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Theresa Leininger-Miller

[Negro Colony]

Group of African American artists active in France in the 1920s and 1930s. Between the world wars Paris became a Mecca for a “lost generation” of Americans. Hundreds of artists, musicians, and writers from all over the world flocked to the French capital in search of a sense of community and freedom to be creative. For African Americans, the lure of Paris was enhanced by fear of and disgust with widespread racial discrimination experienced in the United States. They sought a more nurturing environment where their work would receive serious attention, as well as the chance to study many of the world’s greatest cultural achievements. France offered this along with an active black diasporal community with a growing sense of Pan-Africanism. Painters, sculptors, and printmakers thrived there, studying at the finest art academies, exhibiting at respected salons, winning awards, seeing choice art collections, mingling with people of diverse ethnic origins, dancing to jazz, and fervently discussing art, race, literature, philosophy, and politics. Although their individual experiences differed widely, they had much in common, including exposure to traditional European art, African art, modern art, and proto-Negritude ideas. As a result of their stay in Paris, all were affected artistically, socially, and politically in positive ways and most went on to have distinguished careers....

Article

David Murphy

African film refers to a corpus of work whose geographical and historical range remains ambiguous. African film criticism emerged in the late 1980s–early 1990s as a distinct body of research within the Anglophone academy. Landmark early texts, such as Manthia Diawara’s African Cinema: Politics and Culture (1992) and Frank Ukadike’s Black African Cinema (1994) defined the parameters of the field, which largely remained in place until quite recently: African cinema came to refer to work from sub-Saharan Africa, primarily from the former French colonies, and a template for the appreciation of these movies was established, focusing either on their ‘political’ qualities as ideologically motivated works of ‘Third Cinema’ or on their ability to develop a distinctively African aesthetic. North Africa’s rich film heritage was excluded due to the perceived socio-cultural differences between ‘black’ and ‘Arab’ Africa, and the diverse body of film-making from South Africa was understandably approached with caution as the continent’s sleeping cinematic giant was only just emerging from the nightmare of apartheid. This left Francophone Africa as the main player in the field of film-making, for the former French colonial masters had begun to invest in film production, initially in West Africa, almost immediately after independence. As a result of this self-conscious filtering of the available material, it soon became a received critical idea that (black) African cinema had been born in Senegal when ...

Article

James Smalls

[African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists]

African American group of artists. AFRICOBRA was an art movement formed in Chicago in 1968 by a coalition of eight African American artists devoted to celebrating and affirming the legitimacy of black artistic expression. The movement paralleled the black cultural revolution of the 1960s and incorporated elements of free jazz, vibrant color, the spiritual or transcendental, and “TransAfricanism.” The term TransAfricanism was invented and defined by Jeff Donaldson (1932–2004), one of AFRICOBRA’s principal founders, as a transcendent African-based aesthetic that simultaneously defines, directs, and fashions historical evolution. AFRICOBRA sought to develop a new and revolutionary black aesthetic based on African and African American approaches to art, taste, and beauty. These aspirations were combined with principles of social responsibility and involvement of artists in their local communities. The goal was to promote and instill pride in black self-identity through a self-defined black visual aesthetic.

Unlike most prior movements within African American art, AFRICOBRA’s work was not individualistic, but rather focused on collectivity and collaboration. AFRICOBRA grew out of the Chicago-based artists’ workshop OBAC (Organization of Black Artists of Chicago), whose founders included Donaldson, Wadsworth Jarrell (...

Article

Afro  

Antonello Negri

(Basaldella)

(b Udine, March 4, 1912; d Zurich, July 24, 1976).

Italian painter. He was the brother of Mirko. He learnt to paint in the workshop belonging to his father and uncle, both of whom were painter–decorators. From 1926 to 1931 he studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, with his brother Dino Basaldella (b 1909) and then in Venice. In 1932 he was in Milan, where he met Renato Birolli and Ennio Morlotti, and where an exhibition of his work was held the following year at the Galleria Il Milione. From 1933 he was in Rome working with such artists of the Scuola Romana as Corrado Cagli, whose influence is apparent in Afro’s early figure-paintings and still-lifes, Fausto Pirandello, Giuseppe Capogrossi and Mirko. The artists were based in the Galleria della Cometa, where Afro exhibited in 1937. They opposed the classicism of Novecento Italiano, combining instead primitivism and metaphysical naturalism with expressionistic brushwork. During World War II Afro taught mosaic design at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice. After the war, between his participation in the ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established in 1977 by HH Karim Aga Khan (b 1936), the spiritual head of the Nizari Isma‛ili Muslim community since 1957, to identify and encourage building concepts that address the needs and aspirations of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence. The Award, organized on a three-year cycle, is governed by a Steering Committee chaired by the Aga Khan, which selects an independent Master Jury, which in turn selects the projects for awards. Since its inception, the Award has completed nine cycles and documented over 7500 buildings worldwide. Master Juries have selected 92 projects to receive awards, with prizes totaling up to US $500,000. A Chairman’s Award, established to honour accomplishments outside the scope of the Master Jury’s mandate, has recognized the lifetime achievements of the Egptian architect Hassan Fathy, the Iraqi architect Rifat Chadirji, and the Sri Lankan architect ...

Article

Isabelle Gournay

(b Tours, 1875; d 1934).

French architect, urban planner and writer. He graduated in 1905 from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, where he was a student in the atelier of Victor Laloux. In 1902 he came into contact with the Musée Social, a non-profit organization of bourgeois reformers, which sent him to visit the Louisiana Purchase International Exposition (1904) in St Louis, MO. Like a number of French architects of his generation such as Léon Jaussely and Marcel Auburtin (1872–1926), with whom he founded the Société Française des Architectes Urbanistes in 1913, he established a practice focused on urban design, achieving an international reputation in this field. Agache claimed to have coined the word ‘urbanisme’ and in 1914 he organized the first courses ever taught on the subject in France at the Collège Libre des Sciences Sociales et Economiques in Paris. His professional work included a prizewinning entry (1912; unexecuted) to the international competition for the design of Canberra, the new capital city of Australia, and master plans for Dunkerque (...

Article

D. C. Barrett

(b Rishon-le-Zion, Palestine [now Israel], May 11, 1928).

Israeli painter and sculptor. He studied at the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem under Mordecai Ardon in 1946, and from 1951 in Paris at the Atelier d’Art Abstrait and at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. The major influences on his early work were Kandinsky’s Über das Geistige in der Kunst (1912), the Bauhaus ideas disseminated by Johannes Itten and Siegfried Giedion, with whom he came into contact in Zurich in 1949, and the work of Max Bill. Between 1951 and 1953 his work consisted of a series of Contrapuntal and Transformable Pictures, such as Transformable Relief (1953; Paris, R. N. Lebel priv. col., see Metken, p. 6). In 1953 he held his first one-man exhibition at the Galerie Craven in Paris. Although his claims that this was the first exhibition of kinetic art, and that he was the first optical-kinetic artist, have been disputed, he was certainly among the first artists to encourage spectator participation in such a direct way....

Article

Agano  

Richard L. Wilson

Japanese region in Buzen Province (now part of Fukuoka Prefect.), northern Kyushu, where stonewares were manufactured at various sites from c. 1600 (see also Japan, §IX, 3, (i), (d)).

The first potter to make Agano ware was the Korean master Chon’gye (Jap. Sonkai; 1576–1654). Deported to Kyushu during one of the Japanese invasions of Korea in 1592 and 1597, he entered the service of Hosokawa Tadaoki (1563–1645), the newly appointed governor of Buzen. On the completion of Tadaoki’s fortress at Kokura (now Kitakyushu), Chon’gye built the Saienba kiln, probably within the castle precincts. A site thought to be Saienba was found beneath Myōkōji, the temple that replaced the castle in 1679, and excavations took place between 1979 and 1983. Sherds of both tea ceremony and everyday wares have been found there; they have transparent glazes made with a wood-ash flux, opaque glazes made with a straw-ash flux or brown-black glazes pigmented with iron oxide. Inscriptions on surviving pieces and entries in contemporary diaries indicate that these early products were also called Buzen or Kokura ware. After a few years the Saienba kiln closed, and ...

Article

Whitney Chadwick

(b Buenos Aires, Dec 1, 1899; d London, Nov 17, 1991).

English painter of Argentine birth. She arrived in England in 1906; in 1924 she studied with Leon Underwood (1890–1975), and she attended the Slade School of Fine Art, London, from 1925 to 1926; she also studied art in Paris from 1928 to 1930. She was a member of the London Group from 1933, and her work was selected by Roland Penrose and Herbert Read for the International Surrealist Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries, London, in 1936. Agar exhibited with the Surrealists both in England and abroad. From 1936 she experimented with automatic techniques and new materials, taking photographs and making collages and objects, for example The Angel of Anarchy (fabric over plaster and mixed media, 1936–40; London, Tate). By the 1960s she was producing Tachist paintings with Surrealist elements.

with A. Lambirth: A Look at My Life (London, 1988) Eileen Agar: Retrospective Exhibition (exh. cat., London, Commonwealth Inst., 1971)...

Article

Marcella Nesom-Sirhandi

(b Faisalabad, 1922).

Pakistani painter. She introduced non-traditional pictorial imagery in Pakistan and initiated a new era in painting. She completed a degree in political science at Kinnaird College, Lahore. Her introverted disposition and concentrated study of philosophy formed the background against which her abstract ‘idea’ paintings emerged. At the Lahore School of Fine Art (1945), Agha began a study of Western art. In addition to copying Old Masters, she came into contact with contemporary Indian painting and folk art.

Mario Perlingieri, an Italian painter who had studied with Picasso, introduced Agha to abstraction in 1946. Unlike the majority of Pakistani artists in the 1950s and 1960s, who emulated Cubism (see Cubism, §I), Agha evolved a personal style synthesizing East and West. Four years in London and Paris (1950–53) brought her face to face with modern European art. Agha’s predilection for discordant shapes, tension, and mysterious and irrational juxtapositions link her art to that of Marc Chagall and Edvard Munch. An intensely private and cerebral individual, she was awarded the President’s Medal for Pride of Performance in ...

Article

John Milner

[Rus. agitatsionnaya propaganda: ‘agitational propaganda’]

Russian acronym in use shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 for art applied to political and agitational ends. The prefix agit- was also applied to objects decorated or designed for this purpose, hence agitpoyezd (‘agit-train’) and agitparokhod (‘agit-boat’), decorated transport carrying propaganda to the war-front. Agitprop was not a stylistic term; it applied to various forms as many poets, painters and theatre designers became interested in agitational art. They derived new styles and techniques for it from Futurism, Suprematism and Constructivism.

The characteristics of the new art forms were defined as public, political and communal in purpose and execution. The poet Mayakovsky called for artists to abandon their studios and make the streets their brushes and the squares their palettes. Mass spectacular theatre provided vigorous examples of agitprop either by re-enacting recent events or by providing pageants of the progress of Communism. In 1920, for example, the theatre director ...

Article

Roberto Pontual

(b Vercelli, Italy, 1843; d Rio de Janeiro, 1910).

Brazilian caricaturist and painter. He came to Brazil in 1859, having already acquired some knowledge of painting in Paris. He settled initially in São Paulo, where he at once started to publish caricatures attacking black slavery. There, in 1864, he was one of the founders of the comic newspaper O Diabo Coxo. His abolitionist spirit continued after he moved to Rio de Janeiro, through his frequent collaboration in periodicals such as A Vida Fluminense, O Mosquito, Don Quixote and O Malho. In the Revista Ilustrada he began to publish in 1884 the first long-running strip cartoon in Brazil, the adventures of Zé Caipora, a sertão (hinterland) character, depicting a lesser-known side of Brazil. As a painter he specialized in landscapes but also produced portraits with the same fervour that fired his enjoyable and impassioned satirical drawings, for example Portrait of the Writer Joaquin Augusto Ribeiro de Sousa (c. 1890...

Article

Walter Smith

(b Buenos Aires, 1945).

American architect and theorist of Argentine birth. She received her Diploma of Architecture at the University of Buenos Aires in 1967 and studied further in Paris at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and the Centre du Recherche d’Urbanisme (1967–9). She moved to New York in 1971. From 1976 Agrest taught at Cooper Union, New York, and at Columbia, Princeton and Yale universities. In 1980 she went into partnership with her husband, Mario Gandelsonas (b 1938), in the firm A & G Development Consultants Inc., in New York. She also formed her own firm, Diana Agrest, Architect, in New York. Agrest was deeply involved in theoretical research, and was a Fellow at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, New York, from 1972 to 1984. She was strongly influenced by semiotics and developed the idea that architecture can refer beyond itself, discussed particularly in her essay on architecture and film (...

Article

Hans-Olof Boström

(Gustave) [Agelii, John Gustaf]

(b Sala, Västmanland, May 24, 1869; d Barcelona, Oct 1, 1917).

Swedish painter. He started to paint of his own initiative on Gotland at the age of 20. In the spring of 1890 he went to Paris, where he studied under Emile Bernard, through whom he became familiar with the work of Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh. He became involved in theosophical circles, with Jacques Tasset, M. E. J. Coulomb and other members of the theosophical group Ananta. During the summers of 1891 and 1892 he went back to Gotland to paint. On returning to Paris he painted only sporadically, while studying oriental languages and religions. In the autumn of 1894 he went to Egypt and began painting intensively, producing such works as Egyptian Landscape (1894/5; Stockholm, Nmus.). In 1895 he was again in Paris where he was an enthusiastic student of Islam, to which he converted in 1898. In 1900 he shot and wounded a banderillero at a bullfight in Paris in protest against the cruelty to the animals: this led to the abolition of bullfights in France....

Article

Monica E. Kupfer

(b Panama City, Nov 6, 1943).

Panamanian painter. He studied painting from 1960 to 1962 at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas in Panama City and from 1964 to 1970 at the Universidad Autónoma, Mexico. From 1971 he taught at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, Panama City, of which he was director from 1980 to 1982. Under the influence of Pop art he produced semi-abstract paintings that combined geometric shapes and lines with sensuous parts of human anatomy painted with an airbrush and set in vaporous spaces of flowing colors. A typical example is Profiles of Attraction (1976; Panama City, Mus. A. Contemp.). In later works such as Attack II (1987; Panama City, Mus. A. Contemp.) he added expressionist brushstrokes for visual contrast.

Gasteazoro, M. Homenaje. Panama City, Gal. Etcétera, 1982. Exhibition catalog.Oviero, R. “Luis Aguilar Ponce: Ahora mi pintura se une a la humanidad.” La Prensa [Panama City] (Oct 19, 1984): 1B....

Article

Lelia Delgado

(b Barcelona, Venezuela, April 22, 1907; d Oct 13, 1976).

Venezuelan painter. He was self-taught and painted his first portraits and self-portraits c. 1930. In 1965 his first exhibition was held at the Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas. His paintings, which later included nudes, possess a very particular atmosphere, developing from a small focal point, to which successive layers of paper or card are added, creating the effect of a collage; heavily and energetically worked, the works are small scale, which lends a further intensity to their expressiveness. Aguilera Silva had exhibitions throughout Venezuela, and examples of his work are held in the Galería de Arte Nacional, Caracas....

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

(b Harplinge, Halland, June 10, 1891; d Stockholm, March 12, 1984).

Swedish architect and writer. He graduated from the Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (1914) and from the Kungliga Akademien för de fria Konsterna in Stockholm (1918), before working in the office of Ivar Tengbom. From 1921 to 1924 Ahlberg was a writer for and editor of Byggmästaren, the Swedish journal of building and architecture. His architectural production encompassed the traditionalism and neo-classicism of the early 20th century, as well as the International Style, characterized by rational, pragmatic design. His Arts and Crafts Stand at the Göteborg Jubilee Exposition (1923), with its mannered, slender pavilions, was an early contribution to the neo-classical revival of the 1920s. The Freemasons’ Orphanage (1928–31) at Blackeberg outside Stockholm showed his development of this classicism into austere geometrical simplicity, while the buildings of the Trade Union High School (1928–50) at Brünnsvik, Dalecarlia, are based on the national timber-building tradition, with red panelling, white-framed windows and tiled, hipped roofs. The same combination of rational simplicity and romantic traditionalism occurs in Ahlberg’s ecclesiastical buildings, such as Mälarhöjden Chapel (...

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

Swedish family of architects. Erik Ahlsén (b Stockholm, 12 Oct 1901) and his younger brother Tore Ahlsén (b Stockholm, 29 July 1906) trained as engineers at the Vocational College and then studied architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (1933 and 1934). They both worked for the Swedish Cooperative Union under Eskil Sundahl, where Erik Ahlsén was an associate (1926–46) and head of department (1936–46). Tore Ahlsén also worked with Erik Lallerstedt and Erik Gunnar Asplund. In 1937 their winning entry for the extension to Kristianstad Town Hall allowed them to establish their own practice.

During their 30-year partnership the Ahlséns combined rational planning with a great sympathy for volumes and materials, continuing the tradition established in Asplund’s late works. Aesthetic considerations, such as the integration of artistic decoration in buildings, were important in all their work; design of the interior and furniture was a vital part of projects, particularly for their civic buildings. Their community centre (...