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Daniel Robbins

(b Paris, Dec 8, 1881; d Avignon, June 23, 1953).

French painter, printmaker and writer. He grew up in Courbevoie, a suburb of Paris, and as a student at the Collège Chaptal became interested in theatre and painting. At 19, his father put him to work in the family interior design and fabric business, an experience that contributed to a lifelong respect for skilled workmanship. The first paintings he exhibited, at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1902, were Impressionist in character, but the work accepted within two years at the Salon d’Automne showed a shift to social themes, a tendency that accelerated until 1908. Compulsory military service from 1903 to 1905 thrust him into the company of working-class people, arousing a permanent sense of solidarity with their aspirations and needs. The results were immediately apparent in the Association Ernest Renan, which he helped to establish in 1905, a kind of popular university with secular and socialist aims. He was also one of the founders of a community of intellectuals based near Paris, the ...

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Benjamin Benus

(b Cologne, Sept 1, 1895; d Cologne, July 3, 1936).

German painter, draughtsman, and printmaker. Along with Franz Wilhelm Seiwert (1894–1933), Hoerle was one of the leading figures of the Cologne-based Gruppe Progressiver Künstler. During his studies at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Cologne in 1912, Hoerle first met several of the artists with whom he would later collaborate in the post-war Dadaist Stupid group—among them, Angelika Fick (1899–1923) and her brother Willy Fick (1894–1970). In 1917 Hoerle began contributing prints and drawings to the Berlin-based journal Die Aktion. The same year Hoerle was drafted into the German army and sent to the front—an experience that affected him deeply and had a lasting impact on his artwork. Hoerle’s Krüppelmappe (1919–20; priv. col.), for example, depicts the physical and psychological traumas experienced by wounded soldiers returning from the front, while the mechanized, automaton-like figures that appear in a number of his works after 1920—for example his now-lost oil painting ...