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Article

Kyla Mackenzie

(b Nelson, 1949).

New Zealand photographer. Aberhart became a leading photographer in New Zealand from the 1970s with his distinctive 8×10 inch black-and-white photographs, taken with a 19th-century large format Field Camera. He is particularly well known for his images of disappearing cultural history, often melancholic in tone, in New Zealand.

Aberhart’s use of an ‘outmoded’ process for picturing subjects in apparent decay or decline paradoxically re-invigorated them. He was inspired by the documenting traditions of New Zealand’s itinerant 19th-century photographers. His generally provincial subjects included vacant architectural interiors and exteriors, such as domestic houses, Masonic lodges, churches, Maori meeting-houses, and cemeteries, war memorials, museum exhibits, landscapes, and horizons (see A Distant View of Taranaki, 14 February 2009, Auckland, A.G.). Aberhart also produced several compelling portraits, especially those from the late 1970s and early 1980s of his daughters (e.g. Kamala and Charlotte in the Grounds of the Lodge, Tawera, Oxford, 1981; Christchurch, NZ, A.G.)....

Article

Mark Allen Svede

(b Liepāja, April 14, 1939; d West Berlin, Feb 14, 1984).

Latvian performance artist. He arrived in Germany at the age of five as a refugee and later triumphed over geopolitical circumstances to help revitalize artistic culture in his occupied homeland. While pursuing architectural studies at the Technische Hochschule in Aachen (1961–71), he grew interested in the interplay of progressive politics and innovative art forms, which prompted early collaborations with Wolf Vostell and Joseph Beuys, such as their performance 20 July ’64. In 1966 Āboliņš and Gerd Vorhoff founded the Neue Galerie in Aachen, where they organized happenings and performances by Beuys, Jörg Immendorff, Nam June Paik, Tomas Schmit and other key members of Fluxus, the movement instigated by another exiled Balt, the composer George Maciunas (1931–78). At the same time, inspired by the New Left, Āboliņš combated artistic provincialism within the conservative Latvian émigré community by proposing a cultural rapprochement with Soviet Latvia. Advocating an international—rather than a narrowly nationalist—Latvian identity, Āboliņš helped to organize in ...

Article

In the 1990s, Aboriginal art gained for the first time a substantial audience as contemporary art. Ten years earlier it had been the preserve of anthropologists and marketed as ‘primitive fine art’ to collectors of tribal art. In 1980, Andrew Crocker, the newly-appointed manager of Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd—the Western Desert artist-run company formed in 1972—sought to change this by marketing the art on purely aesthetic grounds without reference to its Aboriginality. This coincided with a growing interest in the art by an emerging generation of contemporary artists. When abstract paintings from Papunya Tula began appearing in contemporary art venues, Australian critics wondered if they were pieces of Post-modernist or conceptual art. By the end of the decade, such questions were being asked at an international level, with Western Desert art playing a significant role in the emerging post-colonial debate. While this international interest by critics quickly waned, from this time onwards, Aboriginal art became well and truly framed in the Australia art world by the discourses of Post-modernism, post-colonialism and contemporary art....

Article

Daniel Le Couédic

[Hippolyte]

(b Nantes, March 19, 1891; d Paris, Jan 20, 1966).

French architect and teacher. A student of Alfred-Henri Recoura (1864–1939), he graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, in 1920. He settled in Paris, and his first works were influenced by Art Deco. In 1923 he became one of the two architects of the new seaside resort of Sables-d’Or-les-Pins (Côtes-du-Nord). There, and in the nearby village of Val-André, Abraham began his analysis and rejection of the picturesque in such buildings as Villa Miramar (1928) and Villa Ramona (1929). In 1929, in partnership with Henry-Jacques Le Même (b 1897), he made his first design for a sanatorium, later executing three examples at Passy (Haute-Savoie), which are among his best works: Roc-de-Fiz (1931), Guébriant (1933) and Geoffroy de Martel de Janville (1939). Two blocks of flats built in Paris in 1931 (at 28 Boulevard Raspail and Square Albinoni) characterize the peak of his production in their precision and sobriety of composition, moderate use of the modernist vocabulary and use of new techniques and materials....

Article

David Boxer

(b St Andrew, May 14, 1911; d Kingston, Apr 10, 2005).

Jamaican painter. He began his career as a cartoonist for various local periodicals. In 1937 Augustus John, then working in Jamaica, encouraged him to begin painting. Unlike the majority of his contemporaries, he eschewed the “official” classes of the Institute of Jamaica and virtually taught himself to paint through self-study courses and manuals and by copying masterpieces from art books. His cartoonist’s wit and a sardonic humor became the most important ingredients in work that drew on numerous stylistic sources, from Renaissance painting to Cubism. He was a devout Christian, and produced a host of religious works of an undeniable sincerity, although he transformed many traditional Christian themes into witty contemporary parables. His Last Supper (1955; Kingston, N.G.) is the best known of these. Some of his finest work consists of ironic transformations of the great mythological themes of the past and intensely personal fantasies based on contemporary events. He was also one of the few painters to treat successfully historical Jamaican subjects, for example in paintings of the imagined daily lives of the extinct Arawaks, the landing of Columbus, and a series depicting the riotous living of 17th-century buccaneers in Port Royal. His ...

Article

Roberto Pontual

(b Araraquara, 1903; d Asunción, Paraguay, 1992).

Brazilian printmaker and teacher. He worked initially as a printmaker and painter until 1933 when, influenced by Lasar Segall’s expressionism, he abandoned painting for wood-engraving, which he had first practised in São Paulo c. 1926. He initially treated social themes such as the São Paulo working class. Between 1935 and 1938 he produced a series of wood-engravings, Spain, based on the Spanish Civil War, for example War (1937; U. São Paulo, Inst. Estud. Bras.). In 1950 he won a trip abroad from the Salão Nacional de Belas Artes, Rio de Janeiro, and visited Italy, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands. On his return he made the series of wood-engravings, Rio, with scenes and landscapes characterized by a frank lyricism. He was named best national engraver in the first São Paulo Bienal in 1951. His constant activity as a teacher influenced many younger engravers. In 1957 he founded the Julian de la Herreria engraving workshop in Asunción, Paraguay, and in ...

Article

Francis Summers

Reviser Jessica Santone

(b Belgrade, Nov 30, 1946).

Serbian performance artist, video artist and installation artist. She attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade (1965–70) before completing her post-diploma studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb, in 1972. Her early works included sound recordings installed on bridges, paintings of truck crashes, and experiments with conceptual photography (see Widrich, pp. 80–97). In her first significant performance, Rhythm 10 (1973), she repeatedly and rapidly stabbed the spaces between her fingers with various knives. Later, in Rhythm 0 (1974; see Ward, pp. 114–30), she invited gallery visitors to choose from 72 available objects to use on her body, as she stood unresponsive for 6 hours. Her infamous performance Thomas’ Lips (1975; see M. Abramović and others, pp. 98–105), in which she cut, flagellated, and froze herself, established her practice as one that dramatically explored the physical limits of the human body, as seen in the work of Gena Pane or Chris Burden (...

Article

A. Deirdre Robson

(b London, Dec 8, 1904; d New York, Nov 25, 1979).

American publisher and collector. He trained at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York before working in publishing. In 1950 he set up his own publishing company, Harry N. Abrams Inc., one of the first American companies to specialize in art books. In 1968 he founded Abbeville Books. His collecting, which began in the mid-1930s, went through three distinct phases: his first interest was in such contemporary American painters as Milton Avery and Raphael Soyer. He continued to purchase such works into the 1950s, but from the mid-1940s his collecting began to be dominated by works by major 20th-century artists; he acquired, among other works, Marc Chagall’s Clock (1948), Pablo Picasso’s Motherhood (1921) and Georges Rouault’s Miserere (1939).

Abrams’s most notable period as a collector was the 1960s, when he became known as a major collector of new American art. His interest in this area was fuelled by the ...

Article

María Antonia González-Arnal

(b Turmero, nr Maracay, Aug 22, 1919; d Caracas, Feb 20, 1993).

Venezuelan painter and sculptor. From 1943 to 1947 he studied drawing and painting in the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas, Caracas. He was a founder-member of the Taller Libre de Arte, taking part in its activities from 1949 to 1952. His paintings, always within a figurative framework, are marked by a pursuit of the magical and of indigenous roots. In his early work he was interested in the themes of roosters and flowers, using the surrounding environment as a source of inspiration. He expressed human, animal and vegetable existence in strong, warm colours (e.g. The Rooster, 1951; Caracas, Gal. A. N.). In 1952 Abreu moved to Europe, visiting Spain and Italy and living in Paris until 1962, when he returned to Venezuela. In Europe his contact with the Musée de l’Homme in Paris and with Surrealism produced a profound transformation in his work. He created his first Magical Objects...

Article

Absalon  

John-Paul Stonard

[Eshel, Meir]

(b Tel Aviv, Dec 26, 1964; d Paris, Oct 10, 1993).

Israeli sculptor. He adopted the name Absalon on his arrival in Paris in the late 1980s. During his short career he achieved widespread recognition for the 1:1 scale architectural models that he constructed of idealized living units. These wooden models, painted white, demonstrate an obsession with order, arrangement and containment, and have associations both of protective shelters and monastic cells. They were designed to be placed in several cities and to function as living-pods for the artist as he travelled. Exhibiting a series of six ‘cellules’ in Paris in 1993, he described how they were fitted both to his body and to his mental space, but were also able to condition the movements of his body in line with their idealized architecture. Although he denied their apparent utopianism, the sculptures can be viewed as the reduction of the utopian aims of early modern architecture (as seen in the work of the Constructivists, de Stijl and Le Corbusier) to the level of individual subjectivity. This suggests both the failure of architectural social engineering and its inevitable basis in subjective, anti-social vision. Absalon’s habitational units also have an element of protest. In an interview for the ...

Article

Anna Moszynska

Term applied in its strictest sense to forms of 20th-century Western art that reject representation and have no starting- or finishing-point in nature. As distinct from processes of abstraction from nature or from objects (a recurring tendency across many cultures and periods that can be traced as far back as Palaeolithic cave painting), abstract art as a conscious aesthetic based on assumptions of self-sufficiency is a wholly modern phenomenon (see Abstraction).

In the late 19th century, and particularly in Symbolist art and literature, attention was refocused from the object to the emotions aroused in the observer in such a way that suggestion and evocation took priority over direct description and explicit analogy. In France especially this tradition contributed to the increased interest in the formal values of paintings, independent of their descriptive function, that prepared the way for abstraction. In his article ‘Définition du néo-traditionnisme’, published in L’Art et critique...

Article

David Anfam

Term applied to a movement in American painting that flourished in the 1940s and 1950s, sometimes referred to as the New York School or, very narrowly, as Action painting, although it was first coined in relation to the work of Vasily Kandinsky in 1929. The works of the generation of artists active in New York from the 1940s and regarded as Abstract Expressionists resist definition as a cohesive style; they range from Barnett Newman’s unbroken fields of colour to De Kooning family, §1’s violent handling of the figure. They were linked by a concern with varying degrees of abstraction used to convey strong emotional or expressive content. Although the term primarily denotes a small nucleus of painters, Abstract Expressionist qualities can also be seen in the sculpture of David Smith, Ibram Lassaw and others, the photography of Aaron Siskind and the painting of Mark Tobey, as well as in the work of less renowned artists such as ...

Article

Nelson Goodman

Term used in an art context in several ways: in general for processes of imagemaking in which only some of the visual elements usually ascribed to ‘the natural world’ are extracted (i.e. ‘to abstract’), and also for the description of certain works that fall only partially, if at all, into what is commonly understood to be representational. Differing ideas and manifestations of abstraction appeared in artists’ works in the successive modern movements of the 20th century (see Abstract art). As the notion of abstraction in the second sense is always dependent on what the parameters of representation are thought to be, the two terms can be contiguous in definition, raising interesting points for the general theory of reference. For instance, an abstract work is often defined as one that does not represent anything, but not every work that does not represent anything is necessarily abstract. A painting that has a fictitious subject, for example a painting of Don Quixote or Camelot, does not represent anything (for there is no such person or place) but is not therefore abstract. A Zeus-picture or a Paradise-picture is no more abstract than a Napoleon-picture or a Paris-picture. An abstract work neither represents anything nor is representational....

Article

International group of painters and sculptors, founded in Paris in February 1931 and active until 1936. It succeeded another short-lived group, Cercle et Carré, which had been formed in 1929 with similar intentions of promoting and exhibiting abstract art. Its full official title was Abstraction-Création: Art non-figuratif. The founding committee included Auguste Herbin (president), Georges Vantongerloo (vice-president), Hans Arp, Albert Gleizes, Jean Hélion, Georges Valmier and František Kupka.

Membership of Abstraction-Création was in principle open to all abstract artists, but the dominant tendency within the group was towards the geometric formality championed by Theo van Doesburg and by other artists associated with De Stijl. Works such as Jean Hélion’s Ile-de-France (1935; London, Tate), which came to typify the group’s stance, owed more to the post-war ‘rappel à l’ordre’ interpreted by the Purists in terms of a ‘classic’ and ‘architectonic’ ordering of art, design and architecture, than to the biomorphic abstraction derived from Surrealism. During its brief existence the group published annual ...

Article

Jorge Luján-Muñoz

(b Guatemala, Jan 7, 1933).

Guatemalan painter and printmaker. From 1954 to 1957 he studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas in Guatemala City while researching folk art for the Dirección de Bellas Artes, but he was virtually self-taught and began as a draughtsman and painter of bullfighting scenes. In 1958 he travelled to New York on a Guatemalan government grant, prolonging his stay there with further grants, studying at the Arts Students League and Graphic Art Center, and finally settling there permanently. He was influential in Guatemala until c. 1960, but because of his long residence abroad his work did not fit easily in the context of Central American art. Before leaving Guatemala he had painted landscapes and nudes in a naturalistic style, but he soon adopted a more modern idiom partly inspired by aboriginal Guatemalan subjects. After moving to New York, and especially from 1958 to 1961, his art underwent a profound transformation as he sought to bring together elements of abstract art and Surrealism and experimented with textures, for example in cross-hatched pen-and-ink drawings such as ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Trápani, Oct 9, 1924).

Italian painter. After training at the Accademie di Belle Arte in Palermo and Florence, she moved to Rome in 1946, where she met the Sicilian artists Pietro Consagra, Ugo Attardi (b 1923) and Antonio Sanfilippo (1923–80), the last of whom she married in 1949. Together with Giulio Turcato, Mino Guerrini (b 1927), Piero Dorazio and Achille Perilli (b 1927), the group established Forma in 1947 to promote an abstract Marxist art distinct from social realism. Accardi participated in the Forma exhibition (October 1947; Rome, A. Club) with work still indebted to post-Cubism (e.g. Decomposition, 1947; U. Parma, Cent. Studi & Archv Communic.). After one-woman shows in Rome (Lib. Age Or, 1950) and Milan (Lib. Salto, 1951), and having established contact with the Movimento Arte Concreta, Accardi visited Paris. There the contrasting static and energetic work of Alberto Magnelli and Hans Hartung initiated a crisis of direction, and she abandoned painting in ...

Article

Frazer Ward

(Hannibal)

(b New York, Jan 24, 1940).

American poet, performance, video, and installation artist, and urban designer. Acconci worked for an MFA degree at the University of Iowa from 1962 to 1964. He initially devoted himself to poetry and writing that emphasized the physicality of the page and then began to produce visual work in real space in 1969. He worked as a performance artist from 1969 until 1974. His performance work addressed the social construction of subjectivity. A central work, Seedbed (1972; New York, Sonnabend Gal.), saw Acconci masturbate for six hours a day, hidden under a sloping gallery floor, involving visitors in the public expression of private fantasy. Between 1974 and 1979 he made a series of installations often using video and especially sound, mainly in gallery spaces, examining relations between subjectivity and public space. For Where We Are Now (Who Are We Anyway) (1976; New York, Sonnabend Gal.), a long table in the gallery and recorded voices suggested a realm of public or communal debate, but the table extended out of the window over the street like a diving board, countering idealism with the realities of city life. In the 1980s Acconci made sculptures and installations, many viewer-activated, invoking basic architectural units and domestic space. ...

Article

Julieta Ortiz Gaitán

(b Mexico City, Sept 24, 1931).

Mexican painter. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Pintura y Escultura ‘La Esmeralda’ under Enrique Assad Lara and Carlos Orozco Romero. His work reflects a concern for the negative effects of industrialization and modernization on cities and displays a nostalgia for more humane urban conditions. His large-scale paintings, for example the Boots of the Gran Solar (oil on canvas, 1.60×1.80 m, 1982; artist’s col.), convey a sense of urgency through the use of light and colour, with broad lines and chromatic tones creating dynamic forms that show the influence of Abstract Expressionism.

Siete pintores contemporáneos: Gilberto Aceves Navarro, Luis López Loza, Rodolfo Nieto, Brian Nissen, Tomás Parra, Vlady, Roger von Gunten (exh. cat., Mexico City, Pal. B.A., 1977)R. Tibol: Aceves Navarro, Durero y las variaciones (Mexico City, 1978)M. Idalia: ‘Más libertad y menos barroquismo en la nueva pintura de Aceves Navarro’ [Greater freedom and less extravagance in the new painting of Aceves Navarro], ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Oakland, CA, 1893; d. Shiraz, Iran, 25 Jan. 1977).

American historian of Iranian art. While studying mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, Ackerman met and eventually married Arthur Upham Pope, with whom she had taken courses in philosophy and aesthetics. In 1926 she and Pope organized the first ever exhibition of Persian art at the Pennsylvania Museum and helped create the First International Congress of Oriental Art. In 1930 Ackerman was stricken with polio but taught herself to walk again. They were instrumental in preparing the 1931 Persian Art Exhibition at Burlington House, London, and the Second International Congress of Iranian Art and Archaeology, as well as the Third Congress in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1935 and the exhibition of Iranian art at the Iranian Institute in New York in 1940. She visited Iran for the first time in 1964, when the shah of Iran invited Pope to revive the Asia Institute; it was associated with Pahlavi University in Shiraz until ...

Article

Colin Rhodes

(b Berlin, Oct 5, 1887; d Bad Liebenzell, nr Stuttgart, Nov 14, 1975).

German painter. He studied under Henry Van de Velde at the School of the Fine Arts and Arts and Crafts of the Grand Duchy of Saxony (later the Bauhaus, Weimar) (1906–7), and under Franz von Stuck at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich (1909–10). He worked under Adolf Hölzel at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart from 1912, and by 1918 he had produced his first non-objective works under the influence of the latter. Although primarily an abstract painter he was briefly involved with Magic Realism in the 1920s. He devised a type of colour abstraction, which he called ‘Absolute Painting’, and in 1930 he founded a ‘Seminar for Absolute Painting’ at the Volkshochschule in Stuttgart. Works such as Painting XII (1949; Berlin, Alte N.G.) relied heavily on a body of theory derived mainly from Hölzel and the colour theories of Goethe.

L. Langenfeld...