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Vanina Costa

(b Quiévy, Nord, April 29, 1882; d Paris, 30–31 Jan 1960).

French painter. He studied drawing at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Lille, from 1898 to 1901, when he settled in Paris. The initial influence of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism visible in paintings that he sent to the Salon des Indépendants in 1906 gradually gave way to an involvement with Cubism after his move in 1909 to the Bateau-Lavoir studios, where he met Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Juan Gris; he was also encouraged by his friendship with Wilhelm Uhde. His work was exhibited in the same room as that of Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes and Fernand Léger in the Salon des Indépendants of 1910, and in 1912 he participated in the influential Section d’Or exhibition (see Section d’Or). After producing his first abstract paintings in 1917, Herbin came to the attention of Léonce Rosenberg who, after World War I, made him part of the group centred on his Gallerie de l’Effort Moderne and exhibited his work there on several occasions in ...

Article

(b Jičin, Feb 6, 1884; d 1964).

Czech designer. He was involved in developing the Cubist-influenced design and architectural style known as Czech Cubism, created in Prague shortly before World War I. He was a member of the Group of Plastic Artists (founded 1911), who created modern furniture, Cubist ceramics and such objects as candlesticks and ashtrays in non-ferrous metals....

Article

Radomíra Sedláková

(b Prague, March 12, 1882; d Prague, Aug 1, 1956).

Czech architect, designer, theorist and teacher. He graduated in architecture from the Czech Technical University, Prague, where he studied under Josef Schulz and Josef Zítek, and from 1906 to 1907 he was a student of Otto Wagner at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna. In 1908 he worked in Jan Kotěra’s studio in Prague. His early work was influenced by the modernism of Wagner and Kotěra, but he perceived a danger of uniformity in a purely rationalist approach to architecture. In 1911, together with Josef Chochol, Josef Gočár, Vlastislav Hofman (1884–1964), Emil Filla, Václav Špála, Antonín Procházka, Otto Gutfreund and others, he founded the Group of Fine Artists, which sought a more artistic approach to architecture, and in 1912 he and Gočár founded the Prague Art Workshops for the design of arts, crafts and furniture. Within the Group of Fine Artists, Janák developed the principles of Czech Cubism...

Article

Isabelle Monod-Fontaine

(b Mannheim, June 25, 1884; d Paris, Jan 11, 1979).

German art dealer, publisher, and writer, active in France. In 1902 he left the Jewish community of Mannheim for Paris, where he assiduously visited museums, galleries, and salons, while training for a career as a banker or stockbroker. In spring 1907 he obtained sufficient funds from his family to launch the tiny Galerie Kahnweiler at 28, Rue Vignon. That year he purchased works at the Salon des Indépendants and at the Salon d’Automne (by Kees van Dongen, Matisse, Derain, and Braque), and in the same year he met Picasso and visited his studio in the Bateau-Lavoir. There he saw the recently completed Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907; New York, MOMA). The visit was decisive. Kahnweiler immediately supported Picasso and also Braque, whose exhibition of November 1908, one of Kahnweiler’s rare one-man shows before World War I, prompted the coining of the term Cubism. Kahnweiler proved instrumental in promoting the style, numbering among his few faithful clients ...

Article

Charlotte Humphreys

(Viktor Vladimirovich)

(b Tundutov, Astrakhan, Nov 9, 1885; d Santalovo, Novgorod province, June 28, 1922).

Russian poet. He studied mathematics, biology and philology at Kazan’ University before devoting himself to literature. He became a member of the Hylaea circle of Futurist poets grouped around the artist David Burlyuk, which was responsible for the production of a large number of Russian Futurist books between c. 1912 and 1916. Khlebnikov’s theory of a transrational language (zaum), formulated in 1913 with his fellow poet Aleksey Kruchonykh, had a profound influence on the work of avant-garde artists, especially Kazimir Malevich, Jean Pougny (Ivan Puni), Pavel Filonov, Vladimir Tatlin and Pyotr Miturich. Literally ‘beyond the mind’ or ‘beyond sense’, zaum was used by Khlebnikov to signify the rejection of a conventional logic that defines words in terms of a specific meaning. It involved the ‘liberation’ of words, of parts of words and of individual letters and sounds from their accepted meaning, so that they could take on new meanings within a higher system of logic that literally transcends reason. Khlebnikov’s theories for a universal, transnational language were expounded in several articles written between ...

Article

Éva Bajkay

(b Miskolc, Dec 23, 1889; d Budapest, Nov 16, 1975).

Hungarian painter, printmaker, draughtsman and teacher. He studied in Kassa (now Košice, Slovakia) under Elemér Halász-Hradik and then in Budapest at Ferenc Szablya-Frischauf’s private school. Kmetty attended life classes at the Academy of Fine Arts in the evenings, where he met Béla Uitz and József Nemes Lampérth who, like him, later became members of the Activists. In 1911 he went to Paris and registered at the Académie Julian. The influence of Cézanne and Cubism can be seen in the early Self-portrait with Apple (1912; Budapest, N.G.). By 1912 he was a leading representative of Analytical Cubism in Hungary and spent considerable periods of time at the Kecskemét colony, producing Cubo-Expressionist compositions on biblical themes, reminiscent of El Greco. During World War I he produced work that dealt with themes of peace and fear (e.g. Concert, 1918; Budapest, N.G.)

In 1916 and 1917 Kmetty exhibited with the Seven (Hetek...

Article

Isabelle Monod-Fontaine

(b Visoko nad Jizerou, Bohemia, May 8, 1877; d Prague, Nov 6, 1960).

Czech critic, writer and collector. He studied in Prague at the Academy of Fine Arts and at Charles University, and later at the University of Vienna. His education led him to form original connections between contemporary art and that of earlier periods. As a theorist he helped to introduce Cubism into Czechoslovakia, while also applying his knowledge of the work of Picasso, Georges Braque, André Derain and others to his analysis of Bohemian Gothic art, in which he was a leading specialist. While living in Paris from 1910 to 1913 he met the dealers Ambroise Vollard and Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and most of the painters they represented, becoming a frequent visitor to Picasso’s studio. By 1914 he had formed one of the most substantial collections of Cubist painting, including Picasso’s famous Self-portrait (1907) and Harlequin (1908–9), as well as several Analytical Cubist works such as The Clarinet...

Article

Radomíra Sedláková

(b Prague, June 5, 1893; d Brno, June 7, 1974).

Czech architect, theorist, graphic artist, designer, teacher and writer. He graduated in architecture from the Czech Technical University, Prague, where he studied with Jan Koula (1855–1919), Josef Fanta and Antonín Balšánek (1865–1921). While still studying he became a member of the Mánes Union of Artists. During the period 1921 to 1928 he practised in Mladá Boleslav and in 1925 he was appointed Professor of Architecture at the Technical University in Brno. At the same time he was a founder-member of Socialistická scéna (Socialist Stage), for which he worked as stage manager, set designer and graphic artist. Kroha’s early work was based on a distinctive conception of Cubism, as in the Crematorium in Pardubice (1919), and Expressionism, as in the Catholic church, Prague-Vinohrady (1918–19), which he formulated in a series of extremely varied competition designs for buildings that were full of tension and explosiveness. His works at Mladá Boleslav, especially the State Technical College (...

Article

Charlotte Humphreys

(Yeliseyevich)

(b Olevka, Kherson province, 1886; d Moscow, 1968).

Russian poet and critic of Ukrainian birth. He is best known for his creation of Russian Futurist books between 1912 and 1916 in collaboration with the avant-garde artists Natal’ya Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich and Ol’ga Rozanova. These books, some of which were written with Velimir Khlebnikov, are characterized by deliberate mistakes and misprints, bold handwriting or irregular typefaces and printed on differently textured paper or wallpaper. The accompanying illustrations were executed in a coarse and primitive style to match the harsh and dissonant tones of the poetry. The books include Igra v adu (‘A game in Hell’; Moscow, 1912 and 1914), Mirskontsa (‘The world backwards’; Moscow, 1912), Pomada (Moscow, 1913), Utinoye gnezdyshko…durnykh slov (‘A duck’s nest…of bad words’; St Petersburg, 1913), Te Li Le (St Petersburg, 1914), Zaumnaya kniga (‘Transrational book’; Moscow, 1915), Voyna (‘War’; Petrograd, 1915) and Vselenskaya voyna (‘Universal war’; Petrograd, ...

Article

Jaroslav Sedlář

(b Vlčkovice, nr Hradec Králové, Aug 21, 1884; d Prague, Nov 27, 1918).

Bohemian painter, printmaker and draughtsman. He studied at the School of Applied Arts in Prague, but left in 1906 to study at the Reale Istituto di Belle Arti in Florence. In the same year, with Emil Filla and Antonin Procházka among others, he founded Eight, the, a group of artists who felt the need of innovation in their art, as exemplified by Cubism and German Expressionism. In 1909 and 1910 he visited Paris. During the next two years he exhibited with the Neue Sezession in Berlin and in 1913 in Düsseldorf. His work evolved rapidly from Impressionism, Expressionism and a specific kind of Cubism to Italian Futurism.

The young Kubišta was strongly affected by the work of Munch exhibited in Prague in 1905. Until 1910 he worked in an Expressionist style, which brought him closer to the German painters associated with Der Blaue Reiter and Die Brücke. The first notable example of this period was ...

Article

Petr Wittlich

[Frank]

(b Opočno, Sept 22, 1871; d Puteaux, Paris, June 21, 1957).

Bohemian painter and graphic artist, active in France. A pioneer of European abstract painting, he first trained at the School of Arts and Crafts at Jaroměř under Alois Studnička (1842–1927). From 1887 until 1891 he studied at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts under Professor František Sequens (1836–96), a late Nazarene, who directed an atelier of religious painting. He continued his studies at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna (1892–3), under Professor August Eisenmenger (1830–1907). In 1894 he met the painter and natural philosopher Karl Diefenbach (b 1851), who impressed him with his ideas of a return to nature. Kupka’s paintings of this period (e.g. Quam ad causam sumus?, ?1894) are untraced. In 1895 he settled in Paris, earning his living as an illustrator for periodicals. In 1899 he exhibited a genre painting, the Bibliomaniac (Prague, N.G., Trade Fair Pal.), at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts without notable success. He first achieved fame with his satirical cycles in anarchistic style, ...

Article

Vladimír Šlapeta

(b Kouřim, Bohemia [now Czech Republic], April 24, 1883; d Prague, Feb 10, 1960).

Czech architect. He studied architecture at the Czech Technical University, Prague, and became a founder-member and leading representative of the Architects’ Club (1913), which brought together the modernist graduates of the University. Kysela spent most of his career working in the construction office of the city of Prague. After an initial interest in Czech Cubism, seen in his U Klíčů house (1914), Lesser Town, Prague, and in Rondocubism, he moved first to the rationalist use of bare brickwork, as in his power station (1923) at Vinohrady, Prague, and finally to Constructivism. The modular system of a reinforced-concrete skeleton enabled him to simplify both the plan and the façade and to use a suspended glass envelope. He applied these principles to the first large-scale modern commercial buildings in Prague’s main centre, Wenceslas Square: the Lindt Department Store and Café (1924–6), the Baťa Department Store (...

Article

Eric Hild-Ziem

(b Le Mans, July 11, 1885; d Grasse, Nov 27, 1925).

French painter and draughtsman. Although he was born at Le Mans, where his father, an officer in the French army, was temporarily stationed, he came from an aristocratic family whose ancestral home, the Château de la Fresnaye, was near Falaise. His education, which was thorough and classically based, was followed by studies in Paris at the Académie Julian (1903–4) and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (1904–5 and 1906–8); from 1908 he studied at the Académie Ranson under Maurice Denis and Paul Sérusier, whose joint influence is evident in early works such as Woman with Chrysanthemums (1909; Paris, Pompidou), which has the dreamlike Symbolist atmosphere and stylization characteristic of work by the Nabis.

In 1909 La Fresnaye travelled to Munich, where he came briefly under the influence of Expressionism in paintings such as Entry to the Village (1910; Troyes, Mus. A. Mod.). From 1910 to 1911...

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

Isabelle Monod-Fontaine

(b Paris, Feb 18, 1885; d Paris, May 5, 1954).

French sculptor, collagist, printmaker and illustrator. He came from a family of coopers and c. 1899 joined the studio of a sculptor of building ornaments, practising direct carving on building sites and studying academic drawings in the evenings. In 1902 he settled in the Montmartre district of Paris, where in 1905 he met Marthe Duverger, whom he later married. His portrait of Marthe and other early works, most of which were later destroyed or lost, followed the example of Auguste Rodin. In spite of working in difficult and isolated conditions from 1905 to 1911, he managed to free himself from the influence of Rodin and other contemporary artists and began to study French Romanesque and Gothic sculpture, both from reproductions and by travelling around the Ile-de-France. After one of his legs was amputated in 1909, he lived briefly in the artists’ studio complex La Ruche in Montparnasse; on his return to Montmartre in ...

Article

Daniel Robbins

(b Hesdin, Pas-de-Calais, 1881; d Paris, Jan 1946).

French painter. He was the son of a physician and enrolled in 1900 at the Université de Paris to study law. After the death of his father, he attended the studio of Jean-Paul Laurens for a year, moving to the Académie Julian in 1902. In 1905 he exhibited for the first time at the Salon des Indépendants and shared an exhibition with the painter and printmaker Georges Le Meilleur (1861–1945), under the auspices of L’Independance Artistique (an association that exhibited at several venues in Paris). The following year Le Meilleur took Le Fauconnier on a painting trip to Brittany, where the wild, rocky shore around the fishing village of Ploumanac’h made an indelible impression. Until this trip Le Fauconnier was ranked, along with Braque, as a talented follower of Matisse, but by the Salon des Indépendants of 1908 he was separated from the younger Fauve painters for the boldness and simplification of his forms....

Article

Judi Freeman

(b Argentan, Orne, Feb 4, 1881; d Gif-sur-Yvette, Seine-et-Oise, Aug 17, 1955).

French painter, draughtsman, illustrator, printmaker, stage designer, film maker, and ceramicist. Among the most prominent artists in Paris in the first half of the 20th century, he was prolific in many media and articulated a consistent position on the role of art in society in his many lectures and writings. His mature work underwent many changes, from a Cubist-derived abstraction in the 1910s to a distinctive realist imagery in the 1950s. Léger attracted numerous students to his various schools, and his ideas and philosophy were disseminated by modern artists throughout Europe and the Americas.

Born in rural Normandy, Léger often said that he was of ‘peasant stock’. Although his father was a cattle merchant, Léger was sent by his family to Caen in 1897 to be an apprentice in an architect’s office, where he remained until 1899. In 1900 he went to Paris and again worked in an architect’s office as a draughtsman. After compulsory military service in ...

Article

Daniel Robbins

(b Bordeaux, July 5, 1885; d Paris, Jan 25, 1962).

French painter, critic and teacher. From the age of 12 he was apprenticed by his father to a maker of wood-carvings. He followed the course in decorative arts at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux and did not definitively abandon ornamental sculpture for painting until 1905. Perhaps as a consequence, Lhote was one of the few 20th-century artists and theoreticians who not only accepted the term ‘decorative’ in connection with art but also exalted it, finding in mural painting the highest public realization of his ambitions. Like Albert Gleizes and Fernand Léger, he welcomed the limitations of wall painting because its conditions insisted on flatness as integral to a large plane surface.

The first paintings shown by Lhote to a large public in Paris, at the Salon d’Automne of 1907, were characterized by vigorous brushstrokes and bright colours. While they had affinities with Fauvism, they were already disciplined by his admiration for Cézanne, visible in the break-up of surfaces into smaller planes. These early works were mostly landscapes; a few larger religious paintings from as late as ...

Article

Alan G. Wilkinson

[Chaïm Jacob]

(b Druskieniki, Lithuania, Aug 22, 1891; d Capri, May 26, 1973).

French sculptor of Russian birth active in the USA. Lipchitz grew up in Druskieniki. His father, a Jewish building contractor, opposed his son’s desire to become a sculptor, but his mother was sympathetic and arranged for him to go to Paris in 1909. He arrived with no formal academic training and studied briefly at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts before transferring to the Académie Julian. Mornings were spent drawing and modelling from life; during the rest of the day he visited museums. Lipchitz’s early nudes and portraits of 1910–12 have much in common with the classicism of Maillol and Charles Despiau, although he himself suggested that they had a common source in Greek and medieval art. On a visit to St Petersburg in 1911, he became particularly interested in the Scythian sculpture collection in the Hermitage. Lipchitz remained fascinated with the sculpture of the great non-European traditions throughout his life, and was an ardent collector of non-Western (especially African) art....

Article

John Steen

[Louise Marie]

(b Amsterdam, May 3, 1894; d Blaricum, Feb 1, 1983).

Dutch painter. She trained at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam (1915–18). She discovered Cubism, especially that of Albert Gleizes, the work of De Stijl and of Le Corbusier in 1919. During 1920–21 the form in her work became more rigid and the colour more sober. She came into contact with works by Piet Mondrian in the Salomon Bernard Slijper (1884–1971) collection (now at the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague), in particular Evolution (1910–11) and Red Windmill (1910). In 1927 she travelled to the Bauhaus at Dessau and to Berlin. She favoured subjects taken from industry and technology and stylized reality using the diagonal, as well as the horizontal and vertical line. A link with visible reality was maintained, however.

‘Herinneringen door Lou Loeber’ [Lou Loeber’s memories], Centraal Museum Utrecht mededelingen, 28–9 (1980) [incl. bibliog.] Lou Loeber: Utopie en werkelijkheid (exh. cat.by M. Bloemheuvel; Laren, Singer Mus., 1993)...