Within a half-century of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between the British Crown and Maori chiefs in 1840—the event from which the beginning of New Zealand (Aotearoa) is generally dated (and leaving aside from the present discussion the tribal art of the indigenous Maori and the early art created by European navigators, explorers, surveyors, itinerant artists, soldiers, and the like)—a rudimentary infrastructure of public art galleries, art societies, and some art schools had arisen in the main cities—Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin—and the beginnings of a discourse concerning the character and purpose of the visual arts in the new nation emerged. The central question was whether or not such a phenomenon as ‘New Zealand art’ existed or should exist and what characteristics it should aspire to. These matters were vigorously debated for a decade or so either side of 1890 when the infant nation marked its 50th anniversary with a jubilee. The discourse about national identity then largely disappeared for a generation only to emerge again a decade or so either side of ...
[Fr. L’Art pour l’art]
Concept that emphasizes the autonomous value of art and regards preoccupations with morality, utility, realism and didacticism as irrelevant or inimical to artistic quality. It was the guiding principle of the Aesthetic Movement.
In France the phrase ‘l’art pour l’art’ first appeared in print in 1833, but the concept had been popularized earlier by Madame de Staël’s De l’Allemagne (Paris, 1813) and Victor Cousin’s philosophy lectures at the Sorbonne, Du vrai, du beau et du bien (1816–18; pubd Paris, 1836). Théophile Gautier was its main literary publicist, especially in the preface to his novel Mademoiselle de Maupin (Paris, 1835). Studies of l’art pour l’art, such as Cassagne’s, concentrate on the Second Empire literary movement (1851–70) that included Charles Baudelaire, Gautier, Edmond and Jules de Goncourt and the Parnassian poets. The application of the term to art criticism and visual art is uncharted, but it seems to have been used sufficiently loosely to embrace stylistically opposed artists. ...
(b Isleworth, Middx, May 17, 1863; d Godden Green, Kent, May 23, 1942).
English designer, writer, architect and social reformer . He was educated at King’s College, Cambridge. As a young man he was deeply influenced by the teachings of John Ruskin and William Morris, and particularly by their vision of creative workmanship in the Middle Ages; such a vision made work in modern times seem like mechanical drudgery. Ashbee played many parts and might be thought a dilettante; but his purpose was always to give a practical expression to what he had learnt from Ruskin and Morris. An intense and rather isolated figure, he found security in a life dedicated to making the world a better place.
In 1888, while he was training to be an architect in the office of G. F. Bodley and Thomas Garner (1839–1906), Ashbee set up the Guild and School of Handicraft in the East End of London. The School lasted only until 1895, but the Guild, a craft workshop that combined the ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement with a romantic, apolitical socialism, was to be the focus of Ashbee’s work for the next 20 years. There were five guildsmen at first, making furniture and base metalwork. In ...
(b Dundee, Aug 31, 1898; d London, April 14, 1974).
British art historian, scholar, and teacher. Boase studied history at Magdalen College, Oxford before teaching at Hertford College, Oxford from 1922 to 1937. As an historian his appointment as Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art and Professor of the History of Art in 1937 was controversial, but in this role he helped to establish the history of art as an undergraduate degree course. His time at the Courtauld was disrupted by World War II, and he worked to revive the Institute in its aftermath. Boase brought his historical training to his writing on art. His interests were extremely wide-ranging and he published on subjects as diverse as ‘The Arts in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem’ and ‘Illustrations of Shakespeare’s Plays in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’. Both these articles were among his regular contributions to the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes. In addition to his articles on medieval art, in ...
(b St Louis, MO, March 17, 1933; d Los Angeles, CA, Oct 18, 2008).
American art historian. Boime, a leading social art historian in the 20th century, received his education at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) (BA in Art History, 1961) and Columbia University (MA 1963; PhD 1968). He taught at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook (1968–72), SUNY Binghamton (1972–8), and at UCLA (1978–2008). Boime’s publications focus primarily on 19th-century European art, interpreted from a political, social and cultural perspective. Boime also published in the areas of 19th- and 20th-century American art. Central to his scholarship is the historical and socio-political expression of the aesthetic object. His research highlights previously unknown or unrecognized artists and subjects, such as the French academic painter Thomas Couture (1980) or the representation of blacks in 19th-century art (1990). Boime offers radically new readings for major artists, monuments and movements, with a focus on the historical value of the aesthetic object. In his first book, ...
Betsy L. Chunko
(b Le Mans, Nov 1, 1908; d Brisbane, Australia, July 7, 1995).
French architectural historian, active also in America. Bony was educated at the Sorbonne, receiving his agregation in geography and history in 1933. In 1935, converted to art history by Henri(-Joseph) Focillon, he travelled to England under a research grant from the Sorbonne, after which time he became Assistant Master in French at Eton College (1937–9 and 1945–6). He returned to France in 1939 as an infantry lieutenant in World War II in the French Army, was taken as a prisoner of war and spent the years 1940–43 in an internment camp in Germany. After the war he returned to England, first to Eton, then as Lecturer in the History of Art at the French Institute in London (1946–61), Visiting Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art (1948–58), and Slade Professor of Fine Art at St John’s College, Cambridge (1958–61). From 1961 to 1962...
(b Cologne, 1941).
American art historian, critic, and teacher of German birth. The significance of Buchloh’s work lies in its expansion of the modern art canon, demonstration of a critical potential of art and straddling of micro and macro levels of history. Buchloh’s scholarship on art made in postwar Europe or from unconventional media has broadened previous, particularly American, understandings of modern art. While a committed historian, Buchloh always also assumes the role of critic, insisting on the critical responsibility of art vis à vis history and the present while cautious about its limits. He maintains that one core function of art is to present the illusion, if not the realization, of a suspension of power (Neo-Avantgarde, p. xxiv). In keeping with this, Buchloh often writes on artists of his own generation whose practice and thinking he knows intimately, and on artists who share his commitment, most importantly conceptual artists of the late 1960s and 1970s. Buchloh’s combined roles as historian and critic spearheaded the merger of art history and art criticism that today defines writing on postwar art. Finally, Buchloh’s thinking interweaves macro and micro perspectives on art, anchoring broad historical arguments in formal and material details, or demonstrating, as in his writings on the “neo-avantgarde,” historical and hermeneutic differences between seemingly similar artistic practices and similarities between ones seemingly different. Buchloh, in short, demonstrates to many why art matters....
Journal devoted to photography that was published from 1903 to 1917. Camera Work evolved from a quarterly journal of photography to become one of the most ground-breaking and influential periodicals in American cultural history. Founded in January 1903 by photographer Alfred Stieglitz as the official publication of the Photo-Secession, the journal originally promoted the cause of photography as a fine art. As Stieglitz, its editor and publisher, expanded the journal’s scope to include essays on aesthetics, literature, criticism and modern art, Camera Work fueled intellectual discourse in early 20th-century America.
Camera Work mirrored the aesthetic philosophy of its founder Alfred Stieglitz. The journal resulted from his decade-long campaign to broaden and professionalize American photography. Serving for three years as editor of American Amateur Photographer (1893–6), Stieglitz championed the expressive potential of photography and advocated expanded exhibition opportunities comparable to those available in European photographic salons. In 1897, when the Society of Amateur Photographers merged with the New York Camera Club, Stieglitz convinced the enlarged organization to replace their modest leaflet with a more substantial quarterly journal, Camera Notes, which he edited until ...
Mitchell B. Merback
(b Keighly, Yorks, March 6, 1958; d Chicago, IL, April 29, 2002).
British art historian and medievalist, active in America. He studied English and Art History at the University of Cambridge, graduating with honours in 1980 and then worked towards a PhD (1985) in medieval art under George Henderson and Jean Michel Massing, while reading critical theory with Norman Bryson, who was a key early influence. Hired in 1985 by the University of Chicago, he served as the Mary L. Block Professor until his death in April 2002. Considered among the most innovative medievalists of the 20th century, Camille experimented broadly with literary theory, semiotics and deconstruction, psychoanalysis, gender studies, body history, biographical, and auto-biographical narrative modes. A meteoric streak of provocative and iconoclastic publications, some of them avowedly post-modern, signalled a profound rejection of the 19th century’s romantic and nationalistic vision of the Middle Ages and found audiences far beyond both art history and medieval studies.
Two pioneering articles, coinciding with his arrival in the United States in ...
Joseph R. Kopta
(b Neenah, WI, June 28, 1894; d Bedford, MA, March 4, 1984).
American architectural historian. Conant was the leading 20th-century American architectural historian specializing in Romanesque architecture, and was the primary archaeologist of the monastic complex at Cluny. He earned his degrees from Harvard, including a BA in Fine Arts in 1915, an MArch. in 1919, and a PhD with a dissertation on the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, supervised by Arthur Kingsley Porter, in 1926. He trained in archaeological practices in 1926 at the excavations of Chichén Itzá and Pueblo Bonito before directing excavations in earnest at Cluny starting in 1928. He was Professor of Architecture Emeritus at Harvard University, retiring from teaching in 1954.
An active member of the Medieval Academy of America (which funded his excavations after initial funding from the Guggenheim Foundation), Conant published frequent field reports documenting the excavations of Cluny as articles in Speculum. Additionally, Conant published a monograph on the sum of the excavations in ...
(b Veracruz, Mar 13, 1880; d Stamford, CT, Jan 10, 1961).
Mexican illustrator, writer, gallery owner, and publisher, active in the USA. He was the son of a wealthy Mexican lawyer and publisher. De Zayas started his career as an artist by providing drawings for his father’s newspaper in Veracruz. In 1906 he moved on to Mexico City’s leading newspaper, El Diario, but a year later, after the ascension of the dictator Porfirio Diaz, whom the newspaper had opposed, he fled to the USA. There he landed a position making caricatures for the New York Evening World. Shortly after his arrival in the USA, he came into contact with Alfred Stieglitz, who staged solo shows of De Zayas’s caricatures at his gallery Gallery 291 in 1909 and 1910, both of which proved to be huge popular successes.
In 1910 De Zayas traveled to Paris, where he stayed almost a year, scouting out adventurous forms of modern art for Stieglitz, notably the cubist work of Picasso and African sculpture. On his return, equipped with knowledge of European modern art and inspired by the work of the French modernist ...
(b Cologne, June 25, 1920; d New York, Feb 6, 1984).
American painter of German birth. His father was the prominent Surrealist artist Max(imilian) Ernst and his mother was the art historian and journalist Louise [Lou] Straus-Ernst. In 1935 he was apprenticed as a typographer in the printing firm of J. J. Augustin in Glückstadt where he set type for anthropological studies. The company worked to attain a visa for Ernst, whose mother was Jewish, and he departed Germany one week before Kristallnacht in 1938; his mother was to die in Auschwitz at the end of the war. Ernst passionately recounts these events in his memoir, A Not-So-Still Life, published in 1984, the year of his death.
In 1941, on the recommendation of gallerist Julien Levy, Ernst was employed by the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. After welcoming his father to the city, he began to work for Peggy Guggenheim, which placed him securely within the Surrealist émigré community and burgeoning New York school along with friends such as the painter William Baziotes. His career as an art dealer advanced in tandem with his painting production. With Eleanor Lust, he opened the experimental Norlyst Gallery in ...
Resurgence in black culture, also called the New Negro Movement, which took place in the 1920s and early 1930s, primarily in Harlem, a neighborhood of the New York City borough of Manhattan, but also in major cities throughout the USA, such as Chicago, Detroit, St Louis, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Boston, Atlanta, and Washington, DC, as well as in the Caribbean and in Paris. Better known as a literary movement because of the publication of twenty-six novels, ten volumes of poetry, five Broadway plays and countless essays and short stories, the Harlem Renaissance (a term that historian John Hope Franklin coined in 1947) also produced many works of visual art, dance, and music. The term invokes a rebirth of African American creativity. Some scholars argue that the renaissance refers to ancient African cultures in Egypt, Kush, and Meroë, while others say that the rebirth dates to the 1890s when writers such as Paul Laurence Dunbar were active, although few notable works of literature by African Americans date between W. E. B. DuBois’s ...
Debra Higgs Strickland
(b London, Dec 2, 1947; d Edinburgh, Dec 27, 2006).
English art historian and epigrapher. Higgitt earned degrees at Oriel College, Oxford University (BA Hons, 1969), and the Courtauld Institute of Art (MA, 1972). He taught History of Art at the University of Edinburgh from 1974 until his death in 2006. He is best known for his progressive work on medieval epigraphy and its functions in his contributions to numerous edited anthologies, eight volumes of the Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, as well as in several separately published studies on early medieval sculpture, patronage, and inscriptions. He also edited three important volumes dedicated to art historical and epigraphical analysis of the early medieval standing stones of the British Isles and Ireland. As an advocate for ancient and medieval Scottish art, he served on the Ancient Monuments Board for Scotland and on the archaeological advisory body for Historic Scotland. Motivated by his particular concern with conservation issues relevant to Scotland’s sculptural heritage, he helped to found, and also chaired, the National Committee on the Carved Stones of Scotland, which oversees the conservation of regional carved monuments from prehistoric rock art to contemporary gravestones....
Douglas C. Allen
(b Dinard, Ile-et-Vilaine, Sept 25, 1909; d La Cienega, NM, Aug 28, 1996).
American art historian. Jackson was a teacher and writer of great influence. Best known for his essays and lectures, he was a pioneer in the field of landscape studies. Born in France to American parents, his early education included public schools in the United States and boarding school in Switzerland, where he became fluent in French and German. Jackson’s experience in Switzerland was balanced by summers working on his uncle’s farm in New Mexico. He attended the Experimental College of the University of Wisconsin and, in the fall of 1929, transferred to Harvard where he was heavily influenced by Irving Babbitt and the writings of Oswald Spengler. After graduating from Harvard, Jackson entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study architecture. Dissatisfied, he left graduate school and traveled extensively throughout Europe in the 1930s where he became interested in, and wrote about, the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany and Fascism in Italy. During this period he published an article in the ...
(b Poughkeepsie, NY, Aug 31, 1917; d Riverside, RI, August 10, 1997).
American architectural and cultural historian and critic. Jordy received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bard College, New York, in 1939. From 1939 to 1942 he studied at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. After service in the US Army during World War II, Jordy resumed his graduate work at Yale University where he received his PhD in American Studies in 1948. At Yale he held positions of Instructor and Assistant Professor in the History of Art and American Studies until 1955 when he arrived at Brown University to assume the post of Associate Professor, later Professor, and until 1986 Henry Ledyard Goddard Professor of Art.
Jordy’s scholarship was remarkably broad. His first book Henry Adams: Scientific Historian showed how his subject’s “scientific” view of history was paradoxically enmeshed in cultural, aesthetic and intellectual concerns. In a 1952 New York Times review Henry Steele Commager called it, “The most penetrating study of Henry Adams yet written.” Jordy soon shifted his intellectual focus toward architecture and urbanism through his associations with the social historian ...
A. Krista Sykes
(b Istanbul, Turkey, May 7, 1936; d Berkeley, CA, Dec 7, 1991).
American architectural historian and professor of Turkish birth. Kostof attended Robert College in Istanbul, an American-sponsored university preparatory school. In 1957 he arrived in the USA to study drama at Yale University, yet he switched to art history, studying under noted historian Vincent Scully and earning his doctorate in 1961. After teaching art history at Yale for four years, Kostof moved west in 1965 to the College of Environmental Design at the University of California Berkeley’s Department of Architecture. While he acted as a visiting professor in various places—including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1970), Columbia University (1976) and Rice University (1986–7)—he served as a professor at Berkeley until his untimely death from lymphoma in 1991.
Known as a dynamic and engaging professor, Kostof for decades had taught “A Historical Survey of Architecture and Urbanism,” a course that laid the foundation for his most well-known text, ...
Anne K. Swartz
(b Pasedena, CA, 1949).
American painter and printmaker. Kushner received a BA in visual arts with honors from the University of California at San Diego, La Jolla. There he met critic and art historian Amy Goldin, a visiting professor, and artist Kim MacConnel, a graduate student. Goldin taught Kushner and MacConnel about Islamic art and decoration, among many other topics. She encouraged them to examine decoration and Islamic art, among other sources to transgress the boundaries of what was art in their own work.
With Goldin’s support, Kushner became a champion of decoration, later telling his dealer Holly Solomon that he wanted to elevate decoration in much the same way Pop artists elevated commercial art. Kushner moved from California to Boston before relocating to New York City, where he befriended artist Brad Davis, who was similarly engaged in considering decoration as a mode for making art. In 1974, Kushner traveled with Goldin to Turkey, Iran and Afganistan, where he became fascinated by textile patterning, garments and architectural decoration. He returned to the United States and began actively incorporating much of this visual material into his art, in a manner reminiscent of artist Henri Matisse 50 years earlier following his trips to Morocco....
Artists’ association, art school and exhibition space. The National Academy of Design (NAD; now known as the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts) was one of the earliest organizations in the USA devoted to the development of the fine arts. It was established in 1825 as an honorary association and art school with a permanent collection and an annual exhibition program. The earliest institution of its kind in the USA, it was modeled after the Royal Academy in England as an artist-run organization founded to “promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition.” As the 19th century progressed the NAD developed a reputation for conservatism.
The NAD emerged as an itinerant institution with locations in sites around New York City. It opened its first permanent space, a Venetian Gothic-revival building designed by Peter B(onnett) Wight, in 1865. In 1942, it moved to its current location, a Beaux-Arts building donated by Archer Milton Huntington and Anna Hyatt Huntington, who was a member of the Academy. Its permanent homes have allowed it to house its meeting space, collection, school and exhibitions under the same roof....
Term used to describe the return to figurative painting and sculpture in large-scale, aggressive and gestural works that gained international attention around 1980. Major international exhibitions such as A New Spirit in Painting (1981, London, RA) and Documenta 7 in 1982 in Kassel, Germany, signaled a return to painting and narrative after the dominance of conceptual art, performance, video, photography and other non-traditional media in the 1970s (even if Documenta 7 also included the latter trends). In the US context, it drew on the return to gestural painting exemplified in New Image painting, which favored naive or simplified imagery over realism and treated the figure as a sign or cipher (see New Image art). Neo-Expressionism emerged as an international tendency, including such artists as Baselitz [Kern], Georg, Clemente, Francesco, Kiefer, Anselm, Kirkeby, Per, Murray, Elizabeth and Schnabel, Julian, who produced bold, monumental, multimedia works that emphasized a painterly approach to the gesture. Neo-Expressionism was heavily criticized by political Postmodernist critics such as Benjamin Buchloh, Craig Owens and ...