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W. Iain Mackay

revised by Veronica Sesana Grajales

(b Barranco, Lima, Jul 5, 1925; d Lima, Oct 9, 2017).

Peruvian painter and teacher. He was born to a Polish father and a Peruvian mother. He studied architecture before transferring in 1944 to the Escuela de Artes Plásticas at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in Lima, where he was taught by Adolf Winternitz (1906–1993), under whom he developed a vigorous and poetic abstract style. During this time he developed a style that combined international abstraction with Pre-Columbian themes. In 1947 he participated in his first solo exhibition at the Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano (ICPNA) where he exhibited a total of twenty-six largely cubist works and established the magazine Las Moradas with poet Emilio Adolfo Westphalem (1911–2001). The following year he moved to Paris, where he met André Breton and fellow Latin American artists Jesús Rafael Soto and Alejandro Obregón and poet Octavio Paz (1914–1998), among others, and engaged in discussions about the rise of international modern movements in Latin America alongside the desire to maintain a specific cultural identity. By the mid-1950s he had gained global recognition through his inclusion in numerous exhibitions ranging from Latin America to the United States and Europe such as the Salon de Mai (Paris, 1951); ...


Carolyn Lanchner

[née Taeuber]

(b Davos, Jan 19, 1889; d Zurich, Jan 13, 1943).

Swiss painter, sculptor and designer. She studied textile techniques at the Ecole des Arts Appliqués in St Gall from 1908 to 1910 and then in Hamburg at the Kunstgewerbeschule in 1912. Her career began in the centre of Dada activity in Zurich between 1915 and 1920; see Symétrie pathétique, 1916–7 and Dada Composition, 1920. Although she did not date her work until the last two years of her life, its chronology was reconstructed by Hugo Weber from the testimony of her husband, Hans Arp, and from internal evidence.

Taeuber-Arp’s work evolved in groups, each characterized by a distinctive use of formal elements. The first prevailing format was a horizontal–vertical sectioning of a square or vertical rectangular ground, as in Pillow Sham, a wool embroidery (c. 1916; Zurich, Mus. Bellerive). Its structure reveals the importance of her textile training as much as the influence of Cubism. Her austerely geometric art arose from her belief in the innate expressive power of colour, line and form, and was informed by unusual wit and freedom. She rejected her contemporaries’ progressive schematization of objective form. During the years of Dada in Zurich (...


Lourdes Cirlot

(b Barcelona, Dec 13, 1923; d Barcelona, February 6, 2012).

Spanish Catalan painter, draughtsman, printmaker and sculptor. He was encouraged by his home environment to form an early interest in cultural and intellectual matters, especially in music and literature; his father was a lawyer and his mother came from a family of booksellers. He first came into contact with contemporary art as a teenager through the magazine D’Ací i D’Allà, published in Barcelona, and during the Spanish Civil War (1936–9), while he was still at school, he taught himself to draw and paint. As early as 1942, when he was recovering from a lung infection, he produced pictures clearly influenced by van Gogh and Picasso (e.g. Figure, 1945; Barcelona, Josep Gudiol priv. col., see Cirici, 1971, p. 67); during this period of enforced rest and tranquillity he dedicated most of his time to reading French and Russian novels. In 1944 he began studying law at Barcelona University while also attending evening classes in drawing at the Academia Valls....


Luis Enrique Tord

(b Trujillo, Jan 27, 1893; d May 13, 1981).

Peruvian painter. He travelled abroad while still very young, visiting Bolivia and Argentina and frequenting the group of artists led by Luis Quinquela Martín in Buenos Aires. On his return to Peru he held his first exhibitions in Arica in 1917 and in Trujillo in 1918. His work matured in France, Belgium, Germany and Italy, and he exhibited in Paris at the Salon d’Automne in 1928 and the Salon des Indépendants from 1927 to 1930. Together with other members of the group Los Independientes, led by Ricardo Grau, he brought Fauvism and abstract art to Peru in the late 1930s, opening the way to modernism, but his influence was considerably limited by the prevalence at that time of the movement concerned with indigenous subject-matter led by José Sabogal. Torre’s expressive strength, original personality and versatility led him to depict diverse subjects, including landscapes, gardens painted in an Impressionist style, portraits, still-lifes and vivid multicoloured compositions that he called ‘jungles’ because they suggested landscapes dense with plant life. His most important works are to be found in private collections in Lima....


Bengt von Bonsdorff

(b Viipuri [now Vyborg, Russia], July 6, 1908; d Helsinki, Oct 20, 1992).

Finnish painter. He studied at the School of the Fine Arts Association (later the Academy of Fine Arts), Helsinki (1927–8) and at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Florence. In 1930 he was a private student of the sculptor Wäinö Aaltonen and assisted him in his great public commissions, notably the decoration of the new Parliament building in Helsinki. In 1931 Vanni exhibited a work publicly for the first time—a Still-life with Violin (1931; priv. col., see Kruskopf), characterized by rigorously constructed plastic forms. In 1938 and 1939 he was resident in London and in France, where he attended the Académie Julian and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris and, on the suggestion of the Finnish painter Ragnar Ekelund (1892–1960), travelled to Chevreuse, diligently drawing and painting urban themes. This period was of great significance for Vanni, although he still exhibited in Finland, where he was commended for his use of colour. Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard were important early influences....


(b Antwerp, Nov 24, 1886; d Paris, Oct 5, 1965).

Belgian sculptor and painter. He trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp (1900–04) and at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (1906–9). During World War I he moved to The Hague as a refugee. In 1915 he met Jules Schmalzigaug, who introduced him to Cubism and Futurism. His sculpture of this period consists of impressionistic representations of the human body, while his painting reflects a debt to Pointillism (e.g. Sitting Man, 1917; priv. col., see Gast, p. 234).

In 1918 Vantongerloo became associated with the journal De Stijl; in two of its issues he published a series of articles titled ‘Réflections’, in which he formulated theories about art and the role of the artist. These articles reveal his absolute belief in abstraction and a predilection for mystic and pseudo-scientific theories and concepts. Largely derived from his interest in the writings of the philosopher M. H. J. Schoenmaekers, these beliefs led Vantongerloo to visualize space as a combination of the volumes of objects and the voids that surround them....


Ruth L. Bohan

(b Belostok, Russia [now Białystok, Poland], April 18, 1881; d Great Neck, NY, Oct 4, 1961).

American painter, printmaker, sculptor, and writer of Russian birth. He was born of Orthodox Jewish parents and in 1891 immigrated with his family to America. After settling in Brooklyn, NY, Weber attended the Pratt Institute (1898–1900), where he studied art theory and design under Arthur Wesley Dow. Dow’s extensive knowledge of European and Far Eastern art history, together with his theories of composition, made a lasting impression on Weber. Weber was in Paris from 1905 to 1908 and studied briefly at the Académie Julian. He developed a close friendship with Henri Rousseau and helped to organize a class with Henri Matisse as its instructor. Visits to the ethnographic collections in the Trocadéro and other Parisian museums extended his sensitivity to non-Western art, while travels through Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands broadened his knowledge of the Old Masters.

For several years following his return to America in January 1909...


(b Steinkjer, Nord-Trøndelag, June 14, 1923).

Norwegian painter . After training with local artists at the Kunsthåndverksskole in Bergen (1939–40) and at the Kunstakademi in Oslo (1941–2), he took part in the resistance movement during the occupation of Norway in World War II and was forced to flee to Sweden in 1944; soon after this he lost the sight in his right eye. At the Kunsthögskola in Stockholm in 1944–5 he met several internationally oriented fellow students and was inspired by his teacher Sven Erixon’s unconventional understanding of art and by the imagination and vital colours displayed in Erixon’s paintings. Weidemann had a one-man exhibition after his return to Norway in 1946 (Oslo, Blomqvist Ksthandel), which was a critical and popular success. The colouristic virtuosity of his pre-war paintings of nudes and light-filled interiors was succeeded by formal abstractions, interpreted with a naive surreal quality and expressive colour contrasts, such as Partisan (...


V. Rakitin

( Bogdanovich )

(b Tiflis [now Tbilisi], Jan 2, 1884; d Erevan, Dec 28, 1928).

Georgian stage designer and painter of Armenian origin, active in Russia . He studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1901–3) but was expelled after a disagreement over the teaching methods. Posted to the Far East during military service, he became acquainted with Far Eastern decorative art, which inspired the works he exhibited with the Blue Rose group after his return to Moscow in 1907 (e.g. The Races, 1905; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.). His work of this time refers to traditional Chinese and medieval European art refracted through Art Nouveau, in an attempt to create a new decorative style in easel painting. In Moscow he often designed the décor for artistic soirées and balls, creating architecturally decorative compositions whose basic components were painted panels. In 1910 he travelled to Italy and in 1912–13 he worked in Paris, where he became acquainted with Sonia Delaunay and Robert Delaunay. In ...


M. N. Sokolov

( Timofeyevich )

(b Moscow, Nov 3, 1931; d Moscow, Dec 12, 1986).

Russian painter . He was born to a working family. In 1954 he entered the In Memory of 1905 Moscow Regional Art College, from which he was soon expelled owing to his unconventional conduct. He developed as an artist independently and first came into contact with original works of Western abstract art at the 1957 Global Youth and Students’ Festival, Moscow. His acquaintance with George Costakis and the latter’s collection of Russian avant-garde art was also significant in his artistic development. Exhibitions in local salons and abroad (the first at Galerie Motte, Geneva, in 1965) displayed the stark originality of his temperamental, even tempestuous, style, which may be termed ‘figurative Tachism’. His oil, watercolour and gouache portraits, for example of George Costakis (1956; Athens, Costakis priv. col.) and D. Planvinsky (1976; Moscow, Rusanov priv. col.), landscapes, including the Church in Peredelkino (1960; Athens, Costakis, priv. col.), animal paintings and still-lifes always retain an underlying naturalism, which was transformed through impulsive and playful brushwork until it verges on the abstract. The rapture of his painting is shown in the sheer beauty of his colour palette and the graphic rhythm combined with a tragic expression of violent emotion. A confessional sincerity of artistic intonation, a mocking foolishness and the influence of the alcoholism from which he suffered is evident in his work, which can be seen as a link between the classic modern and the colourful, frenzied nature of the trans-avant-garde. His premature death may appear to symbolize the difficulties that faced exponents of unofficial art in the USSR....