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Arp, Hans  

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 (...


Chuang Che  

Lesley Ma

[Zhuang Zhe]

(b Peking [now Beijing], Dec 12, 1934).

Taiwanese painter of Chinese birth, active also in the USA. Chuang Che was a son of Chuang Yen (1899–1980), the calligrapher, connoisseur, and chief custodian of the Chinese imperial art collection, who moved his family alongside the national treasures after the eruption of the Sino-Japanese war in 1937, settling in Taiwan in 1948, and becoming the first deputy director of the National Palace Museum in Taipei in 1965. In 1958 Chuang Che graduated from the Art Department of what later became the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei and joined the Fifth Moon Group (Wuyue huahui), a leading modernist painting society in postwar Taiwan.

Chuang’s solid foundation in Chinese calligraphy and painting acquired through his upbringing prompted him to seek alternative ways to continue the legacy. In his early career, he made expressionist, mostly abstract, oil paintings, deliberately avoiding the familiar Chinese materials of ink and brush. Inspired by the abstract paintings of ...



David Clarke

[Tan Chet-qua; Chen]

(b possibly 1728; d Guangzhou, 1796).

Chinese portrait modeler. Chitqua ran a business in Guangzhou making portrait figurines for clients among the Western traders. His statuettes (generally around a foot or so in height, and thus easily portable) were executed in the medium of unfired clay subsequently painted. Chitqua’s work is characterized by a realism which places emphasis on accurately individualized representation of facial features and attention to detail in the treatment of dress. Similar figurines, albeit of lesser sophistication, exist from earlier in the 18th century.

Chitqua visited London between 1769 and c. 1772. He produced a number of figurines and (reportedly) busts during his time in England, and attained a high degree of social celebrity, meeting King George III and many prominent individuals. James Boswell and Josiah Wedgwood both record meeting Chitqua, for instance, and the latter also sat for a portrait, which is lost today. Regarded in England as an artist rather than an artisan, he exhibited one of his portrait sculptures in the second Royal Academy exhibition (...


Flavin, Dan  

(b New York, April 1, 1933; d Riverhead, NY, Nov 29, 1996).

American installation artist and painter. His father intended him to become a priest and from 1947 to 1952 he attended a seminary in Brooklyn, New York. In 1954 he studied at the University of Maryland Extension Program in Osan-Ni in Korea and in 1956 at the New College for Social Research in New York. He continued these art history studies in 1957–9 at Columbia University, New York, but was self-taught as an artist. His early work of the late 1950s and early 1960s was influenced by contemporary American art and included paintings with added objects.

By 1961 Flavin had begun to make Minimalist works using incandescent or fluorescent electric lights, such as Icon I (1961; see 1969 exh. cat., p. 125), which consisted of a monochrome painted wooden square with a fluorescent light mounted on the top edge. He frequently dedicated pieces to historic and contemporary art figures who inspired him. A series of ‘monuments’ dedicated to Russian Constructivist Vladimir Tatlin extended this technique into what became his mature style: installations, usually temporary, using white or coloured fluorescent light tubes (...


Fontana, Lucio  

Renato Barilli

(b Rosario, Santa Fé, Feb 19, 1899; d Comabbio, nr Varese, Sept 7, 1968).

Italian painter, sculptor and theorist of Argentine birth. He moved with his family to Milan in 1905 but followed his father back to Buenos Aires in 1922 and there established his own sculpture studio in 1924. On settling again in Milan he trained from 1928 to 1930 at the Accademia di Brera, where he was taught by the sculptor Adolfo Wildt; Wildt’s devotion to the solemn and monumental plasticity of the Novecento Italiano group epitomized the qualities against which Fontana was to react in his own work. Fontana’s sculpture The Harpooner (gilded plaster, h. 1.73 m, 1934; Milan, Renzo Zavanella priv. col., see 1987 exh. cat., p. 118) is typical of his work of this period, with a dynamic nervousness in the thin shape of the weapon poised to deliver a final blow and in the coarse and formless plinth. Soon afterwards, together with other northern Italian artists such as Fausto Melotti, Fontana abandoned any lingering Novecento elements in favour of a strict and coherent form of abstraction. In ...


Ģelzis, Kristaps  

Latvian, 20th century, male.

Born 24 October 1962, in Riga, Latvian SSR (now Latvia).

Painter, graphic artist, multimedia artist. Allegorical subjects, abstraction and portraiture. Sculptural objects, conceptual installations.

Of the generation that came of age during Latvia’s transition from Soviet occupation to political independence, Kristaps Ģelzis distinguished himself as the most cerebral of that nation’s artists while, paradoxically, anchoring his work in intrinsic properties of base materials, the timelessness of simple forms, and labour-intensive craft. The son and younger brother of renowned architects, Ģelzis resolved to pursue another creative vocation, first studying violin while attending Riga’s 50th Secondary School, then taking preparatory classes for the Latvian Art Academy in lieu of attending the art high school. As a student in the academy’s department of graphic art ...


Hulbeck, Beate  

German, 20th century, female.

Active in the USA.

Born 1903, in Berlin.

Painter, collage artist.

American Abstract Artists (AAA).

The wife of Charles R. Hulbeck, Beate Hulbeck was a member of the American Abstract Artists Association. Her work was shown at collective exhibitions, including two at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles in Paris (...


Jouët, Michel  

French, 20th century, male.

Born 9 November 1943, in Cholet.

Painter, draughtsman, sculptor, engraver, mixed media.

Michel Jouët was attracted to art early on. From the start he applied himself to working on the geometric expression of abstract art which was itself, for some of its advocates, the mathematical representation of the world. His vocabulary is minimal, the line or metaphors of the line, his colours binary, black and white but worked in varied techniques. Michel Jouët creates series of works, on rhythms in ...


Krasner, Lee  

American, 20th century, female.

Born 1908 or 1912, in Brooklyn (New York); died 20 June 1984, in New York City.

Painter, collage artist.

American Abstract Artists (AAA). School of New York.

Lee Krasner studied at the Woman’s Art School of the Cooper Union of New York and the National Academy of Design. She was much taken with the exhibition ...


Lakner, László  

Éva Bajkay

(b Budapest, April 15, 1936).

Hungarian painter, conceptual artist and teacher. By 1956 he was familiar with most modernist tendencies. In 1960 he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest, having already taken part in exhibitions as an undergraduate. Lakner’s unique Hungarian mixture of Surrealism and naturalism was primarily influenced by the Hungarian painter Tibor Csernus (b 1927). Lakner’s first works were precisely executed naturalistic life studies and still-lifes, imbued with a magical quality (e.g. Scraps of Metal, 1960; Budapest, priv. col.). In other works repetition and density are used to create special effects. From 1962 the influence of Pop art is apparent in his works representing everyday objects, which lacked emotional or personal meaning (e.g. Microscopes, 1960; Budapest, N.G.). Dark tones and metallic shadows characterize his use of colour. Robert Rauschenberg’s art was influential after Lakner saw it at the Venice Biennale of 1964. He was also influenced by montage, in particular John Heartfield’s Dada and Neo-Dada works. He drew upon his knowledge of art history for such montages as ...



Cuban, 20th century, female.

Born 1911, in Pinar del Rio.

Painter, collage artist, sculptor.

Lolo was a follower of the geometrically-inclined abstract art movement deriving from the work of Sophie Taüber-Arp and the Suprematism of Malevich.

After becoming heavily involved in trade union activities, Lolo was made cultural representative of the Republic of Cuba in Europe. In this position, in ...


Milhazes, Beatriz  

Iliana Cepero

(b Rio de Janeiro, 1960).

Brazilian painter, mixed media artist, and installation artist. From 1980 to 1982 she studied at the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage in Rio de Janeiro. Some of her fellow students were the painters Adriana Varejão and Daniel Senise (b 1955). Milhazes belongs to a generation of Brazilian artists who emerged in the 1980s and returned to painting. Some of these artists were Leda Catunda (b 1961), Jac Leirner, Cristina Canale (b 1961), José Leonilson (1957–1993), along with Varejão and Senise.

Her work is characterized by the use of vibrant colors and kaleidoscopic motifs drawn from Brazilian visual culture, including the floats and costumes of carnival, antique lacework, Baroque architecture, ceramics, and music. Her recurring set of circular, linear, and symmetrical colorful forms are carefully distributed inside a grid structure. She found inspiration in a wide variety of artists and movements, in Brazil and abroad, including Tarsila, Matisse, Bridget Riley, Sonia Delaunay, Mondrian, Cruz Diez, Constructivism, and geometric abstraction....


Reinhardt, Ad  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 24 December 1913, in Buffalo (New York State); died 30 August 1967, in New York.

Painter, collage artist.

Post-painterly Abstraction.

American Abstract Artists (AAA). School of New York.

Ad Reinhardt finished studying art history at the University of Columbia in 1935. His teacher was Meyer Shapiro. In 1936 he embarked on a course at the National Academy of Design, New York, and American Artist’s School in New York, training under Carl Holty, who was to have a great influence on him. In 1937, during the American economic crisis, he was engaged on a governmental project that provided artists with a minimum amount of paid work. From 1945 to 1951 he attended courses at the Institute of Fine Arts at the University of New York and taught at Brooklyn College, New York, from 1947. He made trips to Europe in 1952 and 1954. He wrote a great many texts on art, including: ...


Stella, Frank  

American, 20th century, male.

Born 12 May 1936, in Malden (Massachusetts).

Painter, collage artist, sculptor, printmaker, mixed media.

Colour Field Painting, Post-painterly Abstraction, Minimal Art.

Frank Stella studied painting at the Phillips Academy in Andover and history at Princeton University, graduating in 1958. In 1959, he moved to New York, and took part in his first major exhibition, 16 Americans, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The following year he held his first solo exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York, showing his earliest irregularly shaped canvases. Stella visited Europe in 1961, staying mainly in Britain, Spain, and France, before moving on to Morocco. In the same year, he married the art critic Barbara Rose. In 1982, he spent a year in Rome at the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1983, he was appointed a professor at Harvard University and gave a series of lectures there....


Valensi, André  

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1947, in Paris.

Painter (mixed media).

Groupe Supports-Surfaces, 1968-1971.

André Valensi's work has unmistakably been influenced by American abstract artists such as Pollock, whose 'all over' compositions drew exploratory work by the likes of Newman, Reinhardt or even Rothko. The movement gained currency in France in the 1970s. Valensi views his compositions as a function of their physical presence and, like the other members of Supports-Surfaces, regards the act of painting as the proper subject of the painting itself. In this vein, Valensi produced a major series of canvases for which he cut up another canvas, previously impregnated with paint, and juxtaposed pieces of it both face-up and face down on the same surface. In this recto/verso approach - where paintings are deconstructed only to be reconstructed - Valensi accords the highest priority to the paint itself. The painting is no longer a canvas screen or a covered surface but an act of penetration, with a dark brown base used as a point of departure for disparate blues, reds, yellows and violets....