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Fiona Bradley

(Felip Jacint )

(b Figueres, May 11, 1904; d Figueres, Jan 23, 1989).

Spanish Catalan painter, draughtsman, illustrator, sculptor, writer and film maker. One of the most prolific artists of the 20th century, his fantastic imagery and flamboyant personality also made him one of the best known. His most significant artistic contribution, however, was through his association with Surrealism.

Dalí was born into the happy, if ideologically confusing, family of a respected notary. His father was a Republican and atheist, his mother a Roman Catholic. He was named Salvador in memory of a recently dead brother. This had a profound effect: his subsequent experimentation with identity and with the projection of his own persona may have developed out of an early understanding of himself as ‘a reply, a double, an absence’ (Dalí, 1970, p. 92). His childhood provided him with the fertile memories, both true and false, that fill his autobiography and resound in his art. Catalonia remained important to Dalí, but for its landscape rather than its separatist politics. He painted for much of his life in a house he bought in Port Lligat, near the family holiday home in Cadaqués, but the radical political beliefs that his father had taught him were to be replaced by a self-conscious monarchism and Catholicism. Dalí’s first contact with painting was through Ramon Pichot (...

Article

Inmaculada Julián

[Cat.: ‘die at seven’]

Artistic and literary group based in Barcelona and active from 1948 to 1956. It was founded in September 1948 by the poet Joan Brossa, who proposed the group’s name, together with philosopher Arnau Puig and the painters Modest Cuixart, Joan Ponç (b 1927), Antoni Tàpies and Joan-Josep Tharrats. They based their stance largely on Dada and Surrealism and related developments, notably on Max Ernst’s early work and on the art of Paul Klee and Joan Miró, and directed much of their attention to the sub-conscious by way of magic and the occult. Making clear their opposition to academic and official artistic circles, they were an important force in promoting contemporary art in Catalonia after the damage to their culture effected by the Spanish Civil War (1936–9).

The group’s ideas, and the work of the artists associated with it, were transmitted largely through their magazine, also titled ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Vólos, Greece, July 10, 1888; d Rome, Nov 20, 1978).

Italian painter, writer, theatre designer, sculptor and printmaker. De Chirico was one of the originators of Pittura Metafisica. His paintings are characterized by a visionary, poetic use of imagery, in which themes such as nostalgia, enigma and myth are explored. He was an important source of inspiration for artists throughout Europe in the inter-war years and again for a new generation of painters in the 1980s. His abrupt stylistic changes, however, have obscured the continuity of his approach, which was rooted in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, and this has often led to controversy.

His parents came from the Italian diaspora within the Ottoman empire. He was very close to his brother, Andrea (who later adopted the pseudonym Alberto Savinio). As children they identified themselves with the heavenly twins, Castor and Pollux, while their closest associates became the Argonauts (a reference to Giorgio’s birthplace, Vólos, from which, in Greek legend, the Argonauts departed to retrieve the Golden Fleece). The brothers’ inherited Greek culture was a consistently rich source of inspiration. Their father, Evaristo de Chirico, was an engineer engaged in supervising the construction of the railway in Thessaly. He encouraged his sons’ artistic talents, engaging drawing tutors for Giorgio and sending him to study with the Swiss painter ...

Article

Kirk Marlow

(b Sathonay, nr Lyon, Feb 25, 1918; d Paris, Dec 6, 1988).

French painter, draughtsman and sculptor. From the early 1950s he showed an interest in mark-making and in the rendering of calligraphic shapes engaging both the surface and the space of the paper or canvas (e.g. Sea Spears, 1954; Paris, Gal. Fournier), an approach similar to the Surrealist method of automatic writing and drawing. In 1955 he held an exhibition at the Galerie l’Etoile Scellée in Paris. André Breton co-wrote the preface to the catalogue and pointed out Degottex’s strong affinity to Zen philosophy and to the drawings of 12th-century Oriental calligraphers. Shortly after, directed in part by Breton, Degottex began a comprehensive study of the history of Oriental calligraphy and read histories of Zen painting from the 8th century to the 12th. His works from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s are an attempt to express the soul of the artist through the spirit of Zen thought. Several quickly executed strokes of paint or India ink are placed against a thinly painted contrasting monochromatic background suggesting the ‘void’ often referred to in Eastern philosophies (e.g. ...

Article

Roger Avermaete

(b Antheit, nr Huy, Sept 23, 1897; d Veurne, July 20, 1994).

Belgian painter and printmaker. He was, with René Magritte, one of the major exponents of Surrealism in Belgium. He began his training in 1920 at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, initially as an architect, but he soon changed to decorative painting, and he completed his studies in 1924. In his earliest works, such as Seascape (1923; Ostend, Mus. S. Kst.) and The Couple (1929; Brussels, Mus. A. Mod.), he was strongly influenced by the Flemish Expressionism of painters such as Constant Permeke and Gustav De Smet. In the mid-1930s, however, he turned decisively to Surrealism, not as an orthodox member of the movement but to a large extent under the influence of Giorgio De Chirico’s Pittura Metafisica, which he had first seen c. 1926. Among his first characteristic works in this vein are Pink Bows (1937; Antwerp, Kon. Mus. S. Kst.) and Phases of the Moon...

Article

M. Dolores Jiménez-Blanco

(b La Laguna, Tenerife, Jan 7, 1906; d Paris, Dec 31, 1957).

Spanish painter and sculptor, active in France. He first lived in Paris in 1927 while working for his family’s banana export business, coming into contact there with avant-garde groups and from 1929 undergoing the influence of Surrealism. Typical of the dreamlike and highly sexual early works that formed the basis of his first one-man exhibition, held in May 1933 at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Tenerife, is Surrealist Landscape (1933; Tenerife, E. Westerdahl priv. col., see Westerdahl, p. 18).

The Surrealist influence became even more marked after Domínguez’s meeting in 1934 with André Breton and Paul Eluard; in 1935 he became a member of the official Surrealist group, playing an active part in their activities and while still in Paris encouraging the dissemination of the movement in Spain. Domínguez had a particularly strong role in the promotion of Surrealism on the Canary Islands, not only through his contributions to the avant-garde journal ...

Article

Willemijn Stokvis

(b Tervuren, Dec 12, 1922; d Buizingen, nr Halle, 1979).

Belgian writer and painter. During World War II he contributed regularly to La Main à plume, the publication of the Parisian Surrealist group. Immediately after the War he published half-literary, half-theoretical texts in politically oriented Belgian periodicals. He was a fervent supporter of the alliance of Surrealism and Communism; in April 1947, in opposition to André Breton, he founded the movement Surréalisme Révolutionnaire in Brussels. In November 1948, when it became clear that further cooperation between the Belgian and French wings of this movement had become impossible, Dotremont, with Asger Jorn, Karel Appel, Constant and Corneille founded the Cobra movement (1948–51).

Dotremont became the prime spokesperson in the movement. In the Cobra periodical, of which he became the chief editor, he explained his ideas. He also produced numerous texts about the work of his fellow members. His most important artistic contribution to the Cobra movement was his cooperation as a poet with the artists of Cobra in, for example, the ...

Article

Francis M. Naumann

(b Blainville, Normandy, July 28, 1887; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, Oct 2, 1968).

French painter, sculptor and writer, active also in the USA. The art and ideas of Duchamp, perhaps more than those of any other 20th-century artist, have served to exemplify the range of possibilities inherent in a more conceptual approach to the art-making process. Not only is his work of historical importance—from his early experiments with Cubism to his association with Dada and Surrealism—but his conception of the ready-made decisively altered our understanding of what constitutes an object of art. Duchamp refused to accept the standards and practices of an established art system, conventions that were considered essential to attain fame and financial success: he refused to repeat himself, to develop a recognizable style or to show his work regularly. It is the more theoretical aspects implicit to both his art and life that have had the most profound impact on artists later in the century, allowing us to identify Duchamp as one of the most influential artists of the modern era....

Article

Valerie Holman

[Grindel, Eugène(-Emile-Paul)]

(b Saint-Denis, Dec 14, 1895; d Charenton-le-Pont, Seine, Nov 18, 1952).

French writer and collector. He was an innovative poet and was intimately involved with the Surrealist movement from its inception. He maintained a lasting friendship with Max Ernst, and his first wife Gala later married Salvador Dalí. He counted Pablo Picasso as one of his closest friends and dedicated more poems to him than to any other artist. Surrealist painters constantly stressed the importance of the inspiration they derived from the poets in their circle, in which Eluard was a central figure, largely because of his great sensitivity to the ways in which art and language could enhance each other. Not only did he publish numerous works dedicated to contemporary artists—notably Capitale de la douleur (Paris, 1926), La Vie immédiate (Paris, 1932) and Donner à voir (Paris, 1939)—but on many occasions he commissioned them to illustrate his poems: his collaborations with Max Ernst (Les Malheurs des immortels...

Article

Fani-Maria Tsigakou

(b Athens, Oct 21, 1910; d Athens, Oct 31, 1985).

Greek painter, stage designer and poet. He spent his school years in Constantinople (now Istanbul) and Paris. Between 1932 and 1938 he studied at the Higher School of Fine Arts in Athens under Konstantinos Parthenis and Yannis Kefallinos (1893–1957). At the same time he worked with Fotis Kontoglou. The publication in 1938 of his first collection of surrealistic poems, and the first exhibition of his paintings the following year, were enthusiastically received by the most authoritative members of the Greek literary and artistic avant-garde, such as Andreas Embirikos (1901–75) and Odysseas Elytis (b 1911). From 1941 to 1972 he held the post of professor of painting at the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens. He was one of the first exponents of Surrealism in Greece, combining the universal principles of the movement with the Greek artistic and cultural tradition. Deeply influenced by de Chirico’s metaphysical painting, he attempted to create an imagery of unexpected combinations, based upon poetic imagination and colour. His paintings are characterized by the presence of mannequins placed in Neo-classical houses overlooking the Parthenon or within strange Greek interiors. The female figure is almost always present in his works, as in ...

Article

Mona Hadler

(b Cologne, June 25, 1920; d New York, Feb 6, 1984).

American painter of German birth. His father was the prominent Surrealist artist Max(imilian) Ernst and his mother was the art historian and journalist Louise [Lou] Straus-Ernst. In 1935 he was apprenticed as a typographer in the printing firm of J. J. Augustin in Glückstadt where he set type for anthropological studies. The company worked to attain a visa for Ernst, whose mother was Jewish, and he departed Germany one week before Kristallnacht in 1938; his mother was to die in Auschwitz at the end of the war. Ernst passionately recounts these events in his memoir, A Not-So-Still Life, published in 1984, the year of his death.

In 1941, on the recommendation of gallerist Julien Levy, Ernst was employed by the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. After welcoming his father to the city, he began to work for Peggy Guggenheim, which placed him securely within the Surrealist émigré community and burgeoning New York school along with friends such as the painter William Baziotes. His career as an art dealer advanced in tandem with his painting production. With Eleanor Lust, he opened the experimental Norlyst Gallery in ...

Article

Malcolm Gee

(b Brühl, nr Cologne, April 2, 1891; d Paris, April 1, 1976).

German painter, printmaker, and sculptor, naturalized American in 1948 and French in 1958. He was a major contributor to the theory and practice of Surrealism (see Two Children Are Threatened by a Nightingale, 1924). His work challenged and disrupted what he considered to be repressive aspects of European culture, in particular Christian doctrine, conventional morality, and the aesthetic codes of Western academic art. Until the mid-1920s he was little known outside a small circle of artists and writers in Cologne and Paris, but he became increasingly successful from c. 1928 onwards. After 1945 he was respected and honoured as a surviving representative of a ‘heroic’ generation of avant-garde artists.

Article

Whitney Chadwick

(b Buenos Aires, Aug 30, 1908; d Paris, Jan 18, 1996).

French painter, stage designer and illustrator of Argentine birth. She grew up in Trieste, Italy. Her first contact with art was through visits to European museums and in her uncle’s large library, where she gleaned her earliest knowledge of artists such as the Pre-Raphaelites, Aubrey Beardsley and Gustav Klimt. She had no formal training as an artist. Her first one-woman exhibition took place in Paris in 1935 and resulted in friendships with Paul Eluard, Max Ernst, René Magritte and Victor Brauner, bringing her into close contact with the Surrealists; her sense of independence and her dislike of the Surrealists’ authoritarian attitudes kept her, however, from officially joining the movement. Nevertheless her works of the late 1930s and 1940s reflect her interest in Surrealist ideas. She also participated in the major international exhibitions organized by the group.

Fini’s almost mystical appreciation for the latent energy residing in rotting vegetation and her interest in nature’s cycles of generation and decay can be seen in works such as ...

Article

Birgit Hessellund

[Carlsen, Frederik Wilhelm (Christian)]

(b Copenhagen, Feb 7, 1909; d Copenhagen, Nov 24, 1995).

Danish painter and sculptor. He studied briefly at technical college and at the school of graphic arts of the Kunstakademi in Copenhagen, but he was largely self-taught. Freddie painted his earliest abstracts in 1926, but in 1929 he became acquainted with André Breton’s periodical La Révolution surréaliste. The following year he introduced Surrealism to Scandinavia with the painting Liberty, Equality and Fraternity (priv. col.), which he showed at Kunstnernes Efterårsudstilling (‘Artists’ Autumn Exhibition’). In 1934 he met the painters Harry Carlsson and Vilhelm Bjerke-Petersen. Through Bjerke-Petersen, Freddie became involved with the international Cubist-Surrealist exhibition at Den Frie (the Free Exhibition) in Copenhagen in January 1935. Freddie exhibited there along with Magritte, Man Ray, Arp, Miró, Dalí, Yves Tanguy and others. He also participated in later large international Surrealist exhibitions.

Freddie became one of the most important Surrealists in Denmark, and his work caused scandals from the beginning. When, in March 1937...

Article

Julie Friedeberger

(b Berlin, Aug 23, 1922).

British painter of German birth. He left Germany in 1938, reaching England in 1939 and Australia in 1940. His first works were in a Surrealist manner, for example Shopping Centre (1942; Canberra, N.G.). From 1944 Friedeberger exhibited with the Contemporary Art Society in Australia. He then studied painting at East Sydney Technical College (1947–50). After returning to England (1950) he produced a series of brilliantly coloured paintings, mainly of children at play, characterized by a formalized expressionist intensity. For some years he combined painting with work as a graphic designer and a part-time teacher (Central School of Arts and Crafts, London College of Printing). In 1963 his first one-man show was held (London, Hamilton Gals). In the late 1960s Friedeberger’s work changed; figurative representation and the use of colour were eventually abandoned altogether. His new monochrome paintings (exh. 1986, London, Warwick A. Trust) are quite heavily impastoed and exploit the manifold possibilities of black/grey/white. They present an expressive, convincing reality of their own, independent of allusions to anything not inherent in the process and the painting itself. Tonality provides illusionistic scope to create forms and space. A large retrospective (...

Article

Toru Asanu

(b Fukuoka, Gunma Prefect., Jan 18, 1898; d Tokyo, Oct 16, 1992).

Japanese painter. In 1918 he entered the literature department of Tokyo University; however, a liking for sculpture made him turn his attention to fine art. Travelling to France to research European art (1924) caused his interest to shift from sculpture to painting. From c. 1929 he was influenced by Surrealism and, stimulated by the collages of Max Ernst, he produced such works as Another’s Love and Science Blinds Beauty (both 1930; Takasaki, Gunma Prefect. Mus. Mod. A.). In 1931, shortly before his return to Japan, he sent 37 Yōga (Western-style) paintings to the first exhibition of the Dokuritsu Bijutsu Kyōkai (Independent Art Society). The ironic, witty and sharp punning nature of these pieces had hitherto not been seen in Japanese painting. Their display caused a great sensation in Yōga circles.

Although the influence of Surrealism had already begun to permeate Japanese art circles, Fukuzawa’s return in summer 1931...

Article

Jacqueline Stare

[Swed. Halmstadgruppen]

Swedish group of six painters active from 1929. It disbanded only with the death of the various members. The artists were the brothers Axel Olson (1899–1986) and Erik (Arthur) Olson (1901–86), their cousin (Anders) Waldemar Lorentzon (1899–1984), Sven Jonson (1902–83), (Carl) Stellan (Gabriel) Mörner (1896–1979) and Theodor Esaias Thorén (1901–81). All had connections with Halmstad, a town on the west coast of Sweden. In 1919 Egon Östlund, a mechanical engineer working in Halmstad, established contact with the Olsons and Lorentzon. Through Östlund, they became familiar with the work of Gösta Adrian-Nilsson, and over the years Östlund supported the Halmstad group. Adrian-Nilsson’s paintings were important early mutual influences for the group, as were Cubism and Neo-plasticism. In the early 1930s the group began to paint in a Surrealist style, as in, for example, Erik Olson’s the Day through the Night...

Article

Ferenc Tóth

(b Bia, nr Budapest, Dec 8, 1922; d Paris, Sept 11, 2008).

Hungarian painter, active in France. He began his studies at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest, in 1941 under Vilmos Aba-Novák (1894–1941) and Béla Kontuly (1904–83). At this time he started to experiment with various techniques, including washing out figures from a basic colour with a brush dipped in water, and scratching out outlines in thick, almost dry paint with a pointed instrument. This anticipated his later methods of production, influenced by Max Ernst. In 1947 he had an exhibition of selected works at the Budapest Forum Salon. His painting On the Balcony (1947–8; Pécs, Mod. Hung. Mus.) has a hallucinatory quality, which represents the transition to his Surrealist works of the 1950s. In 1948 Hantai visited Italy and in 1949 he settled permanently in Paris. At the end of 1952 he became acquainted with André Breton, who wrote the preface to the catalogue of Hantai’s first French exhibition, held in ...

Article

(b London, Dec 27, 1901; d Paris, May 4, 1988).

English printmaker, draughtsman and painter, active in France and the USA. He came from a family of painters, including George Hayter, but started his career by studying chemistry and geology at King’s College, London (1917–21). After graduating he worked in the Persian Gulf for several years for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. In 1926 he settled in Paris, where he enrolled at the Académie Julian and studied burin engraving privately with the Polish artist Joseph Hecht (1891–1951), who also taught Anthony Gross. Hayter began to take his own pupils in 1927 and in 1933 named his workshop Atelier 17, after the street number of his studio in the Rue Campagne-Première. The hallmark of the workshop was its egalitarian structure, breaking sharply with the traditional French engraving studios by insisting on a cooperative approach to labour and technical discoveries. In 1929 Hayter was introduced to Surrealism by Yves Tanguy and ...

Article

[Swed.: ‘Imaginist group’]

Swedish Surrealist group, founded c. 1945, which grew out of the short-lived Minotaurgruppen. Its founders were C. O. Hultén, Max Walter Svanberg and Anders Österlin (b 1926), and later its members included the artists Gösta Kriland (1917–89), Bertil Lundberg (b 1922), Bengt Orup (b 1916), Bertil Gadō (b 1916), Lennart Lindfors and Gudrun Ählberg-Kriland. The Imaginistgruppen followed the example of the Minotaurgruppen by using the styles and techniques characteristic of Surrealism, as in Hultén’s Beach Statue (frottage, 1948; Malmö, Kstmus.). In 1947 the group founded its own publishing house in Malmö, and that year it produced a collection of frottages, Drömmar ur bladens händer (‘Dreams from the hands of leaves’), by Hultén. Första fasen (‘First phase’), a text on Imaginism written by Svanberg in 1948, was included in the catalogue of an exhibition of his work in Göteborg in ...