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Article

Pamela H. Simpson

(b Philadelphia, PA, April 1, 1852; d London, Aug 1, 1911).

American painter, illustrator, and muralist, active also in England. Abbey began his art studies at the age of 14 in his native Philadelphia where he worked with Isaac L. Williams (1817–95). Two years later he enrolled in night classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art working under Christian Schussele (1824–1979), but by then Abbey was already a published illustrator. In the 1870s his drawings appeared in numerous publications, but it was his work for Harper & Brothers that proved most important to his career. In 1871 he moved to New York, and in 1878, Harper’s sent him on a research trip to England. He found such affinity with the country that he made it his home for the rest of his life. After 1889 he devoted more time to painting, was elected a Royal Academician in 1898, and in 1902 was chosen by Edward VII (...

Article

Amy Fox

American graphic design firm. Founded in 1993 by Sean Adams (b Reno, NV, 19 July 1964) and Noreen Morioka (b Sunnyvale, CA, 6 July 1965). Often described as simple and pure, AdamsMorioka design is distinguished by its clear, pragmatic approach, joined often with optimistic bright colour palettes. Adams and Morioka met while studying at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) programme under professors Lorraine Wilde and Lou Danziger. After graduating, Adams (BFA 1986) and Morioka (BFA 1988) went their separate ways. Adams moved to New York to work at the New York Public Library and returned to Los Angeles in 1989 to work for April Greiman, Inc. After graduation Morioka joined Gensler and Associates in San Francisco as a graphic designer. A year later she travelled to Tokyo to work for Landor and Associates. While there she continued to build on corporate identity skills taught to her by Lou Danziger and was exposed to Landor’s extensive system of developing a corporate identity and then documenting the range of ways the identity should and should not be used. Upon returning to the United States in ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1966, in New York.

Graphic artist, photographer.

Amy Adler studied at the Cooper Union in New York, receiving a BFA there in 1989. She also studied at the Hochschule der Kunste in Berlin, Germany, in 1987. She obtained a MFA from University of California (Los Angeles) in ...

Article

Eleanor Jones Harvey

(b Allegheny, PA, Oct 7, 1856; d New York, May 31, 1915).

American painter and illustrator. He began his career in New York in 1875 as a political cartoonist and illustrator for Harper’s Weekly. In 1877 he went to Paris for his first formal art training, and then to Munich, where he enrolled at the Kunstakademie under Gyuala Benczúr. In 1878 he joined a colony of American painters established by Frank Duveneck in Polling, Bavaria. In 1879 they travelled to Italy, where Alexander formed friendships with James McNeill Whistler and Henry James. In 1881 he returned to New York, working as an illustrator for Harper’s, as a drawing instructor at Princeton and as a highly successful society portrait painter (see fig.). He also exhibited at the National Academy of Design. By 1893 his reputation in both Europe and America had soared, and in 1895 he was awarded a prestigious commission for a series of murals entitled the Evolution of the Book...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1968, in Buffalo (New York State).

Painter, graphic artist.

Laylah Ali studied at Williams College, obtaining degrees in studio art and English literature. She also studied with the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She received a master's degree in fine art from Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, in ...

Article

American, 19th century, male.

Activec.1880.

Engraver, illustrator.

A wood engraver, Anderson worked as an illustrator for several American newspapers.

Article

Carol Magee

(b Dec 8, 1956).

Ethiopian painter, installation artist, graphic designer, and writer, active in the USA. She grew up in Addis Ababa in a family of painters before moving to the USA. She graduated from Howard University, Washington, DC, with a BFA in painting (1975) and returned in 1994 for an MFA. Her early works, based on dreams or visions, have richly textured surfaces. In the 1980s she abandoned her early palette of reds, ochres, and greens for one of purples and blues. Later paintings depict an urban environment and frequently evoke the feeling of dislocation and nostalgia that comes from living in a country that is not one’s own. Her use of themes and motifs from myriad cultures (including those of Ethiopia and Latin America) comes out of her experiences as a diasporic subject as well as the lives of the women around her. Her pieces often tell their stories, as in the Dream Dancers series (...

Article

Vanessa Rocco

(b Karlsruhe, May 20, 1906; d New York, July 30, 2004).

American photographer of German birth. She is best known for cutting-edge advertising images made in 1930s Germany as part of the studio pair of Ringl + Pit. She studied sculpture for three years in her hometown of Karlsruhe before moving onto the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart in 1928. While there she abandoned sculpture for photography, and became a student of the successful commercial photographer Walter Peterhans (1897–1960) in 1929, along with another young woman, Grete Stern. After Peterhans was recruited to found the first department of photography at the Bauhaus in Dessau, Rosenberg and Stern took over his studio as Ringl + Pit, a combination of their two childhood nicknames.

Studio Ringl + Pit were at the forefront of an active fusion of Surrealism and Bauhaus-inspired New Vision in the photography worlds in Germany, France, and elsewhere in the late 1920s and early 1930s. From Surrealism they often solicited references to uncanny human stand-ins such as mannequins and dolls; from the New Vision they were inspired by unusual angles, close-ups, and abstractions (see, for example, ...

Article

Roberta K. Tarbell

[Margaret] (Frances)

(b Ridgefield, CT, May 2, 1895; d Kennebunk, ME, Jan 4, 1987).

American printmaker, illustrator, painter, and writer. Bacon’s artist parents, Elizabeth and Charles Roswell Bacon, met at the Art Students League around 1890. Bacon lived in Cornish, NH (1903), and in Montreuil-sur-Mer, France (1904–6), and learnt French, Latin, Greek, drawing, and writing from tutors before attending the Kent Place School in Summit, NJ (1909–13). She then attended the School of Applied Design for Women briefly and the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts. In 1914 and 1915, landscape artist Jonas Lie (1880–1940) taught her oil painting. At the Art Students League (1915–20), she took the ‘Women’s Life Class’ with Kenneth Hayes Miller, portraiture with George Bellows, and painting with John Sloan, studied briefly with George Bridgman (1864–1943) and Max Weber, and received critiques in printmaking from Mahonri Young. She then studied modern painting with Andrew Dasburg (...

Article

Irma B. Jaffe

(b New Brunswick, NJ, Aug 15, 1922; d Northampton, MA, June 3, 2000).

American sculptor, illustrator and printmaker. Baskin studied at the New York University School of Architecture and Allied Arts (1939–41), the School of Fine Art (1941–3) and New School for Social Research (1949). He also studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris (1950) and the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence (1951). Inspired by the iconic, monolithic imagery of Ancient Egyptian and Sumerian art, and the similar stylistic qualities of Romanesque and Italian Gothic, he consistently and inventively made use of the archaic mode in such prints as the powerful woodcut Man of Peace (1952; see Fern and O’Sullivan, p. 61) as well as in his sculpture. A traditionalist, he carved in wood and stone, and modelled in clay, taking the human figure as his subject. He firmly believed that painting and sculpture should mediate between artist and viewer some moral insight about human experience, and he was convinced that abstract art could not do this. Throughout his career he rejected spatial penetration of form, preferring the holistic look of such works as the ...

Article

Aaris Sherin

(b New Haven, CT, June 15, 1917; d New York, NY, Feb 13, 2012).

American graphic designer and photographer. After attending Textile High School in Manhattan, Bassman worked briefly on mosaic murals for the World’s Fair in New York. In 1935 she married photographer Paul Himmel (b 1914), whom she had known since childhood. After briefly taking night classes in fashion illustration at Pratt Institute of Art, she became a student of Alexey Brodovitch, the Russian émigré art director of Harper’s Bazaar, at the New School, New York. Bassman worked as an assistant to Elizabeth Arden (1878–1966), but was soon asked to become Brodovitch’s first paid assistant at Harper’s Bazaar. In 1945 Hearst Magazines, the publisher of Harper’s Bazaar, launched Junior Bazaar and Bassman and Brodovitch became its co-art directors, responsible for the overall vision of the magazine. Junior Bazaar ran as a stand-alone magazine from November 1945 until May 1948. It was the incubation ground for numerous talented young artists, designers and writers, many of whom went on to high-profile jobs in the industry. Bassman’s bold use of colour and asymmetrical compositions gave the magazine pages a lively attitude that was quite different in character from the more sophisticated and conservative layouts in ...

Article

Monica Bohm-Duchen

(b Haag, Austria, April 5, 1900; d Santa Barbara, CA, Sept 30, 1985).

American painter, designer, photographer and typographer, of Austrian birth. After serving in the Austrian army (1917–18), Bayer studied architecture under Professor Schmidthammer in Linz in 1919 and in 1920 worked with the architect Emanuel Margold in Darmstadt. From 1921 to 1923 he attended the Bauhaus in Weimar, studying mural painting (with Vasily Kandinsky) and typography; it was at this time that he created the Universal alphabet, consisting only of lowercase letters. In 1925 he returned to the Bauhaus, then in Dessau, as a teacher of advertising, layout and typography, remaining there until 1928. For the next ten years he was based in Berlin as a commercial artist: he worked as art manager of Vogue (1929–30) and as director of the Dorland advertising agency. Shortly after his first one-man exhibitions at the Galerie Povolotski, Paris, and at the Kunstlerbund März, Linz (both 1929), he created photomontages of a Surrealist nature, such as ...

Article

American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 24 January 1879, in New York; died 5 February 1956, in New York.

Painter, watercolourist, graphic artist. Landscapes, cityscapes, genre scenes.

Gifford Beal, brother of Reynolds Beal, studied with William Merritt Chase at Shinnecock Summer School, Long Island (...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1932, in San Francisco.

Painter.

With sharp and almost photographic realism, Robert Bechtle paints glowing shiny cars, depicting every detail with extreme precision. He has also painted scenes from everyday life, which are often autobiographical. After studying at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, he taught at the San Francisco State University for 30 years....

Article

Arthur J. Pulos

(b Adrian, MI, April 27, 1893; d New York, May 9, 1958).

American designer and writer. He studied at the Cleveland School of Art, OH, and the Art Institute of Chicago, and by 1914 he had established a reputation as an illustrator, making portraits of operatic luminaries for the New York Times. After producing plays in Los Angeles (1917), he joined the Metropolitan Opera in New York (1918) and became a leading stage designer; he invented the high-wattage spotlight and developed modern theatrical productions that blended the play, its lighting, its performers, and their costumes into a cohesive whole. He gained international attention for his stage set (1921; unexecuted) for Dante’s Divine Comedy, which revolutionized theatrical and operatic productions; it was conceived as a single, massive set with lighting coming first from below, signifying Hades, and then, as the play progressed, from high above, signifying Paradise. This led Max Reinhardt, the distinguished German producer, to commission him to design the settings for a production of ...

Article

Henry Adams

(b Neosho, MO, April 15, 1889; d Kansas City, MO, Jan 19, 1975).

American painter, illustrator, and lithographer. One of the most controversial personalities in American art, both in his lifetime and today, Thomas Hart Benton was a key figure in the American Regionalist movement of the 1930s, when he focused on working-class American subject-matter and was outspoken in his denunciation of European modern painting. Today he is best remembered for this phase of his life, and much criticized because of it. But Benton’s long career is not easily reduced to a single moment or achievement: his legacy was more complex. As a young struggling artist in Paris and New York, he was a leading American modernist and abstractionist, and in his early maturity he became the teacher and lifelong father figure for Jackson Pollock, the most famous of the Abstract Expressionists. He was also a major American writer, who wrote on art and whose autobiography of 1936 became a best-seller. He was also a notable figure in American music who collected American folk songs and devised a new form of harmonica notation that is still in use....

Article

Roy R. Behrens

(Karel Joseph)

(b Cleveland, OH, Aug 23, 1906; d Red Wing, MN, Dec 26, 2004).

American painter and theorist. Biederman worked as a graphic designer for several years before studying art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1926 to 1929. A week after his arrival he saw a painting by Cézanne that greatly influenced his subsequent thought. He lived in New York from 1934 to 1940, except for a nine-month period in 1936–7 when he lived in Paris. He began to make reliefs in 1934. His visits in Paris to the studios of Mondrian, Georges Vantongerloo, César Domela and Antoine Pevsner made him aware of De Stijl, Neo-Plasticism, Abstraction-Création and Constructivism. He also met Léger, Miró, Arp, Kandinsky, Robert Delaunay, Alberto Giacometti, Picasso and Brancusi.

Shortly before returning to New York in 1938, Biederman made his first abstract reliefs, which he termed ‘non-mimetic’ (e.g. New York, Number 18, 1938; New York, Met.). In the same year, while visiting Chicago, he attended a seminar given by the Polish-born writer Alfred Korzybski, founder of the General Semantics Institute, which strongly influenced his later theories about history as an evolutionary process. He moved to Red Wing, near Minneapolis, MN, in ...

Article

Michael D. Willis

(b Ormskirk, Lancs, Oct 17, 1879; d Vancouver, Oct 15, 1957).

Canadian painter and illustrator of English birth. She briefly attended the Liverpool Art School, the Lambeth School of Art, London, and finally, from 1900, the Slade School of Art, London, where she studied with Henry Tonks and others. From 1901 Biller was a successful illustrator of children’s magazines, books and Christmas annuals, chiefly for T. C. & E. C. Jack of London. Many titles were translated into German, and they enjoyed wide circulation in Europe. After marrying John Biller (1912), she emigrated to Canada. While her commercial work virtually ceased there, she never stopped illustrating her life and surroundings in letters and sketchbooks. After her husband’s death in World War I, Biller settled with her two children on James Island (near Victoria) in 1919. In 1927 she moved to Victoria, where she was an active member of the (Vancouver) Island Arts and Crafts Society, founded by Josephine Crease. Biller’s watercolours often appeared in the Society’s exhibitions. Relocation to Vancouver in ...

Article

American, 20th century, female.

Born 3 March 1902, in Cincinnati (Ohio); died 19 February 1988, in New York.

Painter, printmaker, graphic artist. Figures, nudes, interiors, urban landscapes.

Fourteenth Street School.

Isabel Bishop came to New York in 1918 to study at the School of Applied Design for Women, and in the early 1920s she attended the Arts Students League, studying under Kenneth Hayes Miller and Guy Pène du Bois. Bishop studied the structure and composition of works by Mantegna, Piero della Francesca and Chardin, and was also influenced by Dutch and Flemish painters such as Adriaen Brouwer and Peter Paul Rubens. By ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1 February 1960, in New York.

Sculptor, assemblage artist, graphic artist.

Nayland Blake studied at Bard College, Annandale on Hudson, NY, receiving his BFA there. In 1984 he obtained a MFA from the California Institute of Arts in Valencia, CA. Blake is a conceptual artist, concentrating primarily on themes of racial, sexual and personal identities, with emphasis on the threat of AIDS and the gay identity. His early works, such as ...