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Acmeism  

Elaine Rusinko

[Rus. Akmeizm, from Gr. akmĕ: ‘perfection’]

Russian poetic movement established in St Petersburg in 1913, which flourished until the early 1920s and was associated with the journal Apollon. The leaders and theoreticians of this movement were Nikolay Gumilyov (1886–1921) and Sergey Gorodetsky (1884–1967), and the movement’s poets included Anna Akhmatova (1888–1966) and Osip Mandel’shtam (1891–1938). In general terms Acmeism professed a conservatism and a dedication to ‘world art’ and its preservation in the turbulent period of the October Revolution of 1917, when other literary trends, such as Futurism, were denouncing the past. The primary links between this literary movement and art were forged through Gumilyov and his relationship with Natal’ya Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov. Both artists made portraits of him as well as illustrating his poems.

In the early part of his career Gumilyov wrote three pieces of art criticism for Russian journals, discussing the work of Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne, among others. He also wrote an article (unfinished) on African art. During visits to London and Paris, Gumilyov met Roger Fry, worked with the Russian sculptor ...

Article

Ludovico C. Koppmann

[Konstantinovsky, Wladimir ]

(b Odessa, Russia, June 23, 1900; d Buenos Aires, July 11, 1967).

Argentine architect.. He studied architecture at the Istituto di Belle Arti in Rome, graduating in 1919. From 1922 he worked in Germany, gaining experience in building engineering and urban design, before moving to Argentina in 1928. He worked in Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Venezuela, Guatemala and, from 1954 to 1957, in the USA, where he taught (1956) at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. On his return to Argentina he was appointed Professor of Architectural Composition (1957–66) at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Acosta was an early exponent of an approach to architecture through environmental design and engineering, which he promoted through his book Vivienda y clima (1937) and his ‘Helios’ buildings. These were based upon correct orientation, cross-ventilation, and the control of solar radiation by means of brises-soleil, with minimal mechanical intervention. Like the architects of the Modern Movement in Europe, he saw architecture as a social phenomenon and became dedicated to the provision of mass housing for rapidly growing urban populations. His early work included individual houses in Buenos Aires, for example the Casa Stern, Ramos Mejía (...

Article

David Anfam

Term applied to the work of American Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and, by extension, to the art of their followers at home and abroad during the 1950s. An alternative but slightly more general term is gestural painting; the other division within Abstract Expressionism was colour field painting.

The critic Harold Rosenberg defined action painting in an article, ‘The American Action Painters’ (1952), where he wrote: ‘At a certain moment the canvas began to appear to one American painter after another as an arena in which to act. …What was to go on canvas was not a picture but an event’. This proposition drew heavily, and perhaps crudely, upon ideas then current in intellectual circles, especially in the wake of Jean-Paul Sartre’s essay L’Existentialisme est un humanisme (Paris, 1946; Eng. trans., 1948), which claimed that ‘there is no reality except in action’. In the 1940s Herbert Ferber, Barnett Newman and others had already characterized their creative process in similar terms; Rosenberg was probably also inspired by photographs of Pollock at work (rather than the actual paintings) that emphasized his apparent psychological freedom and physical engagement with materials (e.g. ...

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[Hung. Aktivizmus]

Hungarian artistic, literary and political group that emerged c. 1914, after the disintegration of the group Eight, the in 1912. Though not a cohesive group, the Activists were stylistically united by their reaction to the predominantly Post-Impressionist aesthetic of the Eight. Instead they turned for inspiration to Cubism, Expressionism, Futurism, Dada and Constructivism, and although some of these had previously influenced the Eight, the Activists made most consistent and profound use of these modern movements. The most notable Activists were Sándor Bortnyik, Péter Dobrović (b 1890), János Kmetty, János Máttis Teutsch, László Moholy-Nagy, Jószef Nemes Lampérth, Lajos Tihanyi and Béla Uitz, of whom only Tihanyi had previously been a member of the Eight. Many Activists were at some time members of the MA group, which revolved around the writer and artist Lajos Kassák, the main theoretical, and later artistic, driving force behind Hungarian Activism.

Both artistically and politically the Activists were more radical and international than the Eight, a reflection of both the turbulent atmosphere caused by World War I and the revolutionary fervour within Hungary itself. The Activists saw themselves as giving a voice to the working classes and, like the Eight, as agitators for a Utopian, Socialist society. Unlike the members of the Eight, however, many of the Activists were of working-class origin, and while not intellectuals themselves, they received many of their ideas from the Galilei Circle of young Hungarian intellectuals, which organized debates and lectures in Budapest. One of the earliest artistic stimuli on the Activists was the exhibition of Expressionist and Futurist art in the Nemzeti Szalon (National Salon) in Budapest at the beginning of ...

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(b Istanbul, 1898; d Istanbul, 1957).

Turkish sculptor. After military service in World War I he went in 1918 to the Fine Arts Academy in Istanbul, where he studied under the sculptor Ihsan Özsoy (1867–1944). With the help of his father he then went to Germany, where he studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich. From Munich he went to Paris, where, after failing to get lessons from Aristide Maillol, he worked independently, inspired by the work of Maillol and Emile-Antoine Bourdelle. After returning to Turkey in 1925 and passing an examination he was able to go back to Paris, where he entered the Académie Julian and worked under the sculptors Henri Bouchard (1875–1960) and Paul Landowski (1875–1961). He returned to Turkey in 1928 and worked first as an art teacher at Edirne Teachers' College and then at various middle schools in Istanbul until his death. His principal works included the monument in Menemen to ...

Article

Simon Njami

(b Contou, 1942).

Beninois installation artist. He studied law in France, and it was not until he returned to Benin in 1971 that he became an artist, by accident. Considered mad by his family, he was sent to a psychiatric hospital a few times before encountering Jean Michel Rousset, a young Frenchman who reassured him about his talent. In his compound Adaeagbo creates an ever-changing assemblage of found materials: sculptures, stones, clothing, newspapers. New materials are added, and old objects are rearranged. These creations function as historical documents of his times, as well as of particular days, as he works each day after his walks. His work has been described as reflecting and evoking the ‘madness in words’: the inability to understand words, and the conflicts that arise from this lack of understanding. It can also be seen as a comment on his own life and the suffering of a misunderstood artist. In Adaeagbo’s smaller pieces, objects are combined with a greater emphasis on symbolic intent than aesthetic concerns. He has exhibited at the Institut Claude-Nicolas Ledoux (...

Article

Colin J. Bailey and U. v. Hase-Schmundt

German family of painters. (1) Albrecht Adam had four sons who were artists: Benno Adam (1812–1892), Franz Adam (1815–1886), Eugen Adam (1817–1880), and Julius Adam (1826–1874). Albrecht’s brother Heinrich Adam (1787–1862) was also an artist. (2) Richard Benno Adam was the grandson of Benno Adam.

Colin J. Bailey

(b Nördlingen, April 16, 1786; d Munich, Aug 28, 1862).

He trained under Christoph Zwinger (1744–1813) in Nuremberg, and in 1807 he moved to Munich to continue his studies. From 1809 he worked in Milan, following his appointment as court painter to Eugène de Beauharnais, viceroy of Italy, whom he accompanied to Russia in 1812. After returning to Munich in 1815, he executed a series of 83 small battle-pieces in oil on paper, based on sketches made in 1812. His Russian exploits also provided the material for a set of 100 lithographs entitled ...

Article

(b Paris, Jan 14, 1904; d La Clarté, Brittany, Aug 27, 1967).

French sculptor, printmaker and tapestry designer. His father was a jeweller, and after his return from World War I in 1918 Adam worked in his studio and learnt how to engrave. At the same time he studied drawing at the Ecole Germain-Pilon and read Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal, which was to have a great influence on him. In 1925 he attended evening classes at a school of drawing in Montparnasse. From 1928 to 1934 he started to produce prints and became associated with André Breton, Louis Aragon and Paul Eluard, although he was never greatly influenced by them. His early prints, reminiscent of the work of George Grosz, were mostly designed as social satire, mocking the myths surrounding patriotism, the family and religion, as in When Papa is Patriotic (1935). In 1933 he designed the costumes and scenery for Hans Schlumberg’s Miracle à Verdun performed at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris. His first exhibition of prints was held in ...

Article

Rodolphe Rapetti

(b Paris, Dec 7, 1862; d Paris, Jan 1, 1920).

French writer and critic. His fictional work developed rapidly from a naturalist concept of the novel (e.g. Chair molle, Paris, 1885) to a symbolist one (e.g. Etre, Paris, 1888). As an art critic, he played an important role in the first years of Neo-Impressionism. The few pieces that he wrote between 1886 and 1889 placed him in the top rank of contemporary critics and were of considerable influence. He was less interested in analysing the theoretical bases of Neo-Impressionism than in deciphering their implications, stressing the relationship of this new method of painting to Symbolism. He felt that the use by Seurat and his followers of a body of scientific theories on which to base their art was not only an indication of their adherence to the modernity that pervaded the century but also revealed an underlying tendency towards abstraction. At the same time fundamental visual concepts or ‘preconceived sensorial notions’ that had served as the basis of western art were called into question. In this regard, the ‘pictorial concern to interpret the pure phenomenon’ corresponded to the aspiration towards synthesis that marked Symbolism and was ‘in close correlation to contemporary philosophy, biology and physics in denying the existence of objects, declaring matter to be the mere appearance of vibratory movement that is the source of our impressions, our sensations, our ideas’ (...

Article

Alfred Pacquement

(b Bologna, March 17, 1935).

Italian painter, draughtsman and printmaker. He was given a rigorous training as a draughtsman between 1951 and 1954 in Achille Funi’s studio at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan, which provided the basis for his mature work. Before developing his characteristic contour line and flat surfaces, he experimented briefly with an expressionistic style that combined violent and humorous imagery inspired by the explosive forms in space favoured by Roberto Matta and by strip cartoons; typical of this phase is one of his earliest large canvases, L’ora del sandwiche (1963; Camilla Adami priv. col., see Damisch and Martin, pl. 42). He settled in Paris in 1957 but divided his time between France and Italy. In such paintings as Stanze a cannocchiale (‘Telescoped rooms’, 1965; Pittsburgh, PA, Carnegie Mus. A.) he began to develop a highly decorative idiom of stylized images outlined in black on a surface of interlocking areas of intense, unmodulated colour. His usual starting-point was a photograph or several associated images, which he reworked, fragmented and presented in a schematic form. This remained Adami’s system of working in later years, although his subject-matter changed....

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Chiara Stefani

In 

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Jennifer Wingate

[née Pond, Adeline Valentine]

(b Boston, MA, Oct 24, 1859; d Brooklyn, NY, July 1, 1948).

American critic and author. Adams was a vocal proponent of American sculpture during the last decades of civic sculpture’s golden age. She expressed her views on the state of the field in two significant publications, The Spirit of American Sculpture (1923; reissued in 1929) and a chapter in the 1930 edition of Lorado Taft’s History of American Sculpture, as well as in regular contributions to the American Magazine of Art.

Adams was an artist herself, though writing claimed her full attention. While she was in Paris in 1887, she posed for the sculptor Herbert Adams, whom she married two years later. The resulting marble bust (1889; New York, Hisp. Soc. America) was exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, an exposition that Adams hailed for fostering a new ideal of collaboration between architects and sculptors. Adams praised the role that sculpture played in public life and promoted figurative work modeled in the French academic tradition. She admired artists like Daniel Chester French (...

Article

Richard Lorenz

(Easton )

(b San Francisco, CA, Feb 20, 1902; d Carmel, CA, April 22, 1984).

American photographer. Adams trained as a musician and supported himself by teaching the piano until 1930. He became involved with photography in 1916 when his parents presented him with a Kodak Box Brownie camera during a summer vacation in Yosemite National Park. In 1917–18 he worked part-time in a photo-finishing business. From 1920 to 1927 he served as custodian of the LeConte Memorial in Yosemite, the Sierra Club’s headquarters. His duties included leading weekly expeditions through the valley and rims, during which he continued to photograph the landscape. He considered his snapshots of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, taken during the early 1920s, to be a visual diary, the work of an ardent hobbyist. By 1923 he used a 6½×8½-inch Korona view camera on his pack trips, and in 1927 he spent an afternoon making one of his most famous images, Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park...

Article

Pat Gilmour

(b Glendale, CA, Dec 11, 1918; d Albuquerque, NM, May 13, 2002).

American painter, printmaker, art historian, writer and teacher. His appointment to the art faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1942 was interrupted by military service, and it was not until 1946 that he resumed his career as a teacher of the practice and theory of art. This took him to the universities of Kentucky (Lexington), Florida (Gainesville) and finally New Mexico (Albuquerque), where he served as Dean (1961–76). Despite academic demands, Adams always found time to paint and showed his work in over 50 solo exhibitions. Equally at home in oil, acrylic, watercolour and egg tempera, he was initially inspired by the abstracted cityscapes of Stuart Davis. Later he absorbed the lessons of Matisse, achieving particularly radiant paintings during the 1980s. In 1993 he was elected an Academician by the National Academy of Design.

In 1948, at Stanton Macdonald-Wright’s suggestion, Adams began to make lithographs with the Los Angeles printer, ...

Article

Janet A. Headley

(b West Concord, VT, Jan 28, 1858; d New York, NY, May 21, 1945).

American sculptor. Raised in Fitchburg, MA, he trained at the Institute of Technology in Worcester (subsequently Worcester Polytechnic Institute), the Massachusetts Normal Art School in Boston (now the Massachusetts College of Art and Design) and the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore, following an artistic path that mirrored that of many of his contemporaries. Arriving in Paris around 1885, he found a mentor in Antonin Mercié (1845–1916), whose accomplished bronzes evoke Italian Renaissance prototypes. He briefly established his own studio in Paris in 1888, and from 1890 to 1895 he taught at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

Adams won important commissions for public monuments in Boston (clergyman William Ellery Channing, 1904) and New York (William Cullen Bryant, 1911). The latter, located on the grounds of the New York Public Library, features a dignified seated portrait of the poet, editor and advocate of Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum; architect Thomas Hastings (...

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Courtney Ann Shaw

(b Fort Plain, NY, Oct 27, 1925; d San Francisco, 2006).

American tapestry artist, painter and stained-glass designer. Adams studied painting at Syracuse University and with Hans Hoffmann in New York, where he was influenced by the medieval tapestries in the Cloisters and also by the work of Matisse. In the 1950s Adams was apprenticed to the influential French tapestry designer Jean Lurçat, from whom he learnt the bold colours and clear imagery that characterize his work. He also studied at the Ecole Nationale d’Art Décoratif in Aubusson before beginning to use a series of workshops, notably that of Marguerite and Paul Avignon, who wove his first nationally acclaimed tapestry, Phoenix and the Golden Gate (1957). Flight of Angels (1962) was exhibited at the first Biennale Internationale de la Tapisserie in Lausanne. In 1976 his cartoon of California Poppies (San Francisco, CA Pal. Legion of Honor) was woven for the Five Centuries of Tapestry exhibition at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, as a demonstration piece. Later tapestries, for example ...

Article

T. Affleck Greeves

(b Burgess Hill, Sussex, 1849; d London, Aug 17, 1933).

English architect, editor and draughtsman. After completing his articles with H. N. Goulty of Brighton, he became assistant to William Ralph Emerson, and Architect to Brighton Council. Between 1872 and 1923 he was Editor of Building News. He instituted the Building News Designing Club, which enabled young architects to submit designs for his criticism. He contributed largely to the paper’s illustrations, redrawing designs for lithographic reproduction, and covered a wide range of subjects in a skilful and accurate, if somewhat dull, linear style. He also published several architectural books. Through the owner of Building News he obtained his major architectural commissions, notably Camberwell Polytechnic and Art Gallery (1902). He also designed country houses near London, for example Queensmead Cottage, Kings Road, Windsor, Berks (1883), for Reginald Talbot, as well as in Australia (e.g. Bellevue Hill, Double Bay, for Charles B. Fairfax in the mid-1880s) and America, where he designed timber houses in New Jersey for E. S. Wilde in ...

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(b Northampton, Oct 5, 1917; d Gt Maplestead, Essex, April 5, 1984).

English sculptor and painter. He studied at the Northampton School of Art from 1933 to 1944. During World War II he was employed as an engineer, and after the war he spent two years teaching himself to sculpt in wood. Though he had participated in various group exhibitions during the war, it was not until 1947 that he had his first one-man show, of sculpture, at the Gimpel Fils Gallery in London. He also produced abstract paintings, but soon came to specialize in sculpture. His early sculpture of this period, such as Figure (1949–51; London, Tate), showed the influence of Henry Moore, whose works he knew from photographs. These comprised forms abstracted from natural objects, executed in wood, plaster and stone. After his one-man show he made several extended trips to Paris, where he became interested in the work of Brancusi and Julio González. In 1950 he received a Rockefeller award from the Institute of International Education to visit the USA. Having by then an established reputation, he was also commissioned to produce a 3-m high carving for the Festival of Britain in ...

Article

Mary Christian

(b Orange, NJ, May 8, 1937).

American photographer. After teaching English literature for several years, Adams turned to photography in the late 1960s, studying with Minor White. In his black-and-white photographs of the American West, such as his series From the Missouri West (1980), he emphasized man’s presence in nature and the tension between the beauty of the landscape and man’s effect upon it. His landscapes include such features as telephone poles and wires, mountains edged by highway guard-rails, parking lots and housing complexes. In 1975 Adams took part in the group exhibition New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-altered Landscape (see New Topographics). As a photographer and an articulate writer on photography, he has published Summer Nights (1985) and important essays on 19th- and 20th-century photography.

Adams, Robert (ii) Cottonwoods; Photographs (Washington, DC, 1994) Notes for Friends: Along Colorado Roads (Boulder, CO, 1999) Along Some Rivers: Photographs and Conversations, with foreward by ...

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(b Holywood, County Down, Ireland, Jan 26, 1922).

Australian painter, printmaker, book designer, lecturer, collector, gallery director and publisher of limited edition artists’ books, of Irish decent. He worked as a draughtsman before entering war service in the British Admiralty from 1940 to 1949, including five years in Colombo, where he made sketching trips to jungle temples with the Buddhist monk and artist Manjsiro Thero. Between 1949 and 1951 Adams worked as an exhibition designer in London and studied wood-engraving with Gertrude Hermes in her evening class at the Central School of Arts and Crafts (now Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design). In 1951, after moving to Melbourne, Adams began a 30-year teaching commitment at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), where he instructed many of the younger generation of Australian printmakers, including George Baldessin and Jan Senbergs. A brief return to Britain and Ireland in 1957–8 provided experience with Dolmen Press, Dublin, which published his first book of engravings, ...