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(Isayevich)

(b Vinnitsa, Ukraine, Dec 22, 1889; d Leningrad [now St Petersburg], Dec 12, 1970).

Russian painter, graphic artist, sculptor and designer of Ukrainian birth. He studied painting at the School of Art in Odessa (1901–7) under Kiriak Kostandi (1852–1921), at the same time attending classes in sculpture. In 1908–9 he made a series of pointillist paintings. He visited Vienna and Munich in 1910 before going to Paris, where he worked at Vasil’yeva’s Free Russian Academy until 1912, producing paintings on Jewish themes and studying Cubism. In 1912 he went to St Petersburg, where he painted a number of Cubist portraits, for example of the poet Anna Akhmatova (1914; St Petersburg, Rus. Mus.). His Cubist work makes much use of faceting and transparent planes. From 1918 to 1921 he taught at the Department of Visual Arts (IZO) of Narkompros in Petrograd, but he was criticized for his attempts to identify Futurism with the art of the proletariat. Al’tman became well known as the designer of post-Revolutionary mass parades and monuments, for example the celebration of the first anniversary of the Revolution on ...

Article

[Bronstein, Max]

(b Tuchów, Poland, July 13, 1896; d Jerusalem, June 18, 1992).

Israeli painter of Polish birth. As a young boy he greatly admired El Greco, Goya and Rembrandt. From 1920 to 1925 he studied at the Bauhaus, Weimar, under Klee, Kandinsky, Johannes Itten and Lyonel Feininger and the following year studied painting techniques at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Munich under Max Doerner. During the 1920s he changed his name from Max Bronstein to Mordecai Ardon. He taught at the Kunstschule Itten in Berlin from 1929 to 1933, when Nazi persecution forced him to flee to Jerusalem. Though he had been an active Communist in Germany, in Jerusalem he soon found a great affinity with Jewish religion and culture. In 1935 he was made a professor at the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem, and was its Director from 1940 to 1952.

Ardon’s early paintings show the influence of Expressionism, as in Seated Woman in a Straw Chair...

Article

Ita Heinze-Greenberg

(b Berlin, March 3, 1877; d Jerusalem, Oct 25, 1930).

German architect, teacher and writer, active in Palestine . He studied architecture (1895–1901) at the Technische Hochschule, Charlottenburg, Berlin, spending one summer term at the Technische Hochschule, Munich. His student works revealed exceptional skill as a draughtsman and he won the Schinkel Medal (1906) for his design (unexecuted) of an architectural museum. In the following year he became Königlicher Regierungsbaumeister for the Prussian state, where his early work included various houses and shops and the restoration of a residential block (1908), Kaiserin–Augusta Street, all in Berlin. He also assisted the architect Ernst Ihne in the construction of the neo-Baroque Preussische Staatsbibliothek (1908–13), Berlin. In 1909 he was sent to Haifa, Palestine (now Israel), by the Jüdisches Institut für Technische Erziehung to take over the architectural design and building of the Technion, which was carried out in stages (1912–24). Sited on the slopes of Mount Carmel, near Haifa, the main building is symmetrical with an emphasis on the central entrance. Middle Eastern elements, such as the dome, the flat roof with pointed crenellations and the arcaded passages, together with symbolic Jewish forms such as the Star of David, in the sparse decoration, testify to Baerwald’s intention to create an architecture that was a synthesis of Middle-Eastern culture and Western technique. The whole complex was built in locally quarried sandstone and limestone, reflecting the architect’s preference for stone....

Article

Ron Fuchs

(b Mogilev, Russia [now Belarus’], Oct 6, 1877; d Tel Aviv, July 18, 1952).

Israeli architect of Russian birth. He graduated at the Art Academy, St Petersburg, in 1911, and practised in St Petersburg until 1921, when he settled in Palestine. After two years as chief architect of the Public Works Office of the Histadruth (the General Federation of Jewish Labour in Eretz-Israel), he set up in private practice in Tel Aviv. In his early buildings Berlin developed a highly personal vocabulary of simplified classicist ornament adapted to the simple materials and craftsmanship then available in the city. A notable example is the power station (1925), Jaffa. His most original contribution, however, was his unique use of silicate bricks, the chief building material in Tel Aviv at the period and an early product of its burgeoning industry. Leaving the brick unplastered, he created playful abstract patterns, faintly reminiscent of Expressionism and Art Deco. Examples include Berlin’s own house (1929), 59 Balfour Street, and the Moghrabi Theatre (...

Article

Julia Detchon

(b Lübeck, 1937).

Uruguayan conceptual artist, critic, educator, and curator of German birth, active in the USA. Of Jewish ancestry, he fled with his family to Uruguay in 1939. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1953–1957 and 1959–1962, working with students to reform the school’s curriculum. In 1961, a Guggenheim fellowship took him to New York to study printmaking. Though he retained his Uruguayan citizenship, he settled permanently in New York, where he taught at the Pratt Graphics Art Center; co-founded the New York Graphic Workshop in 1964 with Liliana Porter (b 1941) and José Guillermo Castillo (1938–1999); and in 1971 helped establish New York’s Museo Latinoamericano and its subsequent splinter group, the Movimiento de Independencia Cultural de Latino América. From the 1970s, political repression in Latin America inspired a series of conceptual installations that addressed such issues as language, identity, freedom, political violence, and the role of art. For Camnitzer, the task of the artist was to identify and express the problems that surrounded him, transforming art into a political instrument. His questioning of traditional values applied not only to the themes of his work, but to its material form; employing objects of little intrinsic value, he rejected traditional notions of art as beautiful and of commercial worth....

Article

Susan Compton

[Shagal, Mark (Zakharovich); Shagal, Moses]

(b Vitebsk [now Viciebsk], Belarus’, July 7, 1887; d Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Alpes-Maritimes, March 28, 1985).

French painter, draughtsman, printmaker, designer, sculptor, ceramicist, and writer of Belarusian birth. A prolific artist, Chagall excelled in the European tradition of subject painting and distinguished himself as an expressive colourist. His work is noted for its consistent use of folkloric imagery and its sweetness of colour, and it is characterized by a style that, although developed in the years before World War I, underwent little progression throughout his long career (see.g. I and the Village, 1911; New York, MOMA). Though he preferred to be known as a Belarusian artist, following his exile from the Soviet Union in 1923 he was recognized as a major figure of the Ecole de Paris, especially in the later 1920s and the 1930s. In his last years he was regarded as a leading artist in stained glass.

Chagall spent his childhood, admirably recorded in his autobiography, in a warm Hassidic family in Vitebsk [now Viciebsk], with frequent visits to his grandfather’s village home. He attended the traditional Jewish school but afterwards succeeded in entering the local Russian high school, where he excelled in geometry and drawing and determined to become an artist. At first he studied locally in the studio of ...

Article

South African, 20th–21st century, male.

Active in France.

Born 11 August 1962, in Johannesburg.

Printmaker, choreographer, performance artist. Identity politics.

Living Art.

Steven Cohen was the first South African artist under apartheid to create confrontational performance art engaging with sexual and cultural identity. He began his career in the 1980s, while conscripted into the South African army, when he went absent without leave and learnt how to screenprint at Cape Town’s Ruth Prowse School of Art....

Article

Ronald Alley

Term applied to the loose affiliation of artists working in Paris from the 1920s to the 1950s. It was first used by the critic André Warnod in Comoedia in the early 1920s as a way of referring to the non-French artists who had settled and worked in Paris for some years, many of whom lived either in Montmartre or Montparnasse, and who included a number of artists of Eastern European or Jewish origin.

From c. 1900 a number of major artists had been attracted to the capital because of its reputation as the most vital international centre for painting and sculpture; these included Picasso, Gris and Miró from Spain, Chagall, Soutine and Lipchitz from Russia or Lithuania, Brancusi from Romania and Modigliani from Italy. The prominence of Jewish artists in Paris and of foreign artistic influences in general began by c. 1925 to cause intense resentment and led to the foreigners being labelled as ‘Ecole de Paris’ in contrast to French-born artists such as ...

Article

David M. Sokol

(b Russian Poland, April 10, 1872; d New York, July 26, 1946).

American painter of Russian-Polish origin. He claimed to have carved wooden ceremonial objects as a young boy, but ceased to create until he retired from his clothing manufacturing concern and began to paint. When Sidney Janis was arranging an exhibition of American folk art for the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, in 1939, he saw Hirshfield’s naive works in a gallery in New York. He exhibited two in the show and organized a one-man show for the artist in 1943; he also purchased two works, including Beach Girl (1937; New York, MOMA). In such paintings Hirshfield based large areas of the overall design on the fabrics with which he worked during his years in business, and his outlined forms on the art of patternmaking. In this and slightly later works, such as Inseparable Friends (1941; New York, MOMA), an ambiguous treatment of young female sexuality is played off against the patterns and the repetition of forms....

Article

Katalin Gellér

[Lipót]

(b Kassa [now Košice, Slovak Republic], Feb 2, 1838; d Vienna, Nov 16, 1917).

Hungarian painter. After attending drawing classes in Kassa, he continued his studies at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna. In 1860 he won a scholarship, enabling him to travel to Paris, where he settled, painting mostly portraits and genre pictures. In 1868 he moved to Warsaw, where he completed the biblical composition Anniversary of the Destruction of Jerusalem and painted a series of portraits of Polish and Russian aristocrats. Horovitz had his greatest success with his portraits, for which he was internationally renowned. Like Fülöp Elek László, and several other Hungarian portrait painters, Horovitz was able to travel widely in order to carry out portrait commissions. Between 1901 and 1906 he painted Emperor Francis Joseph five times. He also painted a number of leading figures in Hungarian political, scientific and literary circles, for example Ferenc Pulszky (1890; Budapest, N.G.).

Ö. Gerő: Müvészetről, müvészekről [On art and artists] (Budapest, n.d.), pp. 232–40...

Article

Jean Robertson

(b Jerusalem, 1969).

Israeli sculptor and video, performance and installation artist. She studied at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, where she was awarded a BFA in 1994 and continued post-graduate studies in 1995. She spent a semester at the Cooper Union School of Art and Design, New York, as an exchange student in 1993. She moved to Tel Aviv in 1996. Landau represented Israel in 1997 at the Venice Biennale and participated in Documenta X that same summer. Since then she became internationally known for complex, ambitious installations that have included video projections, decaying materials such as rotting fruit and cotton candy, and sometimes life-size Ecorché (flayed) figures fashioned by the artist of Papier mâché with surfaces that look like bloody sinew. From 2005, Landau submerged various objects in the Dead Sea then dried them in the desert sun, the salt coating forming a crystallized surface; some are found objects, others are sculptural forms made of barbed wire. The salt-encrusted objects—including lampshade-like forms—became components of installations. She also made individual sculptures of bronze and other materials....

Article

South African, 20th century, male.

Born 8 May 1903, in Plungian, Lithuania; died 25 October 1980, in Kiryat Tivon, Israel.

Sculptor in diverse materials, draughtsman, printmaker.

In 1908, Isreal-Isaac Lipshitz emigrated to South Africa where he remained, apart from trips abroad, until his retirement to Israel in ...

Article

Herbert Kessler

(b Jerusalem, Dec 14, 1926; d Jerusalem, June 29, 2008).

Israeli art historian of Jewish art. Educated first at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he moved to London and earned an MA in art history at the Courtauld Institute (1959) and a PhD at the Warburg Institute (1962). Returning to Jerusalem, Narkiss rose steadily through the ranks from 1963 when he began teaching at the Hebrew University and, in 1984, was appointed Nicolas Landau Professor of Art History. He also held fellowships and visiting positions at: Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies in Washington, DC (1969–70); the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (1979–80); the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University (1983), Brown University in Providence, RI (1984–5); the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris (1987–8); the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in Washington, DC (Samuel H. Kress Professor ...

Article

Russian, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 27 September 1939, in Leningrad, Soviet Union (now St Petersburg, Russia).

Sculptor.

From 1954 until 1957, Alexander Ney studied at the Secondary Art School of the Ilya Repin Institute for Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in Leningrad. While he was trained in the official style of Socialist Realism, Ney resisted this restriction, developing alternative artistic practices. When continuing his studies at the Art School of the Surikov Institute in Moscow in ...

Article

Noémie Goldman and Kim Oosterlinck

Term for the return of lost or looted cultural objects to their country of origin, former owners, or their heirs. The loss of the object may happen in a variety of contexts (armed conflicts, war, colonialism, imperialism, or genocide), and the nature of the looted cultural objects may also vary, ranging from artworks, such as paintings and sculptures, to human remains, books, manuscripts, and religious artefacts. An essential part of the process of restitution is the seemingly unavoidable conflict around the transfer of the objects in question from the current to the former owners. Ownership disputes of this nature raise legal, ethical, and diplomatic issues. The heightened tensions in the process arise because the looting of cultural objects challenges, if not breaks down, relationships between peoples, territories, cultures, and heritages.

The history of plundering and art imperialism may be traced back to ancient times. Looting has been documented in many instances from the sack by the Romans of the Etruscan city of Veii in ...

Article

Michael Turner

[Shlomo Zalman Dov]

(b Vrno, Lithuania ?1866; d Denver, CO, March 22, 1932).

Lithuanian sculptor and painter, active in Palestine. Born into a poor, orthodox Jewish family, he attended rabbinical school in Vilna (now Vilnius; 1882–7). During this period he studied art at the local academy and, affected by the anti-Semitism of the period, developed left-wing political interests and the connections to an emancipated Jewish art form. His personal history generated three distinct artistic periods: the early activities in Paris (until 1895), the Bulgarian period (until 1903) and the later Jewish period in Palestine. His first known oil painting, the Dying Will (c. 1886; priv. col., see 1933 exh. cat., no. M16), was typical of late 19th-century romanticism. In 1888 he moved to Warsaw, working intensely on sculptures, reliefs and lithographs. His concept of art for a Jewish national agenda and propaganda was published that year as an article ‘Craftsmanship’ in the Hebrew newspaper Hazfira, forming the basis for his later works. After his marriage (...

Article

Elisheva Revel-Neher

(b Budapest, 1927; d Paris, 2008).

Art historian and scholar of Jewish and Christian art, active in France. Known as the ‘grande dame’ of Jewish art, Sed-Rajna came to Paris in 1948. She became Director of the Hebraic Section of the Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) and then taught at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and at the Institut d’Etudes Juives of the Université Libre in Brussels. In 1976 she founded with Bezalel Narkiss the Jerusalem Index of Jewish Art and became President of the European Association for Jewish Studies. She published six pioneering books and numerous articles, scrutinizing the role played by the artistic heritage of the Jewish people.

In all her works the visual expression of the Jewish tradition was envisioned in the larger framework of the history of arts. Her immense knowledge of both texts and images led her to publish in ...

Article

Milo Cleveland Beach

(b Metz, 1854; d 1942)

French jeweller and collector. Vever directed the family jewellery business, begun in Metz by his grandfather Pierre-Paul Vever (d 1853). After the capture of Metz in the Franco-Prussian War (1871), the family moved to Luxembourg and then Paris, where the Maison Vever became well established on the Rue de la Paix, winning the Grand Prix of the universal expositions in 1889 and 1900 and becoming a leader in the Art Nouveau movement. Vever gave an important group of Art Nouveau works to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. His early interest in contemporary French painting led him to assemble a large and important group of works by Corot, Sisley, Renoir and Monet, of which he sold the majority (Paris, Gal. Georges Petit, 1897) to concentrate on Japanese and Islamic art. Vever had begun to collect Japanese prints in the 1880s and in 1892 joined the distinguished private group ...