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Latvian, 20th century, male.

Born 7 October 1930, in Riga, Latvia; died 11 February 2002, in Riga.

Painter, graphicist, draughtsman, and academician. Landscape, genre, still-life, human figure, and abstract subjects.

Boriss Bērziņš’s artistic training began in childhood when the electrician’s son was exposed to Russian Orthodox icons. He copied reproductions of famous paintings and took lessons from watercolourist Jānis Skučs. He studied at Riga’s Janis Rozentāls Art High School ...

Article

Latvian, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 6 September 1943, in Riga, Reichskommissariat Ostland (now Latvia).

Painter, scenographer, poster designer, graphicist, and book illustrator. Literary, allegorical and historical subjects; abstractions and symbolic representations; installations, performance, and soundworks.

Ilmārs Blumbergs spent his childhood in Siberian exile, then studied in the Department of Stage Design at Riga’s Secondary School of Applied Arts ...

Article

Allan Doig

(b Utrecht, Aug 30, 1883; d Davos, Switzerland, March 7, 1931).

Dutch painter, architect, designer and writer. He was officially registered as the son of Wilhelm Küpper and Henrietta Catharina Margadant, but he was so convinced that his mother’s second husband, Theodorus Doesburg, was his father that he took his name. Little is known of his early life, but he began painting naturalistic subjects c. 1899. In 1903 he began his military service, and around the same time he met his first wife, Agnita Feis, a Theosophist and poet. Between about 1908 and 1910, much influenced by the work of Honoré Daumier, he produced caricatures, some of which were later published in his first book De maskers af! (1916). Also during this period he painted some Impressionist-inspired landscapes and portraits in the manner of George Hendrik Breitner. Between 1914 and 1915 the influence of Kandinsky became clear in such drawings as Streetmusic I and Streetmusic II (The Hague, Rijksdienst Beeld. Kst) and other abstract works....

Article

Gisela Moeller

(b Berlin, April 12, 1871; d Berlin, April 13, 1925).

German architect, designer, writer and teacher. After moving to Munich in 1892, he abandoned his plan to become a teacher, deciding on a career as a freelance scholar. He then studied aesthetics, psychology and philosophy, being particularly influenced by the lectures of the psychologist Theodor Lipps. He also studied German literature, art and music. In 1895 he intended to write a doctorate on the theme of ‘The Construction of Feeling’. In spring 1896 he met Hermann Obrist, who persuaded him to abandon his proposed academic career and become a self-taught artist. As well as book illustrations and decorative pieces for the art magazines Pan and Dekorative Kunst, he produced decorative designs for wall reliefs, carpets, textiles, coverings, window glass and lamps. In 1897 he designed his first furniture for his cousin, the historian Kurt Breysig. His first architectural work, the Elvira photographic studio in Munich (1896–7; destr. 1944), decorated on its street façade by a gigantic, writhing dragon, was a quintessential work of ...

Article

Éva Bajkay

(b Budapest, April 15, 1936).

Hungarian painter, conceptual artist and teacher. By 1956 he was familiar with most modernist tendencies. In 1960 he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest, having already taken part in exhibitions as an undergraduate. Lakner’s unique Hungarian mixture of Surrealism and naturalism was primarily influenced by the Hungarian painter Tibor Csernus (b 1927). Lakner’s first works were precisely executed naturalistic life studies and still-lifes, imbued with a magical quality (e.g. Scraps of Metal, 1960; Budapest, priv. col.). In other works repetition and density are used to create special effects. From 1962 the influence of Pop art is apparent in his works representing everyday objects, which lacked emotional or personal meaning (e.g. Microscopes, 1960; Budapest, N.G.). Dark tones and metallic shadows characterize his use of colour. Robert Rauschenberg’s art was influential after Lakner saw it at the Venice Biennale of 1964. He was also influenced by montage, in particular John Heartfield’s Dada and Neo-Dada works. He drew upon his knowledge of art history for such montages as ...

Article

Latvian, 20th century, female.

Born 23 August 1908, in Riga, Russian Empire (now Latvia); died 21 December 1983, in Riga, Latvian SSR (now Latvia).

Painter, sculptor, tapestry designer. Still-life, portrait, celestial, and abstract subjects, assemblages.

Zenta Logina survived decades of material adversity, official hostility, and professional obscurity to produce one of Latvian art’s most stylistically diverse, technically inventive, and intellectually ambitious bodies of work. Like many Latvian artists of her generation, Logina spent World War I as a refugee in the Russian interior, returning to a newly independent nation consciously fashioning its modern cultural identity. In ...

Article

Term applied to the invention and the effective pursuit of artistic strategies that seek not just close but essential connections to the powerful forces of social Modernity. The responses of modernists to modernity range from triumphal celebration to agonized condemnation and differ in mode from direct picturing of the impacts of modernization to extreme renovations of purely artistic assumptions and practice. Such strategies—pursued by artists working individually or, often, in groups, as well as by critics, historians and theorists—occur in all of the arts, although in distinctive forms and across varying historical trajectories. They have been strongest in painting, design and the Modern Movement in architecture, highly significant in literature and in music, but quite muted in the crafts. They have echoes in aspects of commercial and popular culture. Despite being intermittent in their occurrence and unsystematic in nature, these strategies have been most effective in Europe and its colonies from the mid-19th century and in the USA from the early 20th, moving from the margins to the centre of visual cultures, from reactive radicality to institutionalized normality....

Article

(b Amersfoort, March 7, 1872; d New York, Feb 1, 1944).

Dutch painter, theorist, and draughtsman. His work marks the transition at the start of the 20th century from the Hague school and Symbolism to Neo-Impressionism and Cubism. His key position within the international avant-garde is determined by works produced after 1920. He set out his theory in the periodical of Stijl, De, in a series of articles that were summarized in a separate booklet published in Paris in 1920 under the title Le Néo-plasticisme (see Neo-plasticism) by Léonce Rosenberg. The essence of Mondrian’s ideas is that painting, composed of the most fundamental aspects of line and colour, must set an example to the other arts for achieving a society in which art as such has no place but belongs instead to the total realization of ‘beauty’. The representation of the universal, dynamic pulse of life, also expressed in modern jazz and the metropolis, was Mondrian’s point of departure. Even in his lifetime he was regarded as the founder of the most ...

Article

Kyla Mackenzie

(b Dargaville, April 5, 1925).

New Zealand painter. Self-taught, Mrkusich pioneered abstract modernism in New Zealand in the 1940s, a period when there was little acceptance of abstract art there. He co-founded the Auckland design firm Brenner Associates in 1949. His interest in European and American modernism, and the Bauhaus school, informed both his early painting and architectural designs of the 1940s and 1950s, which in turn, influenced each other. His early works on paper explored spatial concerns using line, geometric and organic forms, and colour. Mrkusich’s approach to colour was generally informed by Kandinsky’s writing on the emotive and metaphysical power of colour and its receding and advancing qualities. The orchestration of irregular coloured squares and rectangles in Buildings (1955; Wellington, Mus. NZ, Te Papa Tongarewa) echoes Piet (er Cornelis) Mondrian’s Boogie Woogie paintings of the 1940s.

Mrkusich painted full-time from 1958, and from c. 1960 he began to paint with a gestural spontaneity reminiscent of Abstract Expressionism. In these paintings irregular networks of brushwork form loose grids. In other works, amorphous colour fields are overlaid by, or adjacent to, finely drawn straight lines, circles, and squares. Geometric shapes appear in the ...

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 ...