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Article

Whitney Chadwick

(b Balagne, Jan 4, 1896; d Paris, Oct 28, 1987).

French painter, draughtsman, printmaker, and stage designer. His work played an important role in the development of both Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism, although his independence, iconoclasm, and abrupt stylistic transitions make him difficult to classify. Masson was admitted to the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts et l’Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in Brussels at the age of 11. Through his teacher Constant Montald, he met the Belgian poet Emile Verhaeren (1855–1916), who persuaded Masson’s parents to send him to Paris for further training. Masson joined the French infantry in 1915 and fought in the battles of the Somme; he was gravely wounded, and his wartime experiences engendered in him a profound philosophy about human destiny and stimulated his search for a personal imagery of generation, eclosion, and metamorphosis.

Masson’s early works, particularly the paintings of 1922 and 1923 on a forest theme (e.g. Forest, 1923; see Leiris and Limbour, p. 93), reflected the influence of André Derain, but by late ...

Article

José Corredor-Matheos

[Manuel]

(b Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Feb 17, 1926; d Madrid, Aug 14, 1972).

Spanish painter. From 1948 he was influenced by Surrealism, which had been a major force in the Canary Islands since the 1930s. Following the example of Paul Klee and Joan Miró, in 1949 he began to make paintings that employed abstract motifs such as circles, spirals, squares, rhomboids and triangles as symbols, basing his language on the indigenous art of the Canary Islands; these were known by 1952 as pictografías canarias. He remained in Las Palmas until his move to Madrid in 1955, enthusiastically supporting new trends in art and poetry and founding and directing Los arqueros del arte contemporáneo, a series of monographs on contemporary artists. Millares’s reputation was already established by the time he arrived in Madrid, and in 1957 he was a founder-member there of the El Paso group. He was particularly active within the group and exhibited his work internationally.

Millares began producing his most characteristic work ...

Article

José Corredor-Matheos

(b Barcelona, April 20, 1893; d Palma de Mallorca, Dec 25, 1983).

Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker and decorative artist (see fig.). He was never closely aligned with any movement and was too retiring in his manner to be the object of a personality cult, like his compatriot Picasso, but the formal and technical innovations that he sustained over a very long career guaranteed his influence on 20th-century art. A pre-eminent figure in the history of abstraction and an important example to several generations of artists around the world, he remained profoundly attached to the specific circumstances and environment that shaped his art in his early years. An acute balance of sophistication and innocence and a deeply rooted conviction about the relationship between art and nature lie behind all his work and account in good measure for the wide appeal that his art has continued to exercise across many of the usual barriers of style.

Article

Leonor Morales

(b Guadalajara, Feb 19, 1887; d Mexico City, Oct 13, 1968).

Mexican painter, printmaker, illustrator and stage designer. In 1903 he began studying painting in Guadalajara under Félix Bernardelli, an Italian who had established a school of painting and music there, and he produced his first illustrations for Revista moderna, a magazine that promoted the Latin American modernist movement and for which his cousin, the poet Amado Nervo, wrote. In 1905 he enrolled at the Escuela Nacional de Arte in Mexico City, where Diego Rivera was also studying, and won a grant to study in Europe. After two years in Madrid, Montenegro moved in 1907 to Paris, where he continued his studies and had his first contact with Cubism, meeting Picasso, Braque and Gris.

After a short stay in Mexico, Montenegro returned to Paris. At the outbreak of World War I he moved to Barcelona and from there to Mallorca, where he lived as a fisherman for the next four years. During his stay in Europe he assimilated various influences, in particular from Symbolism, from Art Nouveau (especially Aubrey Beardsley) and from William Blake....

Article

Alan G. Wilkinson and Lin Barton

(Spencer )

(b Castleford, W. Yorks, July 30, 1898; d Perry Green, Much Hadham, Herts, Aug 31, 1986).

English sculptor, draughtsman, and printmaker. Generally acknowledged as the most important British sculptor of the 20th century, he took the human figure as his central subject-matter throughout his career. Although he witnessed revolutionary stylistic changes and the emergence of new sculptural materials during his working life, he borrowed from diverse cultural traditions and artists in order to give his work a profound resonance with the art of the past. His female figures, echoing the forms of mountains, valleys, cliffs, and caves, extended and enriched the landscape tradition, which he embraced as part of his English artistic heritage.

The seventh child of a miner, he was brought up in the small industrial town of Castleford. His father, a self-educated man, had great ambitions for his children and insisted that Henry should first qualify as a teacher (he worked as a student teacher at Temple Street Elementary School in 1915–16) and then pursue, if he wished, a career in art....

Article

Juan Pérez de Ayala

(b Malaga, Feb 16, 1887; d Mexico, April 25, 1955).

Spanish painter, poet, critic and art historian. He studied history of art at the university of Madrid and worked as a medievalist at the Centro de Estudios Históricos (1910–16). He was an archivist at the Instituto Jovellanos in Gijón (1921–2) and head of archives at the Palacio Real (1931–6); concurrently he was a tutor at the Residencia de Estudiantes (1917–36) and director of the journal Arquitectura (1927–33). Having been exiled from Madrid to Valencia with other artists and intellectuals in November 1936, he was sent in 1937 to the USA as part of a cultural propaganda visit. While there, he was invited by the Mexican government to base himself in Mexico, where he remained until 1955; he catalogued the works of art deposited in the Bienes Nacionales and worked for both Casa de España en México and the Colegio de México....

Article

Ronald Alley

(b Copenhagen, Oct 23, 1910; d Copenhagen, Jan 12, 1993).

Danish painter and stage designer. He studied at the art academy in Copenhagen from 1931 to 1932. In 1932 he visited Berlin with the painter Ejler Bille and saw paintings by Vasily Kandinsky, after which he began to make abstract pictures with pure, geometrical forms. He was also attracted by Surrealism and in his paintings of 1933–4 sometimes incorporated fragments of reality, such as an eye and a pair of lips, in otherwise abstract compositions, which gave them a fantastic and erotic character. In 1934 he made some paintings that were purely Surrealist (influenced by Salvador Dalí and Yves Tanguy) as well as drawings of an automatist nature; his works were already exceptionally striking in colour.

From January 1934 Mortensen was associated with the magazine Linien, edited by Vilhelm Bjerke-Petersen, and from September 1934 he became its co-editor with Bille. By 1935 he had turned against the more naturalistic kinds of Surrealism; he was inspired by two summers spent on the island of Bornholm to paint a series of pictures based on fantastic impressions of botanical forms, with vigorous interwoven patterns and rich colours. In ...

Article

Lajos Németh

(b Pécsvárad, nr Pécs, 1909; d Stockholm, Sept 22, 1985).

Swedish painter of Czech birth and Hungarian origin. He changed his surname from Nágel in 1928. Following his education in Slovakia and Budapest, he became a pupil of Willi Nowak (1886–1977) at the Academy of Fine Arts, Prague, from 1930 to 1935. He first exhibited in Prague in 1936, and he was a member of the avant-garde Artistic Forum. Forced to emigrate in 1938 he went to Helsinki, where he worked as a teacher for two years. In 1940 he moved to Norway, from where he soon fled to Sweden because of his involvement in the anti-Fascist resistance. In 1941 he was among the founder-members of the Surrealist Minotaurgruppen, and in 1948 he became a Swedish citizen. He exhibited regularly in Sweden and worldwide from 1941.

Nemes’s early works show the influence of late Cubism and Czech Surrealism and exploit the Surrealist technique of associative montage, which he continued to use throughout his career. His later works as a whole derive their style from Pittura Metafisica and Surrealist painting and are composed from historical and art-historical fragments of memory, rearranged and endowed with new, often ambivalent meanings. As a result, however, of his intellectual rigour, his work, which is dominated by the experience of Central Europe, in particular the history-laden atmosphere of Prague, displays Kafkaesque anxiety and avoids the compositional automatism inherent in the Surrealist method. Nemes executed a number of murals in Sweden (e.g. Skövde, ...

Article

Anita Kühnel

(b Magdeburg, June 29, 1900; d Posteholz, nr Hameln, May 27, 1980).

German painter and draughtsman. He studied at the Bauhaus in Weimar under Johannes Itten (1921–5). His early work was influenced by Constructivism, but Oelze was soon impressed by Neue Sachlichkeit, with which he became familiar while living in Dresden (1926–9). At this time he also became acquainted with Otto Dix and his work. His pictures from the late 1920s, for example Still-life with White Plate and Coloured Balls (oil on panel, 1928–9; Berne, priv. col.), show a clear concreteness and strong composition and reflect the trance-like state found in works of Magic Realism. During this period he also visited the Bauhaus in Dessau for several months. On a trip to Ascona in 1929 he saw reproductions of the works of Max Ernst and Hans Arp for the first time. In 1933 he moved to Paris, where he remained until 1936 and made contact with the Surrealists. By the 1930s dreams and premonitions were becoming themes in his work, and his paintings increasingly featured dream-creatures, combinations of animal and plant, plant and human, human and animal. In the painting ...

Article

Whitney Chadwick

(b Berlin, Oct 6, 1913; d Berne, Nov 15, 1985).

Swiss painter and sculptor of German birth. She studied in Basle at the Kunstgewerbeschule from 1929 to 1930. After seeing an exhibition of Bauhaus work, including that of Paul Klee, at the Basle Kunsthalle, Oppenheim produced her first Surrealist work, a series of pen-and-ink drawings in a school notebook. Oppenheim’s earliest works reflect the influence of Klee and the artists of Neue Sachlichkeit. She moved to Paris in 1932 and studied briefly at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière before meeting the Surrealists through Alberto Giacometti and Hans Arp the following year. Oppenheim quickly became known as the perfect embodiment of the Surrealist woman, the femme-enfant, who through her youth, naivety and charm was believed to have more direct and spontaneous access to the realms of the dream and the unconscious. She was celebrated by the Surrealists as the ‘fairy woman whom all men desire’. Man Ray posed her nude with an etching press in a celebrated series of photographs that includes ...

Article

John Steen

(b Dordrecht, March 10, 1893; d The Hague, June 3, 1956).

Dutch painter and draughtsman. He first worked as a teacher in the Dutch East Indies (1916–38). Thereafter he lived in The Hague, where he taught drawing and history of art. He was self-taught and until 1930 painted primarily East Indian models and landscapes, in which Paul Cézanne’s influence is apparent. While on leave in Europe (1923–4 and 1931) and through reproductions, he came into contact with Surrealism, which was to have a crucial effect on his work. He had a one-man exhibition at the gallery J. H. de Bois in Haarlem in 1931. During his ‘blue period’ (1930–40) he painted his collection of East Indian masks and wajang puppets, often in close-up, as well as still-lifes. During his second Surrealist period (1940–45) the objects were placed in a fictive, external space. The works are full of theatrical elements and symbols of mortality, which are a response to the experience of World War II. After ...

Article

Celia Rabinovitch

(b Vienna, 1905 or 1907; d Mexico City, 1959).

Austrian painter and writer, active in Mexico. Self-taught, he travelled widely through Europe from 1920, painting in France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Greece and Czechoslovakia. He became a member of Abstraction–Création in 1934 and was involved with the Surindépendants in Paris from 1932 to 1935, but from 1935 he was associated primarily with Surrealism. He is generally credited with inventing the Surrealist technique of fumage, by which he drew on the canvas with the random and evanescent patterns of smoke from candles, as in Fumage (oil and smoke on canvas, 910×600 mm, 1937; Tepoztlán, Morelos, Isabel Marín de Paalen priv. col.; see Morales, pl. I, opp. p. 14). He also produced sculptures made from objets trouvés, such as an encrusted umbrella entitled Articulated Cloud (1938; Stockholm, Mod. Mus.)

At the beginning of World War II Paalen moved to Mexico with his wife, the French Surrealist poet Alice Rahon Paalen, settling there permanently and becoming friends with Diego Rivera and Miguel Covarrubias. He travelled in the Pacific Northwest and became one of the first artists to explore and discuss the native art of this region at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and other major centres. He maintained contact with Max Ernst, Joan Miró and Alberto Giacometti, and in ...

Article

Louisa Buck

(b London, Oct 14, 1900; d Chiddingly, E. Sussex, April 23, 1984).

English patron, poet, painter, sculptor and collagist. After completing his BA at Queens’ College, Cambridge, in 1922, he worked as a painter in France from 1922 to 1935 and through Max Ernst became closely involved with the Surrealist group in Paris. On his return to England, he established the British Surrealist Group and in 1936 organized the first International Surrealist Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries in London, which provided Britain’s first full-scale exposure to the movement. He took part in most of the group’s activities and was secretary and treasurer of its showcase, the London Gallery, as well as co-editor of its publication, the London Gallery Bulletin.

Penrose began collecting art in the early 1930s and in 1938 bought Paul Eluard’s collection of Surrealist, African and other art. This included 40 major works by Max Ernst, including the Elephant Celebes (1921; London, Tate), several paintings by Giorgio De Chirico, most notably the ...

Article

Marianne Heinz

[François] (Marie Martínez)

(b Paris, Jan 22, 1879; d Paris, Nov 30, 1953).

French painter and writer. He was one of the major figures of the Dada movement in France and in the USA but remained as stubbornly uncategorizable as he was influential. In his rejection of consistency and of an identifiable manner, he called into question attitudes to the artistic process that had been regarded as sacrosanct and in so doing guaranteed the intellectual force of his ideas for subsequent generations of artists.

After attending the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in Paris on an irregular basis from 1895 to 1897, he was able to begin his career as a painter thanks to a substantial inheritance from his mother. He gained early recognition with Impressionist-influenced landscapes and townscapes depicting resorts near Paris such as Villeneuve-sur-Yonne and Moret-sur-Loing, for example Banks of the Loing (1905; Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.). These paintings, which he exhibited in Paris at the official salons and in commercial galleries, were particularly close to the work of Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley; in spite of their sometimes mediocre quality they sold easily because of the ready market for this kind of work....

Article

Melissa McQuillan

(b Málaga, Oct 25, 1881; d Mougins, France, April 8, 1973).

Spanish painter, sculptor, draughtsman, printmaker, decorative artist and writer, active in France. He dominated 20th-century European art and was central in the development of the image of the modern artist. Episodes of his life were recounted in intimate detail, his comments on art were published and his working methods recorded on film. Painting was his principal medium, but his sculptures, prints, theatre designs and ceramics all had an impact on their respective disciplines. Even artists not influenced by the style or appearance of his work had to come to terms with its implications.

With Georges Braque Picasso was responsible for Cubism, one of the most radical re-structurings of the way that a work of art constructs its meaning. During his extremely long life Picasso instigated or responded to most of the artistic dialogues taking place in Europe and North America, registering and transforming the developments that he found most fertile. His marketability as a unique and enormously productive artistic personality, together with the distinctiveness of his work and practice, have made him the most extensively exhibited and discussed artist of the 20th century....

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Barcelona, Nov 28, 1927; d St Paul de Vence, France, April 4, 1984).

Spanish Catalan painter, draughtsman and etcher. In 1944 he studied painting and drawing at Ramón Rogent’s studio and at the Barcelona Academy of Plastic Arts. His early paintings evolved from a stylized realism into a surrealism that was influenced by the work of Joan Miro, as in La Pipa (1946; see 1990 exh. cat., p. 32). In 1948 Ponç co-founded the artists’ group and magazine Dau al Set. As part of this avant-garde group, Ponç continued to paint symbolic and surreal creatures, with the eye being a central motif connoting both communication and clairvoyance. In 1954 Ponç moved to Brazil, where he concentrated on his drawings, making a number of themed ‘suites’, such as the Head Suite (1958–9; see 1972 exh. cat., pp. 130–34), a series of india ink drawings showing a similar head in various states, from being entangled in thorns to being split open to reveal another creature living inside. In ...

Article

Andrea García Rodríguez

[Philippot, Alice Marie Yvonne]

(b Chenecey-Buillon, Quingey, Jun 8, 1904; d Mexico City, Oct 3, 1987).

Mexican painter and poet of French birth. In the early stage of her career, she dedicated herself to writing poetry, encouraged by André Breton and the Surrealist group. She published three books of poems, which encompass her considerations on time, the mystical forces of nature, and the universe. Some years later, when she moved to Mexico, she began painting, motivated by the new scenery. Her paintings portray natural landscapes, popular festivities, imaginary cities, and zoomorphic characters.

She grew up in Paris and in 1931 she met the Austrian artist Wolfgang Paalen, who would become her husband three years later. Together, they traveled to Spain to visit the caves of Altamira, a place that caused a huge impact on them and was continually evocated in her work, as in Tempète de sable (1948) and Happy Hunting Grounds (1946). Once settled in Paris, in 1935, Rahon and Paalen met Paul Eluard. From then on, they started frequenting the Surrealist group, where Paalen showed his Surrealist objects and Rahon read her free verse poems. Her first book entitled ...

Article

Ingrid Severin

(b Baden, Dec 8, 1929).

Austrian painter, printmaker and photographer. He began painting as a self-taught artist in the mid-1940s, after leaving school, and first came into contact with contemporary art through a British Council exhibition in 1947 that included work by Paul Nash, Francis Bacon, Stanley Spencer, Henry Moore and Edward Burra. Around this time he produced his first portraits, such as Rainer Dying (pencil, 1949; Vienna, Helmut Weis priv. col., see 1984 exh. cat., p. 10). While attending the Staatsgewerbeschule at Villach from 1947 to 1949 he became interested in theories of Surrealism. He had almost no academic training as an artist, leaving the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna in 1949 after only one day because of an argument with a teacher, and lasting little longer at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna in 1950. From 1948 to 1951 he produced Surrealistic drawings representing underwater scenes and mystical forms, rendering these fantastic images in pencil as a densely worked surface. In ...

Article

Luis Enrique Tord

(b Arequipa, Aug 19, 1940).

Peruvian painter and printmaker. He studied in the Netherlands and produced fantastic Surrealist-influenced pictures, in which he made reference to Flemish and Italian painting of the Renaissance. In a number of his dreamlike paintings figures appear to have emerged from a great box of robot toys, contributing to the painting’s disconcertingly cold atmosphere....

Article

Lourdes Font

(b Paris, 1902; d Paris March 14, 1955).

French fashion designer (see figs 1 and 2 ). From 1925 to 1953, Rochas was an innovator in Paris fashion. In the1930s he was known for architectural suits and coats, bold graphic patterns and Surrealist details, and in the post-war period for romantic designs inspired by the 19th century.

Rochas founded his Paris couture house in 1925, and within two years copies of his modern and practical daywear were sold in New York City department stores. In 1929 he was among those leading the way toward a new silhouette by raising waistlines and lowering hemlines. In 1931 he was inspired, like Elsa Schiaparelli , by the South-east Asian architecture and Balinese dancers at the Exposition Coloniale in Paris. By the end of the year he had shown broader shoulders and fuller sleeves in his collections. He continued the South-east Asian theme with his ‘Angkor’ coat of 1934, which had peaked shoulders, sleeves forming sharp points at the elbow and a silver-plated belt shaped like a palm frond. Other designs had flanges at the neckline and shoulders that projected from the body like cantilevered walls (...