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Article

Adam, Henri-Georges  

(b Paris, Jan 14, 1904; d La Clarté, Brittany, Aug 27, 1967).

French sculptor, printmaker and tapestry designer. His father was a jeweller, and after his return from World War I in 1918 Adam worked in his studio and learnt how to engrave. At the same time he studied drawing at the Ecole Germain-Pilon and read Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal, which was to have a great influence on him. In 1925 he attended evening classes at a school of drawing in Montparnasse. From 1928 to 1934 he started to produce prints and became associated with André Breton, Louis Aragon and Paul Eluard, although he was never greatly influenced by them. His early prints, reminiscent of the work of George Grosz, were mostly designed as social satire, mocking the myths surrounding patriotism, the family and religion, as in When Papa is Patriotic (1935). In 1933 he designed the costumes and scenery for Hans Schlumberg’s Miracle à Verdun performed at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris. His first exhibition of prints was held in ...

Article

Adams, Mark  

Courtney Ann Shaw

(b Fort Plain, NY, Oct 27, 1925; d San Francisco, 2006).

American tapestry artist, painter and stained-glass designer. Adams studied painting at Syracuse University and with Hans Hoffmann in New York, where he was influenced by the medieval tapestries in the Cloisters and also by the work of Matisse. In the 1950s Adams was apprenticed to the influential French tapestry designer Jean Lurçat, from whom he learnt the bold colours and clear imagery that characterize his work. He also studied at the Ecole Nationale d’Art Décoratif in Aubusson before beginning to use a series of workshops, notably that of Marguerite and Paul Avignon, who wove his first nationally acclaimed tapestry, Phoenix and the Golden Gate (1957). Flight of Angels (1962) was exhibited at the first Biennale Internationale de la Tapisserie in Lausanne. In 1976 his cartoon of California Poppies (San Francisco, CA Pal. Legion of Honor) was woven for the Five Centuries of Tapestry exhibition at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, as a demonstration piece. Later tapestries, for example ...

Article

Adnan, Etel  

Andrew Weiner

(b Beirut, 1925).

Lebanese painter and writer active in the USA. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Adnan was educated in Lebanon before going on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and the University of California, Berkeley. For many years she taught aesthetics at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA; she also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities. During the 1970s Adnan regularly contributed editorials, essays, and cultural criticism to the Beirut-based publications Al-Safa and L’Orient-Le Jour. In 1978 she published the novel Sitt Marie Rose, which won considerable acclaim for its critical portrayal of cultural and social politics during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War. Adnan published numerous books of poetry, originating in her opposition to the American war in Vietnam and proceeding to encompass topics as diverse as the landscape of Northern California and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Her poetry served as the basis for numerous works of theater and contemporary classical music....

Article

Adrian  

Ann Poulson

(Gilbert) [Greenburg, Adrian Adolph]

(b Naugatuck, CT, March 3, 1903; d Los Angeles, CA, Sept 13, 1959).

American costume and fashion designer. Adrian is best known for his costume designs for Hollywood films and his signature women’s suits (see fig.). Adrian was educated at the School for Fine and Applied Arts (now Parsons School of Design) in New York and Paris. He began his career in New York by designing costumes for Irving Berlin’s Music Box Revue of 1921. It was through his work on Broadway that he met the costume designer Natacha Rambova, wife of the screen idol Rudolph Valentino, and began designing costumes for films. He arrived in Los Angeles in 1924 and by 1926 was working for the director Cecil B. DeMille, who brought him to Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) in 1928. When his contract with DeMille ended, Adrian signed with MGM, where he would remain as head costume designer until 1942. At MGM, Adrian dressed stars such as Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, Norma Shearer and Jeanette McDonald. Although it was his designs for Garbo, in which he was careful not to distract from her natural beauty, that first brought him fame, it was his creations for Joan Crawford that made him a household name....

Article

Ahyi, Paul  

Christine Mullen Kreamer

(b Jan 25, 1930; d Lomé, Jan 4, 2010).

Togolese painter, sculptor, engraver, stained glass designer, potter and textile designer. Beginning in 1946, he received his secondary education in Dakar, where he also worked in an architecture firm. He travelled to France and received his diplôme supérieur from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris. A versatile artist, Ahyi is best known for his murals and for monumental stone, marble and cement public sculptures. His work reflects the fusion of his Togolese roots, European training and an international outlook, and he counts among his influences Moore, Braque, Modigliani, Tamayo, Siqueiros and Tall. His work combines ancient and modern themes and materials, maternity being a prominent topic. The messages of his larger, public pieces operate on a broad level to appeal to the general populace, while smaller works often reflect his private engagement with challenges confronting the human condition. His compositions are both abstract and figurative and evoke the heroism and hope of the two world wars, Togo's colonial period and the struggle for independence from France, as well as the political efforts of the peoples of Vietnam, South Africa and Palestine. Ahyi has won numerous international prizes, including the prize of the city of Lyon (...

Article

Akanji, Adebisi  

Bolaji V. Campbell

(b Oshogbo, 1930s).

Nigerian sculptor and textile artist. He started out as a bricklayer and received no formal training. One of his earliest commissions was for 12 cement pieces for Ulli Beier’s Mbari-Mbayo Club at Oshogbo. He exhibited internationally in the 1960s and 1970s and is best known for his public pieces, such as openwork cement screens based on Yoruba doors (see Yoruba §I) for museum entrances and petrol stations, such as that opposite the Mbari-Mbayo Club, Oshogbo. In these playful and animated works, elongated figures are presented in scenes from daily life, such as buying petrol, in masquerades and in fantastic imaginary scenes. Akanji also created free-standing cement sculpture, brightly painted human and animal figures.

U. Beier: Contemporary Art in Africa (New York, 1968), pp. 141, 149–54, 156, 161, 164 M. Mount: African Art: The Years Since 1920 (Bloomington, 1973), pp. 153–7, 199 B. Kelly and J. Stanley: Nigerian Artists: A Who’s Who & Bibliography...

Article

Alaïa, Azzedine  

Pamela Elizabeth Grimaud

(b Tunis, Feb 2, 1935).

French fashion designer, of Tunisian birth. Alaïa is renowned for his ‘second skin’ fashions and masterful cutting techniques (see fig.). Christened the ‘King of Cling’ by fashion journalists, Alaïa rose to prominence in the 1980s following years of realizing commissions for a loyal and select clientele. His designs are modern, overtly feminine in their celebration of the female form and, in Alaïa’s own words: ‘not sexy, voluptuous’. Alaïa’s sculpted fashions have been known to render other designers’ fashions unwearable—they simply feel too large in comparison.

Born in southern Tunisia, Alaïa was raised by his maternal grandparents and at the age of 15 undertook the study of sculpture. Realizing soon after that sculpture was not his calling, and serendipitously passing a dressmaker’s window on his way to classes, he saw a sign for an assistant. He was hired for the task of finishing hems at five francs apiece. Alaïa rose quickly to become a favourite of Tunisian high society, copying for the local clientele the work of the great ...

Article

Albers, Anni  

maiden name: Fleischmann

German, 20th century, female.

Active in the USA.

Born 12 June 1899, in Berlin; died 10 May 1994, in Orange (Connecticut), USA.

Draughtswoman, textile designer, printmaker.

Having studied in Berlin and Hamburg, Anni Albers went on to study at the Bauhaus from 1922 to 1930. She married Josef Albers and became an assistant teacher at a weaving workshop. In 1933, the two emigrated to the USA, founding the art department at Black Mountain College, a newly established liberal arts school in North Carolina. In 1949, Anni and Josef moved to New Haven (Connecticut) where he served as chair for the design department at Yale University.

As early on as her first teaching post at the Bauhaus, where she ran technical classes, she taught students to combine natural and synthetic materials in weaving, saying: ‘The material determines its own limits in the face of the tasks imposed by the imagination.’ After emigrating to the USA, she continued to teach this philosophy at Black Mountain College and was thus part of the considerable influence exerted by the college on the artistic movement that would go on to become the American School of the 1940s. Challenging historical distinctions between high and low art forms, she carved out space for fibre arts within the discourse of fine art. Her pedagogical approach not only integrated art, craft, and industry, but also emphasised the cultivation of moral character, self-sufficiency, and independence from machinery....

Article

Amaral [née Ceballos], Olga de  

Natalia Vega

(b Bogotá, Jun 10, 1932).

Colombian textile artist. Amaral has been recognized as one of the world’s foremost textile artists, having helped to revolutionize and elevate fiber arts at the end of the 20th century. Through her continuous experimentation, virtuosity of technical command, integration of diverse materials and cultural allusions, and by imbuing textile work with complex meaning, she has recuperated in her work the aesthetic dimension of ancient Andean traditions and has participated in the erasure of the division between arts and crafts.

Amaral studied architectural design at Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca, Bogotá, and traveled to the USA in 1954 where she studied fiber arts at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan; there, she met her husband, American sculptor Jim Amaral (b 1933), and the two moved back to Bogotá.

Amaral’s artistic practice evolved through constant exploration of the complex possibilities of textile construction. By assimilating concepts of modern design and abstraction, and incorporating materials and elements from diverse regions and periods such as Pre-Columbian, colonial Latin American, and Japanese culture, she was able to integrate traditional and contemporary tendencies....

Article

Amer, Ghada  

Chika Okeke-Agulu

(b Cairo, May 22, 1963).

American painter, sculptor, fibre and installation artist of Egyptian birth. Amer, one of the few young artists of African origin to gain prominence in the late 1990s international art scene, studied painting in France at the Villa Arson EPIAR, Nice (MFA, 1989), and the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Art Plastique, Paris (1991). She subsequently moved to New York. She is best known for her canvases in which paint and embroidery are combined to explore themes of love, desire, sexuality, and women’s identity in a patriarchal world. Amer’s use of Embroidery, historically regarded as a genteel female craft, to create images of women fulfilling their sexual desires without inhibition, recalls the provocations and strategies of 1970s Western feminist art. However, her work also reflects her alarm at the incremental curbing of women’s social and political freedoms in her native Egypt following the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, especially after the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser ended in ...

Article

Amer, Ghada  

Egyptian, 20th — 21st century, female.

Active in the USA.

Born 1963, in Cairo.

Draughtswoman, embroiderer.

Ghada Amer grew up in Paris. She studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nice before traveling to the USA where she attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She lives and works in both New York and Paris.

Amer is best known for her embroidered canvases, a subversive practice she adopted during her studies in Nice, unable to enroll in painting classes reserved exclusively for her male counterparts. Amer first used embroidery, a craft traditionally associated with women’s labour, to depict feminine stereotypes in banal domestic scenes, commercial advertising, and Disney cartoons. In 1992 she made a bold move to incorporate pornographic imagery into her work, claiming feminine sexuality as a site of empowerment. Complex sequential overlapping images of women arousing themselves are visible only when one approaches the canvas; at a distance, they merge into a colourful textured weave. Her work is often regarded as feminist, with the domestic symbolism of her needlework creating an intimate, autonomous female arena in which women please themselves....

Article

Amos, Emma  

Joan Marter

revised by Gabriella Shypula

(b Atlanta, GA, Mar 16, 1937; d Bedford, NH, May 20, 2020).

American painter, printmaker, and weaver. Born in segregated Atlanta, GA, Emma Amos grew up in an upper-middle-class family with connections to influential Black figures including W. E. B. Du Bois and Zora Neale Hurston. At age sixteen, she had exhibited her work at Atlanta University and enrolled in a five-year BFA program at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH (1953–1958). She went on to study etching, painting, and weaving at the Central School of Art, London (1958–1959) where she began creating gestural abstractions, experimenting with color, brushwork, and space to evoke specific places (e.g., Shepherd’s Path, 1958). In 1960 Amos moved to New York, where she worked as a rug designer for Dorothy Liebes, an art instructor. Simultaneously, she advanced her printmaking at two printmaking workshops: Robert Blackburn’s and Letterio Calapai’s (an outpost of Stanley William Hayter’s Atelier 17). Amos completed her MA at New York University (NYU) in ...

Article

Armani, Giorgio  

Diane Maglio

(b Piacenza, July 11, 1934).

Italian fashion designer. Armani was dubbed the ‘Sexy Tailor’ by the American fashion press for sartorial innovations he introduced in menswear. He brought sensual drape to traditional suit coats by eliminating rigid interlinings that had shaped and restricted men’s clothing in the 1970s. To complement his new softly-tailored coats, he created short, supple, collared shirts and textural, patterned ties. Armani’s impact on menswear went beyond unstructured sewing techniques to include a serene colour palette inspired by the Italian artist Giorgio Morandi. The neutral earth tones included an inventive grey–beige (‘greige’), moss, mushroom and smoky grey–blue, tones not seen before in menswear. Armani claimed to be ‘the stylist without colour’. Armani also brought a feminine touch to menswear and eventually expanded his design aesthetic to women’s clothing, bringing a powerful look to women’s fashion. His minimal modernism in cut and fit, while retaining maximum impact in silhouette and colour, stimulated the fashion imagination of Hollywood, retailers, journalists and customers of both sexes....

Article

Atkinson, Conrad  

British, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in California.

Born 1940, in Cleator Moor (West Cumbria).

Painter, ceramicist, print artist, film maker, photographer. Textiles.

Conrad Atkinson graduated from Carlisle College of Art (1961), Liverpool College of Art (1962) and the Royal Academy Schools in London (...

Article

Augustabernard  

Pamela Elizabeth Grimaud

[Bernard, Augusta]

(b 1886; d 1946).

French fashion designer. Augustabernard is known for her understated, elegant garments, whose subtlety belies a mastery of technique. Hailed as a ‘sculptor of cloth’ and a ‘classic modern’, Augustabernard was considered among the most innovative and skilled couturières of her generation.

Augustabernard was born in Provence in the south of France and began her fashion career by creating reproductions of designs by the leading couturiers of the day. In 1919 she opened her Paris salon in the Rue de Rivoli. At that time there were two competing houses using the name Bernard, and it is likely that because of this Augustabernard joined her first name and surname together, creating a griffe or signature label synonymous with exclusivity. In 1928 she moved to 3, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, bringing with her a selective and devoted clientele. By the early 1930s Augustabernard was receiving coverage in the French and international fashion press, achieving success with her simple, yet innovative designs....

Article

Baerwind, Rudi  

German, 20th century, male.

Born 1910, in Mannheim; died 12 November 1982, in Mannheim.

Painter, sculptor. Designs for stained glass, tapestries, murals.

After a standard education Baerwind studied at the academies in Berlin and Munich before studying at the Académie Ranson in Paris in 1932...

Article

Balenciaga, Cristobal  

Molly Sorkin

(b Getaria, Jan 21, 1895; d Valencia, March 24, 1972).

Spanish fashion designer, active in Paris. Based in Paris from 1937 to 1968, Balenciaga was a modernist couturier whose designs ranged from the austere to the romantic. His uncompromising vision was defined by his quest for perfection in cut, proportion and construction. Influenced in part by the historical art and culture of his native Spain, Balenciaga’s style was often ahead of its time even as it slowly evolved over more than 40 years. Balenciaga dressed an élite group of women who understood and appreciated how his designs took shape on the body (see fig.). He used minimal understructure, instead relying on the fabric, manipulating it into streamlined suits or voluminous evening dresses. Even the most abstract silhouettes retained a soft quality that was flattering to many figures. Like his friends and fellow couturiers Madeleine Vionnet and Coco Chanel, his work has had a profound influence on 20th and 21st century fashion....

Article

Balmain, Pierre  

Lourdes Font

(Alexandre)

(b Saint–Jean-de-Maurienne, May 18, 1914; d Paris, June 29, 1982).

French fashion designer (see fig.). Balmain was born in the Savoie region of France to a family engaged in various branches of the fashion industry. His father, who died when he was seven, was a wholesale textile merchant and his mother and aunts kept a fashion boutique. Although he was always drawn to a career in fashion, his mother hoped that he would enter another field, and allowed him to study architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1932.

In Paris, Balmain sketched original fashion designs and offered them for sale to couture houses, hoping to be hired. In 1934 he was hired by Edward Molyneux, the couturier he most admired. Balmain claimed that from Molyneux he learned to strip designs down to their essentials. However, he was not given much opportunity to contribute to the house’s collections. The talented but inexperienced Balmain was in need of training, but Molyneux, who already had John Cavanagh and Mitzah Bricard as assistant designers, did not have much need for him. Late in ...

Article

Baran, Edward  

Polish, 20th century, male.

Active since 1966 active in France.

Born 13 February 1934, in Lesko.

Painter, weaver. Figures.

In the 1960s, Baran was a pupil at the academy of fine arts in Warsaw. He studied landscape painting and trained in the weaving studio. He was influenced by French painters from Bonnard to De Staël, but especially by Cézanne's conception of space. An admirer of Bayeux tapestry, he has a sort of haziness in his graphic execution reminiscent of embroidery. Edward Baran had a solo exhibition in Beauvais (...

Article

Baudouin, Pierre  

French, 20th century, male.

Born 1921; died January 1971, in La Celle-St-Cloud.

Painter, hand-weaver. Designs for tapestries.

A master loom setter, Pierre Baudouin taught mural art at the École des Beaux-Arts in Aubusson. He is particularly well known for his collaboration with Picasso, Le Corbusier, Calder, Estève, Masson, Arp and Ernst....