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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

(b Häruösand, Ångermanland, Sweden, Dec 31, 1938).

Swedish painter, performance artist and writer, active in Britain. After travelling in Europe and working in vineyards, and as an artist’s model in Paris and Rome, she studied stage design at Bristol College of Art. From the 1960s she was involved in the women’s movement, and in her paintings, performances and writings she explored issues of women’s physical and spiritual experience from a matriarchal perspective. Sjoo first came to prominence in 1973 when she exhibited a painting, God Giving Birth (1968; Skellefteå, Anna Nordlander Women’s A. Mus.), of a woman in labour, in Five Women Artists: Images of Womanpower at Swiss Cottage Library, London. The controversial work brought charges of blasphemy and obscenity. Sjoo’s interest at the time, in common with other women artists, was in using Goddess imagery and images of women as a way to achieve an understanding and celebration of female strength and spirituality. Such figurative art was in contrast to the abstraction then prevalent. Her writings include ...

Article

Mariana Katzarova

[Sirak; Christov, Panayot Todorov]

(b Sliven, Oct 22, 1883; d Sofia, March 5, 1943).

Bulgarian painter, draughtsman, stage designer, writer, critic, editor and publisher. He studied (1908–12) under Léon Bakst at the Academy of Arts (Akademiya Khudozhestv) in St Petersburg and became a follower of the aesthetic concept of World of Art, dominated by the innovative decorative designs of Vera Komissarzhevskaya and Tairov. After he returned to Bulgaria, Skitnik was engaged in a variety of projects, writing poetry, critical reviews of exhibitions and plays and monographs on other artists such as Bencho Obreshkov. He also designed sets for the National Theatre (Naroden Teatâr) in Sofia. He painted mainly landscape and still-lifes in oils (e.g. Interior with Flowers, 1920), tempera (e.g. Russian Monastery, 1912), gouache (e.g. the Kiss of Judas, 1920; all Sofia, N.A.G.) and watercolour; he also drew in coloured pencil. During the 1920s and 1930s he became known in Bulgaria as an innovator who experimented with new problems of colour and form. Both his poetry and his original and highly emotional painting show his allegiance to the Symbolist movement. From ...

Article

(b Wuchang, Hubei, China, July 14, 1894; d Stockholm, Nov 7, 1958).

Swedish painter, mosaic maker and stage designer. He moved to Sweden in 1907 where he sporadically attended a painting school. In 1914 Sköld went to Copenhagen where, as well as attending the Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi, he saw the Expressionist and Cubist works in the Tetzen-Lund Samling. After initially being influenced by Cézanne, he experimented with Cubism, producing such works as The Changing of the Guard in Copenhagen (1917; Stockholm, Mod. Mus.) in which the figures are fragmented into a series of overlapping planes. In 1918 he also experimented with collage, producing such works as Romantic Still-life (Comte Costia) (1918; Stockholm, Mod. Mus.). In 1919 he moved to Paris and in 1922 co-founded the Phalanx group with Birger Simonsson (1883–1938). His painting at this time was executed in a stylized but essentially realistic manner, as in The Bistro (1920; Oslo, N.G.). He also painted a number of detailed architectural views, often curiously framed in the composition, as in ...

Article

Christina Lodder

Russian family of sculptors and designers. Vladimir (Avgustovich) Stenberg (b Moscow, 4 April 1899; d Moscow, 2 May 1982) and his brother Georgy (Avgustovich) Stenberg (b Moscow, 20 March 1900; d Moscow, 15 Oct 1933) were encouraged by their father, a painter, and worked closely together until Georgy’s death. They trained first at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, then continued their studies at the Free State Art Studios (Svomas) under Georgy Yakulov. They were founder-members of the Society of Young Artists (Obmokhu), which produced propaganda posters and urban decorations for revolutionary festivals. They contributed collaborative works to all four of the group’s exhibitions (1919, 1920, 1921, 1923); at the 1921 show they exhibited their three-dimensional constructions alongside Rodchenko’s hanging works. The Stenbergs joined the Institute of Artistic Culture (Inkhuk) in January 1920, becoming members of the First Working Group of Constructivists in ...

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

Mark Allen Svede

(b nr Cēsis, April 28, 1896; d Tbilisi, Georgia, July 14, 1944).

Latvian painter, printmaker, ceramicist, interior designer, tage and film set designer and theorist. He was the foremost ideologue for modernism in Latvia and was one of its greatest innovators. His militant defence of avant-garde principles befitted his experience as a soldier and as one of the artists who, after World War I, was denied a studio by the city officials and staged an armed occupation of the former premises of the Riga Art School. At the end of the war he painted in an Expressionist manner: In Church (1917; Riga, priv. col., see Suta, 1975, p. 19), for example, is an exaltation of Gothic form and primitivist rendering. Unlike his peers Jāzeps Grosvalds and Jēkabs Kazaks, he was extremely interested in Cubism and Constructivism, the theories of which informed his paintings, drawings, prints and occasional architectural projects of the 1920s. At this time he and his wife, the painter ...

Article

Daniela Mrázková

(b Bohuňovice, July 27, 1934).

Czech photographer. He trained as a porcelain modeller in Karlovy Vary and studied stage design in Prague. He took up photography seriously in 1958. He first worked as a graphic artist in advertising, then as a photographer at the Museum of Industrial Art in Prague and from 1983 freelance. From the beginning Svoboda intentionally followed the style, and even the lifestyle, of Josef Sudek. Svoboda concentrated exclusively on the world of intimate images, photographing static objects belonging to his immediate surroundings and expressing intimate feelings through depictions of his flat or workplace. He enlarged from medium or large format negatives, and light plays a meaningful role in his images....

Article

Whitney Chadwick

revised by Amy Lyford

(b Galesburg, IL, Aug 25, 1910; d New York, NY, Jan 31, 2012).

American painter, sculptor, illustrator, stage designer, and writer. She studied at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1932 before moving to New York, where she saw the exhibition Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism (1936–7; New York, MOMA) and was inspired to become a painter. After meeting Max Ernst in 1942 she became part of the group of exiled Surrealists living in New York during World War II; see Children’s Games (1942) and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (1943). Her first one-woman exhibition took place at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1944.

One of Tanning’s first Surrealist paintings was the self-portrait, Birthday (1942; Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.), influenced by the illusionistic Surrealism of René Magritte and Max Ernst that she had seen at the MOMA exhibition. To support herself in the 1940s, she worked as an advertising illustrator for Macy’s, and some of her paintings express an affinity with the conventions of fashion advertising (see ...

Article

(b Kaluga, Sept 21, 1898; d Grottaferrata, nr Rome, July 31, 1957).

American painter and stage designer of Russian birth, active also in Russia and France. He grew up in an advantaged and cultivated environment concerned with the arts. Educated by private tutors, he drew from an early age and attended art classes at the University of Moscow from 1916 to 1918. Moving south in 1918 to avoid the Revolution, he studied at the Kiev Academy until 1920 and worked with Alexandra Exter. He moved again in 1920, this time to Odessa, where he worked in the theatre, and then via Sofia in 1921 to Berlin, where he supported himself with theatre work and began to paint still-lifes, figures and portraits such as Natalie Glasko (1926; New Haven, CT, Yale U. A.G.)

From 1923 Tchelitchew lived in Paris, where his work underwent a fundamental change. He abandoned the brightly coloured Cubo-Futurist manner influenced by Exter in favour of a more realistic representation of objects treated as symbols of cosmic order: eggs, cabbages and constellations of stars. Soon he added figures in reflective, self-absorbed poses, such as ...

Article

Hans-Peter Wittwer

(b Lucerne, Aug 11, 1930; d Berlin, Nov 9, 1985).

Swiss painter, draughtsman and stage designer. He met Serge Stauffer (b 1930) in 1946, with whom he shared an admiration for Dada and Surrealism, and in particular for Hans Arp and Marcel Duchamp. In 1947 they started to exchange letters (some of which survive; see 1985 exh. cat.). Thomkins studied under Max von Moos (b 1903) at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Lucerne (1947–9), although he did not formally enrol at the college. He then attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris (1950–51). In 1952 he settled in Rheydt, near Lucerne, where he created the autobiographical figure Schwebsel, analogous to Max Ernst’s Lop-Lop bird.

In 1954 Thomkins moved to Essen. He produced the first Vexierklischees (painted photographs) in 1955 (e.g. Ornamental Asparagus is Re-potted Here, 1956; The Hague, Gemeentemus.) and began to experiment with Lackskins, produced by letting oil paint drip on to a water surface and using paper to pick up the coloured paint as it spread and mixed with the water. In these works he was experimenting with the interplay between manipulation and chance, which he had observed in the work of the Surrealists. In ...

Article

(b Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Notts, May 29, 1927; d Aug 4, 1999).

English stage designer. He trained at Mansfield College of Art, Notts (1946–9), the Royal College of Art, London (1949–53) and the Old Vic Theatre School, London (1954–7). Between 1952 and 1958, while still a student, he worked as an assistant to Oliver Messel and in 1957 created his first important sets for a production of Apollo de Bellec at the Royal Court Theatre, London. Thereafter he worked for leading theatre, opera and ballet companies in Europe and the USA, including the Royal National Theatre, the Young Vic Theatre Co., the Royal Shakespeare Co. and the Royal Opera House, London; the Chichester Festival Theatre, W. Sussex; the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, E. Sussex; the Burgtheater and Staatsoper, Vienna; and the New York City Opera and Metropolitan Opera, New York. Among his most memorable designs were those for productions of The Merry Wives of Windsor (1959...

Article

Richard John

(b Fano, Sept 1, 1608; d Fano, June 17, 1678).

Italian stage designer, engineer and architect. He may have worked first in Fano, where amateur productions are known to have been performed in the Palazzo della Ragione, but it is more likely that he acquired some theatrical experience in nearby Pesaro or Urbino. The earliest evidence of his activity is in connection with the inaugural performance (Jan 1641) of the Teatro Novissimo in Venice. Torelli had supposedly travelled to Venice to give military advice, but he soon became involved in designing the scenery and stage machinery for La finta pazza, an opera with music by Francesco Sacrati, which was followed by productions of Bellerofonte (1642) and Venere gelosa (1643), also by Sacrati. Torelli was probably also responsible for the design of Deidamia in 1644. In the same year, before leaving Venice for Paris, he staged Sacrati’s Ulisse errante at the Teatro SS Giovanni e Paolo....

Article

Maria Cristina Bandera Viani

(b Florence, Nov 2, 1727; d Milan, Nov 14, 1812).

Italian painter and engraver. He trained in Florence with Agostino Veracini (1689–1762) and Francesco Conti (1681–1760), and studied architecture and stage design under Antonio Galli-Bibiena. His earliest known painting is a fresco of 1758: Heavenly Father in Glory in the Dominican church in Livorno. He enriched his art by the study of Correggio’s works in Parma, and also those of Bolognese painters, making engravings (1764–7) after paintings by Guido Reni, Agostino Carracci, Annibale Carracci, Guercino and others. These were praised in 1765 by Pierre-Jean Mariette and were later collected in an album entitled Venticinque quadri ai maestri eccellenti incisi da Giuliano Traballesi (Milan, 1796).

In 1764 he won a competition at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Parma with the painting Furius Camillus Liberating Rome from the Gallic Senones, a work that is deeply influenced by the Bolognese tradition and by the Roman classicism of Nicolas Poussin. The success of this painting won Traballesi major commissions in his native Tuscany, where the transition from Rococo to Neo-classicism had been encouraged by the reforms initiated by Leopoldo II Habsburg-Lorraine when he became Grand Duke of Tuscany in ...

Article

Fani-Maria Tsigakou

(b Piraeus, Jan 13, 1910; d Athens, July 20, 1989).

Greek painter, stage designer, illustrator and writer. From 1928 to 1934 he worked as an apprentice in the workshop of Fotis Kontoglou, studying from 1932 to 1934 at the Higher School of Fine Arts in Athens, where he was taught at the Asylon Technis Gallery. Like most of the avant-garde intellectuals of his generation, he became actively involved with the popular art movement and the search for a Greekness in art. He travelled extensively in Greece, and went to Constantinople (now Istanbul) and Asia Minor studying Byzantine music, painting, textiles and the traditional shadow theatre. In 1935 he went to Paris where he was influenced by Matisse, in particular by such works as Cyclist in a Mauve Singlet (1936; see Tsarouchis, pl. 23), and by Demetrios Galanis. After 1938 he contributed costume and set designs for both the National and the Karolos Koun Theatre in Athens. While serving in World War II he executed numerous sketches of soldiers; these men were to become his favourite subject. From ...

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

(b Dresden, 1933).

Israeli sculptor, draughtsman and stage designer of German birth. His family left Germany in 1935 to settle in Palestine and there he studied at the Technical School of Tel Aviv until 1949. After serving in the Israeli army he returned to Germany in 1953 to design sets for Bertolt Brecht and the Berliner Ensemble and in 1956 he produced sets for Brecht’s Der gute Mensch von Sezuan. In 1957 he designed theatre sets in the Netherlands, Germany and Israel, by which time he was sculpting in iron, creating works such as Chariot (1956; see 1980 exh. cat.). He had his first one-man show in 1956 at the Santee Landwer Gallery in Amsterdam. In the 1960s he largely used bronze and iron to make his sculptures and assemblages, often incorporating weapon parts into them, as in Aggression (1964; see 1967 exh. cat., pl. 55). Other works of this period are similarly disturbing, such as ...

Article

Alan Bird

(Grigor’yevich)

(b Melitopol’, Ukraine, July 26, 1898; d Moscow, June 23, 1980).

Russian painter, graphic artist, stage designer and sculptor of Ukrainian birth. He was born into a Jewish family of carpenters. From childhood he was fascinated by itinerant showmen, puppeteers, gypsies and market traders who carried their wares in large baskets or their booths on their heads. From 1912 to 1917 he studied at the Kiev school of art. At the time of the 1917 revolution he was working in Alexandra Exter’s studio, where he met other young artists interested in the theatre, notably I. Rabinovich (1894–1961) and N. Shifrin (1892–1961). After service in the 12th Army he returned in 1919 to Melitopol’, where he created propaganda posters and cartoons for ROSTA (the Russian Telegraph Agency). In 1921 he went to Moscow and undertook some teaching in Vkhutemas (the Higher Artistic and Technical Workshops). He was a founder member of the Society of Easel Painters where, among other works, he exhibited ...

Article

Stephan von Wiese

(b Mecklenburg, March 13, 1930).

German sculptor and stage designer. He studied painting at the Kunstakademie in Berlin-Weissensse (1949–53), working first in the style of Socialist Realism. During his period at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf he undertook self-imposed repetitive exercises such as archery, and he modelled his first relief-form paintings by hand. In 1957 he made his first relief structures with nails leading to works such as White Picture (nails on canvas on wood, 1959; Krefeld, Kaiser-Wilhelm Mus.). He also incorporated corks (e.g. Cork Picture Light Medium, 1960; Düsseldorf, Kstmus.) and cardboard tubes set into the surface of the painting. The nailed picture became the antithesis of the painted picture; it allowed Uecker to explore the articulation of light through the shadows created by the nails, the unchanging ritual of hammering and the violation of taboo surfaces. In 1958 he began to work on circular nail formations, leading in 1961 to his rotating nailed illuminated discs....

Article

(Jörgensen Hungerholt)

(b Kemi, 1927).

Finnish sculptor, painter, printmaker and stage designer. In 1938 his family moved to Sweden, where in 1945 Ultvedt enrolled at the Konsthögskola in Stockholm; the following year he attended Sven Erixson’s decorative art school in Stockholm. In 1947 and 1948 he visited Paris, and in 1950 he had his first one-man show at the Galleri Noa-Noa in Copenhagen. At this time he was producing drawings, watercolours and engravings. In 1954 he designed the décor for the ballet Spiralen, performed at the Konserthus in Stockholm. From the mid-1950s he turned to collage, welded-metal sculptures and wood-and-paper assemblages, producing such works as Pig Trough (1958; see 1988 exh. cat., p. 16), a rectilinear object made from fragments of wood. In the early 1960s he made a number of shallow relief works using open layers of wood, as in Mobile (1961; Stockholm, Mod. Mus.). From the same period were a number of installations using wood, wire and other materials that were loosely assembled and often included moving parts, as in that for the ...