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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

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

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

Hana Myslivečková

(b Jesenný, nr Semily, May 6, 1890; d Prague, Jan 23, 1943).

Czech painter. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague from 1917 to 1922. In 1921 he became a pupil of Vojtěch Hynais. He was a member of the Mánes Union of Artists (SVU Mánes). Overall, his figure compositions, still-lifes and landscapes display Neo-classicist and lyrical, Cubist tendencies. In 1929 he adopted a more Surrealist style, with imaginative, illusionistic paintings of ill-defined symbolic objects with organic and anthropomorphic associations. In 1932 he took part in the first group exhibition of Surrealism in Czechoslovakia, arranged by SVU Mánes in Prague under the title Poesie 1932. After 1935 his work culminated in raw, expressive visions of an imagined biological and psychic universe with destructive and apocalyptic elements anticipating the catastrophe of world war. From 1939 to 1942, when he was not permitted to exhibit his work in public, he taught at the SVU Mánes School.

František Janoušek (exh. cat., Prague, Mánes Exh. Hall, 1947)...

Article

Mark Haworth-Booth

(b Great Falls, MT, Dec 14, 1890; d New York, Oct 22, 1954).

American designer and painter, active in England. He studied painting first, at evening classes at the Mark Hopkins Institute, San Francisco (1910–12), at the Art Institute of Chicago, with lettering (1912), and in Paris at the Académie Moderne (1913–14). In 1912 he adopted the name of an early patron, Professor Joseph McKnight (1865–1942), as a gesture of gratitude. In 1914 he settled in Britain.

From 1915 McKnight Kauffer designed posters for companies such as London Underground Railways (1915–40), Shell UK Ltd, the Daily Herald and British Petroleum (1934–6). One of his master works, Soaring to Success! Daily Herald—The Early Bird (1919; see Haworth-Booth, fig.), was derived from Japanese prints and from Vorticism. In 1920 he was a founder-member of Group R with Wyndham Lewis and others. McKnight Kauffer’s designs included illustrations for T. S. Eliot’s Ariel Poems...

Article

Leland M. Roth and Gordon Campbell

(John)

(b Vienna, Sept 22, 1890; d New York, Dec 27, 1965).

American architect, stage designer, furniture designer and writer of Austrian birth. In 1920 he worked with Adolf Loos in Vienna. He was also in contact with the artists associated with De Stijl and began experimenting with innovative theatre designs. In 1924 he produced the Endless Theatre design. The ‘Endless’ was a double-curved shell of reinforced concrete that could enclose any irregularly traditional divisions into floor, wall, and ceiling but offered the inhabitant an open interior that could be modified at will. For the theatre he adapted the ‘Endless’ by devising a double-spiral stage interconnected by ramps and rings of spectator seats. Kiesler believed that the Endless Theatre, without proscenium or curtain, projecting out into the audience, with perpetually moving walls bathed in light of ever changing colour, would promote greater interaction between actors and audience.

For the celebrated Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925...

Article

Ingrid Severin

(Peter Cornelius)

(b Düsseldorf, Feb 10, 1935).

German painter, draughtsman and teacher. He studied painting under Bruno Goller in 1954–6 at the Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf, and in 1956–7 lived in Paris, where he became a friend of the French painter Christian d’Orgeix (b 1927). His work during this period was in the tradition of Magic Realism, but between 1955 and 1959 he created his own vocabulary, using such emblematic images as typewriters (e.g. Athletic Self-portrait, oil on canvas, 740×930 mm, 1958; Saarbrücken, Saarland-Mus.), shoe-trees, sewing machines and bicycle bells. In 1959–63 his objects became more abstract and simplified. In 1960 he became friendly with Richard Oelze and in the following year made contact with the circle of Surrealists around José Pierre and André Breton in Paris. Between 1963 and 1983 he heightened and monumentalized his images and became interested in drawing. He also began using an exaggerated, childlike perspective. In his still-lifes, painted with sober precision, he mixed experiences and images from the past, as in ...

Article

Elaine O’Brien

(Mathilde)

(b Saint Mandé, Val de Marne, Nov 17, 1910; d July 20, 1993).

French painter, active also in the USA. Lamba graduated in 1929 from the Ecole de l’Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Employed as a designer, she was attracted to the fine art she saw in such places as the studio of the Cubist painter André Lhote, where her friend Dora Maar, the Surrealist photographer and intimate of Picasso, was studying painting. Probably influenced by Maar, Lamba experimented with photography. She read and identified closely with Symbolist poets Baudelaire and Rimbaud and illustrated Jean Cocteau’s Orpheus. In 1934 she read Les vases communicants (1932) by André Breton, whose Surrealist poetry and Communist politics captured her admiration. Lamba immediately orchestrated a meeting with Breton, which proved fateful. Breton saw in Lamba the ideal muse to his genius and she inspired his book, L’Amour fou (1937). They married months after meeting and had a daughter in 1935. For the next decade Lamba was at the centre of Breton’s circle creating Surrealist art. In ...

Article

Tirza Latimer

[Markovitch, Henriette Theodora]

b Paris, Nov 22, 1907; d Paris, July 16, 1997

French photographer and painter. Maar’s father was Croatian and her mother was from La Touraine in western France. She grew up in Argentina, where her father practised architecture, and was repatriated in 1926 to study at the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, Ecole de Photographie and the Académie Julien in Paris. In the early 1930s she set up her first photography studio with her collaborator, Pierre Kéfer, sharing the darkroom with Georges Brassaï.

Maar was closely associated with the Surrealists in the mid-1930s, signing political tracts, taking photographs of the movement’s members and exhibiting in group exhibitions. She was seeing Georges Bataille when, in 1936, the poet Paul Eluard introduced her to Pablo Picasso at the Café Deux Magots. Picasso was apparently intrigued by her dark beauty, her edginess, her theatricality and her violence. According to Françoise Gilot: ‘She was wearing black gloves with little pink flowers appliquéd on them. She took off the gloves and picked up a long, pointed knife, which she began to drive into the table between her outstretched fingers to see how close she could come to each finger without actually cutting herself. From time to time she missed by a fraction of an inch and before she stopped playing with the knife, her hand was covered with blood’ (Gilot, pp. 85-6). Picasso, playing the scene out to its fullest, later enshrined the bloody gloves for display in his apartment. Picasso described Maar as his ‘weeping woman’ and painted her obsessively for almost a decade. She sat for portraits that included ...

Article

Anneke E. Wijnbeek

(b Lessines, Hainaut, Nov 21, 1898; d Schaerbeek, Brussels, Aug 15, 1967).

Belgian painter, draughtsman, printmaker, sculptor, photographer and film maker. He was one of the major figures of Surrealism and perhaps the greatest Belgian artist of the 20th century (see Les Promenades d’Euclid, 1955). His work, while lacking the drama of conventional stylistic development, continued to be admired during the later years of his life, in spite of changes in fashion, and can be said to have continued to grow in popularity and critical esteem after his death.

Magritte studied from 1916 to 1918 at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, producing his first paintings in an Impressionist manner. Under the supervision of the Belgian painter Gisbert Combaz (1869–1941), he produced his first posters, which were the first works he exhibited in ...

Article

Leena Peltola

(b Turku, Aug 9, 1904; d Turku, June 22, 1955).

Finnish painter. He studied at the Drawing School of the Turku Arts Association from 1920 to 1924. He initially concentrated on human subjects, using dense tones, and his paintings attracted attention at the Finnish art exhibition in Stockholm in 1929. His earliest stimulus came from his teacher Edwin Lydén (1879–1956)—also from Turku—who had become familiar with the work of Paul Klee and Kurt Schwitters in Munich. Mäkilä’s style changed during his first trip to Paris in 1930–31. He began to concentrate on his individual vision in preference to painting from the model, creating fantastic, dream-like images with a refined use of colour. In 1939 Alvar Aalto helped him to obtain an invitation to the La Sarraz castle in Switzerland, whose owner, Hélène de Mandrot, was a generous patron. There he again came into contact with international art. Around this time he produced the significant works Poésie (1938...