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Article

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 ...

Article

Chitqua  

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 (...

Article

Doesburg, Theo van  

Allan Doig

(b Utrecht, Aug 30, 1883; d Davos, Switzerland, March 7, 1931).

Dutch painter, architect, designer and writer. He was officially registered as the son of Wilhelm Küpper and Henrietta Catharina Margadant, but he was so convinced that his mother’s second husband, Theodorus Doesburg, was his father that he took his name. Little is known of his early life, but he began painting naturalistic subjects c. 1899. In 1903 he began his military service, and around the same time he met his first wife, Agnita Feis, a Theosophist and poet. Between about 1908 and 1910, much influenced by the work of Honoré Daumier, he produced caricatures, some of which were later published in his first book De maskers af! (1916). Also during this period he painted some Impressionist-inspired landscapes and portraits in the manner of George Hendrik Breitner. Between 1914 and 1915 the influence of Kandinsky became clear in such drawings as Streetmusic I and Streetmusic II (The Hague, Rijksdienst Beeld. Kst) and other abstract works....

Article

Mondrian [Mondriaan], Piet (er Cornelis)  

H. Henkels

(b Amersfoort, March 7, 1872; d New York, Feb 1, 1944).

Dutch painter, theorist, and draughtsman. His work marks the transition at the start of the 20th century from the Hague school and Symbolism to Neo-Impressionism and Cubism. His key position within the international avant-garde is determined by works produced after 1920. He set out his theory in the periodical of Stijl, De, in a series of articles that were summarized in a separate booklet published in Paris in 1920 under the title Le Néo-plasticisme (see Neo-plasticism) by Léonce Rosenberg. The essence of Mondrian’s ideas is that painting, composed of the most fundamental aspects of line and colour, must set an example to the other arts for achieving a society in which art as such has no place but belongs instead to the total realization of ‘beauty’. The representation of the universal, dynamic pulse of life, also expressed in modern jazz and the metropolis, was Mondrian’s point of departure. Even in his lifetime he was regarded as the founder of the most ...

Article

Strzemiński, Władysław  

Ewa Mikina

(b Minsk, Belorussia, Nov 21, 1893; d Łódź, Dec 26, 1952).

Polish painter, theoretician, typographer and draughtsman. On completion of his engineering studies at the Moscow Military Academy, he was drafted into the Tsarist army in 1914; seriously wounded, he subsequently began his artistic studies in the post-Revolutionary academies in Moscow, Vkhutemas and Inkhuk. In 1920–22 he was associated with Unovis, and during this period he was influenced by Suprematism, whose principles would in later years form the basis of his polemics. In 1921 he married the sculptor Katarzyna Kobro, and at the beginning of 1922 they both moved to Poland. He published his first articles on the Russian avant-garde in the Kraków periodical Zwrotnica in 1922. Strzemiński organized the Wystawa Nowej Sztuki (‘Exhibition of new art’) in Wilno (now Vilnius, Lithuania) in 1923, which acted as a manifesto of Polish Constructivism; he exhibited Suprematist architectural projects, Cubist paintings and Synthetic Compositions as well as Suprematist abstract works constructed from simple forms in contrasting colours. With Strzemiński’s help, in ...