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Article

Rigmor Lovring

(b Ordrup, July 14, 1919; d Munkerup, nr Dronningmølle, Hillerød, June 29, 1982).

Danish painter, sculptor, designer and writer. He studied at the Kunsthåndvaerkerskole (1936–9) and the Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi (1939–46), both in Copenhagen. He experimented with non-figurative forms of expression in numerous media. He was a co-founder of Groupe Espace in 1951, and his work was important for the development of Concrete art internationally.

From 1947 to 1950 Aagaard Andersen developed a new, pure pictorial dynamic, moving from fine-lined drawings and faceted landscapes towards an abstract formal language that explored form in terms of light, shadow and reflection. His ‘picture boxes’, in which various elements manifested rhythmic and dynamic growth, explored the concept of painting as object. He began to use the techniques of folding and pleating (e.g. Black Picture Surface with Three Folded Sections, 1964; Esbjerg, Kstpav.), and his work was dominated by his interest in light and shadow.

Besides paintings, Aagaard Andersen produced a number of sculptures, for example the abstract steel work ...

Article

Aurélie Verdier

(b Saïda, Algeria, 1953).

French painter, sculptor, photographer, film maker, writer and installation artist of Algerian birth. Born to Spanish parents, he was much affected by North African as well as Southern European culture. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre. Despite a pervasive and diverse use of media, Alberola often stressed the coexistence of his different artistic practices as leading to painting alone. His paintings relied heavily on evocative narratives, at once personal and ‘historical’. Alberola conceived of his role as a storyteller, on the model of African oral cultures. Convinced that narratives could not be renewed, he argued that a painter’s main task was to reactivate his work through contact with his pictorial heritage. The main points of reference for his paintings of the early 1980s were Velázquez, Manet or Matisse, whose works he quoted in a personal way. In the early 1980s he undertook a series of paintings inspired by mythological subjects, which he combined with his own history as the principal subject-matter of his work. The biblical story of Susannah and the Elders as well as the Greek myth of Actaeon provided his most enduring subjects, both referring to the act of looking as taboo, as in ...

Article

Deborah Cullen

(Henry) [Spinky]

(b Charlotte, NC, Nov 29, 1907; d April 27, 1977).

African American painter, sculptor, graphic artist, muralist and educator. In 1913, Charles Alston’s family relocated from North Carolina to New York where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School. In 1929, he attended Columbia College and then Teachers College at Columbia University, where he obtained his MFA in 1931. Alston’s art career began while he was a student, creating illustrations for Opportunity magazine and album covers for jazz musician Duke Ellington.

Alston was a groundbreaking educator and mentor. He directed the Harlem Arts Workshop and then initiated the influential space known simply as “306,” which ran from 1934 to 1938. He taught at the Works Progress Administration’s Harlem Community Art Center and was supervisor of the Harlem Hospital Center murals, leading 35 artists as the first African American project supervisor of the Federal Art Project. His two murals reveal the influence of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886–1957). His artwork ranged from the comic to the abstract, while often including references to African art. During World War II, he worked at the Office of War Information and Public Information, creating cartoons and posters to mobilize the black community in the war effort....

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

Willemijn Stokvis

(b Amsterdam, April 25, 1921; d Zurich, May 3, 2006).

Dutch painter, sculptor, designer, printmaker and writer. He was first encouraged to paint by an uncle, who gave him a set of paints for his 15th birthday, and he also took painting lessons. From 1940 to 1943 he studied at the Rijksakademie of Amsterdam, where he became friendly with Corneille. His earliest works recalled the painting of George Hendrik Breitner; during World War II, however, he began to paint with a more vigorous palette, with a clear interest in German Expressionism and above all in the work of van Gogh. There was a turning-point in Appel’s style c. 1945 when he found inspiration in the art of the Ecole de Paris and in particular of Matisse and Picasso. This influence remained visible in his work until 1948, for example in a series of plaster sculptures that he made at this time. From 1947, his completely personal, brightly coloured universe of simple, childlike beings and friendly animals populated gouaches, oil pastel drawings, painted wood sculptures and, gradually, oil paintings. His sense of humour comes to the fore in grotesque assembled pieces and wooden reliefs and paintings such as ...

Article

Armando  

[Dodeweerd, H. D. van]

(b Amsterdam, 1929).

Dutch painter, draughtsman, writer and sculptor. In 1950 he studied art history at the University of Amsterdam. He had his first one-man show at the Galerie Le Canard in Amsterdam in 1954, the year in which he began to write poetry. Influenced by the Cobra group, his early drawings of the 1950s are spontaneous and have a tendency towards abstraction; he often drew them in the dark or with his left hand, as in Drawing (1954; Berlin, Alte N.G.). From 1954 to 1959 he produced a number of largely abstract works that were influenced by Dubuffet and Jean Fautrier; for these he used thickly impastoed paint, as in Criminal Painting (1957; Venlo, Mus. Van Bommel–Van Dam). In 1957 he was one of the founder-members of the Nederlandse Informele Groep (Informelen), with the Dutch painters Kees van Bohemen (1928–85), Jan Henderikse (b 1937), Henk Peeters (...

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 (...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

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

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

Dadaism.

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...

Article

British, 20th century, male.

Born 20 February 1921, in London, in Hoyland (Yorkshire) according to some sources; died 17 November 1975.

Painter, sculptor (bronze), illustrator, stage set designer, art critic, designer. Figures, landscapes, portraits, mythological subjects.

The son of the art critic and poet Gerald Gould and the feminist Labour Party activist Barbara Ayrton, Michael Ayrton travelled widely in his youth to Vienna, Paris and Italy. He received his artistic education at Heatherley's and St John's Wood art schools in London. In ...

Article

Justine Hopkins

(b London, Feb 20, 1921; d London, Nov 16, 1975).

English sculptor, painter, printmaker and writer . He left school at 14 to begin his painting career. After spending time in France, Ayrton returned to England in 1939, finding success in stage design and art criticism. His writings in The Spectator (1946–8) were important in the acceptance of Neo-Romanticism. From 1946 he travelled widely in Italy, admiring the Quattrocento painters, especially Piero della Francesca. At Cumae he began the preoccupation with Greek mythology that continued throughout his life; he visited Greece regularly from 1957. After 1955 sculptures became his preferred medium, although drawing remained essential and he produced etchings and lithographs. However, his many bronzes of the Minotaur, Daedalus and Icarus (e.g. Icarus III, 1960; London, Old Change Court) remain his best-known images. The Arkville Maze (1968), built of brick and masonry, contains two lifesize bronze sculptures and still stands in the estate of Armand Erpf in the Catskill Mountains, New York (see Hopkins, p. 402)....

Article

German, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 2 January 1870, in Wedel (Holstein); died 1938, in Rostock.

Sculptor, painter, engraver, dramatist, writer.

Barlach was the son of a country doctor. He studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule Hamburg from 1888 to 1891 and was then a student of Robert Dietz at the academy in Dresden from 1891 to 1895. He then went to Paris where he worked for a year at the Académie Julian. He became interested in the work of Millet, Meunier and Van Gogh - art with social implications. When he returned to Germany in 1898 he worked as a designer on the journal ...

Article

British, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in London.

Born 17 July 1955, in Dundee, Scotland.

Painter, sculptor, writer.

David Batchelor studied at Trent Polytechnic in Newcastle upon Tyne (1975-1978) and at the University of Birmingham (1978-1980). From 1995 to 2001 he was senior tutor in critical theory at the Royal College of Art and then became a research fellow there. In ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Dundee, July 17, 1955).

Scottish painter, sculptor and writer. He studied Fine Art at Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham (1975–8), then Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham (1978–80). In the early 1990s he began to make free-standing work characterized by a meeting of the ready-made with the monochrome, a preoccupation that he continued to pursue. His dedication to monochrome surfaces came about at first almost by accident when he began to apply more intense hues of paint to his sculptures, but it quickly became a consuming interest. While historically the form has been associated with the experience of colour, Batchelor realized that most monochrome paintings actually tended to be pale and lacking in intensity; his own paintings involved an attempt to inject more energy into them, and in that respect he sees them as semi-absurdist. His first solo exhibition (London, Curtain Road A.; Leeds Henry Moore Inst.;1995–6), at which he presented his ...

Article

Peter Webb

(b Kattowitz, Germany [now Katowice, Poland], March 13, 1902; d Paris, Feb 24, 1975).

German photographer, sculptor, printmaker, painter, and writer. As a child he developed fear and hatred for his tyrannical father, who totally dominated his gentle and affectionate mother. He and his younger brother Fritz found refuge from this oppressive family atmosphere in a secret garden decorated with toys and souvenirs and visited by young girls who joined in sexual games. In 1923 Bellmer was sent by his father to study engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin, but he became interested in politics, reading the works of Marx and Lenin and joining in discussions with artists of the Dada. He was especially close to George Grosz, who taught him drawing and perspective in 1924 and whose advice to be a savage critic of society led him to abandon his engineering studies in that year. Having shown artistic talent at an early age, he began designing advertisements as a commercial artist and illustrated various Dada novels, such as ...

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

Jure Mikuž

(b Gunclje, nr Ljubljana, Sept 6, 1933).

Slovenian painter, printmaker, sculptor, illustrator and poet. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Ljubljana, in 1955 and later received his MFA in painting and engraving. He continued his studies in 1959 with Johnny Friedlaender in Paris. After 1970 he taught painting at the Ljubljana Academy. He was one of the most outstanding Yugoslav artists after the early 1960s and won several major international awards, including the Grand Prix of the Tokyo, Ljubljana and São Paulo biennales of graphic art.

Bernik’s early works, such as his series of flat picture surfaces, Magmas, Quarries and Burnt Soil, were influenced by Art informel. In the mid-1960s Bernik was an important exponent of the type of European painting based on the use of words. The Great Letter (1964; Ljubljana, Gal. Mod. A.) combines the devices and texture of Art informel with evocations of Byzantine religious texts. At the same time he was also painting pictures with sensually explicit, almost sculpturally or haptically modelled traditional iconographic objects such as the apple, table and cloth, or bread, or pictures in which a written-out word with its meaning was a substitute for a certain object. Here he was responding to European Nouveau Réalisme, Pop art and conceptualism, and the work of Francis Bacon. In the late 1970s Bernik again dispensed with the object in his pictures, producing a series of abstract paintings entitled ...

Article

French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1849, in Orléans; died 1930.

Painter, watercolourist, sculptor, writer, musician. Landscapes.

Paul Besnard, the son of a magistrate, followed his father's example and became an examining magistrate in Romorantin. Being interested in painting, he asked his neighbour Henri Chouppe to teach him how to paint watercolours. One year after he first sent work to the Salon de Paris in ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 1917, in St-Maurice (Seine-Maritime).

Sculptor, painter, writer. Figures.

Pierre Bettencourt was a self-taught and solitary artist. In 1953 he had an important encounter with Dubuffet, who gave him the idea of expressing his art by collecting materials with which to create high-reliefs....

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 5 February 1902, in Mestry (Calvados); died 23 April 1982, in Rochefort-en-Yvelines.

Painter (gouache), sculptor, draughtsman, engraver, newspaper cartoonist, humorist artist, poster artist, illustrator, writer. Landscapes with figures, landscapes, village views. Advertising art.

Georges Pierre Beuville studied in Paris at the École des Beaux-Arts and then at the École des Arts Décoratifs....

Article

Wojciech Włodarczyk

[Biegalski, Boleslas-Biegas]

(b Koziczyn, nr Ciechanów, March 29, 1877; d Paris, Sept 30, 1954).

Polish sculptor, painter and writer, active in France. Between 1896 and 1901 he studied at the School of Fine Arts in Kraków under the sculptors Alfred Daun and Konstanty Laszczka. In 1901 he went to Paris on a scholarship and remained there until his death. He exhibited from 1897 throughout Europe (especially at the Salon National des Beaux-Arts, the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants in Paris), and he took part in the competitions for the Kościuszko monument for Washington, DC, and the Chopin monument for Warsaw.

Initially, Biegas’s sculptures were inspired by folk art, but towards the end of the 1890s naturalistic traits verging on expressionism and a certain geometrization of form are evident in his compositions. His most characteristic sculptures, mostly heads of women with long hair in the style of the Secession, appeared in the early 20th century. These works, often simplified and geometrical in form (e.g. ...