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Berman, Mieczyslaw  

Polish, 20th century, male.

Born 1903, in Warsaw; died 1975, in Warsaw.

Collage artist, photomontage artist.


Mieczyslaw Berman studied in Warsaw and produced political work intended to be a vehicle for the Polish Communist Party's propaganda. He was influenced by the political photomontages resulting from Russian Constructivism and also by John Heartfield. After his works had been almost entirely destroyed, he made a few replicas after ...


Bonfanti, Arturo  

Italian, 20th century, male.

Born 24 May 1905, in Bergamo; died 1978, in Bergamo.

Painter, film maker.

Bonfanti studied at art school in Bergamo and began painting in 1925.

His work is in the Geometric Abstraction or Constructivist vein and he was very much influenced by Paul Klee and Jean Arp. His style first became defined in the 1960s and gradually developed. He introduced graphic signs borrowed from number and letters of the alphabet into his spatial constructions. These figures and letters were often interpreted and geographically transposed, sometimes being used as titles - for example, of the work he called ...


Brzesky, Janus-Maria  

Polish, 20th century, male.

Born 1907, in Warsaw; died 1957, in Cracow.

Painter, collage artist, photomontage artist.


Janus-Maria Brzesky trained in Poznan, Italy and in Paris. Upon his return to Poznan in 1929-1930, he produced his first collages, then practiced photography, from which he created photomontages. He also created avant-garde films: ...


Citroen, Paul  

Dutch, 20th century, male.

Born 15 December 1896, in Berlin; died 13 March 1983, in Wassenaar (The Hague).

Painter, collage artist, photomontage artist.

Dadaism, Constructivism.

Having studied at a school of painting and fine arts in Berlin, Paul Citroen abandoned painting in 1914 to become a bookseller. In ...


Cofone, César  

Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 27 November 1937, in Buenos Aires.

Installation artist, painter, draughtsman, sculptor, photographer, mixed media.


Cafone was a student at the school of art in Buenos Aires and at the Slade School in London. A sculptor who abandoned his sculptor's tools very early on, he looked to drawing as a medium through which to find an equivalent, a medium in which he proved to have astonishing dexterity. His paintings employ mixed media, incorporating sheets of lead, for example. Harking back to his work as an installation sculptor, he also took the venue in which he was exhibiting into account, if needs be creating certain works directly onto the walls of the gallery. If a certain preciousness of materials, and in particular the ornamental details, are set aside, there is a relationship here between Cofone's work and Minimalism, given their common refusal to attach any meaning to the completed object other than the one that defines - in the most material terms possible - its physical relationship with the artist who has created it, not in his image, but on his scale....


Klucis, Gustav Gustavovich  

Latvian, 20th century, male.

Born 4 January 1895 , in Rŭjiena, Latvia; died 26 February 1938 , in Moscow

Painter, collage artist, photomontage artist, poster artist, lithographer, sculptor.

Constructivism, Vhutemas, Productivism, Suprematism.

Unovis, October.

Gustav Klucis studied at the City Art School in Riga (1913-1915), then at the school of design under the aegis of the Imperial Society for the Fostering of Art (1915-1917) in Petrograd (now St Petersburg). He completed his training at Vasily Meshkov’s school of design and painting, Il’ya Mashkov’s studio in the State Free Art Studio (Svoma) in Moscow, and the higher artistic and technical workshops (Vkhutemas) under the direction of Kazimir Malevich and Antoine Pevsner. An associate member of the INKhUK (Institute of Artistic Culture) productivist group in Moscow from 1921 to 1925, he taught courses at the Vkhutemas from 1924 to 1930. He was a founder member of the October group in 1928....


Korniss, Dezső  

Éva Bajkay

(b Beszterce [now Bistriţa, Romania], Dec 1, 1908; d Budapest, Aug 17, 1984).

Hungarian painter, printmaker, collagist, teacher and experimental film maker. In 1921 he attended the Artur Podolni-Volkmann private school in Budapest, and in 1923 he spent a year in Holland. He attended the Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest (1925–30), exhibiting in a group show in 1930 with artists associated with Lajos Kassák’s Work Circle (Munka-kört). After a period in Paris and Holland in 1930, he worked at the Szentendre colony in a Constructivist-Surrealist style similar to that of Lajos Vajda, drawing upon local and folk art motifs (e.g. Szentendre Motif, 1935; Budapest, N.G.), and the musical theory of Béla Bartók. Korniss fought in World War II, returning from a prisoner-of-war camp in 1945. He went on to make small monotypes of rooftops (e.g. Illuminations, c. 1946; Budapest, N.G.). In 1946 he joined the European School, and in 1947–8 he taught at the School of Crafts and Design, Budapest. His work became abstract and geometric, although symbolic meaning is conveyed in the most effective works (e.g. ...


Lissitzky [Lissitsky], El  

John Milner

[Lisitsky, El’ ; Lisitsky, Lazar’ (Markovich )]

(b Pochinok, Smolensk province, Nov 23, 1890; d Moscow, Dec 30, 1941).

Russian draughtsman, architect, printmaker, painter, illustrator, designer, photographer, teacher, and theorist.

After attending school in Smolensk, he enrolled in 1909 at the Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt, to study architecture and engineering. He also travelled extensively in Europe, however, and he made a tour of Italy to study art and architecture. He frequently made drawings of the architectural monuments he encountered on his travels. These early graphic works were executed in a restrained, decorative style reminiscent of Russian Art Nouveau book illustration. His drawings of Vitebsk and Smolensk (1910; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus.), for example, show a professional interest in recording specific architectural structures and motifs, but they are simultaneously decorative graphic works in their own right and highly suitable for publication. This innate awareness of the importance of controlling the design of the page was to remain a feature of Lissitzky’s work throughout radical stylistic transformations. He also recorded buildings in Ravenna, Venice, and elsewhere in Italy in ...


Lissitzky, Eliezer, Called El  

Russian, 20th century, male.

Born 1890 , in Polschinock, in the Smolensk region; died 1941 , in Schodnia, near Moscow.

Architect, painter, sculptor, draughtsman, graphic designer, typographer, poster artist, illustrator, lithographer, photomontage artist, photographer, writer, collage artist. Stage sets.

Constructivism, Suprematism.

Obshchestvo Khudoznikov 4 Iskusstva (Four Arts Society), Vkhutemas...


Moholy-Nagy, László  

Hungarian, 20th century, male.

Active in the United States from 1937.

Born 20 July 1895 , in Bácsbarsód or Bács-Borsód; died 24 November 1946 , in Chicago.

Painter (mixed media), collage artist, photomontage artist, sculptor, draughtsman, graphic designer, typographer, photographer (photogrammes), filmmaker. Stage sets.

Constructivism, Op Art, Kinetic Art Bauhaus...


Moholy-Nagy [Weisz], László  

Terence A. Senter

(b Bácsborsod, Mohol Puszta, Hungary, July 20, 1895; d Chicago, Nov 24, 1946).

American painter, sculptor, photographer, designer, film maker, theorist, and teacher, of Hungarian birth. Moholy-Nagy’s importance in the 20th century is based as much on his theories as on his practical work. His ideologies related to the relationship between space, time, and light, and the interaction of man with these forces. His great achievement was that he applied his mystical outlook to highly practical enterprises and always recognized the purpose behind his creativity.

Moholy-Nagy’s ambition developed when he exchanged village life for the city of Szeged after his father left his family. Academically outstanding, Moholy-Nagy read law for a year at Budapest University before joining the artillery in World War I. Influential praise for his war sketches converted his aspiration from literature to art. His Expressionist style, social conscience, and investigation of light paralleled trends in the Hungarian avant-garde, from ...



Tom Williams

Term that refers to the technique of organizing various images into a single composition in both film and visual art. It is also frequently applied to musical and literary works that emphasize fragmentation and paratactic construction. In film, the term typically refers to the organization of individual shots to create a larger structure or narrative. This technique was developed most systematically by the film makers of the 1920s Russian avant-garde such as Sergey Eisenstein (1898–1948), Lev Kuleshov (1899–1970), and Vsevolod Pudovkin (1893–1953). In visual art, the term refers to the juxtaposition of disparate images in Collage and particularly Photomontage. Although this use of montage has a number of historical precursors, it was developed primarily in the 1910s and 1920s by artists associated with Dada, Surrealism, and Russian Constructivism such as George Grosz, John Heartfield, Hannah Höch, and Aleksandr Rodchenko. During the period after World War II, the technique became an increasingly routine practice in both advertising and the fine arts. In the late 20th century it has been most associated with the work of such figures as ...


Català Pic, Pere  

Joan Fontcuberta

(b Valls, nr Tarragona, Sept 14, 1889; d Barcelona, July 13, 1971).

Spanish Catalan photographer. He was brought up in Barcelona, where he worked for the photographer Rafael Areñas (1913–14). In 1915 he returned to Valls, where he ran his own studio until 1931. His interest in photographic theory led him to combine practical work with lecturing. He travelled throughout Europe, visiting museums and compiling information on photography and advertising. In 1931 he moved his studio permanently to Barcelona, specializing in industrial and advertising photography. Català Pic was a fervent admirer of Man Ray and was aware of modern art movements such as Constructivism and Futurism. In such works as the advertisement for Industrias gráficas Cantín (c. 1940) images of movement are multiplied and distorted to create a single powerful composition. Both his photographs and his theories were published in magazines, and from 1936 to 1939 he was publications manager of the Propaganda Commissariat of the Catalan Autonomous Government....


Rodchenko [Rodčenko; Rodtchenko], Aleksandr  

John Milner

[Alexander] (Mikhaylovich)

(b St Petersburg, Nov 23, 1891; d Moscow, Dec 3, 1956).

Russian painter, sculptor, designer and photographer. He was a central exponent of Russian Constructivism, owing much to the pre-Revolutionary work of Kazimir Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin, and he was closely involved in the cultural debates and experiments that followed the Revolution of 1917. In 1921 he denounced, on ideological grounds, easel painting and fine art, and he became an exponent of Productivism (see Constructivism, §1) in many fields, including poster design, furniture, photography and film. He resumed painting in his later years. His work was characterized by the systematic way in which from 1916 he sought to reject the conventional roles of self-expression, personal handling of the medium and tasteful or aesthetic predilections. His early nihilism and condemnation of the concept of art make it problematic even to refer to Rodchenko as an artist: in this respect his development was comparable to that of Dada, although it also had roots in the anarchic activities of Russian Futurist groups....


Rodchenko, Aleksandr Mikhailovich  

Russian, 20th century, male.

Born 23 December 1891, in St Petersburg; died 3 December 1956, in Moscow.

Painter (including mixed media/gouache), sculptor, draughtsman, watercolourist, designer, collage artist, photographer, photomontage artist, filmmaker.

Constructivism, Productivism.


Aleksandr Rodchenko trained at Kazan Art School in 1908, where he met Varvara Fedorovna Stepanova, with whom he would work and whom he later married. In 1912, he also attended the Stroganov Art Institute in Moscow. While he was growing up, Russia was in turmoil, poised on the brink of revolution, and the arts were in an unparallelled creative ferment. By 1905, probably as a result of the revolution that year, writers and artists were seeking new solutions for the new world in which they lived. In 1909, Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova founded their own movement, which they called Rayonism (luchizm). It clearly pointed the way towards abstraction. In 1912, the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky and a number of artists signed the manifesto ...


Sotonina, Galina  

Russian, 20th century, female.

Painter, graphic artist, collage artist, photomontage artist.


Galina Sotonina decorated textiles and was one of the members of the avant-garde in Kazan.


Stankowski, Anton  

German, 20th century, male.

Born 1906, in Geisenkirchen.

Painter, draughtsman, photomontage artist.


Anton Stankowski studied under Theo van Doesburg at the Folkwangschule in Essen. He was a Constructivist typographer/designer working out of his own studio in Zurich. He fought in World War II and was taken prisoner in Russia. As a painter, he took a geometry-based approach. He also produced photomontages....


Stenberg, Vladimir Avgustovich  

Russian, 20th century, male.

Born 1899; died 1982.

Sculptor, graphic designer, poster artist, photomontage artist. Stage sets.


Vladimir's path is inseparable from that of his brother Georgiy, up until the latter's death in 1933. They were the sons of a Swedish painter who took on Russian citizenship. From ...


Stepanova, Varvara Fedorovna  

Lithuanian, 20th century, female.

Born 5 November 1894, in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania; died 20 May 1958, in Moscow.

Painter (including gouache), collage artist, photomontage artist, designer, graphic designer, illustrator, poet, writer and theorist. Figures, landscapes. Stage sets, artist's books.

Constructivism. Productivist group. VKhUTEMAS.

Varvara Stepanova studied at the Kazan School of Art in Moscow in ...


Szczuka, Mieczyslaw  

Polish, 20th century, male.

Born 17 October 1898, in Warsaw; died 13 July 1927, in Orla Perc (Tatras Mountains).

Painter, photomontage artist.


Blok Group.

Szczuka studied at the school of fine art in Warsaw and founded the Blok artists' association, which was best known between ...