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date: 22 October 2019

Reth, Alfredlocked

(b Budapest, Feb 29, 1884; d Paris, Sept 15, 1966).
  • Ronald Alley

Extract

(b Budapest, Feb 29, 1884; d Paris, Sept 15, 1966).

French painter of Hungarian birth. At the age of 19 he left Hungary and spent a year in Italy, working on his own and studying Renaissance art. In 1905 he moved to Paris, where he studied briefly at the Académie J. E. Blanche and discovered the work of Cézanne at the Galerie Vollard and Hindu art in the Parisian museums. After painting pictures of bathers influenced by Cézanne, with block-like forms, a compressed space and a limited range of greens, blues and browns, he took part in the Cubist movement from around 1909 to 1914; a large one-man exhibition of his work was held at the Sturm-Galerie in Berlin in 1913. His Cubist paintings of figures, still-lifes and landscapes, such as Still-life (1912; Paris, Pompidou), are strongly constructed in a solid, relief-like way but tend to avoid systematic analysis and fragmentation of the forms.

Obliged as an enemy alien to spend the years during World War I in Brittany, Reth produced little further work until the early 1920s, when he started to make pictures of scenes of Parisian life (people in cafés or in the street), in which stylized figures were often depicted alongside abstract forms such as Delaunay-like discs or coloured planes. In the course of the 1930s most of his works became completely abstract, and in ...

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