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Article

Vojtěch Lahoda

(b Hronov, March 23, 1887; d Bergen-Belsen, April 1945).

Czech painter, printmaker and writer. He studied weaving (1901–3) in Vrchlabí and then from 1904 to 1910 decorative painting at the School of Applied Arts in Prague, where he was influenced by the highly decorative art of the Secession. During this period he wrote stories with his brother, the novelist Karel Čapek (1890–1938). In 1910 they went to Paris for nearly a year, where Josef Čapek studied painting at the Académie Colarossi and became a friend of Apollinaire. In 1911 he and his brother co-founded the Cubist-orientated Group of Plastic Artists. Čapek attempted to modify Cubism by introducing elements of Expressionism and Symbolism. His efforts dumbfounded some members of the group, and in 1912 he and various of his friends parted company with it. From 1915 he began to achieve a synthesis of Cubism, Neo-classicism and a personal symbolism (e.g. the Man in the Hat, 1915...

Article

Vojtěch Lahoda

(b Chropyně, Moravia [now Czech Republic], April 4, 1882; d Prague, Oct 6, 1953).

Czech painter, printmaker, sculptor, writer and collector. After a short period at a business school and in an insurance office in Brno, he became a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (1903). In 1904 he won the Academy’s first prize. At the end of the year he set out on a lengthy journey to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Italy. He became absorbed in the Old Masters, especially Rembrandt. His own style passed from Post-Impressionism to a more expressive dominance of colour. In 1907 he took part in the first exhibition of The Eight (see Eight, the) with a programme painting, the Reader of Dostoyevsky (Prague, N.G., Trade Fair Pal.), partly influenced by the Munch exhibition in Prague in 1905. At the same time the picture is a very personal manifesto reflecting the Angst and scepticism of his generation. At the second exhibition of The Eight in ...

Article

Claudia Büttner

(b Aachen, Feb 22, 1914).

German painter, photographer, film maker, draughtsman, printmaker, writer and teacher. From 1932 to 1933 he attended the Webe- und Kunstgewerbeschule in Aachen. Inspired by Picasso, Gris, Klee and the Expressionists, Götz reduced the figures in his painting to minimal linear outlines from 1933, as a result of which he was prohibited from painting and exhibiting from 1935 to 1936. During his military service from 1936 to 1938 he experimented with spray painting, overpainted photograms (of his wife), photograms (produced by laying objects on photographic paper exposed to light) and abstract cine-films. In 1938 he settled in Wurzen, Saxony, and from 1938 to 1939 attended the Kunstakademie in Dresden where he began to concentrate on abstract works, using a mixture of organic and geometric elements. In 1940 he moved to Dresden, where his friends included Will Grohmann and Otto Dix. He served in the German army in Norway from 1941 to 1945...

Article

(b Amsterdam, Dec 4, 1868; d Bloemendaal, Dec 31, 1938).

Dutch painter, printmaker, illustrator, writer and stained-glass artist. He trained at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam (1886–90), under the directorship of August Allebé. Having initially painted and drawn Impressionistic landscapes, he started working in the ’t Gooi region in 1892, where, influenced by Vincent van Gogh and Jan Toorop, he made a number of Symbolist drawings and lithographs. In 1896 he married the Dutch writer Henriette van der Schalk. They both devoted themselves to the recently founded Sociaal Democratische Arbeiders Partij. In the years up to c. 1900 Holst produced among other things a series of lithographs of political cartoons with socialist content, as well as serene landscapes and paintings of girls from the village of Huizen. His allegorical murals (1902; in situ), on topics such as ‘Industry’ or ‘Commerce’, in the new Koopmansbeurs in Amsterdam by H. P. Berlage (1876–1903), marked an important point in his career as his first opportunity to construct a monumental piece of work. Partly inspired by the murals in the town hall at ’s Hertogenbosch by Antoon Derkinderen, he developed a tight, stylized type of design, which he believed to be ideal for visually representing idealistic and exalted thoughts. In his murals (...

Article

Vivian Endicott Barnett

[Vassily; Wassily] (Vasil’yevich)

(b Moscow, Dec 4, 1866; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, Dec 13, 1944).

Russian painter, printmaker, stage designer, decorative artist and theorist. A central figure in the development of 20th-century art and specifically in the transition from representational to abstract art, Kandinsky worked in a wide variety of media and was an important teacher and theoretician. He worked mainly outside Russia, but his Russian heritage continued to be an important factor in his development.

Kandinsky grew up in Odessa and from 1886 to 1893 studied economics, ethnography and law in Moscow, where he wrote a dissertation on the legality of labourers’ wages. He married his cousin Anya Shemyakina in 1892 (divorced 1911). In 1896 Kandinsky decided to become an artist and went to Munich. There he studied from 1896 to 1898 at the art school of Anton Ažbe, where he met Alexei Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin, and then in 1900 at the Akademie with Franz von Stuck. The following year he was a co-founder of the ...

Article

Ann Temkin

(b Münchenbuchsee, nr Berne, Dec 18, 1879; d Muralto, nr Locarno, June 29, 1940).

Swiss painter, draughtsman, printmaker, teacher, and writer. Klee’s work forms a major contribution to the history of 20th-century art. He is associated most commonly with the Bauhaus school in Weimar and Dessau. He is regarded as a major theoretician among modern artists and as a master of humour and mystery. In much of his work, he aspired to achieve a naive and untutored quality, but his art is also among the most cerebral of any of the 20th century (e.g. Disturbance, 1934; Turin, Gal. A. Mod.). Klee’s wide-ranging intellectual curiosity is evident in an art profoundly informed by structures and themes drawn from music, nature, and poetry.

Klee was brought up in Berne, where his father was a music teacher. As a boy, he displayed great talent both as a violinist and as a draughtsman. On leaving school he decided to study art in Munich, first with ...

Article

Edwin Lachnit

(b Pöchlarn, Lower Austria, March 1, 1886; d Montreux, Feb 22, 1980).

Austrian painter, printmaker and writer. He revolutionized the art of the turn of the century, adopting a radical approach to art, which was for him essential to the human condition and politically engaged. Kokoschka promoted a new visual effect in painting, related to making visible the immaterial forces active behind the external appearance of things, in which the object was a living, moving substance that revealed its inner essence to the eye. This applied to the portraits as well as to the townscapes (see Self-portrait, 1913). The art-historical basis for his work lies in the painting tradition of Austrian late Baroque and especially in the colourfully expressive visions of Franz Anton Maulbertsch. As was true of many artists of his generation, Kokoschka’s creative urge was also expressed in literature and showed a clear inclination towards music and theatre.

Article

David Anfam

(b New York, Jan 29, 1905; d New York, July 4, 1970).

American painter, sculptor, printmaker, and writer. He was a major exponent of Abstract Expressionism whose reductive idiom employing large chromatic expanses exerted a considerable impact on abstract art after World War II. His writings and pronouncements also contributed to the accompanying theoretical debates during and after the 1960s about meaning in non-figurative expression.

After studies at the Art Students League, New York, in 1922 and 1929 Newman destroyed most of his basically realistic initial output and stopped painting by about 1939–40. He explained that the world historical crisis then had rendered traditional subject-matter and styles invalid, necessitating the search for a new, awe-inspiring content appropriate to the moment. A series of essays and catalogue introductions throughout the 1940s reiterated this aesthetic quest. Their polemical stance focused upon the need for a break with outworn European traditions (including such native continuations as American Scene painting), chaos as a wellspring of human creativity, and the irrelevance of beauty in times of terror. Instead, he resurrected the venerable concept of the Sublime for a metaphysical ‘art which through symbols will catch the basic truth of life which is its sense of tragedy’ (‘The Plasmic Image’, unpublished essay, ...

Article

Gisèle Ollinger-Zinque

(b Brussels, April 28, 1879; d Brussels, Jan 10, 1957).

Belgian painter, printmaker and writer. He learned to draw in his father’s lithography studio. In 1900 Tytgat entered the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and studied under Constant Montald. His first paintings were influenced by Symbolism and in particular the work of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, whom he admired. He met Rik Wouters in 1907, and the two became friends. World War I drove him into exile, and he lived as a refugee in England until 1920. There, he not only painted but also made prints, including woodcuts and linocuts with the help of his wife, Maria. She was also his model for the numerous canvases painted in London, for example The Pose (1918; Brussels, Mus. A. Mod.). His early work was full of sensitivity, using bright tones that accentuated delicate greys in an impressionistic manner. Towards 1925 Tytgat became aware of Expressionism. His plasticity grew stronger, and his colours darker, and his desire for simplification came to dominate the forms (e.g. ...