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Simon Reynolds

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Margarita Russell

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Margarita Russell

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Daniel Le Couédic

[Hippolyte]

(b Nantes, March 19, 1891; d Paris, Jan 20, 1966).

French architect and teacher. A student of Alfred-Henri Recoura (1864–1939), he graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, in 1920. He settled in Paris, and his first works were influenced by Art Deco. In 1923 he became one of the two architects of the new seaside resort of Sables-d’Or-les-Pins (Côtes-du-Nord). There, and in the nearby village of Val-André, Abraham began his analysis and rejection of the picturesque in such buildings as Villa Miramar (1928) and Villa Ramona (1929). In 1929, in partnership with Henry-Jacques Le Même (b 1897), he made his first design for a sanatorium, later executing three examples at Passy (Haute-Savoie), which are among his best works: Roc-de-Fiz (1931), Guébriant (1933) and Geoffroy de Martel de Janville (1939). Two blocks of flats built in Paris in 1931 (at 28 Boulevard Raspail and Square Albinoni) characterize the peak of his production in their precision and sobriety of composition, moderate use of the modernist vocabulary and use of new techniques and materials....

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David Boxer

(b St Andrew, May 14, 1911; d Kingston, Apr 10, 2005).

Jamaican painter. He began his career as a cartoonist for various local periodicals. In 1937 Augustus John, then working in Jamaica, encouraged him to begin painting. Unlike the majority of his contemporaries, he eschewed the “official” classes of the Institute of Jamaica and virtually taught himself to paint through self-study courses and manuals and by copying masterpieces from art books. His cartoonist’s wit and a sardonic humor became the most important ingredients in work that drew on numerous stylistic sources, from Renaissance painting to Cubism. He was a devout Christian, and produced a host of religious works of an undeniable sincerity, although he transformed many traditional Christian themes into witty contemporary parables. His Last Supper (1955; Kingston, N.G.) is the best known of these. Some of his finest work consists of ironic transformations of the great mythological themes of the past and intensely personal fantasies based on contemporary events. He was also one of the few painters to treat successfully historical Jamaican subjects, for example in paintings of the imagined daily lives of the extinct Arawaks, the landing of Columbus, and a series depicting the riotous living of 17th-century buccaneers in Port Royal. His ...

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Roberto Pontual

revised by Gillian Sneed

(b Araraquara, 1903; d Asunción, Paraguay, 1992).

Brazilian printmaker and teacher. Abramo was born into a middle-class Italian immigrant family in Araraquara, in the state of São Paulo, before moving to the city of São Paulo in 1909. In 1911 he studied drawing with painter Enrico Vio (1874–1960) at the Colégio Dante Alighieri in São Paulo. In 1926 he came into contact with German Expressionism and the work of engraver Oswaldo Goeldi, and made his first woodcut print, Vista Chinesa (1926; Echauri de Muxfeldt 2012, pl. 122), depicting a village bridge in an Expressionist style. Initially self-taught in printmaking, his work addressed social themes such as the São Paulo working class. In 1928 and 1929 he created linocuts depicting images of the working class in a Cubist style for the newspaper Lo Spaghetto. In the early 1930s he became influenced by the paintings of Tarsila’s anthropophagic phase (1928–1929) and Lasar Segall’s Expressionism. In 1930 Abramo joined the Communist Party (PCB), but he was expelled in 1932 after he was accused of being a Trotskyist. In 1931 he began working as a draftsman for the ...

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Francis Summers

revised by Jessica Santone

(b Belgrade, Nov 30, 1946).

Serbian performance artist, video artist and installation artist. She attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade (1965–70) before completing her post-diploma studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb, in 1972. Her early works included sound recordings installed on bridges, paintings of truck crashes, and experiments with conceptual photography (see Widrich, pp. 80–97). In her first significant performance, Rhythm 10 (1973), she repeatedly and rapidly stabbed the spaces between her fingers with various knives. Later, in Rhythm 0 (1974; see Ward, pp. 114–30), she invited gallery visitors to choose from 72 available objects to use on her body, as she stood unresponsive for 6 hours. Her infamous performance Thomas’ Lips (1975; see M. Abramović and others, pp. 98–105), in which she cut, flagellated, and froze herself, established her practice as one that dramatically explored the physical limits of the human body, as seen in the work of Gena Pane or Chris Burden (...

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A. Deirdre Robson

(b London, Dec 8, 1904; d New York, Nov 25, 1979).

American publisher and collector. He trained at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York before working in publishing. In 1950 he set up his own publishing company, Harry N. Abrams Inc., one of the first American companies to specialize in art books. In 1968 he founded Abbeville Books. His collecting, which began in the mid-1930s, went through three distinct phases: his first interest was in such contemporary American painters as Milton Avery and Raphael Soyer. He continued to purchase such works into the 1950s, but from the mid-1940s his collecting began to be dominated by works by major 20th-century artists; he acquired, among other works, Marc Chagall’s Clock (1948), Pablo Picasso’s Motherhood (1921) and Georges Rouault’s Miserere (1939).

Abrams’s most notable period as a collector was the 1960s, when he became known as a major collector of new American art. His interest in this area was fuelled by the ...

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Aleksandr U. Grekov

Russian estate near Sergiyev Posad, 57 km north of Moscow, and site of an artists’ colony. It was first recorded in documents between 1584 and 1586 under the name Obramkovo. In the 18th century it became the village of Abramkovo, part of a private estate known by the mid-19th century as Abramtsevo. In 1843 the estate was acquired by the writer Sergey Aksakov (1791–1859). He wrote his most successful works there and had numerous artists and writers as visitors, including Taras Shevchenko and Vissarion Belinsky. In 1870 the estate was acquired by the prominent industrialist and patron Savva Mamontov, who made it a major Russian artistic colony from the 1870s to the 1890s. Here, as at Princess Tenisheva’s estate at Talashkino, an interest in national culture and antiquities flourished, and there was a revival of Russian folk art. Various well-known Russian artists lived at Abramtsevo at that time, among them ...

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Natalia Marinho Ferreira Alves

Portuguese family of wood-carvers. Manuel Abreu do Ó and his brother Sebastião Abreu do Ó (both fl Évora c. 1728–c. 1770) worked in collaboration, carving some of the finest and most influential Joanine and Rococo altarpieces in southern Portugal. They carved in delicate flat relief using patterns similar to those found in Spain, a style contrasting with the dramatic plastic effects seen in contemporary wood-carving in northern Portugal.

An example of the Abreu do Ó brothers’ early work is the main retable of the Cartuxa, the Charterhouse, Évora, gilded in 1729. It is composed on one level, and a sense of movement is suggested by the projection of the outer columns. They created one of the finest ensembles of 18th-century carving in southern Portugal in the chancel and transept of the Carmelite church of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, Évora (c. 1760–70). On the main retable the areas between the column shafts are decorated with leaves and roses scattered asymmetrically, creating the impression of a lace covering. The votive tablet crowning the arch of the retable is carved with great delicacy. The lateral retables have curving double pediments whose undulating movement is echoed by large canopies above. The design of the pulpit was important in southern Portugal, because although it was in the Joanine style and inspired by developments in Lisbon it was also Rococo in spirit. The interior of the church emphasizes the importance of the role that gilt wood-carving played in the decoration of Portuguese churches during the 18th century....

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José Fernandes Pereira

(b Elvas, fl Elvas, 1753–9).

Portuguese architect and master builder. His earliest known works are the six side altars (black-veined marble, 1753) in the small 15th-century chapel of S Bento in Vila Viçosa, where all his work is to be found. They are carved in a characteristic Late Baroque manner. In 1754 he designed and directed the installation of the high choir at the church of S Agostinho, with a baluster and handrail in white, black and pink marble. Also in 1754 he took charge of the reconstruction of the Paços do Concelho, fending off plans to open the work to public tender and undertaking to adhere to approved designs. He resumed work at S Agostinho in 1758, replacing the old retable of the high altar, thought unworthy by Joseph I, with a new design of coloured marble. He may also have directed work on the façade of the Matriz de Portel (1741–59...

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María Antonia González-Arnal

(b Turmero, nr Maracay, Aug 22, 1919; d Caracas, Feb 20, 1993).

Venezuelan painter and sculptor. From 1943 to 1947 he studied drawing and painting in the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas, Caracas. He was a founder-member of the Taller Libre de Arte, taking part in its activities from 1949 to 1952. His paintings, always within a figurative framework, are marked by a pursuit of the magical and of indigenous roots. In his early work he was interested in the themes of roosters and flowers, using the surrounding environment as a source of inspiration. He expressed human, animal and vegetable existence in strong, warm colours (e.g. The Rooster, 1951; Caracas, Gal. A. N.). In 1952 Abreu moved to Europe, visiting Spain and Italy and living in Paris until 1962, when he returned to Venezuela. In Europe his contact with the Musée de l’Homme in Paris and with Surrealism produced a profound transformation in his work. He created his first Magical Objects...

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Absalon  

John-Paul Stonard

[Eshel, Meir]

(b Tel Aviv, Dec 26, 1964; d Paris, Oct 10, 1993).

Israeli sculptor. He adopted the name Absalon on his arrival in Paris in the late 1980s. During his short career he achieved widespread recognition for the 1:1 scale architectural models that he constructed of idealized living units. These wooden models, painted white, demonstrate an obsession with order, arrangement and containment, and have associations both of protective shelters and monastic cells. They were designed to be placed in several cities and to function as living-pods for the artist as he travelled. Exhibiting a series of six ‘cellules’ in Paris in 1993, he described how they were fitted both to his body and to his mental space, but were also able to condition the movements of his body in line with their idealized architecture. Although he denied their apparent utopianism, the sculptures can be viewed as the reduction of the utopian aims of early modern architecture (as seen in the work of the Constructivists, de Stijl and Le Corbusier) to the level of individual subjectivity. This suggests both the failure of architectural social engineering and its inevitable basis in subjective, anti-social vision. Absalon’s habitational units also have an element of protest. In an interview for the ...

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Edgar Degas: Absinthe Drinker, oil on canvas, 921×679 mm, 1875–6 (Paris, Musée d’Orsay); photo credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY

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(b London, c. 1843; d Perth, Western Australia, May 8, 1879).

Australian watercolourist, Soldier, colonist and businessman of English descent. The son of the watercolour painter John Absolon (1815–95), he served in the Queen’s Rifles and exhibited paintings and sketches with the Society of British Artists before first visiting Western Australia in 1869. Shipboard watercolour sketches and many studies of the bushland environs of Perth, such as From the Verandah at Northam, (1869–70; see Kerr, p. 5) recorded this first journey. He returned to England to marry Sarah Bowles Habgood, the niece of Thomas Habgood, an influential colonist, and daughter of Robert Mace Habgood, who divided his business and shipping interests between London, Fremantle and Geraldton. The couple returned to Perth, Western Australia, where Absolon helped manage the family’s mining and mercantile interests. The firm of R. W. Habgood & Co. of Fremantle and London was known thereafter as Habgood Absolon & Co. He adapted his painting methods to an impressionistic manner that captured the harsh light and sparsely vegetated antipodean landscape. He also represented the London Art Union in Western Australia from ...

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Anna Moszynska

Term applied in its strictest sense to forms of 20th-century Western art that reject representation and have no starting- or finishing-point in nature. As distinct from processes of abstraction from nature or from objects (a recurring tendency across many cultures and periods that can be traced as far back as Palaeolithic cave painting), abstract art as a conscious aesthetic based on assumptions of self-sufficiency is a wholly modern phenomenon (see Abstraction).

In the late 19th century, and particularly in Symbolist art and literature, attention was refocused from the object to the emotions aroused in the observer in such a way that suggestion and evocation took priority over direct description and explicit analogy. In France especially this tradition contributed to the increased interest in the formal values of paintings, independent of their descriptive function, that prepared the way for abstraction. In his article ‘Définition du néo-traditionnisme’, published in L’Art et critique...