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Article

Harry Rand

[Adoian, Vosdanig Manoog]

(b Dzov, Turkish Armenia, April 15, 1904; d Sherman, CT, July 21, 1948).

American painter of Armenian birth. One of the most illustrious artists of the post-war New York School, he began his life in possibly the most obscure circumstances of any international modern master. His father emigrated to the USA to avoid conscription into the Turkish Army in World War I; in the Turkish persecution of the Armenians, Gorky’s mother died in her son’s arms after a 120-mile march. With his sister (who later figured prominently in his paintings) Gorky made his way to the coast and then, by ship, to the USA, arriving at New York in April 1920.

Gorky settled into a community of Armenians in New England and attempted a reconciliation with his father, but when that failed he moved from Massachusetts to New York City (c. 1925). There he assumed his pseudonym, claiming to be a cousin of the Russian writer, Maksim Gor’ky whose name, however, was a ...

Article

Elisabeth Vitou

(b Istanbul, Nov 21, 1900; d Antibes, Oct 29, 1970).

American architect of Armenian birth. After studying at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna, he worked for a time with Josef Hoffmann and Oskar Strnad. He went to live in Paris in 1920 and became an important colleague of Robert Mallet-Stevens. His first projects included a design for a concrete villa on pilotis, which Siegfried Giedion considered a forerunner of Le Corbusier’s Villa Laroche, and which confirmed him to be an exponent of functionalism, favouring concrete, geometric volumes and smooth walls. He gained public recognition with his designs for Sonia Delaunay’s Boutique Simultanée and the Cubist garden at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925. This led to the commission for the garden of the villa for Vicomte Charles de Noailles at Hyères. In 1926, while working on Robert Mallet-Stevens’s Rue Mallet-Stevens in Paris, he set up his own firm and worked on a variety of projects for villas and large houses in the Paris area and on the Côte d’Azur. The widely publicized villa that he built for the couturier ...

Article

Adam M. Thomas

[Osvaldo Luigi]

(b Cairo, Egypt, April 9, 1906; d Amagansett, NY, Sept 3, 1956).

American painter of Italian origin. After residing in Europe, his family relocated to New York in 1914. Guglielmi studied at the National Academy of Design from 1920 to 1925 and became a naturalized citizen in 1927. He arrived at his first mature painting style in the early 1930s. Guglielmi was among the principal practitioners of Social Surrealism, an American variant of European Surrealist art that adapted some of its imagery and techniques but eschewed its sexual symbolism and psychic automatism. Guglielmi rooted his pictures in the physical world in order to address social and political issues but, unlike Social Realism, did so through the use of unexpected or irrational juxtapositions and disorienting variations in scale. Although Guglielmi was not actively engaged in politics, many of his paintings contain expressly political, if sometimes ambiguous, content, such as Phoenix (The Portrait in the Desert) (1935; Lincoln, U. NE, Sheldon Mem. A.G.), in which a foreground portrait of Vladimir Lenin presides over a deserted landscape of factories and rubble....

Article

Mary M. Tinti

[Heukelekian, Haig]

(b Istanbul, March 28, 1905; d Woodstock, NY, Feb 17, 1993).

American sculptor of Armenian heritage. Hague came to the New York art scene by a most circuitous route. Raised in Turkey, Hague learned English at the Roberts College Preparatory School in Istanbul before moving to Egypt with his family in 1921. From there, he traveled through France on his way to the mid-western United States, where he enrolled at Iowa State University, Ames. Hague left Iowa after his first year and moved to Chicago, where he spent three months dancing on the vaudeville circuit. From that point on, Haig Heukelekian went by his stage name, Raoul Hague. In 1922, Hague began studies at the Art Institute of Chicago but quickly realized his skills were not in drawing or draftsmanship.

In 1925, Hague moved to New York City, attended the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design (1925–7), began fraternizing with artists at the Art Students League (1927–8), and became close friends with ...

Article

Roy R. Behrens

(b Flint, MI, Sep 13, 1940).

American book designer, typographer poet and teacher . His father was from Lebanon and his mother was an American-born paediatrician and bibliophile. He studied art at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI (1964) and at the nearby Cranbrook Academy of Art (1966). While visiting Iowa City, IA as an undergraduate, he met Harry Duncan (1917–97), a printer and typographer at the University of Iowa, who was also a leading participant in the revival of interest in letterpress printing. It was during that visit that he first saw a hand-crafted letterpress book. In Detroit he founded The Perishable Press Limited in 1964, followed soon after by the Shadwell Papermill at Cranbrook; involvements that gradually led to the publication of about 130 limited edition books by such well-known writers as Paul Blackburn, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Loren Eiseley, Denise Levertov, W. S. Merwin, Howard Nemerov, Toby Olson, Joel Oppenheimer, Jonathan Williams, William Stafford and Paul Auster. In ...

Article

Veerle Poupeye

(b Falmouth, Trelawny, Dec 31, 1920).

Jamaican painter. He came to the attention of the Institute of Jamaica in the late 1930s, when he also received his early training from the Armenian artist Koren der Harootian (1909–91). He was assistant to Edna Manley during her art classes at the Junior Centre, Kingston, in the early 1940s. He went on to study at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto, and at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, London. He was founding tutor in painting at the Jamaica School of Art and Crafts, Kingston, in 1950. Huie is best known as a landscape and genre painter. More effectively than any other Jamaican artist he captured the shimmering, atmospheric quality of the Jamaican landscape and the rhythm of life in the rural areas. Some of his works have socio-political overtones and express nationalist sentiments and his sympathy for the working class. He also made his mark as a portrait painter; his earliest major works are portraits, among them a portrait of ...

Article

Reinhold Misselbeck

(b Mardin, Turkish Armenia, Dec 23, 1908; d Boston, MA, July 13, 2002).

Canadian photographer of Turkish Armenian birth. He moved to Canada in 1924 and worked as an assistant in his uncle’s photographic studio in Montreal (1926–8). He studied photography in Boston from 1928 until 1931. He opened his own portrait studio in Ottawa in 1932. His front cover for Life magazine (30 Dec 1941), a portrait of Winston Churchill, was the basis for his fame and career as a portrait photographer, which involved many of the most important contemporary figures from the worlds of politics, science and the arts (e.g. Beaumont Newhall).

Karsh’s photography used strongly focused lighting and dark backgrounds, creating a chiaroscuro effect seen, for example, in Ingrid Bergman (1946; see Karsh, 1983, p. 169). He tried to reflect a characteristic image of the person photographed through the pose, for example in the contemplative profile portrait of Ronald Reagan (1982; see Karsh, ...

Article

A. Krista Sykes

(b Istanbul, Turkey, May 7, 1936; d Berkeley, CA, Dec 7, 1991).

American architectural historian and professor of Turkish birth. Kostof attended Robert College in Istanbul, an American-sponsored university preparatory school. In 1957 he arrived in the USA to study drama at Yale University, yet he switched to art history, studying under noted historian Vincent Scully and earning his doctorate in 1961. After teaching art history at Yale for four years, Kostof moved west in 1965 to the College of Environmental Design at the University of California Berkeley’s Department of Architecture. While he acted as a visiting professor in various places—including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1970), Columbia University (1976) and Rice University (1986–7)—he served as a professor at Berkeley until his untimely death from lymphoma in 1991.

Known as a dynamic and engaging professor, Kostof for decades had taught “A Historical Survey of Architecture and Urbanism,” a course that laid the foundation for his most well-known text, ...

Article

(b Newark, NJ, Jan 26, 1945).

American conceptual artist, designer, and writer. She enrolled at Parsons School of Design, New York, where her teachers included the photographer Diane Arbus and Marvin Israel (1924–84), a successful graphic designer and art director of Harper’s Bazaar, who was particularly encouraging. When Kruger’s interest in art school waned in the mid-1960s, Israel encouraged her to prepare a professional portfolio. Kruger moved to New York and entered the design department of Mademoiselle magazine, becoming chief designer a year later. Also at that time she designed book covers for political texts. In the late 1960s and early 1970s she became interested in poetry and began writing and attending readings. From 1976 to 1980 she lived in Berkeley, CA, teaching and reflecting on her own art. Kruger later taught at Art Institute of Chicago and joined the visual arts faculty of the University of California San Diego in 2002, and later the University of California Los Angeles, dividing her time between Los Angeles and New York....

Article

Joan Marter

(b Alexandria, Egypt, May 4, 1913; d Easthampton, NY, Dec 30, 2003).

American sculptor. Lassaw’s parents were Russian, but he spent his childhood in Egypt, where he attended a French lycée. In 1921 he immigrated with his family to New York, where he began his artistic training with traditional clay modelling at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and in 1927 at the Clay Club. In 1931–2 he attended evening classes at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design. After modelling clay figures, in 1933 he turned to abstract sculpture, and was among the first American sculptors to do so in the 1930s. Early open-space constructions such as Sculpture in Steel (1938; New York, Whitney) combine biomorphic elements with Constructivist methods. The leaflike elements suspended from a metal bar seem indebted to Alberto Giacometti’s Surrealist sculptures of the 1930s.

Lassaw studied the welded constructions of Julio González and Pablo Picasso, which were illustrated in French periodicals, and he was attracted to their openwork compositions in industrial metals. While Lassaw’s earliest constructions were made of reinforced plaster on pipe and wire armatures, by ...

Article

[tribal art]

The market for ‘tribal art’ emerged in the first decades of the 20th century. By way of avant-garde artists and pioneering dealers, African and Oceanic art slowly became accepted as ‘art’—with its inclusion in the Musée du Louvre in Paris in 2000 as a decisive endorsement. Initially, it was referred to as ‘primitive art’—alluding to an early ‘primitive’ stage in human development; later replaced by the equally biased ‘tribal art’. While still used widely among dealers and collectors (for want of a better word and being conveniently short), the term ‘tribe’, or its derivative ‘tribal’, is frowned upon by the scholarly community.

The foundations of the tribal art market were laid at the turn of the 20th century. European powers colonized large overseas territories in both Africa and Oceania and, along with other commodities, there arrived ethnographic artefacts. Europeans had conducted coastal trade with many African regions over centuries, but systematic explorations of the continental hinterland did sometimes not take place until the first decades of the 20th century. These resulted in the discovery of previously unknown cultures whose ritual objects, such as masks, were displayed during world’s fairs and colonial exhibitions. Many of these objects ended up in newly established museums, such as the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, outside Brussels. Vigorous competitors in the collection of ethnographic objects in both Africa and Oceania, these museums became the leading players in the early phases of the tribal art market’s development. Next to these large-scale official collecting activities, colonial, military, or missionary personnel also brought home exotic objects....

Article

Ita Heinze-Greenberg

(b Allenstein [now Olsztyn, Poland], March 21, 1887; d San Francisco, Sept 15, 1953).

German architect, teacher, and writer, active also in England, Palestine, and the USA. Mendelsohn was one of the most influential exponents of architectural Expressionism, and his sketches of fluid organic building forms and his Einstein Tower, Potsdam, are among the best-known products of the movement. Although his later work abandoned three-dimensional forms in favour of more conventional, geometric designs, these often incorporated curvilinear plans and retained an innovative dynamism.

Mendelsohn grew up as one of six children of a Jewish business family in the small East Prussian town of Allenstein. Following his father’s wishes, in 1907 he began to study economics at the University of Munich but in 1908 followed his own inclinations and enrolled as an architecture student at the Technische Hochschule, Berlin. In 1910 he returned to Munich to complete his architectural studies under Theodor Fischer, one of the most progressive teachers at the Technische Hochschule, and as a student he met several Expressionist artists, including Paul Klee, Franz Marc, Vasily Kandinsky, and Hugo Ball. After graduating in ...

Article

Burt Chernow

(b College Point, NY, Aug 10, 1897; d Stamford, CT, Dec 4, 1986).

American sculptor. He was the son of Armenian parents who immigrated to the USA from Turkey. In 1916 he was accepted as an apprentice in the studio of Paul Manship in New York. There he worked with Manship’s assistant, Gaston Lachaise, with whom he later shared a studio. The subjects of his early work were free-flowing, stylized animals, for example Seal (1930; New York, Whitney). In the 1930s he produced a series of life-size portrait busts of artists, collectors, and members of President Roosevelt’s first cabinet. In 1934 he exhibited a plaster sculpture, 2.44 m high, of the baseball hero Babe Ruth. The piece was greeted by much fanfare but never cast in bronze and was subsequently destroyed. Long unrecognized and on the brink of poverty, he nonetheless gradually developed a unique style under the influence of his friends Arshile Gorky and Stuart Davis. His most significant work was done after ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Qazvin, Iran, March 26, 1957).

American photographer and video artist of Iranian birth. She studied at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was awarded a BFA in 1979 and an MFA in 1982. She became involved in the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York when she was unable to return to Iran for political reasons. Years later, having settled in New York, she began making art in response to the situation she found after a visit to the post-Shah religious state. Using the Islamic veil, or chador, she made photographs that examined stereotypes of Muslim women as oppressed by the veil but also empowered by their refusal of the Western colonial gaze, as in Women of Allah (1993–7) and Rebellious Silence (1994; see 2000 exh. cat., p. 61). In these works Neshat is often posed with a gun, her image overlaid in Islamic script, as a way of confronting the Western view of Islam as both incomprehensible and dangerous. In ...

Article

Malcolm Gee

[Israel Ber]

(b Skole, Ukraine, March 2, 1887; d Rye, NY, April 28, 1961).

German dealer and publisher, active in the USA. Israel Ber Neumann, known as J. B. Neumann, opened his first print gallery in Berlin in 1911, exhibiting work by Edvard Munch and members of Brücke, Die. In 1913 he exhibited the complete prints of Munch in three shows and in 1915–16 was secretary to the Berlin Secession. After World War I Neumann, like other dealers in Expressionist art, initially met favourable conditions, with widespread demand for the work of such artists as Max Beckmann, who signed an exclusive contract with Neumann in 1921. This was a close but difficult relationship on both the personal and the commercial level. The deterioration of the German economic and political situation led Neumann to attempt to break into the American market, becoming permanently based in New York from 1923. He entrusted his Berlin gallery to Karl Nierendorf and the Munich one to Günther Franke. In ...

Article

Paul J. Karlstrom

(b Van, Armenia, Jan 22, 1876; d San Francisco, CA, Sept 19, 1950).

American sculptor of Armenian birth. Among the most prominent sculptors in California during the first quarter of the 20th century, he immigrated in 1891 to the USA, where he joined his father who had escaped the Turkish authorities and settled in Fresno, CA. The young Patigian worked as a vineyard labourer and sign painter until he moved in 1899 to San Francisco, where he enrolled at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art and worked at the San Francisco Bulletin. He spent the years 1906 and 1907 studying in Paris and returned to establish a successful career, greatly admired for his portrait busts, monuments, and architectural decoration. Three-time president of San Francisco’s exclusive Bohemian Club, he was also in the 1940s regional president of the rabidly anti-modernist Society for Sanity in Art.

According to one critic, Patigian loathed the avant-garde, the ideological, and the abstract. But he in fact embraced a different ideology, one deployed in traditional (anti-modernist) form. During his study in Paris, Patigian exhibited at the ...

Article

Christopher C. Mead

(b Lebanon, MI, June 24, 1936).

American architect. Predock was a leading architect of the American Southwest, who applied lessons learned in the desert to commissions across North America, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In 2006, the American Institute of Architects awarded him its highest honor, the AIA Gold Medal, for a place-based method of design that has earned him international recognition for his ability to express the geological, ecological and cultural context of each project in buildings conceived as abstracted landscapes.

In 1954, Predock left Lebanon, MI, to study engineering at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Donald Schlegel, an architect in the engineering program, turned Predock’s attention to architecture and encouraged him to complete his education at Columbia University in New York (BArch 1962). A year of travel across Europe (1962–3), supplemented by internships with I(eoh) M(ing) Pei (1962), The Architects Collaborative (1963) and Gerald McCue (...

Article

E. R. Salmanov

[Cuba]

Town and regional centre in Azerbaijan. It was founded in the 15th century on the right bank of the Kudial River as a small fortress in the foothills of the Caucasus, and by the 16th century a system of fortifications had developed. The town reached its apogee in the 18th century under the khāns of Kuba who made it the capital of their kingdom (1744–89). The city walls enclosed a higgledy-piggledy mass of streets and buildings stretched out along the river. The palace (destr.) was situated on the river bank, with its façade turned toward the Djuma (Friday) Mosque. From the 1840s the town developed on a more regular plan. The main street, with the district council building, the apothecary and the houses of the nobility, ran east–west from Baku Gate to Gamsar Gate. Bazaar Square near the palace had a caravanserai on the north, the house of Major-General Bakikhanov opposite, and small shops and booths along the east and west sides. The architect ...

Article

Mitra Monir Abbaspour

(b Chbanieh, June 15, 1967).

Lebanese conceptual artist, photographer, video and performance artist active also in America. Raad received his BFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1989, and completed his MA and PhD in Cultural and Visual Studies at the University of Rochester in 1993 and 1996, respectively, and in 2002 became an associate professor at the Cooper Union School in New York. History and its representation, narration, and memory are the central themes of Raad’s work. His experience of the Lebanese wars between 1975 and 1991 and their ongoing effects inform his inquiries into the methods of historical documents.

Raad began contending with narratives of the Lebanese wars in a series of short video documentaries that included Up to the South (1993)–a collaboration with Lebanese artist Jayce Salloum (b 1958)—and Missing Lebanese Wars (1996). Characteristic of his later practice, these videos critically employ a genre (documentary film) associated with factual reportage, foregrounding the relationship between subject and method of the work....

Article

Susan Kart

Susan Kart

Term that emerged in Francophone Africa in the early 1990s to define a series of contemporary art, artisanal, and craft practices in which artists laid claim to abandoned spaces and/or abandoned (found object) materials. Récupération does not translate well into English, but in a fine art context can loosely be explained as the retooling of materials and spaces from the natural and man-made environments to produce new objects and installations with cultural, political, and aesthetic implications.

One of the first documentarians of the movement was art historian Abdou Sylla. He positioned Senegalese artists who were practicing récupération (which he called ‘assemblage’ and ‘installation’) in opposition to the recycling operations by those he called ‘baay jagal’, a Wolof term for a person who collects trash to re-use or sell. Sylla’s distinction was necessary in order to situate the found object works of récupération artists in Africa against the craft practices of making shoes out of car tires, or toys out of soft-drink cans and electrical wire....