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Article

V. Rakitin

[Georges] (Pavlovich)

(b Petropavlovsk, Kazakhstan, July 23, 1889; d Paris, July 18, 1974).

Russian painter, draughtsman and stage designer. He studied at the University of St Petersburg (later Petrograd) in 1908 and in the private studio of Savely Zeidenberg (1862–1924). In 1909–10 he attended the studio of Yan Tsyonglinsky (1850–1914) in St Petersburg, where he became acquainted with the avant-garde artists Yelena Guro (1877–1913), Mikhail Matyushin and Matvey Vol’demar (1878–1914). In 1911–12 he worked in the studios of Maurice Denis and Félix Vallotton in Paris, then in Switzerland (1913) before returning to St Petersburg. As a painter he was a modernist, and his work developed rapidly towards abstraction, although he did not adhere to any particular branch of it. His works of the time use various devices of stylization and decorativeness, and some of them echo the free associations of Marc Chagall, but fundamentally they remain geometrically based compositions. In 1919–20 he made a series of abstract sculptural assemblages and a great number of abstract collages....

Article

Libero Andreotti

(b Rovereto, Dec 10, 1896; d Milan, Sept 26, 1982).

Italian architect, stage designer and painter . After studying at the Scuola Reale Elisabettiana, an applied arts school in Rovereto, he joined the Futurist movement, headed locally by Fortunato Depero. After serving in World War I, he enrolled at the Scuola Superiore di Architettura del Politecnico, Milan, graduating in architecture in 1922. He then spent four years (1922–6) in Berlin working as a stage designer and frequenting the avant-garde milieu around Max Reinhardt, Erwin Piscator and Oskar Kokoschka. He returned to Italy in 1926 and set up his own practice. His first important commission, the remodelling of the Bar Craja (1930; with Figini and Pollini) in Milan, with its handsome glass and steel interior, established Baldessari’s reputation as an innovative designer. He collaborated again with Figini and Pollini on the De Angeli-Frua office building (1931–2) in Milan, a fine example of Italian Rationalism at its most restrained. Baldessari’s architectural masterpiece of this period was, however, the Press Pavilion (...

Article

Andrew Causey

(b London, March 29, 1905; d Hastings, Oct 22, 1976).

English painter, illustrator and stage designer. As a student at the Chelsea Polytechnic (1921–3) and the Royal College of Art (1923–5) he became a talented figure draughtsman. In the second half of the decade he spent much time in France painting intricately detailed urban scenes, which depicted the low life of Toulon and Marseille. Works such as the watercolour Toulon (1927; priv. col., see Causey, cat. no. 33) were executed in a meticulously finished and vividly coloured decorative style. Burra usually used watercolour and tempera and occasionally collage oil paints.

Burra took ideas from Cubism, Dada (notably George Grosz) and, especially, Surrealism, but his work is also linked with the English satirical tradition of William Hogarth, Thomas Rowlandson and Isaac Cruikshank: Burra loved burlesque and poked fun at people’s pretensions and excesses of style and behaviour, as in John Deth (Homage to Conrad Aiken) (...

Article

Anne Pastori

(b Lucerne, Feb 21, 1909; d March 21, 2015).

Swiss painter, draughtsman, sculptor and stage designer. He took an apprenticeship as a draughtsman-architect (1924–7) and then studied at the Ecole des Arts et Métiers in Lucerne (1927–8). Between 1928 and 1929 he stayed for the first time in Paris, where he attended the Académie Julian. He continued his training at the Vereinigte Staatschulen für freie und angewandte Kunst, Berlin (1929–30). The works of this period are signed François Grècque, a pseudonym that shows his admiration for ancient Greek art, traces of which are found in his works. In the course of many visits to Paris between 1932 and 1934, he had contacts with many artists, including Brancusi, Alexander Calder, Kandinsky, Mondrian and Henry Moore, and he was strongly influenced by the works of Braque and Picasso. In October 1933 he joined the Abstraction–Création group. In 1935 he collaborated in the exhibition Thèse, antithèse, synthèse...

Article

Radomíra Sedláková

(b Dobrovice, Jan 15, 1892; d Prague, May 10, 1936).

Czech architect, painter and stage designer. He graduated in architecture (1917) from the Technical University, Prague, and in 1921 he received a scholarship to the Ecole du Louvre in Paris. In 1922 he became a member of Devětsil, the group of avant-garde writers, artists and architects centred on the figure of Karel Teige. He also joined the Architects’ Club. His early work was influenced by Cubism and classicism, but his most significant building was the crematorium (1921–3; with Bohumil Sláma) at Nymburk, a fundamental work of Czech architectural Purism composed of dramatic white cylinders and slabs, with a row of massive columns and ceremonial steps along the main façade. All his designs were strictly tectonic; he aimed for the creation of a new style inspired by the Neo-classical Empire style. During the first half of the 1920s he also worked as a stage designer in Prague, creating a range of designs in the spirit of poetic Purism; examples include sets for the National Theatre (...

Article

V. Rakitin

(Mikhaylovich)

(b Kozlov [now Michurinsk, Tambov region], Aug 12, 1881; d Moscow, July 23, 1963).

Russian painter, stage designer and administrator. He studied at the School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow (1903–15) under Abram Arkhipov, Nikolay Kasatkin and Korovin family, §2, among others. At the School he emerged as a leader of a group of traditionalists who contended with the avant-garde led by Mikhail Larionov. After service in the army he returned to Kozlov, where he worked as a stage designer and decorated the town for revolutionary festivities. In 1925 he moved to Moscow, where he was a member of the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia. The style Gerasimov was using by the mid-1920s in his landscapes and portraits, which was a combination of academic realism and Impressionism, remained practically unchanged throughout his life.

Gerasimov’s work is significant as representative of a solemn ‘heroic realism’ (e.g. Lenin on the Tribune, 1929–30; Moscow, Cent. Lenin Mus.), later considered a paradigm of Socialist Realism. He painted a series of pompous official portraits of Soviet leaders (e.g. ...

Article

N. Ya. Malakhov

(Sergeyevich)

(b Leningrad [now St Petersburg], June 10, 1930).

Russian painter, stage designer and draughtsman. He studied at the Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Leningrad from 1951 to 1957. His early works caused heated debate as they went against the official Socialist Realism style of the early 1950s. Since then his work, principally in oils (sometimes including decorative appliqué work), pastels, tempera and charcoal, has attracted increasing attention and has been exhibited widely, surrounded by public acclamation and mass-media debates. The cycle Eternal Russia is dedicated to Russian, principally medieval, culture. The works in the cycle, for example the sub-cycle Kulikovo Field (1980), display intense and vibrant colours and epic patriotic concepts. The more lyrical cycle City of the 20th Century, begun earlier, depicts the emotional life of the individual, estranged and isolated in the modern megalopolis. The sections Vietnam (1967), Chile (1969) and Nicaragua (1973) are journalistic graphic dispatches. Russian literature plays an important part in his art and he illustrated works by, among others, ...

Article

V. Rakitin

(Yakovlevich)

(b Moscow, March 1, 1863; d Detskoye Selo [now Pushkin], nr St Petersburg, April 17, 1930).

Russian stage designer and painter. He studied architecture, then painting under Vladimir Makovsky, Vasily Polenov and Illarion Pryanishnikov at the Moscow College of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1881–90). In 1889 he attended Jacques-Emile Blanche’s studio in Paris and in 1895 travelled in Italy, France and Spain. In 1897 he studied under Raphaël Collin (b 1850) and Luc-Olivier Merson in Paris. A member of the Moscow Society of Painters from 1894, he lived in Moscow until 1901. Golovin expressed a great interest in Art Nouveau and in the search for a new national style of Russian art. Together with Yelena Polenova he devised a project in 1898 for the decoration of a Russian dining-room at the house of the painter Maria Yakunchikova, and he collaborated with Konstantin Korovin on the décor of the artisan section in the Russian pavilion at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900...

Article

Piero Pacini

(b Modena, June 20, 1894; d Rome, June 17, 1956).

Italian painter, decorative artist, stage designer, architect, sculptor and writer. He studied at Lucca, Turin and Rome, where he briefly attended the Accademia di Belle Arti, and his work earned the appreciation of his teacher Duilio Cambellotti (b 1876). In 1912 he joined the studio of Giacomo Balla and belonged to a Futurist art collective through which he met the leaders of the movement. In April and May 1914 he exhibited with other Futurists at the Galleria Sprovieri in Rome and, shortly afterwards, in Prague. Figure+Window (1914; Rome, priv. col.; see Menna, 1967, fig.) exemplifies the experiments he was carrying out at the time. He was particularly interested in the use of combinations of different materials and in theoretical speculation, writing in 1915 the manifestos Scenografia e coreografia futurista, Scultura dei colori e totale and Architettura futurista.

Prampolini met Tristan Tzara in Rome in 1916 and took part in the international ...

Article

(b Nantes, April 10, 1880; d Milan, Sept 26, 1950).

French painter, stage designer and illustrator. After working briefly in an architect’s office in Nantes, he moved to Paris and enrolled at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, which he disliked. He then worked on designs for the Exposition Universelle of 1900 before entering the Ecoles des Langues Orientales to learn Japanese and modern Greek. After this he studied at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs under Eugène-Samuel Grasset and then, from 1902 to 1904, at the Académie Julian under Jean-Paul Laurens. He first exhibited paintings in 1906 at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and in 1907 and 1908 at the Salon des Indépendants. About 1910 Roy came into contact with the Fauves and the circle of writers around them, such as Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire, an association that influenced his style away from its earlier academicism. In 1913, through Alberto Savinio, he met and quickly became a friend of de Chirico, who was to be a great influence on his work. The following year Roy copied ...

Article

V. Rakitin

(Nikolayevich)

(b Moscow, Dec 17, 1880; d Gulf of Finland, nr Terrioki [St Petersburg region], June 14, 1912).

Russian painter and stage designer. From 1894 to 1904 he studied at the School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow under Konstantin Korovin and Vladimir Serov, and under Isaak Levitan, who had a formative influence on his early landscape studies. On a visit to Rome, Florence and Pisa in 1902 Sapunov was impressed by the painting of Adolphe Monticelli. In 1904 Sapunov participated in the exhibition of the Crimson Rose (Rus. Alaya roza) group of Symbolists in Saratov.

In 1905 Sapunov met the director Vsevolod Meyerhold at his theatre studio in Moscow and he later participated in Meyerhold’s attempts to create a ‘Symbolist theatre’ in the production of Aleksandr Blok’s Balaganchik (‘The little fairground booth’; designs in St Petersburg, Theat. Mus.) and Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler at Vera Komissarzhevskaya’s theatre in St Petersburg in 1906. In attempting to polemicize against the detailed realism of the Moscow Arts Theatre, Sapunov and Meyerhold presented the sets for these productions as painted panels and bas-reliefs, and the figure of the actor was seen as an integral part of the overall pictorial schema. In ...

Article

Emily Braun

(b Sassari, Sardinia, May 12, 1885; d Milan, Aug 13, 1961).

Italian painter, sculptor, architect, stage designer and illustrator. He was brought up in Rome where his family moved in 1886. In 1902 Sironi enrolled in the Engineering Faculty of the University of Rome, but after a long illness abandoned his studies to devote himself to painting. In 1903 he attended the Scuola Libera del Nudo at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome and frequented the studio of Giacomo Balla. Following a short spell in Milan in 1905–6, he travelled to Paris in 1906 and shared a room with his close friend Umberto Boccioni. Several family and self-portraits painted in a divisionist technique (see Divisionism) date from this period. Sironi also visited Germany several times between 1908 and 1911, where he was exposed to contemporary Expressionist currents. He lived in Rome from 1909 until he moved to Milan in late 1914 or early 1915.

Sironi experimented with Futurism from ...

Article

John E. Bowlt

(Yur’yevich)

(b Smolensk, March 19, 1882; d Nyack, NY, Aug 12, 1946).

Russian stage designer and painter. He attended the School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Moscow from 1897 to 1909, studying mainly under Konstantin Korovin and Valentin Serov, but although he painted a few Impressionist landscapes, his first major artistic concern was with Symbolism, as in his paintings of the first decade of the 20th century such as Pastorale (1905; Moscow, I. A. Myasnikova priv. col., see Kogan, no. 2) and Love (1907; Moscow, E. A. Gunst priv. col.). After taking part in the exhibition Crimson Rose in Saratov in 1904, he became a founder-member of the Blue Rose group of Symbolist painters, who paid homage to the painting of Viktor Borisov-Musatov, and he developed their mystical motifs and contributed to their exhibition in 1907. Sudeykin was also in contact with the World of Art group, and, on the invitation of Serge Diaghilev, he travelled to Paris in ...

Article

Angela Tamvaki

(b Eleusis, Aug 19, 1914; d Athens, Jan 26, 1965).

Greek painter, stage designer and architect. He studied architecture at the National Technical University in Athens (1931–6). From 1937 to 1939 he worked as an architect. During the second world war he joined the Greek army, serving first in Greece and later in the Middle East. He was imprisoned and sentenced to death for his participation in the Middle East coup, but was pardoned in 1945–6. He moved to Brazil in 1947, where he worked with the architects Oscar Niemeyer, Lúcio Costa and Palumbo on the plans of Brasília; in the same year he worked in Paris on the development of St Cloud. From 1948 to 1961 he lived in Paris, where he painted and made stage designs and costumes (1948–55) for the theatre founded by him and his wife Christine, a leading actress of the avant-garde. In 1953 he had his first one-man show at the Studio Facchetti in Paris; this was followed by others, notably at the Galerie Iris Clert (...

Article

V. Rakitin

( Bogdanovich )

(b Tiflis [now Tbilisi], Jan 2, 1884; d Erevan, Dec 28, 1928).

Georgian stage designer and painter of Armenian origin, active in Russia . He studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1901–3) but was expelled after a disagreement over the teaching methods. Posted to the Far East during military service, he became acquainted with Far Eastern decorative art, which inspired the works he exhibited with the Blue Rose group after his return to Moscow in 1907 (e.g. The Races, 1905; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.). His work of this time refers to traditional Chinese and medieval European art refracted through Art Nouveau, in an attempt to create a new decorative style in easel painting. In Moscow he often designed the décor for artistic soirées and balls, creating architecturally decorative compositions whose basic components were painted panels. In 1910 he travelled to Italy and in 1912–13 he worked in Paris, where he became acquainted with Sonia Delaunay and Robert Delaunay. In ...