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Article

Marsha Meskimmon

(b nr Mainz, Sept 16, 1098; d Rupertsberg, nr Bingen, Sept 17, 1179).

German ecclesiastic, visionary, philosopher, composer and visual artist. Hildegard of Bingen is one of the best known and most significant figures of 12th-century Europe. Her father was a knight in the Count of Spanheim’s court and throughout her life she corresponded with prominent European leaders, such as King Henry II of England, Queen Eleanor and Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. Hildegard took her Benedictine vows in 1117 and became an abbess in 1136. She articulated a specifically female mystic theology that was, at the same time, a powerful and acknowledged message (see fig.).

Her work as a visual artist is primarily ascribed to her contribution to the Rupertsberg Scivias (c.1165, destr. 1945; facs. Eibingen, Bibl. St Hildegard, see fig.); a manuscript that contains images and texts that record her visions. Throughout the 1140s there is evidence of her writing and drawing in tandem, and scholars have made the important point that her work breaks with conventional divisions between text and image (Caviness, ...

Article

S. Kontha

(b Budapest, April 17, 1904; d Budapest, Jan 26, 1986).

Hungarian painter, illustrator, mosaicist, tapestry designer, stage designer, poster designer, printmaker, sculptor, teacher and administrator. From 1922 to 1929 he studied at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts (Magyar Kepzőmüvészeti Főiskolá) in Budapest under Gyula Rudnay (1878–1957) and János Vaszary (1867–1939). In the mid-1920s he became acquainted with Béla Uitz’s General Ludd series (1923; Budapest, N.G.) and in Venice he saw the work of such Russian avant-garde artists as Rodchenko and El Lissitzky and such Italian Futurists as Severini. In 1926 in Paris he studied the works of Léger, Braque, Picasso and others in the collection of Léonce Rosenberg. He was also influenced by the art of Brancusi and Joseph Csáky, as well as André Breton’s Manifeste du surréalisme (Paris, 1924). From the outset, Hincz’s work revealed a number of different objectives. Although he experimented with abstraction, the reference to the figure is always present in one form or another. His profound interest in humanity and its social interaction was based on, and motivated by, this interest in the figure. His early paintings are expressionist in mood and are composed of flattened forms in a shallow space in a manner reminiscent of Cubo–Futurist art. Elements of Purism and Surrealism are also present. After World War II he became increasingly preoccupied with realism, political agitprop art and the problems inherent in creating new symbols; a study trip to Korea, China and Vietnam in ...

Article

(b Bruyères-sous-Laon, March 28, 1815; d Paris, Feb 27, 1896).

French writer, theatre director and museum official. He came from an important and wealthy provincial family—his two grandfathers had been successive mayors of Bruyères, his father was a farmer and his uncle a court painter. He developed an interest in literature and the arts in the library that had been left to his grandfather by the daughters of King Louis XV. His first published works were two novels that appeared in 1836, and in 1838 he moved to Paris and wrote exhibition reviews for the Revue de Paris. While projecting himself as a bohemian and a liberal, he also wished to be at the centre of Parisian society and so, on arriving in Paris, he changed his name from Housset to the more aristocratic Houssaye. In 1844 he became the editor of L’Artiste, publishing works by such unknown contemporary writers as Charles Baudelaire and writing reviews under the pseudonym of ‘Lord Pilgrim’. Among other periodicals, he wrote for ...

Article

Ruth Bass

(b Buffalo, NY, July 8, 1896; d New York, Nov 23, 1989).

American dealer, collector, and writer. He first worked as a professional ballroom dancer, aeronautical mechanic, and businessman. During business trips to New York he began visiting museums and art galleries in the 57th Street area. He moved to New York in 1924, married Harriet Grossman (1898–1963) in 1925 and in 1926 founded the M’Lord Shirt Company. He began collecting art in 1926, acquiring one of the finest collections of the Ecole de Paris in the USA. On successive trips to Europe, he met Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, Constantin Brancusi, Marcel Duchamp, and other major European artists. After acquiring The Dream by Henri Rousseau (New York, MOMA) he became interested in American naive painters, including Grandma Moses and Morris Hirshfield, on whom he published a study in 1942.

Having dissolved his business in 1939 to devote himself full-time to writing and lecturing on art, in 1949 Janis opened the ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Northwood, Middx, Jan 31, 1942, d London, Feb 19, 1994).

English film maker, theatre designer, writer and painter. After attending King’s College, London (1960–62), he studied painting and stage design at the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1963–7), where he developed a sparse figurative style influenced by that of David Hockney. He exhibited widely after his graduation, participating in the opening exhibition of the Lisson Gallery in London (founded by fellow Slade student Nicholas Logsdail), Young Contemporaries (London, Tate), the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition, Liverpool, and the fifth Biennale des Jeunes Artistes (Paris, Mus. A. Mod., Ville Paris). He soon moved away from the influence of Hockney, painting abstracted landscapes that dwelt on the magical and mythological elements of a location, making reference to the work of Paul Nash. Although he continued painting sporadically during the 1970s, his energies were principally directed in this decade toward film making and theatre design; commissions included two productions in London in ...

Article

Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander

(Jennifer )

(b Barre, VT, Feb 15, 1974).

Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander

American film maker, artist, and writer.

She attended the University of California, Santa Cruz, but left after her second year and never returned to school. She has had no formal artistic training. After leaving Santa Cruz, she moved to Portland, OR, where she began exploring performance art and film-making. One of her earliest projects, Joanie4Jackie (1995), demonstrates July’s early and continued interest in collaborative artistic practice. In this work July circulated pamphlets where she invited women to send her short films on VHS tapes, and in return, she would send them films made by other women. The project acted as an arena for free film distribution to create a conversation among and women film makers. Though she has worked in a wide array of media, much of her work explores similar subjects such as human relationships, intimacy, and mortality. Her online project, Learning to Love You More...

Article

Vivian Endicott Barnett

[Vassily; Wassily] (Vasil’yevich)

(b Moscow, Dec 4, 1866; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, Dec 13, 1944).

Russian painter, printmaker, stage designer, decorative artist and theorist. A central figure in the development of 20th-century art and specifically in the transition from representational to abstract art, Kandinsky worked in a wide variety of media and was an important teacher and theoretician. He worked mainly outside Russia, but his Russian heritage continued to be an important factor in his development.

Kandinsky grew up in Odessa and from 1886 to 1893 studied economics, ethnography and law in Moscow, where he wrote a dissertation on the legality of labourers’ wages. He married his cousin Anya Shemyakina in 1892 (divorced 1911). In 1896 Kandinsky decided to become an artist and went to Munich. There he studied from 1896 to 1898 at the art school of Anton Ažbe, where he met Alexei Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin, and then in 1900 at the Akademie with Franz von Stuck. The following year he was a co-founder of the ...

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

Ulrike Lehmann

(b Nice, April 28, 1928; d Paris, June 6, 1962).

French painter, sculptor, performance artist and writer.

He was the son of the Dutch-born painter Fred Klein (b 1898), whose work was representational, and Marie Raymond (b 1908), who developed a reputation in the 1950s as an abstract artist, and whose abstraction was influential on the development of her son’s work. Although he had had no formal art training, he was already making his first serious attempts at painting by 1946 and showing his interest in the absoluteness of colour by formulating his first theories about monochrome. In 1946 he befriended Arman, with whom he was later to be associated in the Nouveau Réalisme movement, and the writer Claude Pascal, whom he met at a judo class. Together they developed their interest in esoteric writing and East Asian religions. Klein became a student of the Rosicrucian Fellowship in 1946 and was influenced both by its mystical philosophy and by judo. In ...

Article

Alkis Charalampidis

[Nicolas]

(b Zakynthos, 1741; d Zakynthos, 1813).

Greek painter, poet and Musician. He was a pupil of Nikolaos Doxaras (1754–9) and perhaps of Giambattista Tiepolo in Venice, the city that decisively influenced both his art and his life. After his return to Greece he was ordained (c. 1770), but due to his idiosyncratic character he suffered many personal vicissitudes. He worked chiefly on religious painting and portraits, his most important works being Litany (1766; Zakynthos, St Dionysios), modelled on Venetian images of religious processions, Pietà, Joseph and Nicodemus (both Zakynthos, Church of the Ascension), Mary Magdalen, Mary Cleopas, St John, St Peter, Six Scenes from the Life of the Blessed Virgin, Five Hierarchs (all Zakynthos, Mus.), Self-portrait (Zakynthos, D. Romas priv. col., see Lydakes, p. 200) and Portrait of a Nobleman (Athens, N. G.).

S. Lydakes: Lexiko ton hellenon zographon kai charakton [Dictionary of Greek painters and engravers] (1976), p. 200, iv of ...

Article

Midori Yamamura

(b Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefect., March 22, 1929).

Japanese painter, sculptor, poet, writer, printmaker, installation, and performance artist, active also in the USA.

Growing up under Japan’s World War II totalitarian regime, Kusama believed art could help her nurture a more humane worldview. She began taking private art lessons at the age of 13. Between 1952 and 1955, she had six solo exhibitions. In 1955 Kusama wrote to artists Kenneth Callahan and Georgia O’Keeffe in the United States and Callahan helped organize her first United States solo exhibition in Seattle (1957).

After Seattle, Kusama moved to New York in 1958, where she launched her career alongside the second generation Abstract Expressionists. In 1959 she developed a series of paintings called Infinity Nets; large horizontal works featuring obsessively repeated small arcs. At solo exhibitions in New York (1959, Brata Gallery; 1961, Stephen Radich Gallery), she only showed white, wall-sized works from the series. Appearing void from a distance, her huge paintings forced viewers to come closer, disallowing their objectification, while permitting each viewer an intimate experience. These works made a strong impression on the New York scene, with Frank Stella and a future Minimalist Donald Judd buying her works....

Article

N. A. Yevsina

(Aleksandrovich)

(b Nikol’skoye-Cherenchitsy estate, nr Torzhok, 1751; d Moscow, 2/Jan 3, 1804).

Russian architect, theorist, illustrator, poet, Musician and inventor. An enlightened dilettante and encyclopedist from a princely family, he studied architecture on his own and travelled in western Europe (1775, 1776–7), above all in France and Italy. On his return to Russia L’vov worked at the Foreign Ministry and acquired a reputation as an architect from the early 1780s. His earliest works—the Neva Gate (1780–87) of the Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg, the single-domed cathedral of St Joseph (1780–98) in Mogilyov and the similar five-domed church (1785–96) at the monastery of SS Boris and Gleb in Torzhok—are characterized by their austere simplicity, spareness of form and pronounced monumentality. They became the model for many Russian Neo-classical churches of the late 18th century and the early 19th. L’vov’s works for St Petersburg include the Post Office (1782–9), unexecuted designs for the Cabinet on the Nevsky Prospect (...

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(b San Francisco, CA, Oct 5, 1937).

Native American (Maidu–Wintu) painter, printmaker, photographer, writer, educator, traditional dancer and poet. LaPena, also known as Tauhindauli, spent time with the Nomtipom Wintu and other regional neighboring elders to conserve and regain traditional cultural practices. He was taught traditional tribal songs, dances and ceremonial rituals of Northern California Native American culture that inspired his interest in reviving and preserving Northern California tribal culture and accompanying performance arts. His work, along with Frank Day (1902–76), a late Maidu elder and painter, aided the founding of the Maidu Dancers and Traditionalists, a group dedicated to carrying out traditional cultural forms and social practices. Earning his bachelor’s degree from California State University (CSU), Chico (1965), and an Anthropology Masters of Arts degree from CSU, Sacramento (1978), he taught for the next 30 years in the CSU, Sacramento American Indian Studies program.

For LaPena, his art was a spiritual act, which empowers the maker with an opportunity to achieve a stronger sense of understanding life. Inspired by prehistoric rock painting, some painted images are depicted in total abstraction, while others illustrate a narrative theme. His strong consciousness of his Californian Native American heritage is distinctive and many themes in his compositions provide a powerful commentary in their depiction of the struggles of Northern California Native Americans; “To let the world know what happened in California, and to the indigenous populations points out that survival issues are still of great concern.” His paintings and prints reached a popular acceptance. LaPena exhibited throughout the United States and internationally at the Wheelwright Museum, Santa Fe, NM, the Chicago Art Institute, the San Francisco Museum, the Linder Museum, Stuttgart, the American Arts Gallery, New York, the George G. Heye Center of the Smithsonian, New York, and numerous galleries. In ...

Article

Anthony Parton

(Fyodorovich)

(b Tiraspol, Moldova, June 3, 1881; d Fontenay-aux-Roses, nr Paris, May 10, 1964).

Russian painter, stage designer, printmaker, illustrator, draughtsman and writer of Moldovan birth. He was a leader of the Russian avant-garde before World War I but came to prominence in the West through his work for Serge Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. During the 1920s he played a significant role within the Ecole de Paris and continued to live and work in France until his death.

He was the son of Fyodor Mikhailovich Larionov, a doctor and pharmacist, and Aleksandra Fyodorovna Petrovskaya, but he grew up in his grandparents’ home in Tiraspol. He completed his secondary education at the Voskresensky Technical High School in Moscow and in 1898 entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Here he studied under Valentin Serov and Konstantin Korovin, and he also became friendly with Natal’ya Goncharova who was to remain his lifelong companion and colleague. Larionov’s work soon caught the imagination of collectors and critics. In ...

Article

Margarita González Arredondo

(b Mexico City, Aug 26, 1896; d Mexico City, Jan 28, 1971).

Mexican painter, stage designer, illustrator and writer. He studied in Mexico City at the Escuela al Aire Libre de Coyoacán and at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, before living in Paris from 1922 to 1930, where he trained as a stage designer from 1928 to 1930 in the studio of Charles Dullin. In Paris he attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and became aware of Surrealism; he was one of the first artists to introduce the style to Mexico. In his characteristic small-scale oil paintings, such as Children with Cage (Mexico City, Mus. N. A.), in which two girls are silhouetted in front of a curtain, he combined neo-Impressionist brushwork and a highly theatrical handling of light with absurd elements. He abandoned his career as a painter at an early age, concentrating in the 1930s and 1940s on designing for the stage as well as making his name as a critic and playwright....

Article

Françoise Audouze

(b Paris, Aug 25, 1911; d Paris, Feb 19, 1986).

French social anthropologist, prehistorian and philosopher. He created the French school of ‘cultural Technology’ studies with his key concepts of chaîne opératoire and tendance technique. In L’Homme et la matière (1943–5) he analysed the relations between physical matter, technical constraints and style. In Le Geste et la parole (1964–5) he combined technology, physical anthropology, prehistory and philosophy into a ‘programmatology’ to describe the interrelationships between the physical evolution of mankind, the evolution of his cognitive abilities, the evolution of techniques in tool manufacture and the role played by style and symbolism. The excavation methods he applied to Upper Palaeolithic occupation levels have led to the formation of the school of ‘prehistoric ethnology’ dedicated to the reconstruction of prehistoric life and activities, as exemplified by the Magdalenian settlement of Pincevent (see Prehistoric Europe, §I). His contribution to the study of prehistoric art represents a complete break with previous conceptions. Using a structuralist approach, he built a comprehensive theory including all Franco-Cantabrian Palaeolithic ...

Article

Howard Caygill

(b Kamenz, Jan 21, 1729; d Brunswick, Feb 15, 1781).

German philosopher, critic and playwright. He was the leading representative of the German Enlightenment in the theatre and in criticism. Lessing studied theology at the University of Leipzig from 1746 to 1748, changing his faculty to medicine shortly before moving to Berlin. He was in Berlin intermittently until 1760, when he became secretary to the Prussian General von Tauentzien in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland), remaining there until 1765. In 1767 he went to the liberal trading city of Hamburg in the hope of founding a German national theatre, and from 1770 until his death was the librarian to the Prince of Brunswick at Wolfenbüttel.

During Lessing’s first stay in Berlin he contributed a series of brilliant articles to the Vossische Zeitung, a journal of popular philosophy dedicated to the propagation of Enlightenment ideas. His first major critical works were his contributions to Briefe, die neueste Literatur betreffend (1759–65), along with Moses Mendelssohn (...

Article

[Montebelo, Marquês de]

(b Torre da Fonte, 1595; d Madrid, 1662).

Spanish painter and writer, also active in Portugal. He received a classical education at Santiago de Compostela and participated at court in the activities of music, dance and painting. In Madrid he was a personal friend of Diego Velázquez. Machado wrote sonnets and picaresque novels and was also a friend of the Camões scholar Manuel de Faria e Sousa. He was interested in the history of the nobility and concerned with the defence of the Liberal Arts.

Machado made his living entirely from painting, especially portraiture. The Portrait of the Artist’s Children António, Francisco and Diogo (c. 1635–40; Portugal, Countess of Figueira, priv. col., see Santos, pl. 20) is charming. A self-portrait (1635–40; Portugal, Dona Maria José Machado de Castro Branco, priv. col., see exh. cat., pl. 36) shows the artist painting his son, Francisco, with Dona Bernarda. The vibrant tonalities and the misty backgrounds are reminiscent of Velázquez’s work. Machado’s work should be seen in the context of Spanish portrait painting rather than as part of the less formal and plainer conception of portraiture then current in Portugal....

Article

Rowan Watson

(b ?Reims, c. 1300; d ?April 13, 1377).

French composer and poet. He was the most prolific and inventive poet and composer of his day. His texts and manuscripts characterize the taste of the royal court in mid-14th-century France. From c. 1323 to 1346 he was in the service of John of Luxembourg, King of Bohemia, after which he served members of the French royal family, among them Jean, Duc de Berry. Despite a peripatetic career, Machaut’s chief home was in Reims, where he finally became a canon in 1337, and where the Dauphin, the future Charles V, had him sought from his house during a visit to the city in 1361.

Machaut’s autobiographical poem Voir-dit (1362–5) shows his working methods. In his mature years at least, he dictated work to a secretary and could call on the services of copyists. Mention of Machaut’s Livre où je met toutes mes choses in the poem appears to refer to a personal copy of his works, possibly partly in his own hand, that was unbound to facilitate copying, re-ordering, and further additions. Miniatures showing the poet writing upon a roll refer to another means by which he transmitted texts, particularly suited for performance or reading aloud....

Article

Philip Sohm

(b Siena, Feb 21, 1558; d Rome, Aug 22, 1630).

Italian physician, art historian and connoisseur. His medical career culminated with his appointment in 1623 as personal physician to Urban VIII. His interest in the arts, notably painting and dance, cannot be securely dated before 1617 when he started writing his most famous work, Alcune considerazioni appartenenti alla pittura come di diletto di un gentilhuomo nobile, and its twin Alcune considerationi intorno a quello che hanno scritto alcuni autori in materia della pittura (completed in 1621 but with later emendations). The first is divided into ten sections: the first two (20 folios) are introductory and theoretical; the following four (94 folios) are historical, organized by periods and schools; and the last four (46 folios) discuss topics that would interest collectors, including observations on how to distinguish quality, or an original work from a copy, or the age of a painting, as well as how to buy, frame, install and conserve them. The second work is divided into three sections: first a critique of Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo, including his etymology of ...