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Article

Arthur J. Pulos

(b Adrian, MI, April 27, 1893; d New York, May 9, 1958).

American designer and writer. He studied at the Cleveland School of Art, OH, and the Art Institute of Chicago, and by 1914 he had established a reputation as an illustrator, making portraits of operatic luminaries for the New York Times. After producing plays in Los Angeles (1917), he joined the Metropolitan Opera in New York (1918) and became a leading stage designer; he invented the high-wattage spotlight and developed modern theatrical productions that blended the play, its lighting, its performers, and their costumes into a cohesive whole. He gained international attention for his stage set (1921; unexecuted) for Dante’s Divine Comedy, which revolutionized theatrical and operatic productions; it was conceived as a single, massive set with lighting coming first from below, signifying Hades, and then, as the play progressed, from high above, signifying Paradise. This led Max Reinhardt, the distinguished German producer, to commission him to design the settings for a production of ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1942, in Salem (Arkansas); died 25 May 1994.

Draughtsman, painter, graphic artist, assemblage artist, illustrator, set designer.

Joe Brainard was born in Salem but grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where his family had moved when he was still a young boy. His father was an amateur painter and draughtsman and his grandfather a poet, and Brainard's artistic talent showed early when he began winning local competitions. In high school he met the aspiring poets Ron Padgett and Dick Gallup, with whom he founded ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1955, in Washington DC.

Painter, draughtsman, illustrator. Comic strips, stage sets.

Charles Burns studied at Evergreen State College, Olympia (Washington State), receiving a BFA in 1977, and at the University of California, Davis, receiving an MFA in 1979. First interested in experimental photography, which he exploited in photo-stories, he started working with comic strips in the 1980s after meeting Art Spiegelman, co-founder of the avant-garde review ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1929, in Brooklyn (New York City).

Illustrator, graphic designer, theatre director. Stage costumes.

Remy Charlip studied at Black Mountain College. He became a professor at the University of California and settled in San Francisco. He is also a dancer and choreographer who worked for 11 years with the Merce Cunningham Company as a dancer, stylist and set designer. He has won numerous prizes, including the Boston Globe - Horn Book, two Obie Awards and three Isadora Duncan Awards. He has also been laureate of the San Francisco Public Library. For three years running, his books were recognised by the ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active also active in France.

Born 1957, in Concord (New Hampshire), United States.

Painter, sculptor, collage artist, pastellist, draughtsman, engraver, screen printer, illustrator. Stage sets.

Neo-Expressionism, Citationism.

George Condo is an American artist who lived in Paris before moving to New York in the early 1980s. There, he met Andy Warhol, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Keith Haring, and he worked with Beat Generation authors William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. In 1999 he received an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters....

Article

Jean E. Feinberg

(b Cincinnati, OH, June 6, 1935).

American painter, sculptor, printmaker, illustrator, performance artist, stage designer and poet. He studied art at the Cincinnati Arts Academy (1951–3) and later at the Boston Museum School and Ohio University (1954–7). In 1957 he married Nancy Minto and the following year they moved to New York. Dine’s first involvement with the art world was in his Happenings of 1959–60. These historic theatrical events, for example The Smiling Workman (performed at the Judson Gallery, New York, 1959), took place in chaotic, makeshift environments built by the artist–performer. During the same period he created his first assemblages, which incorporated found materials. Simultaneously he developed the method by which he produced his best known work—paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures that depict and expressively interpret common images and objects.

Clothing and domestic objects featured prominently in Dine’s paintings of the 1960s, with a range of favoured motifs including ties, shoes and bathroom items such as basins, showers and toothbrushes (e.g. ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 10 December 1874, in Fort Wayne (Indiana); died 15 April 1960, in Falls Village.

Painter, engraver, illustrator. Wall decorations, stage sets, posters.

Charles Buckles Falls was a member of the Society of Illustrators and the National Society of Mural Painters and was awarded a number of distinctions....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 15 May 1930, in Allendale (South Carolina) or Augusta (Georgia).

Painter, sculptor, draughtsman, printmaker, mixed media, costume and set designer, illustrator. Encaustic.

Neo-Dadaism, Pop Art.

Jasper Johns grew up in South Carolina. He attended courses in art and painting at the University of South Carolina and, in 1948, enrolled in a commercial art school for two semesters in New York City. He served in the US Army for two years during the Korean War but was able to resume his studies at City College in New York in 1953, thanks to the GI Bill. It was at this time that he met his lifelong friend Robert Rauschenberg, the composer John Cage, and the dancer Merce Cunningham. He acted as artistic adviser for Cage and Cunningham’s dance company until 1972, collaborating with painters such as Robert Morris, Frank Stella, Bruce Nauman, and Andy Warhol. He lives and works in New York State and St Martin in the French West Indies. He has been a member of the New York Academy of Arts and Letters since 1988....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 24 July 1927, in New York.

Painter, collage artist, engraver. Portraits, still-lifes, landscapes. Stage sets, artists’ books.

Alex Katz studied at Cooper Union from 1946 to 1949, then at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, where he obtained two studentships. He taught at the Cooper Union. In 1994, Cooper Union Art School created the Alex Katz Visiting Chair in Painting with the endowment, provided by the sale of ten paintings donated by the artist.

In the 1960s, he produced small collages of home landscapes–rows of trees and beaches from his native Maine–and still-lifes. He showed a short-lived interest in the techniques involved in working from photographs. Since the mid 1950s, he has worked from life, concentrating on portraits and the representation of flowers, sometimes presented in Cutouts, painted on both sides and set on a pedestal.

Indifferent to the still powerful hold of Abstract Expressionism and alien to Pop Art, he benefited from the renewed interest in Realism at the end of the 1960s, without succumbing to Hyperrealism and the need for rivalry with the camera. His painting remained figurative, taken from life, his subjects restricted to a close circle: his wife Ada, their son Vincent, his friends Rauschenberg and Ginsberg, artists, poets, and dancers. He captures private moments in the diversely secret smiles, the figures he picks out from the crowd; the soft hues, though contrasted with the deep colours of the backgrounds, confirm the feeling of intimacy. However, the big screen close-up frames contradict it, as do the elliptic simplification of the drawing, its economical outline, broad flat tints and, from ...

Article

American, 20th century, female.

Born in Grindstone (Pennsylvania).

Painter, installation artist, mixed media. Stage sets, artists' books.

Mary Jean Kenton has featured in several collective exhibitions, including: 1992, From Bonnard to Baselitz: A Decade of Acquisitions by the Prints Collection 1978-1988 ( De Bonnard à Baselitz - Dix ans d'enrichissements du Cabinet des estampes 1978-1988...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Active from 1954 in France.

Born 26 November 1929, in the Bronx (New York City).

Draughtsman, engraver (etching), illustrator. Figures, nudes, landscapes, interiors, still-lifes. Stage costumes and sets, videos, artists' books.

Gregory Masurovsky studied at Black Mountain College in North Carolina in ...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1912, in Madisonville (Kentucky); died 1985.

Painter (including gouache), watercolourist, illustrator. Religious subjects, figures, portraits, still-lifes. Stage costumes and sets.

Charles Sebree studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. From 1936 to 1939, he worked in Illinois for the Federal Art Project (the federal government programme set up to help artists during the Depression). He lived on the South Side of Chicago before retiring to Washington DC....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 10 June 1928, in Brooklyn (New York City).

Watercolourist, draughtsman, illustrator, decorative designer. Stage costumes and sets.

Maurice Sendak comes from a family of Polish Jews who emigrated to the USA before World War I. While working as a window dresser he attended an evening course at the Art Students' League so that he could become an independent illustrator. He lives and works in Ridgefield (Connecticut)....

Article

Whitney Chadwick

revised by Amy Lyford

(b Galesburg, IL, Aug 25, 1910; d New York, NY, Jan 31, 2012).

American painter, sculptor, illustrator, stage designer, and writer. She studied at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1932 before moving to New York, where she saw the exhibition Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism (1936–7; New York, MOMA) and was inspired to become a painter. After meeting Max Ernst in 1942 she became part of the group of exiled Surrealists living in New York during World War II; see Children’s Games (1942) and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (1943). Her first one-woman exhibition took place at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1944.

One of Tanning’s first Surrealist paintings was the self-portrait, Birthday (1942; Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.), influenced by the illusionistic Surrealism of René Magritte and Max Ernst that she had seen at the MOMA exhibition. To support herself in the 1940s, she worked as an advertising illustrator for Macy’s, and some of her paintings express an affinity with the conventions of fashion advertising (see ...

Article

Paul Louis Bentel

(b Vienna, 1872; d New York, July 10, 1933).

American architect, stage designer, interior designer and illustrator of Austrian birth. He studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna under Karl Hasenauer. Urban first received recognition as an architect in the USA in 1904 when his design for the interior of the Austrian Pavilion at the World’s Fair in St Louis, MO, was awarded a Gold Medal. He subsequently established himself in Europe as a stage designer; in 1911 he emigrated to the USA to assume a position as set designer with the Boston Opera Company.

After the completion of the Ziegfield Theater (1922), New York, Urban solidified his reputation as an architect with unexecuted proposals for several large theatres. For the Metropolitan Opera House, intended as the focal point of the first schemes for the Rockefeller Center (1926–8), he proposed a semi-circular seating arrangement, to which he added galleries that projected from the proscenium into the seating area to break down the separation between audience and stage. In ...