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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

Swiss, 20th century, male.

Born 3 May 1886, in Basel; died 9 October 1942.

Painter, sculptor.

Dadaism, Neo-Constructivism.

Groups: Artistes Radicaux, Das Neue Leben.

From 1917, Baumann exhibited at the Galerie Dada in Zurich and in 1918 he became a member of the group The New Life...

Article

Dutch, 20th century, male.

Born 15 December 1896, in Berlin; died 13 March 1983, in Wassenaar (The Hague).

Painter, collage artist, photomontage artist.

Dadaism, Constructivism.

Having studied at a school of painting and fine arts in Berlin, Paul Citroen abandoned painting in 1914 to become a bookseller. In ...

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

Hungarian, 20th century, male.

Born 21 March 1887, in Érsekujvár; died 1967, in Budapest.

Painter (including gouache), watercolourist, graphic designer, engraver, collage artist, sculptor.

Dadaism, Constructivism.

Lajos Kassák ran away from home aged 13. He started his working life as a blacksmith and locksmith. He came into contact with the workers' movement and contributed to the Social Democrat magazine ...

Article

Éva Bajkay

(b Ersekujvar, Hungary, March 21, 1887; d Budapest, July 22, 1967).

Hungarian writer, painter, theorist, collagist, designer, printmaker and draughtsman. His family moved to Budapest in 1904, and, after finishing an apprenticeship as a blacksmith, in 1908 he began publishing stories and poems. In 1909–10 he travelled across Western Europe and spent some time in Paris, becoming acquainted with modern art and anarchist ideas. He published short stories, plays and poems in Budapest and from November 1915 he edited the periodical A Tett (‘The deed’), which was anti-militarist and discussed socialist theories and avant-garde ideas. In summer 1916 he spent time in the Kecskemét artists’ colony with his brother-in-law Béla Uitz and under his influence executed his first ink drawings (e.g. Landscape, 1916; Budapest, N.G.). Progressive young artists and aesthetes grouped themselves around Kassák; after A Tett was banned in September 1916, he started in November a new periodical, MA (‘Today’; see MA group), which he edited with Uitz (to ...

Article

Croat, 20th century, male.

Active in France from 1980.

Born 23 April 1924, in Osijek; died 7 December 2004, in Paris.

Painter, draughtswoman, screen printer.

Neo-Dadaism, Conceptual Art, Neo-Constructivism.

Gorgona Group.

Julije Knifer was a student at the academy of fine arts in Zagreb from 1951 to 1957...

Article

Swiss, 20th century, male.

Born 28 June 1893, in Zurich; died 1972, in Zurich.

Painter, sculptor, lithographer.

Constructivism.

Groups: Dada, Die Allianz.

Léo Leuppi studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule (college of arts and crafts) in Zurich. He was aligned with the Zurich Dadaist movement and worked for a period as a Cubist. In 1937, he founded and presided over the ...

Article

John Milner

[Lisitsky, El’ ; Lisitsky, Lazar’ (Markovich )]

(b Pochinok, Smolensk province, Nov 23, 1890; d Moscow, Dec 30, 1941).

Russian draughtsman, architect, printmaker, painter, illustrator, designer, photographer, teacher, and theorist.

After attending school in Smolensk, he enrolled in 1909 at the Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt, to study architecture and engineering. He also travelled extensively in Europe, however, and he made a tour of Italy to study art and architecture. He frequently made drawings of the architectural monuments he encountered on his travels. These early graphic works were executed in a restrained, decorative style reminiscent of Russian Art Nouveau book illustration. His drawings of Vitebsk and Smolensk (1910; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus.), for example, show a professional interest in recording specific architectural structures and motifs, but they are simultaneously decorative graphic works in their own right and highly suitable for publication. This innate awareness of the importance of controlling the design of the page was to remain a feature of Lissitzky’s work throughout radical stylistic transformations. He also recorded buildings in Ravenna, Venice, and elsewhere in Italy in ...

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Active from 1941 in the USA and in Switzerland.

Born 6 April 1888, in Berlin; died 1975 or 1976, in Locarno, Switzerland.

Painter (including gouache/mixed media), pastellist, collage artist, draughtsman.

Dadaism, Constructivism.

Groups: Die Aktion, Berlin Dadaist, Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (AKhR), Novembergruppe...

Article

Gisela Hossmann

[Johannes] (Siegfried)

(b Berlin, April 6, 1888; d Minusio, nr Locarno, Feb 1, 1976).

American painter, film maker, theorist and writer of German birth. He studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Berlin and at the Akademie in Weimar from 1908 to 1909. Until c. 1910 he produced academic figure drawings, individual genre scenes and book illustrations (e.g. for Boccaccio’s Decameron). His early paintings showed the influence of Symbolism and of Jugendstil. Between 1911 and 1914 he came under the influence of Cézanne and also of Expressionism. At this time his paintings were flat in character, but with a fluid, dynamic and expressive drawing style, strongly outlined forms and powerful brushstrokes, as in Kurfürstendamm (1911; Locarno, Pin. Casa Rusca).

From 1914 until 1916 Richter’s work was influenced by Cubism, and he realized his idea of the visualization of rhythmical movements, proportion and order. His aim was the ‘free orchestration of forms …as music has orchestrated time …with sound’. Following the example of Picasso and Braque, Richter chose musical subjects for his paintings, such as ...

Article

Dutch, 20th century, male.

Born 1877, in Drachten; died 1947, in Smallingerland.

Painter.

Dadaism, Constructivism.

Thijs Rinsema ranks as one of the leading (albeit little-known) representatives of Dutch Dadaism. He moved in the same circles as Theo van Doesburg and Kurt Schwitters (whom he first met in 1923) but made a living managing a shoeshop together with his brother, the poet Evert Rinsema....

Article

Shin’ichiro Osaki

(b Tokyo, May 4, 1904; d Yokohama, June 13, 2001).

Japanese painter and sculptor. Self-taught as an artist, in the 1920s he met David Burlyuk and others involved with such movements as Futurism, Constructivism and Dada. From 1931 Saitō concentrated on a career as an artist, initially producing Constructivist reliefs. At that time a celebrated incident occurred when he refused to exhibit pieces at the Nikakai (Second Division Society) exhibition on the grounds that his pieces were neither painting nor sculpture: he was first chosen for the Nikakai exhibition in 1936. In 1938, together with Jirō Yoshihara and Takeo Yamaguchi (1902–83), he established the ‘Room Nine Society’ (Kyūshitsukai) with artists of the Nikakai whose works tended towards abstraction. He collaborated on Toro-wood, a series of reliefs (c. 1939) destroyed in World War II (for reconstruction see 1984 exh. cat., p. 54). During the war he was persecuted by the military authorities for his avant-garde activities....

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

Swiss, 20th century, female.

Active in France from 1928.

Born 19 January 1889, in Davos; died 13 January 1943, in Zurich.

Painter (including gouache), draughtswoman, watercolourist, collage artist, sculptor, designer. Designs for stained glass, marionettes.

Dadaism, Constructivism.

Groups: Zurich Dadaist, Das Neue Leben, Cercle et Carré, Abstraction-Création, Die Allianz...