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Article

Piero Pacini

(b Modena, June 20, 1894; d Rome, June 17, 1956).

Italian painter, decorative artist, stage designer, architect, sculptor and writer. He studied at Lucca, Turin and Rome, where he briefly attended the Accademia di Belle Arti, and his work earned the appreciation of his teacher Duilio Cambellotti (b 1876). In 1912 he joined the studio of Giacomo Balla and belonged to a Futurist art collective through which he met the leaders of the movement. In April and May 1914 he exhibited with other Futurists at the Galleria Sprovieri in Rome and, shortly afterwards, in Prague. Figure+Window (1914; Rome, priv. col.; see Menna, 1967, fig.) exemplifies the experiments he was carrying out at the time. He was particularly interested in the use of combinations of different materials and in theoretical speculation, writing in 1915 the manifestos Scenografia e coreografia futurista, Scultura dei colori e totale and Architettura futurista.

Prampolini met Tristan Tzara in Rome in 1916 and took part in the international ...

Article

Athena S. E. Leoussi

(b Istanbul, 30 July (ns 12 Aug) 1916; d Eygalières, nr Avignon, Oct 23, 1985).

French painter, illustrator, stage designer, tapestry designer and writer of Greek descent. He moved to Paris in 1922, registered at the Sorbonne in 1932 and briefly attended the studio of the French painter Clement Serveau (b 1886). Through his father’s literary interests he became acquainted with Surrealism, meeting Paul Eluard, André Breton, Salvador Dalí and others in 1934, and decided to become an artist. From 1932 to 1936 he worked in a Surrealist style, introducing procedures of automatism and formal ambiguities that he retained in his later work. From 1938 to 1947 he painted portraits of women and cats in an Expressionist style before experimenting briefly with abstraction.

In 1951 Prassinos settled in Provence, where he painted landscapes from nature in which he created a personal formal vocabulary of signs inspired in part by Chinese ideograms. After visiting Greece in 1957 he explored his national origins and childhood years in portraits of his grandfather entitled ...

Article

Werner Wilhelm Schnabel

(b Dresden, Nov 3, 1744; d Dresden, April 10, 1818).

German courtier, composer, collector and writer. He served from 1761 in the army of Frederick-Augustus II, Elector of Saxony, and subsequently occupied various positions at the Saxon court. As Directeur des Plaisirs he was in charge of the orchestra and theatre at Dresden. He was also a member of various learned societies, including the Akademie der Künste und mechanischen Wissenschaften in Berlin. As a courtier enjoying the special favour of the elector, Racknitz wielded great influence in promoting musical and artistic life in Dresden. His own activities included musical composition and the natural sciences, but he was especially interested in mineralogy and mechanics, and he established a renowned collection of minerals and plants. In addition to this he published several books on the history of civilization and art. Early works are concerned with general themes, but in his later years he was particularly interested in painting in Saxony. In his varied interests, Racknitz viewed questions from a practical as well as a theoretical point of view. He was thus a typical representative of the versatile late Enlightenment and the ‘age of Goethe’....

Article

Nadja Rottner

French critic and philosopher Nicolas Bourriaud adopted the term ‘relational aesthetics’ in the mid-1990s to refer to the work of a selected group of artists, and what he considers their novel approach to a socially conscious art of participation: an art that takes as its content the human relations elicited by the artwork. Its key practitioners, most of them emerging in the 1990s, include Rirkrit Tiravanija , Philippe Parreno (b 1964), Liam Gillick, Pierre Huyghe, Maurizio Cattelan, Carsten Höller , and Vanessa Beecroft . For example, Carsten Höller installed Test Site (2006) at the Tate Modern in London so that visitors could enjoy the amusement park thrill of large playground slides in the museum’s Turbine Hall, and bond with fellow viewers over their experience. Bourriaud’s collected writings in Relational Aesthetics (1998, Eng. edn 2002) helped to spark a new wave of interest in participatory art.

While Bourriaud omits acknowledging the historical roots of relational art, Marxist-influenced critiques of the changing conditions of modern life, and arguments for art’s ability to improve man’s relationship with reality have a long history in 20th-century art. Critics Walter Benjamin and Siegfried Kracauer were among the first to developed new models for an art of politicized participation in the 1920s. The relational art of the 1990s and early 2000s is a continuation and an extension of traditions of participatory art throughout the 20th century (such as ...

Article

Helen A. Harrison

[Grossberg, Yitzroch Loiza]

(b New York, Aug 17, 1923; d Southampton, NY, Aug 14, 2002).

American painter, sculptor, printmaker, poet and Musician. He was a jazz saxophonist before he was encouraged to take up painting by two artist friends, Jane Freilicher and Nell Blaine (b 1922), who shared his enthusiasm for jazz. After brief service in the US Army Air Corps during World War II (1942–3), he studied with Hans Hofmann from 1947–8 in New York and Provincetown, MA. He painted for a short period under the influence of the Abstract Expressionists but, after seeing Pierre Bonnard’s retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1948, he began to apply his facility for drawing to figurative subjects extracted from the intimate circumstances of his family life and everyday surroundings. The first such pictures, for example Interior, Woman at a Table (c. 1948; New York, Pat Cooper priv. col., see Harrison, p. 29), were stylistically very close to Bonnard’s work, but in such works as ...

Article

Helen Langdon

(b Arenella, Naples, June–July 1615; d Rome, March 15, 1673).

Italian painter, draughtsman, etcher, poet and actor. He was one of the most original artists and extravagant personalities of the 17th century. His most popular and influential works were his landscapes, the wild and mountainous beauty of which contrasted with the pastoral scenes of Claude Lorrain. Yet Rosa also painted macabre subjects, erudite philosophical allegories and grand historical themes; he was, moreover, the most significant satirical poet of the Italian 17th century, and there is a close relationship between his poetry and painting. His earliest biographers, Filippo Baldinucci and Giovanni Battista Passeri, both of whom knew him well, described at length his fiery temperament, his immense ambition, his learning and vivacious wit, and his often outrageous treatment of his patrons.

He first studied painting in Naples and Neapolitan energy and violence informed his art profoundly throughout his life. His admiration for Jusepe de Ribera is evident in his rich and expressive brushwork and in the brutality of his early altarpieces and large-scale figure paintings; there are echoes of Ribera’s hermit saints and exuberantly naturalistic representations of philosophers—usually three-quarter-length single figures—throughout his oeuvre. He studied with his brother-in-law ...

Article

Sabine Eiche

(b Pesaro, 1574; d Pesaro, Dec 25, 1654).

Italian architect, stage designer and theorist. He is first documented as active around 1598, when he rebuilt a chapel (destr.) in S Maria dei Servi, Pesaro. In 1610 he was appointed chief architect to Francesco Maria II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, for whom he worked in 1613 as engineer on the new port of Pesaro; he also completed the ducal Paggeria (c. 1621), a building begun decades earlier by Filippo Terzi. Architectural activity in Pesaro was given great impetus by the marriage (1620) of the Duke’s only son, Federigo Ubaldo della Rovere, to Claudia de’ Medici. Sabbatini supervised the building of new apartments (altered) in the Palazzo Ducale and the construction of a temporary amphitheatre in the main salon. In the 1630s he built the octagonal Chiesa del Suffragio (later altered; now the fish market) and collaborated with the painter Giacomo Pandolfi (d ?after ...

Article

Alfred Pacquement

(b Paris, Oct 29, 1930; d San Diego, CA, May 21, 2002).

French sculptor, writer, stage designer and film maker. She spent the first 20 years of her life in New York. A self-taught artist, on her return to Europe she began to work in a style similar to art brut. She first came to public attention through the Shots series (1960–61; see 1980 exh. cat., pp. 14–15), ironic parodies of Art informel painting, comprising plaster reliefs incorporating pockets of paint, which burst when fired at by visitors to the exhibition, thus staining the surface. Through these works Saint Phalle became associated with Nouveau Réalisme. She produced reliefs and sculptures made of objets trouvés and plastic toys; these were always playful and imaginary; see Die Waldaff, 1962. Monsters and other fantastic creatures were also among her favourite themes (e.g. King Kong, 1963; Stockholm, Mod. Mus.), while other assemblages were in the form of iconoclastic altars (e.g. O.A.S. Altar, 1962; priv. col., see ...

Article

Matthew Gale

[de Chirico, Andrea]

(b Athens, Aug 25, 1891; d Rome, May 6, 1952).

Italian writer, theorist, painter, composer and theatre designer. His Greek childhood, shared with his brother Giorgio De Chirico, informed his life’s work. Savinio was something of a musical prodigy, graduating with honours in piano and composition from the Athens Conservatory at the age of 12. By 1906, he was studying under Max Reger in Munich, and he composed an opera, Carmela, at the age of 17. The prospects in Italy proved disappointing and, after a concert given in Munich, Savinio left for Paris in 1910.

In Paris Savinio became a close friend of Guillaume Apollinaire, associating with his circle as a composer and writer. He published a dramatic poem, Les Chants de la mi-mort, in 1914 and adopted a pseudonym to avoid confusion with his brother who had by now joined him in Paris. Savinio drew at this time and may have made experimental collages, although possible datings for the latter vary from ...

Article

Rand Carter

(b Neuruppin, Mark Brandenburg, March 13, 1781; d Berlin, Oct 9, 1841).

German architect, painter and stage designer. He was the greatest architect in 19th-century Germany, and his most important surviving buildings in Berlin (see Berlin, §I, 3) and Potsdam (see Potsdam, §1) show his sense of German idealism and technical mastery. He became Geheimer Oberlandesbaudirektor of the Prussian state and influenced many architects in Germany and abroad.

Schinkel’s father, a Lutheran pastor, died after attempting to save victims of a fire in 1787 that destroyed most of Neuruppin, a town 27 km north-west of Berlin. Much of Schinkel’s boyhood was spent in a town under reconstruction, a model of royal benevolence and rational planning. In 1794 his mother and her six children moved to Berlin to a home for the widows of Lutheran pastors. At the 1797 Akademie der Künste exhibition in Berlin the 16-year-old Schinkel was so fascinated by a project for a monument to Frederick II of Prussia...

Article

Patrick Werkner

(Franz Walter)

(b Vienna, Sept 13, 1874; d Los Angeles, July 13, 1951).

Austrian composer, painter and writer. He became an American citizen in 1941. Schoenberg took painting lessons from c. 1906 from Richard Gerstl, who long after his death was recognized as one of the leading exponents of Austrian Expressionism. For personal reasons involving Gerstl’s affair with his first wife, Schoenberg later in general denied Gerstl’s influence, which in any case was not lasting; Schoenberg remained an amateur and his painting was secondary to his life’s work as a composer and writer of theoretical musical texts, for which he is much better known. He executed approximately 60 paintings and 200 drawings: only twelve of the extant paintings are dated, eleven 1910 and one 1912; most of this output dates from before the end of 1912, during a period of personal and professional difficulty. Schoenberg’s paintings are generally small in size and fall into two groups: a series of technically inept portraits and occasional landscapes on the one hand, and highly expressive visionary works on the other....

Article

Celia Rabinovitch

(b Basle, July 20, 1900; d Sugar Loaf, NY, Jan 2, 1962).

American painter, printmaker, sculptor, stage designer and writer of Swiss birth. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva (1920) and at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence (1927). From this training he drew upon two dominant influences, combining a predilection for the illusionistic deep space and the clear vibrant colour of the Italian tradition with the fantastic narratives explored by earlier Swiss artists such as Johann Heinrich Füseli, Ferdinand Hodler, Urs Graf and Niklaus Manuel Deutsch.

In 1929 Seligmann moved to Paris, where he remained until 1938 and where he became associated with Surrealists. While in Paris he also became a member of Abstraction–Création and an acquaintance of Le Corbusier as well as Hans Arp, whose example led him to explore deliberately ambiguous biomorphic imagery. Although he did not formally join the Surrealist movement until 1937, he participated in Surrealist exhibitions throughout the 1930s and made use of organic and fantastic forms, often fusing natural with artificial elements. His paintings and etchings of this period, distinguished by their high degree of finish, make striking use of masks and of dancing figures constructed of abstract forms. Their sense of play, secrecy and concealment recalls the animism of the fairy tale and the Gothic tradition of northern Europe. The element of drama, tension and struggle in the dance is particularly apparent in his depiction of multiple figures. He worked in white tempera on a reddish ground, glazing over that layer with transparent colour and black outline. The highlights were added at the end in keeping with a traditional systematic approach to the illusionistic depiction of space....

Article

Wojciech Włodarczyk

(b Warsaw, March 27, 1927).

Polish painter and writer. Between 1946 and 1951 he studied painting with Jan Seweryn Sokołowski (1904–53) and Eugeniusz Eibisch, and stage design with Władysław Daszewski at the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, where he himself taught painting from 1956. Between 1953 and 1957 he produced polychrome works in the tenements of Warsaw’s Old City. He took part in the second Biennale, Paris, 1961, and the Biennale Internazionale d’Arte Moderna Premio del Fiorino, Florence, 1969. He also participated in the exhibition at the Arsenal in Warsaw in 1955, displaying his Still-life with Clock, which epitomizes the realism of the Arsenalists.

In the second half of the 1960s Sempoliński began painting abstract landscapes, using bold vertical and horizontal strokes of the palette-knife, whose inspiration he claimed were the paintings of Mondrian. Sempoliński’s one-man exhibition in Warsaw in 1978 marked a new stage in his work: here, he displayed almost monochrome canvases with holes produced by repeatedly striking the brush against the painting. The works of the 1980s signal Sempoliński’s return to still-life (e.g. a series of pictures with bowls) and landscape—both genres painted in a similar monochrome, near abstract style. He used a traditional painting studio and was regarded by some critics as continuing Polish colourism, particularly in view of his concerns with landscape and the role of light. However, his intellectual leanings and his interest in the hidden essence of the painted subject set him far apart from the Polish colourist tradition. In the early 1970s he visited Spain to study mysticism in Spanish art, and he wrote many philosophical texts on ancient and modern art....

Article

Ester Coen

(b Cortona, April 7, 1883; d Paris, Feb 26, 1966).

Italian painter, mosaicist, stage designer and writer. One of the principal exponents of Futurism, he was an important link between French and Italian art. Although his most historically significant works were produced before World War I, he had a long career during which he continued to evolve his style, particularly in abstract schemes.

Severini studied in Cortona until the age of 15 when, because of a prank, he was expelled from all Italian schools. In 1899 he moved with his mother to Rome, where he worked as an accountant for a pipe-maker and later for an export agency. His passion for art led him to attend an evening class in drawing at a school known as ‘Gli incurabili’, and in the morning he studied perspective. Together with a group of friends that included Umberto Boccioni, whom he met in 1901, he was introduced to the writings of Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, the Russian novelists and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and to the general principles of Marxism. With Boccioni he often visited the studio of ...

Article

Linda Weintraub

(b New Bedford, MA, 1945).

American performance artist, sculptor, landscape architect, educator, and writer. Sherk received her BA from Rutgers University, Douglass College and her MA from San Francisco State University. She acquired certificates in Landscape Architecture and in Traditional Arts of Japan from the University of California Extension and the Oomoto School of Traditional Japanese Arts, respectively. In the early 1970s she devised the term “Environmental Performance Sculpture” to describe her work, which remained relevant to her later ventures. These works highlighted the significance of “environment,” which she manifested by integrating artistic interventions into cultural and physical conditions of a site. Three early examples include Portable Parks I–III (1970), a series that included the transformation of three urban “dead spaces” into multispecies habitats; Response (1971; University of California San Diego), a performance installation that presented concurrent responses to being in the university from the perspectives of psychology, biology, physics, still photography, and video; and the ...

Article

Norihisa Mizuta

[Xin yue; Shōun]

(b Puyang, nr Hangzhou, Zhejiang Prov., 1639; d Mito, Ibaragi Prefect., 1695).

Chinese Zen monk, seal-carver, calligrapher, poet and Musician, active in Japan. He left his family at the age of seven and entered the Buddhist order, first training in Jiangxi Province and eventually in Hangzhou. In 1677 he emigrated to Japan, at the invitation of the monk Chin’i Dōryō of Kōfukuji, an Obaku-sect Zen temple in Nagasaki. He took up missionary work but found himself at odds with Ōbaku monks and for a short time was held in temple confinement. In 1681 the daimyo of Mito, Tokugawa Mitsukuni (1628–1700), hearing of this situation, invited Shin’etsu to his fiefdom, where in 1692 he became founding abbot of Mitsukuni’s temple, Jushōzan Gionji (formerly Tentokuji) in Mito, later the place of his burial. Shin’etsu’s school of Buddhism is known as the Jushō or Shin’etsu school of Sōtō Zen.

Shin’etsu is best known as an artist and true literatus. Together with Dokuryū Shōeki...

Article

Pandit Chanrochanakit

(b Nakornsawan, Oct 7, 1957).

Thai performance artist, printmaker, anti-war activist, musician, writer and poet . Sitthiket graduated from the College of Fine Arts, Bangkok in 1981. Sitthiket’s work focused on alienation and social issues, such as the decaying political system, the environment, prostitution, migration and poverty. He was most recognised for his exhibition Inferno (1991), in which he was inspired by Traiphum phra ruang, the ancient Buddhist text, portraying images of how sinners would be punished according to their sins in hell. Instead of depicting traditional Buddhist sin and hell, he appropriated sinful acts and redemption for modern Thai society. For instance, in The Punishment of Those Corrupted Politicians Whose Flesh Would Be Cut in Pieces, Being Fried and Fed Him Until His Death. In In Hell, the Bad Politician Will Be Reborn to Consume Himself Forever, Sitthiket employed bold colour, simplified his use of line and employed crude and iconographic figures in association with narrative text to emphasize the modern sins committed by professionals, such as soldiers, teachers and artists....

Article

(b Häruösand, Ångermanland, Sweden, Dec 31, 1938).

Swedish painter, performance artist and writer, active in Britain. After travelling in Europe and working in vineyards, and as an artist’s model in Paris and Rome, she studied stage design at Bristol College of Art. From the 1960s she was involved in the women’s movement, and in her paintings, performances and writings she explored issues of women’s physical and spiritual experience from a matriarchal perspective. Sjoo first came to prominence in 1973 when she exhibited a painting, God Giving Birth (1968; Skellefteå, Anna Nordlander Women’s A. Mus.), of a woman in labour, in Five Women Artists: Images of Womanpower at Swiss Cottage Library, London. The controversial work brought charges of blasphemy and obscenity. Sjoo’s interest at the time, in common with other women artists, was in using Goddess imagery and images of women as a way to achieve an understanding and celebration of female strength and spirituality. Such figurative art was in contrast to the abstraction then prevalent. Her writings include ...

Article

Mariana Katzarova

[Sirak; Christov, Panayot Todorov]

(b Sliven, Oct 22, 1883; d Sofia, March 5, 1943).

Bulgarian painter, draughtsman, stage designer, writer, critic, editor and publisher. He studied (1908–12) under Léon Bakst at the Academy of Arts (Akademiya Khudozhestv) in St Petersburg and became a follower of the aesthetic concept of World of Art, dominated by the innovative decorative designs of Vera Komissarzhevskaya and Tairov. After he returned to Bulgaria, Skitnik was engaged in a variety of projects, writing poetry, critical reviews of exhibitions and plays and monographs on other artists such as Bencho Obreshkov. He also designed sets for the National Theatre (Naroden Teatâr) in Sofia. He painted mainly landscape and still-lifes in oils (e.g. Interior with Flowers, 1920), tempera (e.g. Russian Monastery, 1912), gouache (e.g. the Kiss of Judas, 1920; all Sofia, N.A.G.) and watercolour; he also drew in coloured pencil. During the 1920s and 1930s he became known in Bulgaria as an innovator who experimented with new problems of colour and form. Both his poetry and his original and highly emotional painting show his allegiance to the Symbolist movement. From ...

Article

Ingrid Severin

[Feinstein, Daniel Isaac]

(b Galaţi, Romania, March 27, 1930).

Swiss sculptor, performance artist and writer of Romanian birth. On the death of his father in 1942 he fled with his family to Switzerland, where he was adopted by his uncle Théophile Spoerri in Zurich. In 1950 he began studying classical ballet in Zurich. From 1952 he studied dance and mime in Paris, becoming principal dancer for the Berne Opera in 1954 while also working as stage designer, composer and choreographer for the Kellertheater. From 1957 to 1959 he was assistant director at the Landestheater in Darmstadt. These experiences in the theatre provided the background to the art that he began to produce after settling in Paris in 1959. In addition to organizing banquets, festivals and exhibitions, he established a publishing house, MAT (Multiplication d’Art Transformable), specializing in concrete poetry. In 1960 Spoerri met Yves Klein through Jean Tinguely (whom he had met in Basle in 1949) and became a founder-member of ...