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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

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 13 July 1949, in Paris.

Painter, engraver.

Julius Baltazar evolved from the Surrealism of his early works towards a spontaneous abstraction, which was revived in the 1950s and 1960s, producing works which can be described as abstract landscape art. His paintings evoke wind, air, sea, sky, space and atmosphere, or more precisely any element which is suddenly interrupted by being ripped open, revealing a void, a blank in the middle of which he nervously makes inscriptions reminiscent of Chinese writing or a signature. His techniques, which make use of scraping, jets of water and paint runs, give an impression of movement in space and facilitate fading in and fading out in the manner of Zao Wou-Ki....

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Active also in France.

Born 1902 , in Kattowitz, Germany (now Katowice, Poland); died 24 February 1975 , in Paris.

Photographer, Painter (gouache), sculptor, engraver, draughtsman, illustrator. Portraits.

Surrealist group.

Raised in a family of engineers, Hans Bellmer trained as a technical draughtsman at the polytechnic college in Berlin ...

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

German, 20th century, male.

Active from 1937 active in France.

Born 8 March 1904, in Frankfurt am Main; died 1998.

Painter (including mixed media/gouache), watercolourist, pastellist, lithographer.

Surrealist group.

Francis Bott started out as a journalist and art critic, but left his native Germany when the Nazis came to power in 1933. He sought refuge first in Austria, then in former Czechoslovakia. He began painting only in 1936, on the advice of Oskar Kokoschka. In 1937 he moved to Yugoslavia and from there to Paris, where he settled indefinitely. In 1939 he frequented Surrealist circles. On the outbreak of World War II he enlisted in the French army. He spent the war years in exile or serving in the provinces, but returned to Paris in 1944....

Article

Romanian, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 15 June 1903, in Piatra Neamt; died 12 March 1966, in Paris.

Painter (including mixed media), watercolourist, pastellist, sculptor, ceramicist, engraver, draughtsman. Figures, portraits, landscapes, animals.

Surrealist group.

Victor Brauner's father ran a sawmill in Piatra Neamt, a small village in the Carpathian mountains in Romania. Brauner said that his childhood was marked by the atmosphere of a 'small village by the edge of a river', where he watched 'giant tree trunks, tied into rafts, on which people lived as they went down the river'. As a child, he witnessed the spiritualist sessions in which his father participated. After a brief stay in Vienna where he began his schooling and a trip down the Danube, he was back in Romania where he was drafted into compulsory work from 1916 to 1918. A pupil at the Braila evangelical school, he developed a passion for zoology and painted in the Belu cemetery in Bucharest. Between 1921 and 1923, he took courses at the fine arts school and the free academy in Bucharest, then spent time by the Black Sea in Falticeni and Balchík, where he painted his 'Cézannian landscapes'. In 1924, he founded the review ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 1907, in Nantes; died 8 May 1977, in Paris.

Painter (gouache/mixed media), watercolourist, engraver, draughtsman, illustrator.

Surrealist group.

Attracted by the Surrealist milieu, Camille Bryen gave up telegraphy in Nantes to go to Paris in 1926. Apparently, he was invited by André Breton. In 1927, he published his first collection of poetry, ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 30 June 1906, in Ste-Croix-Hague (Manche); died 1992.

Engraver, collage artist, sculptor, poet.

Revolutionary Surrealism group.

Max Bucaille was inspired by the collages of Max Ernst that he found in old magazines when he was a student at the Sorbonne in the Faculty of Science. He was a mathematics teacher at the lycée in Creteil and published collections of poetry, collages and reproductions of his gouaches in ...

Article

Belgian, 20th century, male.

Active since 1961 active in France.

Born 26 April 1922, in Haine-St-Pierre; died 27 September 2005, in Paris.

Sculptor, collage artist, photomontage artist, monotype artist, illustrator. Designs for jewellery, monuments.

Kinetic Art.

Groups: Hainaut Surrealist group, Haute Nuit, Madí, CoBrA.

Pol Bury first stayed in France between 1929 and 1932. In 1938 he attended the academy of fine arts in Mons. In 1940 he made his debut in Surrealism with a journal entitled ...

Article

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 1913, in Milan; died 1993.

Painter (including gouache), watercolourist, engraver, sculptor, illustrator. Figures, landscapes, still-lifes, animals. Stage sets.

Clerici was a keen reader of the Surrealist review Le Minotaure in his youth, and this strongly influenced his later work.

From the outset of his career, he was active in creating stage sets for opera, ballet and the theatre, at the Fenice in Venice, the Rome opera house and other venues, for the works of Monteverdi, Purcell, Lulli, Goldoni and Stravinsky. He also worked as a book illustrator. In his more personal work, he first gained a reputation as a sculptor. After ...

Article

Spanish, 20th century, male.

Also active in France.

Born 11 May 1904, in Figueras (Catalonia); died 23 January 1989, in Port-Lligat.

Painter, sculptor, printmaker, illustrator, filmmaker, writer.

Paris Surrealist group.

Dalí was born into a middle-class family in Catalonia and named after a brother who had died the year before he was born, a fact that would later affect his conception of his own identity. Dalí’s exposure to art began early. The Impressionist painter Ramon Pichot (1872–1925) was a friend of his father’s, and as a child, Dalí attended the municipal drawing school in Figueras. By the age of 10 he had painted two ambitious works: ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Vólos, Greece, July 10, 1888; d Rome, Nov 20, 1978).

Italian painter, writer, theatre designer, sculptor and printmaker. De Chirico was one of the originators of Pittura Metafisica. His paintings are characterized by a visionary, poetic use of imagery, in which themes such as nostalgia, enigma and myth are explored. He was an important source of inspiration for artists throughout Europe in the inter-war years and again for a new generation of painters in the 1980s. His abrupt stylistic changes, however, have obscured the continuity of his approach, which was rooted in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, and this has often led to controversy.

His parents came from the Italian diaspora within the Ottoman empire. He was very close to his brother, Andrea (who later adopted the pseudonym Alberto Savinio). As children they identified themselves with the heavenly twins, Castor and Pollux, while their closest associates became the Argonauts (a reference to Giorgio’s birthplace, Vólos, from which, in Greek legend, the Argonauts departed to retrieve the Golden Fleece). The brothers’ inherited Greek culture was a consistently rich source of inspiration. Their father, Evaristo de Chirico, was an engineer engaged in supervising the construction of the railway in Thessaly. He encouraged his sons’ artistic talents, engaging drawing tutors for Giorgio and sending him to study with the Swiss painter ...

Article

Roger Avermaete

(b Antheit, nr Huy, Sept 23, 1897; d Veurne, July 20, 1994).

Belgian painter and printmaker. He was, with René Magritte, one of the major exponents of Surrealism in Belgium. He began his training in 1920 at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, initially as an architect, but he soon changed to decorative painting, and he completed his studies in 1924. In his earliest works, such as Seascape (1923; Ostend, Mus. S. Kst.) and The Couple (1929; Brussels, Mus. A. Mod.), he was strongly influenced by the Flemish Expressionism of painters such as Constant Permeke and Gustav De Smet. In the mid-1930s, however, he turned decisively to Surrealism, not as an orthodox member of the movement but to a large extent under the influence of Giorgio De Chirico’s Pittura Metafisica, which he had first seen c. 1926. Among his first characteristic works in this vein are Pink Bows (1937; Antwerp, Kon. Mus. S. Kst.) and Phases of the Moon...

Article

Spanish, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 7 January 1906, in La Laguna (Tenerife); died 1 January 1958, in Paris.

Painter (gouache), sculptor, engraver, draughtsman. Portraits, still-lifes, landscapes. Designs for tapestries.

Surrealist group.

Oscar Domínguez was born in the town of La Laguna but brought up in Taraconte, spending his childhood among vineyards, fruit trees, volcanic peaks and beaches of black sand. His mother died shortly after he was born and he was raised by his grandmother, his two sisters and a servant. His father, though busy with his business affairs, played an important role in his son's development: he owned a collection of native mummies and a butterfly collection that proved intriguing and stimulating to the young Domínguez. His father was also an amateur painter and encouraged his son to follow his lead. As a young man Domínguez was known for his wild behaviour, only settling down when he put up his easel to paint landscapes....

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 28 July 1887 , in Blainville; died 2 October 1968 , in Paris.

Painter (including gouache/mixed media), sculptor, printmaker, Ready-mades.

Dadaism, Surrealism.

Groupe de Puteaux, Société Anonyme, New York Dada.

Marcel Duchamp was one of seven children, four of whom were destined to become artists - Marcel himself, his brothers Gaston and Raymond (who came to be known as Jacques Villon and Duchamp-Villon, respectively), and his sister the painter Suzanne Duchamp, who later married Jean Crotti....

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Active from 1922–1941 and 1953–1970 in France, from 1941–1953 in the United States; from 1948 naturalised citizen in the United States, and from 1958 naturalised citizen in France.

Born 2 April 1891, in Brühl, near Cologne; died 1 April 1976, in ...

Article

Malcolm Gee

(b Brühl, nr Cologne, April 2, 1891; d Paris, April 1, 1976).

German painter, printmaker, and sculptor, naturalized American in 1948 and French in 1958. He was a major contributor to the theory and practice of Surrealism (see Two Children Are Threatened by a Nightingale, 1924). His work challenged and disrupted what he considered to be repressive aspects of European culture, in particular Christian doctrine, conventional morality, and the aesthetic codes of Western academic art. Until the mid-1920s he was little known outside a small circle of artists and writers in Cologne and Paris, but he became increasingly successful from c. 1928 onwards. After 1945 he was respected and honoured as a surviving representative of a ‘heroic’ generation of avant-garde artists.

Article

Italian, 20th century, female.

Active from 1933, then naturalised in France.

Born 30 August 1908, in Buenos Aires, to Italian parents; died 18 January 1996, in Paris.

Painter (including gouache), watercolourist, pastellist, engraver, draughtswoman (including ink), illustrator. Figure compositions, figures, portraits, animals. Stage costumes and sets, screens...

Article

Polish, 20th century, male.

Active in France from 1967.

Born 17 April 1943, in Cracow.

Painter, engraver.

Zbigniew Fitz studied fine arts in Cracow before settling in France in 1967. His style has certain similarities with Surrealism and has erotic tendencies. He exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français in Paris, winning an honourable mention in ...