incorporate aspects of science in their own art. In many fields of scientific research—including the cloning of mammals, the genetic modification of crops, the creation of bioengineered organs and tissues, advances in nanotechnology and robotics, experimental research in how the human mind works and the study of artificial intelligence—the frontiers of knowledge pushed outward at an accelerated pace. In the spirit of creative inquiry, or in order to critique the goals and outcomes of scientific experimentation and application, artists regularly borrowed subjects, tools and approaches from science as a means to the production of art ( see fig. ).

In documenting and assessing the achievements of visual artists engaged with science, there was no broad consensus on the categorisation of artists’ work across the full range of activities, methods, motivations and use of materials. Assessments of artistic practice focused on artists’ work categorised by the traditional fields of science (e.g. artists who explore biology, artists who explore physical sciences). Other analyses of artistic practice focused on categories of art media (e.g. artists who use traditional means such as carving and casting to represent scientific discoveries, artists who explore and employ biological materials and scientific instruments)....

Article

Native American (Muscogee Creek and Seminole), 20th–21st century, female.

Born 1951, in Wewoka (Oklahoma).

Sculptor, installation artist.

C. Maxx Stevens was born in Oklahoma but raised in Wichita, Kansas. Her training began in the 1970s when she gained an Associate of Arts degree from Haskell Indian Junior College in ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Tehran, 1937).

Iranian sculptor, painter, art historian and collector. He studied sculpture at the College of Fine Arts at Tehran University, graduating in 1956, and then attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara (1956–7) and the Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan (1958–9), where he worked under Marino Marini. In 1960 he began to teach at the College of Decorative Arts in Tehran, and in 1961 he was invited to the Minneapolis College of Arts and Design as a visiting artist, where he taught sculpture until 1963. In 1964 he returned to Tehran to teach sculpture at the College of Fine Arts. Primarily a sculptor, he worked with a range of materials, including bronze, copper, brass, scrap metal and clay. In the 1960s he contributed to the art movement in Iran known as Saqqakhana, and he made sculptures that were reminiscent of religious shrines and objects. Pairs of figures and fantastic birds were also common subjects. Themes from classical Persian literature also influenced him. He frequently rendered the word ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

revised by Yisoon Kim

(b Kyongsangnamdo, 1936).

South Korean theorist, painter and sculptor. Lee settled in Japan in 1956. He studied Oriental painting at Seoul National University and he graduated from Nihon University, Tokyo, in 1961, with a degree in philosophy. Lee was particularly fascinated with Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger and Nishida Kitaro, and their philosophical thoughts became the basis of his artwork and theory of the Monoha (School of Things), one of the important movements in Japanese art of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Lee led the Mono-ha, named for a group of artists who presented almost unprocessed things as they are. The main idea in the Mono-ha is to ‘surpass modernism’. It refuses the Cartesian paradigm, an essential basis of the modern movement in the West, which clearly distinguishes between subject and object, agent and the other. In particular, Lee’s call to ‘surpass modernism’ criticized the supreme role of the artist as the agent of creating artworks....