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Marisa J. Pascucci

(b Marlboro, MA, Aug 25, 1867; d Lexington, MA, April 16, 1945).

American painter and frame designer. Murphy painted landscapes, still lifes and portraits in the Tonalist and Impressionist manner (see Tonalism and Impressionism). In the 1880s he enrolled in the Boston Museum School and studied under Edmund C(harles) Tarbell and Frank W(eston) Benson. After this period of study, he served as an illustrator for the Nicaraguan Canal Expedition in 1887 and contributed illustrations to books and magazines from 1888 to 1894. Once he had saved enough money from his illustration work, he left Boston to study in Paris at the Académie Julian from 1891 to 1896 with Jean-Paul Laurens. While in Paris, he met James McNeill Whistler who had the greatest influence on his work. Murphy returned to the Boston area in 1897 and was awarded the bronze medal at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY. A year later he began teaching life drawing at Harvard School of Architecture, a position he held until ...

Article

Sascha Scott

(b Petersburg, VA, March 20, 1867; d New York, NY, June 29, 1940).

American painter and illustrator. Raised by an invalid mother and largely absent father, Myers lived in Philadelphia, Trenton and Baltimore during his difficult childhood. He moved to New York City in 1881, where he found employment painting signs, interiors and theater screens. Myers began his formal artistic training at Cooper Union in 1887. A year later, he enrolled at the Art Students League, where he studied for the next eight years. His most notable instructors were George de Forest Brush and Kenyon Cox, whom Myers described as conservative forces that he reacted against. By the mid-1890s, his artistic output largely consisted of drawings, pastels, watercolors and etchings. He was a fine draftsman who successfully captured the energy of the urban life that he observed in the Lower East Side and other working-class neighborhoods. Gallery owner William Macbeth encouraged him to turn his focus to oils in 1902. Myers subsequently exhibited his paintings at the Macbeth Gallery in ...

Article

Andrew Leach

(Hugh) [Neumann, Friedrich Hugo]

(b Vienna, July 2, 1900; d Wellington, Aug 7, 1964).

New Zealand architect and polemicist of Austrian birth. Graduating from the Technische Hochschule in Vienna in 1923, Newman studied in Paris from 1924 to 1927 under Camille Lefèvre (1876–1946). Returning to Vienna in 1927, he joined his father’s practice where he worked until 1932, when he joined the community of foreign specialists based in the Soviet Union. There he contributed to large-scale projects in several cities. He returned to Vienna briefly in 1937, but left in May 1938 with his wife and daughter, bound ultimately for New Zealand (via London). Ethnically Jewish, he was granted refugee status in New Zealand and found employment as a draughtsman for the Department of Housing Construction. There he contributed to the McLean Flats (Wellington) and Symonds Street Flats (Auckland). At this time he started writing essays and delivering lectures that included reflections on democracy and on the architect’s role in society, a practice that spans his career in New Zealand....

Article

Cynthia H. Sanford

(b Münster, Westphalia, Germany, 1833; d Austin, TX, 1907).

German-born American sculptor. Trained in her native Germany where she earned her early fame, Ney also worked in Italy before immigrating to the USA in 1870 and eventually settling in Texas. In Germany she was noted for her Neo-classical bust portraits of famous people and became personal sculptor to King Ludwig II of Bavaria. When she returned to sculpture later in Texas, she created likenesses of prominent citizens, historic heroes and an ideal life-size figure of Lady Macbeth.

The daughter of Adam Joachim Ney, a stone carver who made small religious statues and gravestones, she helped her father in his studio. Ney developed a passion for sculpture and was determined to study in Berlin with the leading sculptor Christian Daniel Rauch. Her parents eventually allowed her to study in Munich, where Ney entered the private school of the history and portrait painter Johann Baptiste Berdellé (1813–76). In November 1852...

Article

Richard L. Dagenhart

(b Philadelphia, PA, June 14, 1869; d Feb 18, 1937).

American landscape architect and city planner. Nolen was raised in the Girard School for Orphaned Boys in Philadelphia, graduating first in his class and later graduating with his BPhil from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1893. After several years working with the American Society for the Extension of University Teaching, Nolen moved to Cambridge, MA, to enroll in Harvard’s newly established School of Landscape Architecture, studying under Frederick Law Olmsted and receiving his MA in 1905. After establishing his office in Cambridge, he and his associates began a practice of landscape architecture but soon expanded their work to include city planning. By 1919, Nolen had written two books, edited two additional books and published numerous articles on the emerging field of city planning. Nolen’s firm completed more than 350 landscape architecture and city planning commissions before his death in 1937. He served as president of the National Conference on City Planning and was one of the founders of the American Institute of City Planners. Nolen was instrumental in establishing city planning education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and other universities. Along with the Olmsted Brothers and a small cadre of others, Nolen transformed American city planning from the early years of the ...

Article

(b Tullstorp, Malmöhus, April 13, 1878; d Lambertville, NJ, April 21, 1955).

American painter and printmaker of Swedish birth. Born Bror Julius Olsson, the artist moved with his family from Sweden to Chicago as a teenager. He took his mother’s maiden name early in his career so as not to be confused with painter Julius Olsson. In his youth, he worked as a typesetter for Hemlandet, a Swedish-language newspaper based in Chicago. His formal training as an artist began at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied with Frederick Richardson (1862–1937). In 1899, he was chosen to assist Albert Herter (1871–1950) on a large mural project for the McCormick International Harvester Company. A year later, the Harvester Company sent him abroad to see the mural at the Paris Exposition Universelle. While in Paris, he briefly studied at the Académie Julian. Within a year, he left for Reading, England, to study Japanese woodblock cutting and printing with Frank Morley Fletcher (...

Article

H. Alexander Rich

(b Philadelphia, PA, March 25, 1905; d New York, NY, April 12, 1997).

American photographer, writer, social advocate and patron of the arts. Best known for her professional and personal relationship with photographer Alfred Stieglitz, Norman was a lifelong lover and producer of art, whose interest in advancing the work of her fellow artists was rivaled only by her broader desire to effect social change. Born into an upper-class Philadelphia family, Norman (née Stecker) enjoyed the advantages of a childhood steeped in culture, from attending theater and the opera to visiting local art collections. Despite her own life of relative privilege, from an early age Norman exhibited a precocious awareness of social inequity and an eagerness to expand her horizons. As a young girl attending public school, she sensed the disparities between the opportunities afforded by her own upbringing and those available to others around her.

Frustrated by the fate of some of her fellow Philadelphians and feeling suffocated by the city itself, Norman believed that Philadelphia was too restrictive and longed to see the world beyond her native city. This perception was further bolstered when, as a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Norman took a course in modern art at the Barnes Foundation. The course was a transformative experience for Norman, igniting in her a true passion for art and a desire to immerse herself in the contemporary art world....

Article

Julie Aronson

(b Mt Healthy, OH, Oct 26, 1859; d Oct 8, 1938).

American painter and draftsman, active also in France. Born in a suburb of Cincinnati, Nourse was descended from French Huguenots who had settled in New England, and her prosperous family had lost their fortune during the Civil War. In 1874, she and her twin sister Adelaide entered Cincinnati’s McMicken School of Design, the leading training ground for the fine arts in the West. She thrived on the rigorous education in drawing there and excelled at sculpture, but working from the human body was not yet in the curriculum. As a woman, Nourse could not study in the first life class in Cincinnati, taught by the Munich-trained Frank Duveneck, whose painterly realism captivated the city’s young artists. Nevertheless, her direct approach, experimentation with bold brushwork and attraction to lower-class subjects suggest his influence. Nourse distinguished herself with her sensitivity to the inner life of her sitters, as seen in a series of character studies in oil of young African American girls she painted in ...

Article

Deborah Cullen

(Raphel)

(b Brooklyn, New York, 1934).

American performance artist, educator and founder of El Museo del Barrio, New York. Ortiz grew up in New York and received his BFA and MFA from Pratt Institute in 1964, and his PhD in Fine Arts and Fine Arts in Higher Education at the Teachers College of Columbia University, 1982.

In the late 1950s, Ortiz began exploring ritual and destruction. Taking found filmstrips, he placed them in a medicine bag and used a hatchet to cut them into pieces. He then spliced them together in random order, creating a series of short, cut-up films. This led to his first private, ritually transformed domestic objects between 1959 and 1961, which often included cushions, chairs and sofas from his studio worked over several days, and the Archaeological Finds series between 1961 and 1967. He authored Destructivism: A Manifesto between 1957 and 1962.

Carrying out public Destruction Ritual Realizations between 1965 and 1970...

Article

Annie Dell’Aria

(b Santurce, Puerto Rico, Jun 10, 1955).

American sculptor and installation artist. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Osorio came to New York in 1975 and earned a BSc in sociology from Lehman College, Bronx, in 1978. He then earned an MA in art education from Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1985. Osorio spent much of his early years in New York as a social worker in Puerto Rican neighborhoods in the South Bronx, an experience that would inform both his aesthetic style and his artistic involvement with Latin American communities.

Osorio worked primarily in Assemblage sculpture, which led to more elaborate and ornate multimedia installations. From the mid-1980s, his practice was characterized by an overabundance of kitschy objects and a keen eye for the intricacies of Nuyorican (New York–Puerto Rican) material culture and family life. In 1985, a turning point in his stylistic development, he created La Bicicleta (The Bicycle) (New York, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts), which references the vehicular decoration of street peddlers in Puerto Rico in the 1950s and 1960s. This hanging bicycle covered with flowers, ribbons, plastic trees, Kewpie dolls, and many other cheap adornments was rendered useless as a mode of transportation and made entirely sculptural. Osorio’s later installations maintained this attention to vernacular decoration, but were more narrative in their investigation of urban Latino communities. For the ...

Article

Michelle Yun

(b Wichita, KS, 1952).

American sculptor. Otterness moved to New York in 1970 to study at the Art Students League. He participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program in 1973 and in 1977 he joined the New York based Collaborative Projects (Colab) as a founding member. Otterness is best known for his playful, figurative cast bronze sculptures and his belief that art gains value through public engagement. Between 1978–82 he created a series of cast Hydrocal (fiberglass and concrete) figures inspired by the statuettes found in Latin American botánicas (stores selling folk medicine, perfumes and religious statuettes, rosaries and candles). These diminutive spoofs on historic monuments were set on marble bases and inexpensively sold as “hand-produced collector’s items.” Continuing on this populist track, in 1982 he built a modular plaster frieze in the form of cornice molding that was sold by the foot. These early works serve as important precursors for the artist’s longstanding commitment to public art. In ...

Article

Annie Dell’Aria

(b Conehatta, MS, June 20, 1933).

American painter. Born in rural Mississippi, Overstreet grew up primarily in the Bay Area, California. Following some time in the Merchant Marines and in San Francisco, Overstreet moved to New York City in 1958, where he set up his studio for most of his career. In the early 1960s, Overstreet was directly involved with the Black Arts Repertory Theater, part of a career-long commitment to the African American legacy in the arts. In 1974, he co-founded with Samuel C. Floyd and his partner Corrine Jennings Kenkeleba House in New York, an alternative venue dedicated to supporting, collecting and exhibiting the work of minority American artists.

Visually, Overstreet’s canvases have had both a long engagement with the tradition of abstraction in Western art and an impetus to connect with and speak to the African American experience. Active since the 1950s, his early canvases drew heavily from the work of Hans Hofmann...

Article

Marjorie P. Balge-Crozier

(b Paris, April 11, 1861; d New York City, May 22, 1930).

American sculptor and art critic. After early schooling at the Adelphi Academy in Brooklyn and Columbia College in New York, Partridge pursued art training in Europe, studying briefly at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and with the sculptor Pius Weloński (1849–1931) in Rome from 1887 to 1889. Weloński’s preference for strongly modeled surfaces and naturalistic detail influenced Partridge’s early sculptural style. At the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Partridge exhibited ten works, among them a model for a bronze statue of Shakespeare erected in Lincoln Park, Chicago, in 1894. Favorable critical attention established Partridge’s national reputation and guaranteed commissions that placed him in the front ranks of American sculpture. Large-scale bronze monuments include an equestrian statue of Ulysses S. Grant (1896; New York, Brooklyn, Grant Square); Thomas Jefferson (1914; New York, Columbia University); Horace Greeley (1912; Chappaqua, NY); Pocahontas (1922; Jamestown, VA); the Samuel Hay Kauffmann Memorial (...

Article

Richard Guy Wilson

Architectural partnership formed in Norfolk, VA, in 1917 by John Kevan Peebles (b Petersburg, VA, 3 Nov 1866; d Norfolk, VA, 31 July 1934) and Finley Forbes Ferguson (b Norfolk, VA, 11 Nov 1875; d Norfolk, VA, 7 Oct 1936). Peebles studied engineering at the University of Virginia (class 1890) and then apprenticed with architects prior to joining James E. R. Carpenter (1867–1932) in a partnership in 1893.They designed the first Jeffersonian Revival building at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, the Fayerweather Gymnasium (1893–4). In an article Peebles critiqued recent designs in the Second Empire and medieval modes and called for a return to the “Classical.” The partnership ended in 1898, and Peebles practiced independently until 1917 participating in the expansion of Jefferson’s Virginia State Capitol, Richmond (1902–6), the Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition, Norfolk (1907), and many buildings across the state such as the Hotel Monticello, Norfolk (...

Article

Jeff Stockton

(Maurilio )

(b Laredo, TX, 1943).

American painter and printmaker of Mexican and Yaqui descent (mestizo). Peña’s art celebrated the strength of a native people who met the harsh realities of life in an uncompromising land, and his work was a tribute to the Native Americans who survived by living in harmony with an adversarial, untamed environment. His artwork was inspired by places in the Southwest that were part of an enduring landscape and represented the ancient heritage of the region that is now Arizona and New Mexico.

Peña’s work was defined by its bold color and form and dynamic composition. Abstract landscapes merged with human forms, and blanket and pottery patterns entered into the overall design. A prolific artist, Peña produced primarily watercolors and etchings, in addition to drawings, graphics, ceramics and jewelry. Irrespective of the medium, the recurring motif (and Peña’s artistic trademark) was a modeled, angular profile of a Native American man or woman, which he used as a simplified storytelling device....

Article

Edward A. Chappell

Architectural partnership founded in Boston, MA, in 1922 by William Graves Perry (b Boston, MA, 8 Nov 1883; d Boston, MA, 4 April 1975), Thomas Mott Shaw (1878–1965) and Andrew H. Hepburn (1880–1967). The firm rose to prominence as Colonial Revival architects primarily through their work for John D. Rockefeller Jr. in the historic town of Williamsburg, VA. Both Perry and Hepburn had studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. By 1927, they had designed New England buildings in a number of historical styles but favored an American neo-classicism reminiscent of Charles Bulfinch.

In 1926, they were hired to produce a conceptual plan for restoration of the 18th- century capital of Virginia, followed by detailed research and design for restoration and reconstruction of dozens of Williamsburg buildings. Investigative work included excavation of old foundations, documentary research and use of early images of lost buildings, most fortuitously a copper engraving plate showing the earliest Capitol, Governor’s Palace and buildings at the College of William and Mary. These they combined with a physical investigation of surviving buildings as a basis for vigorous restoration to an 18th-century state, primarily that of the 1770s. Seeking such architectural purity was counter to British preservation theory cultivated by ...

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(b Navajo Reservation, 1896; d 1972).

Native American (Navajo) silversmith. Peshlakai is the son of Slender Maker of Silver, Beshtlagai-ithline-athlososigi, and nephew of Peshlagai Atsidfi and Slender Maker Old Silversmith, all foremost of the first generation of named Navajo silversmiths. Recognized among their peers as “innovators” in new forms of jewelry, his family refined and complemented the older Spanish techniques and influences from Mexican plateros. Learning the techniques and expertise of silversmithing from his father and uncles, Peshlakai became single-handedly recognized for his blending of elaborate and high-quality precise silver and turquoise jewelry work techniques. Analogous with his father’s work, he innovated and promoted stamp work and wire twist skills into uncommon, fresh artistry fashioning pieces into pioneering new forms of harmony and sturdiness. Until his death, he refined his silversmith techniques. Commencing his personalized fabrications in the 1920s, his pieces became immensely popular during the 1930s and 1940s, but his finest works were created during a period from1940 through ...

Article

H. Alexander Rich

(b Honolulu, HI, 1966).

American video artist and sculptor. Pfeiffer exploited the latest in computer and video technology to examine the overwhelming power of mass media. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute (1987) and his Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College in New York (1994). He participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program (1997–8) and, among his many prizes and fellowships, was awarded the Whitney Museum’s Bucksbaum Award (2000).

Pfeiffer was born in Honolulu and grew up primarily in the Philippines but moved to the continental United States to pursue a career as an artist. Although he began producing his art in New York City in 1990, it was not until his breakthrough showing at the 2000 Whitney Museum Biennial that Pfeiffer was officially “discovered” by the art world. Even in his earliest works, he demonstrated a keen eye for the contradictions inherent in a world both dominated by celebrity culture and in which images define the ways people look at and interact with each other. Although photography, video and computers ostensibly connect people and transmit information as directly as possible, Pfeiffer dedicated his art to upturning these faulty assumptions about the veracity of what we see. Again and again, His work reveals his fascination with the ways in which the human image can be conveyed, distorted and fetishized through the mass media....

Article

Margo Machida

(b Saigon [now Ho Chi Minh City], Vietnam, March 23, 1954).

Vietnamese photographer and installation artist. Raised in Saigon, Pham joined the exodus of South Vietnamese refugees that began soon after the 1975 communist victory in her homeland. Settling in southern California, Pham studied art at California State University in Fullerton, ultimately receiving an MFA in photography (1986). She was appointed as a special faculty/visiting artist at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia (1989–92), and as a Rockefeller Fellow and instructor at the University of California in Los Angeles (1992–3). Her photographs have been widely exhibited at venues such as: Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan, the Asia Society Galleries in New York, Artists Space in New York, San Francisco Art Institute, Whatcom Museum of History and Art in Bellingham, WA, Washington Project for the Arts in Washington, DC, Photographic Resources Center at Boston University, Temple University in Philadelphia and university art galleries across California....

Article

Nikki A. Greene

(Amos)

(b Baltimore, MD, Dec 22, 1905; d Washington, DC, Feb 28, 1970).

American art historian, critic, educator and painter. Porter greatly influenced African American art and scholarship. He immediately began teaching art at Howard University, Washington, DC, upon graduation in 1926. He later continued his art training in New York, where he worked toward a degree at Teachers College and enrolled at the Art Students League in 1929, studying figure drawing with George Bridgman (1865–1943). He received a Master of Arts degree in Art History from the Fine Arts Graduate Center at New York University in 1937. Porter also received numerous awards and fellowships, including the Carnegie Foundation Institute of International Education scholarship for study in Paris and a Rockefeller Foundation grant for study in Belgium, Holland, Germany and Italy in 1935.

In 1953, Porter became Head of the Department of Art and Director of the Art Gallery at Howard University, the first of its kind established at a black institution. Under his leadership, he organized many important exhibitions, and the gallery expanded its collection of not only African American artists, but also Renaissance paintings and sculpture. His own work included realist oil paintings, pastels, watercolors and prints, with a keen interest in the human figure. Between ...