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Article

Ađalsteinn Ingólfsson

(b Reykjavík, Feb 4, 1922).

Icelandic painter, writer and designer. He studied engineering in 1941–2 at the University of Iceland, Reykjavík, and architecture privately. He then studied at the Icelandic School of Arts and Crafts (Myndlista-og handíÐaskóli Íslands), Reykjavík (until 1943), the Kongelige Kunstakademi in Copenhagen (1945–6), the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris (1947–8) and with Marcel Gromaire in Paris (1949–50). He promoted the movement towards abstract art in Iceland in 1948–52, particularly in its theoretical aspects.

Ágústsson came to geometric abstraction through an interest in Renaissance compositional theory and the theories of the Bauhaus. His meeting with Victor Vasarely in Paris in 1953 encouraged him to continue with a highly reductive series of paintings on which he had embarked shortly before. Later that year Ágústsson was one of the organizers of the Autumn Exhibition (Haustsýningin), the first group show of geometric abstraction in Iceland. At its opening he gave a lecture that became a kind of manifesto for the movement. He followed it up with a series of articles in the cultural review ...

Article

Claudia Büttner

(b Hamburg, July 17, 1883; d W. Berlin, Dec 11, 1973).

German painter. He studied in Hamburg under the German painter Arthur Siebelist (1870–1946) in 1900. In 1907 he went to Paris, where he sought contact with French modernism and its protagonists in the Café du Dôme and as a student at the Académie Matisse. His works completed before World War I reflect the colour of Matisse and the fragmented planes of Cézanne (e.g. Girl in Kimono, oil, 1910; priv. col., see exh. cat., pl. 5). In the inter-war years his depictions of landscapes, portraits and still-lifes are characterized by the harmony of the abstract rhythm of their planes and forms and by the use of silhouettes indebted to Cubism (e.g. From Old Letters, 1933; priv. col., see exh. cat., pl. 10). From 1928 until his dismissal by the Nazis in 1933 Ahlers-Hestermann taught at art colleges in Hamburg and Cologne. From 1946 to 1949 he was head of the Landeskunstschule in Hamburg....

Article

Christine Mullen Kreamer

(b Jan 25, 1930; d Lomé, Jan 4, 2010).

Togolese painter, sculptor, engraver, stained glass designer, potter and textile designer. Beginning in 1946, he received his secondary education in Dakar, where he also worked in an architecture firm. He travelled to France and received his diplôme supérieur from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris. A versatile artist, Ahyi is best known for his murals and for monumental stone, marble and cement public sculptures. His work reflects the fusion of his Togolese roots, European training and an international outlook, and he counts among his influences Moore, Braque, Modigliani, Tamayo, Siqueiros and Tall. His work combines ancient and modern themes and materials, maternity being a prominent topic. The messages of his larger, public pieces operate on a broad level to appeal to the general populace, while smaller works often reflect his private engagement with challenges confronting the human condition. His compositions are both abstract and figurative and evoke the heroism and hope of the two world wars, Togo's colonial period and the struggle for independence from France, as well as the political efforts of the peoples of Vietnam, South Africa and Palestine. Ahyi has won numerous international prizes, including the prize of the city of Lyon (...

Article

Sarah Lack

(b Edinburgh, Jan 13, 1926; d Dec 21, 2009).

Scottish painter. After studying Law at Edinburgh University (1944–6) and London’s Middle Temple (1948) Aitchison attended the Slade School of Fine Art in London (1952–4). His work is characterized by the use of intense, pure colour to describe shape and form in extremely spare compositions. His subject matter is traditional, featuring religious themes, landscapes, portraits and still-lifes. In 1955 Aitchison was awarded the British Council Italian Government Scholarship for painting and travelled to Italy, where the clear light and natural ‘Biblical’ landscapes had a profound influence on his work. Aitchison’s religious scenes are not of an ecclesiastical discipline, but have a timeless, poetic and mysterious atmosphere reminiscent of 15th-century miniatures. In Crucifixion in a Landscape (1967–70; S. York priv. col., see A. G. Williams, p. 65) the figure of Christ is only slightly more substantial than a mirage, denoting ‘spiritual essence’ rather than solid substance and blurring the distinction between the real and the imaginary. In his portraits colour and composition are key; Aitchison has often shown a predilection for black models, enjoying the way colour reflects against dark skin. ...

Article

Horacio Safons

(b Federal, Entre Ríos, Aug 22, 1928; d Buenos Aires, Feb 19, 1996).

Argentine painter, draughtsman and collagist. He studied under Juan Batlle Planas from 1950 to 1953 and quickly established the terms of his work, rooted ideologically in Surrealism and indebted in particular to the work of René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico. All the elements of his mature art are evident in an early painting, Burning of the Hasidic School in Minsk in 1713 (1954; artist’s col.): architecture, space, light and ordered series. He developed an essentially intellectual approach, working in a variety of media (paintings, drawings, gouaches and collages) in rigorous sequences and picturing objects in cold impersonal light that confers on them a sense of distant majesty. The most common motif is that of a geometric, almost abstract structure, often in the form of a tower pierced by rows of large plain windows. Aizenberg’s work, while far removed from the Surrealist presumption of achieving a synthesis of wakefulness and dream, acquires its strength through the ordering of the unreal and the strange in the search for a transcendent essence capable of perturbing and jolting the viewer by bringing into play the archetypes of silence and solitude....

Article

Marcella Nesom-Sirhandi

(b Delhi, India, Feb 4, 1941; d Lahore, Pakistan, Jan 18, 1999).

Pakistani painter, sculptor and printmaker. Educated in Pakistan and abroad, he has consciously and successfully synthesized Eastern and Western aesthetic traditions. In 1963, a year after graduating from the National College of Arts, Lahore, he joined the faculty as a lecturer in art, later becoming a professor and head of the Department of Fine Arts. His studies abroad have included post-graduate work in London (1966–7, 1968–9) and the United States (1987–9).

Like many of his colleagues, Zahoor was influenced by his mentor, Shakir ‛Ali, principal of the National College of Art from 1961 to 1975. Both artists were motivated by art history, philosophy and aesthetics. Zahoor’s non-figurative paintings of the 1960s evolved into tangible—though not always realistic—images addressing the dualities of space and time, East and West. Most of his triptychs and single canvases were conceived within a grid that provides a stabilizing structure for their compositions. This grid refers to Zahoor’s admiration for the American artist ...

Article

Sergey Kuznetsov

(b Telavi, April 18, 1898; d Tbilisi, Dec 28, 1975).

Georgian painter. From 1922 she studied at the Tiflis (now Tbilisi) Academy of Arts, where her talent was noted by the patriarch of Georgian realist painting, Georgy Gabashvili. She visited Italy and France, attending Colarossi’s academy in Paris. She painted both Tiflis and Paris in similar style using brown, red and grey half-tones, somewhat reminiscent of the work of Albert Marquet, as in Paris: Working Class Area (1926; Tbilisi, Yelena Akhvlediani Mem. Mus.). After several successful exhibitions in Paris, where she mixed with the small Georgian community and was close to Lado Gudiashvili, in 1927 she returned to Georgia, holding several exhibitions there to mark her progress. For some time she was unable to find an application for her art, and from 1930 she worked as chief artist for the Detskaya Literatura (children’s literature) publishing house, producing pen and ink and watercolour illustrations to the works of Mark Twain, Victor Hugo, Il’ya Chavchavadze and other writers. In ...

Article

V. V. Vanslov

(Pavlovich)

(b Kharkiv, April 16, 1901; d Moscow, Sept 6, 1968).

Russian stage designer, director, painter and graphic artist of Ukranian birth. He studied in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) from 1915 to 1919 in an artists’ workshop under Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Aleksandr Yakovlev and Vasily Shukhayev. From 1920 to 1922 he worked as a stage designer in Khar’kov (now Kharkiv). In 1923 he returned to Petrograd, where he worked as a book illustrator and stage designer at the Theatre of Musical Comedy, the Theatre of Drama and the Gor’ky Bol’shoy Theatre of Drama; he also worked in Moscow, at the Theatre of the Revolution, the Vakhtangov Theatre and the Moscow Art Theatre (MKhAT). From 1929 he worked as a director, designing his own productions. He was the Art Director of the Leningrad Theatre of Comedy (1935–49), where the most notable productions he directed and designed were Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (1938), Lope de Vega’s Dog in the Manger and ...

Article

John Steen

[Bernardus] (Everhardus)

(b Enschede, Feb 29, 1920).

Dutch painter and draughtsman. Between 1936 and 1982 he worked as a bookkeeper for Enschede town council. As an artist he was self-taught. During World War II he came into contact with the art of Cézanne, Matisse, Braque and others, mainly through art journals, which influenced his work considerably. From 1946 until 1953 he was a member of the Nieuwe Groep, which brought together painters to promote contemporary art through exhibitions, mainly locally in Twente, such as Johann Haanstra (b 1914). Initially he painted stylized city- and landscapes with objects, representing primarily their spatial structure and colour (e.g. Landscape with Tree, oil on canvas, 1966–7; Chicago, IL, Mus. Contemp. A.), although from 1972 the landscape as such was no longer recognizable. After 1970 he began to emphasize the nature of a painting as an object rather than a means of representing nature, applying parallel horizontal and diagonal lines, later grids, to the surface, which was often painted in shades of grey, green, ochre and blue (e.g. ...

Article

(Isayevich)

(b Vinnitsa, Ukraine, Dec 22, 1889; d Leningrad [now St Petersburg], Dec 12, 1970).

Russian painter, graphic artist, sculptor and designer of Ukrainian birth. He studied painting at the School of Art in Odessa (1901–7) under Kiriak Kostandi (1852–1921), at the same time attending classes in sculpture. In 1908–9 he made a series of pointillist paintings. He visited Vienna and Munich in 1910 before going to Paris, where he worked at Vasil’yeva’s Free Russian Academy until 1912, producing paintings on Jewish themes and studying Cubism. In 1912 he went to St Petersburg, where he painted a number of Cubist portraits, for example of the poet Anna Akhmatova (1914; St Petersburg, Rus. Mus.). His Cubist work makes much use of faceting and transparent planes. From 1918 to 1921 he taught at the Department of Visual Arts (IZO) of Narkompros in Petrograd, but he was criticized for his attempts to identify Futurism with the art of the proletariat. Al’tman became well known as the designer of post-Revolutionary mass parades and monuments, for example the celebration of the first anniversary of the Revolution on ...

Article

Aurélie Verdier

(b Saïda, Algeria, 1953).

French painter, sculptor, photographer, film maker, writer and installation artist of Algerian birth. Born to Spanish parents, he was much affected by North African as well as Southern European culture. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre. Despite a pervasive and diverse use of media, Alberola often stressed the coexistence of his different artistic practices as leading to painting alone. His paintings relied heavily on evocative narratives, at once personal and ‘historical’. Alberola conceived of his role as a storyteller, on the model of African oral cultures. Convinced that narratives could not be renewed, he argued that a painter’s main task was to reactivate his work through contact with his pictorial heritage. The main points of reference for his paintings of the early 1980s were Velázquez, Manet or Matisse, whose works he quoted in a personal way. In the early 1980s he undertook a series of paintings inspired by mythological subjects, which he combined with his own history as the principal subject-matter of his work. The biblical story of Susannah and the Elders as well as the Greek myth of Actaeon provided his most enduring subjects, both referring to the act of looking as taboo, as in ...

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John-Paul Stonard

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Michael Dunn

(b Auckland, May 7, 1943).

New Zealand painter. She studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland, from 1960 to 1963 and subsequently travelled extensively in the USA and Europe. Her paintings are abstractions with a basis in nature, to which she alludes in her titles. An early and enduring influence on her work were the colour paintings of Helen Frankenthaler. Albrecht’s painting is distinguished by its strong colouring and feeling. Among her most important works are her Hemisphere paintings from a series begun in 1981, in which the canvases are semi-circular. An example is the Fire and the Rose (1984; Wanganui, Sarjeant A.G.). Since 1989 Albrecht has been working on an oval format and has introduced a deeper, more reflective tone to her paintings. Her work is represented in public art galleries in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin and in private collections worldwide.

After Nature: Gretchen Albrecht. A Survey: 23 Years (exh. cat., ed. ...

Article

Janet Marstine

(le Lorraine)

(b North Harvey, nr Chicago, Feb 20, 1897; d Woodstock, VT, Nov 18, 1983).

American painter, sculptor, printmaker and film maker. He was brought up in the suburbs of Chicago and was exposed to art at an early age by his father, Adam Emory Albright (1862–1957), a portrait painter. He passed on to his son the interest in careful draughtsmanship that he had developed from tuition with Thomas Eakins. Ivan’s initial field of interest was architecture, which he studied at Northwestern University, Evanston (1915–16), and at the University of Illinois, Urbana (1916–17). During World War I he served with an Army medical unit, making surgical drawings with great precision. He subsequently decided to become a painter and attended the Art Institute of Chicago (1920–23), the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Chicago (1923), and the National Academy of Design, New York (1924). Around this time he began to exhibit regularly.

Albright settled in Chicago in ...

Article

Els Maréchal

(b Brussels, Oct 19, 1927).

Belgian painter, draughtsman, printmaker and film maker. He studied book illustration and typography at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture et des Arts Décoratifs from 1944 to 1946. In 1947 he became a member of the Jeune Peinture Belge group and had his first one-man exhibition in the Galerie Lou Cosyn in Brussels. In 1949 he became a founder-member of the Cobra movement after meeting Christian Dotremont. With a number of artist friends he set up a type of research centre and meeting-place in Brussels, the Ateliers du Marais. Towards the end of 1951 he went to Paris, moving to Japan in 1955 to study the art of calligraphy, also making a film called Calligraphie japonaise (1956). He adopted the Oriental manner of painting, whereby the paper is spread on the floor and the artist leans over the work holding the bottle of ink, allowing a greater freedom of movement. In ...

Article

Roman Prahl

(b Mirotice, nr Písek, Nov 18, 1852; d Prague, July 10, 1913).

Czech painter, illustrator and designer. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague under Josef Mathias von Trenkwald (1824–97) and Jan Swerts (1820–79), and he rarely travelled, except to Vienna in 1873 and Italy in 1877. He was one of the leading Bohemian artists of the so-called Generation of the National Theatre. The décor of this theatre, opened in 1881 and again after a fire in 1883, marked a national artistic rebirth. Aleš, together with František Ženíšek, had won the competition in 1877 to decorate the walls, lunettes and ceilings of the theatre foyer. Aleš’s cycle My Country, designed for the lunettes, is one of the most famous Czech works of art.

In the late 1870s Aleš emerged as a draughtsman and painter with a rich imagination. He outlined many cycles to be finished later and he studied heraldry, which contributed to the development of his original ornamental style. He applied this style for the first time on painted furniture, as in ...

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M. Dolores Jiménez-Blanco

(b Madrid, 1942).

Spanish painter, sculptor and printmaker. After studying at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes in Madrid he came under the influence of Pop art during a stay in London in 1965. On settling again in Madrid in that year he began to concentrate on images of movement, as in the screenprint Story of the Man Who Falls I, for which he was awarded a prize at the Kraków Biennale in 1966. He continued to explore movement through serial forms and stereotyped images in plexiglass constructions such as the Changeable Movement series (1967) and from 1968 used computers as part of this process. These interests led to sculptures and paintings titled Transformable Movements, which he presented in association with aleatoric music.

Alexanco became increasingly involved with performance and collaborated with the Spanish composer Luis de Pablo (b 1930) on Soledad interrumpida (1971) and Historia natural...

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Eleanor Jones Harvey

(b Allegheny, PA, Oct 7, 1856; d New York, May 31, 1915).

American painter and illustrator. He began his career in New York in 1875 as a political cartoonist and illustrator for Harper’s Weekly. In 1877 he went to Paris for his first formal art training, and then to Munich, where he enrolled at the Kunstakademie under Gyuala Benczúr. In 1878 he joined a colony of American painters established by Frank Duveneck in Polling, Bavaria. In 1879 they travelled to Italy, where Alexander formed friendships with James McNeill Whistler and Henry James. In 1881 he returned to New York, working as an illustrator for Harper’s, as a drawing instructor at Princeton and as a highly successful society portrait painter (see fig.). He also exhibited at the National Academy of Design. By 1893 his reputation in both Europe and America had soared, and in 1895 he was awarded a prestigious commission for a series of murals entitled the Evolution of the Book...

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