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Aurora Scotti Tosini

(b Alessandria, July 18, 1853; d Milan, Nov 7, 1919).

Italian painter. He received his first lessons in drawing in Alessandria, and in 1867 he travelled on a local study grant to Milan, where he was based for the rest of his life. He enrolled at the Accademia di Brera and from 1867 to 1876 studied drawing and painting there under Raffaele Casnedi and Giuseppe Bertini, whose influence is seen in both the subject-matter and technique of his early works. These include perspectival views, anecdotal genre scenes and history paintings. In the Dying Goethe (1880; Alessandria, Pin. Civ.) the theatrical setting, enriched by a sophisticated execution and a well-modulated use of colour, derives from the teaching of Casnedi and Bertini, while the historic–romantic quality of this painting also recalls the style of Francesco Hayez. In the years that followed, Morbelli began to concentrate more on themes such as labour and the life of the poor, influenced perhaps by Realist painters of the 1880s such as Achille D’Orsi, Francesco Paolo Michetti and Teofilo Patini. Morbelli’s ...


Gisèle Ollinger-Zinque

(b Ekeren, nr Antwerp, July 27, 1868; d Brussels, Nov 21, 1941).

Belgian painter, sculptor and decorative artist. He came from a prosperous bourgeois family and was therefore able to devote himself exclusively to art without financial worries. Encouraged by Emile Claus, a family friend, he enrolled at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp; he left after a short time, however, disliking the conformist teaching methods. In 1888 he moved to Paris, where he frequented the studios of Alfred Roll, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Eugène Carrière. He began working in an Impressionist style, turning c. 1890 to a Neo-Impressionist style as a means of giving more solid form to light. He returned in February 1892 to Antwerp, where he took part in the activities of avant-garde groups, particularly Als ik Kan, L’Association pour l’Art, La Libre Esthétique and Eenigen, of which he was a founder-member in 1902. He exhibited regularly in these circles in the company of Neo-Impressionist painters such as Claus, Georges Lemmen, Théo Van Rysselberghe, Henry Van de Velde, Paul Signac and Seurat. In ...


Reinhold Heller

(b Løten, Hedmark, Dec 12, 1863; d Oslo, Jan 23, 1944).

Norwegian painter, printmaker and draughtsman. Especially concerned with the expressive representation of emotions and personal relationships, he was associated with the international development of Symbolism during the 1890s and recognized as a precursor of Expressionism, particularly in his paintings and woodcuts.

Edvard Munch was born the second of five children to Laura Cathrine Bjølstad and Dr Christian Munch, a military doctor. Living in tenement houses in the workers’ suburbs of Christiania (which became Kristiania in 1877 and Oslo in 1925), the family, descended from Norway’s cultural aristocracy but economically impoverished, was doubly alienated. Unable to move freely among the educated and social élite, they experienced at the same time the illnesses impacted most severely on the Scandinavian urban working class: tuberculosis and bronchitis. Weakened after the birth of her fifth child, Edvard Munch’s mother succumbed to tuberculosis in 1868, as did her oldest child, Sophie, in 1877. After the deaths of his wife and daughter, his son later maintained, Dr Munch suffered periodic fits of deep depression and violent temper, accompanied by fanatical visions of his own and his surviving children’s eternal damnation in hell. An extreme Christian fundamentalist, Dr Munch saw the bouts of severe, life-threatening bronchitis and tuberculosis suffered by Edvard and the other children as God’s ‘punishing illnesses’ to which the sole response could be penitential prayer and remorseful submission. The constant experience of illness, hallucination, death and rejection, but also of determined and desperate resistance, provided the fundamental shape of Edvard Munch’s character: ‘I was born dying’, he recalled shortly after his 70th birthday, ‘Sickness, insanity and death were the dark angels standing guard at my cradle and they have followed me throughout my life.’ This dramatic self-representation also gives retrospective shape to his art and grants it an overarching unity fusing and denying the disparity of efforts marking his long career as an artist....


Belinda Thomson

(b Warsaw, March 28, 1868; d Paris, 1951).

French critic and collector. The second son of a wealthy Polish Jewish banking family (his father emigrated to Paris in the early 1870s), he was educated and spent most of his life in France. With his brothers Alexandre and Alfred he ran the Revue blanche (1891–1903), the most wide-ranging and intellectually adventurous journal of its day. Natanson was largely responsible for the art reviews and for the Revue blanche’s active and lively support of such artists as the Nabis and Toulouse-Lautrec.

The Revue blanche began as a school magazine, the brainchild of a group of pupils at the Lycée Condorcet in Paris, and its first issues were published in Liège in 1889–90. In 1891 the journal moved to Paris, where its financial management was taken over by the Natanson brothers, and Thadée became editor-in-chief. Although his early ambitions were literary (extracts from his novel Pour l’ombre appeared in the first Paris editions), Natanson was the journal’s regular art correspondent between ...


Jane Block

Term applied to an avant-garde, European art movement that flourished from 1886 to 1906. The term Neo-Impressionism was coined by the art critic Félix Fénéon in a review, ‘Les Impressionistes’ (in La Vogue; Paris, 1886), of the eighth and last Impressionist exhibition. Camille Pissarro had convinced his Impressionist colleagues to allow paintings by himself, his son Lucien Pissaro, Paul Signac, and Georges Seurat to be shown together in a single room, asserting a shared vision and inviting comparison. Fénéon considered Albert Dubois-Pillet to be one of the ‘new Impressionists’; the group soon included Charles Angrand, Louis Hayet, Henri Edmond Cross, Léo Gausson, Hippolyte Petitjean and Maximilien Luce.

Fénéon paid homage with the term Neo-Impressionism to the group’s rebellious precursors, Monet, Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley, while distinguishing the new group’s innovations. Impressionism, for Fénéon, was synonymous with instinct and spontaneity, whereas Neo-Impressionism was based on reflection and permanence. Although the Impressionists obeyed rules of colour contrast, they did so pragmatically and not according to the codified, scientific principles that were adopted by the Neo-Impressionists, who believed that painting could be based on rules that would make it possible to replicate the luminosity of nature on canvas. These rules would enable the artist to perfect his individual vision but were not intended to be used as a formula. The techniques associated with Neo-Impressionism were initiated by ...


Rigmor Lovring


(b Copenhagen, July 9, 1872; d Copenhagen, July 21, 1956).

Danish painter and printmaker. After an apprenticeship as a house painter he studied at the Kunstakademi (1889–93) and at Zahrtmann’s school (1895–6) in Copenhagen. He made his first trip abroad, to Paris, in 1900–01, followed in 1902 by a visit to Italy. Between 1905 and 1911 he divided his time between Italy and Paris, which he often visited in later years. He went to Spain in 1916 and to Greece in 1931 and 1933. The Nordic countries were subsequently his favourite destinations. In 1943 he became a member of the Frie Udstilling in Copenhagen. He taught at the Kunstakademi, Copenhagen, between 1920 and 1930.

Nielsen greatly admired the French painter Pierre Puvis de Chavannes; he was also very interested in 15th-century Italian art. Against this background he turned to Symbolism, c. 1895, at a time when he was preoccupied with themes of illness and death. His paintings of the period present a direct, often appalling realism and a sombre and ascetic handling of colour. The forms in both his figure and landscape painting reveal his sense for the monumental, and the tone is largely pessimistic. In ...


John Steen


(b Dordrecht, April 2, 1881; d Santpoort, March 27, 1955).

Dutch painter and printmaker. He studied under Anton Derkinderen in his studio in Laren (1896–8). Until 1899 he trained at the Kunstnijverheidsschool in Amsterdam and in 1900 at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Rotterdam. During 1900–01 he lived in Brussels, where he made his first pointillist pen and ink drawings. In 1901–2 he stayed for a few months in Paris, with Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen and painted his first pointillist canvases. He returned to the Netherlands, to Rhoon, in 1905, where he produced a large body of work in the Divisionist style, using bright colours applied in wide brushstrokes. At the suggestion of Hendricus Petrus Bremmer he started to make woodcuts in 1916. In 1919 he settled in Wassenaar and thereafter chose Realist themes: portscapes and harbour activities in Scheveningen, Hook of Holland (e.g. Gasometers, Hook of Holland, 1925; Otterlo, Rijksmus. Kröller-Müller), Rotterdam, Hellevoetsluis and Flushing. During the 1920s he painted the reclamation of the Wieringermeer. After ...


Aurora Scotti Tosini

(b Livorno, Aug 6, 1866; d Florence, Aug 8, 1943).

Italian painter. After studying in Livorno, he received a local grant that enabled him to enrol at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, where he studied under Giovanni Fattori and became friends with the painters Telemaco Signorini and Silvestro Lega. He exhibited works both in Florence and, in 1889, at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Around 1890 he moved to Genoa, where he was based until 1902. He developed a marked interest in radical politics, in 1894 being charged with anarchism and imprisoned for several months. Nomellini’s house in Genoa became a meeting place for artists and writers and his painting had an important influence on turn-of-the-century Ligurian Divisionists. In 1902 Nomellini moved to Torre del Lago, remaining in the coastal region of north-west Italy until 1919. He became a close friend of the composer Giacomo Puccini; his reading of the works of Gabriele D’Annunzio and his friendship, from ...


Myroslava M. Mudrak


(b March 14, 1872; d Aug 29, 1935).

Ukrainian painter. He trained in Odessa under Fedir Klymenko until 1892, when he entered the Kraków School of Visual Arts (later Academy of Fine Arts) headed by Jan Matejko. Here he developed a painterly Impressionism and worked mostly en plein air. After graduating in 1900 with a gold medal, Novakivs’ky settled in the village of Mohyla (now Nowa Huta) near Kraków. From 1903 he concentrated on portraiture, genre painting and landscapes. Recognition as an artist occurred in 1911, with his first one-man show at the Kraków Palace of Art, when he exhibited close to 100 works. Recuperating from an illness, he illustrated the works of the Ukrainian writer Ivan Franko, and in the autumn of 1913, just before the outbreak of World War I, he returned to Ukraine permanently and settled in Lvóv (now L’viv). In 1914 the M. V. Lysenko Music Institute commissioned from Novakivs’ky four allegorical decorative oval panels on the themes of ...


Roy Johnston


(b Milton, Co. Roscommon, Oct 17, 1860; d Nueil-sur-Layon, Maine-et-Loire, March 18, 1940).

Irish painter and etcher. Born into a branch of the O’Conor family descended from the last kings of Ireland, he was educated at Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire. He studied at the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin and at the Royal Hibernian Academy (1879–83), before attending the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Antwerp (1883–4). He returned to Ireland but soon moved to Paris, where he studied with Carolus-Duran, exhibiting a portrait in the Salon of 1888. In 1889 he showed three paintings in the Salon des Indépendants, and he continued to exhibit there until 1908.

In his earliest French landscapes O’Conor was influenced by the Impressionists, particularly Alfred Sisley and Claude Monet. He painted at Grez-sur-Loing in 1889 and 1890 and then settled in Brittany in 1891. There he met Paul Sérusier, Charles Filiger, Armand Séguin and Wladyslaw Slewinski, all painters in the Pont-Aven school, an international group formed around Paul Gauguin. In such paintings as ...


Gisèle Ollinger-Zinque

(b Brussels, April 17, 1867; d Brussels, Nov 14, 1931).

Belgian painter. He began his career as an apprentice and lithographic draughtsman in a printing house while taking evening classes at the art school in Saint Josse, Brussels, and attending the Académie Libre L’Effort. He took part in the activities of the Groupe du Rouge-Cloître, which included the Belgian painters Alfred Bastien (1873–1947) and Frans Smeers (1873–1960). He visited Paris briefly in 1890 and from 1895 to 1902 lived with his wife and Louis Thévenet at Nieuwpoort, where he painted solidly constructed pictures in sombre colours such as Burial at Nieuwpoort (1901; Brussels, Mus. A. Mod.), taking as his subject the sea or the people who made their living from it.

In 1898 Oleffe founded the group Le Labeur together with Ferdinand Schirren, Thévenet and the Dutch painter Willem Paerels (1878–1962). A bequest from the Belgian collector Henri Van Cutsem (1839–1904) in ...


Taube G. Greenspan

(b Paris, March 23, 1857; d Paris, Aug 11, 1939).

French painter. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and in the studios of Henri Lehmann, Fernand Cormon and Léon Bonnat. His Salon entry in 1880, Portrait of M. O. (untraced), reflected his early attraction to the realist tradition of Spanish 17th-century painting. The impact of Impressionism encouraged him to lighten his palette and paint landscapes en plein air, such as In the Fields of Eragny (1888; Paris, Y. Osbert priv. col.). By the end of the 1880s he had cultivated the friendship of several Symbolist poets and the painter Puvis de Chavannes, which caused him to forsake his naturalistic approach and to adopt the aesthetic idealism of poetic painting. Abandoning subjects drawn from daily life, Osbert aimed to convey inner visions and developed a set of pictorial symbols. Inspired by Puvis, he simplified landscape forms, which served as backgrounds for static, isolated figures dissolved in mysterious light. A pointillist technique, borrowed from Seurat, a friend from Lehmann’s studio, dematerialized forms and added luminosity. However, Osbert eschewed the Divisionists’ full range of hues in his choice of blues, violets, yellows and silvery green. Osbert’s mysticism is seen in his large painting ...


Lija Skalska-Miecik

(b Lublin, Nov 29, 1866; d Marseille, July 4, 1940).

Polish painter and printmaker. He studied (1884–5) at the Warsaw Drawing School under Wojciech Gerson and Aleksander Kamiński (1823–86). In 1885 he went to St Petersburg with his friend Władysław Podkowiński and continued his studies (1885–6) at the Academy of Fine Arts there, deriving most profit from his visits to the great collections of older painting. His early work, largely realistic records of Warsaw life, such as Fair at the Iron Gate (1888; Poznań, N. Mus.), was influenced by contact with Aleksander Gierymski. In 1889 Pankiewicz spent nine months in Paris, again with Podkowiński. The work of Claude Monet exhibited at the Galerie Georges Petit prompted Pankiewicz to rework in an Impressionist manner a realistic Paris scene he had painted, Flower Market at the Madeleine in Paris (1890; Poznań, N. Mus.). When exhibited in Poland such work initiated much heated discussion about Impressionism. Pankiewicz’s purest Impressionist works, such as ...


(b Lyon, March 28, 1858; d Paris, June 27, 1918).

French writer, theorist and critic. He was educated at Jesuit colleges in Avignon and Nîmes, to which the family moved in 1872. However, he was most influenced in childhood by his elder brother, Adrien Peladan (1844–85), an eager student of the occult. In 1881 Peladan travelled to Italy, which confirmed his taste for Italian art. The following year he moved to Paris, where he rapidly established himself as an art critic. In his articles of the 1880s Peladan called for a return to the linear values of Italian art and proposed that art should be androgynous, an occult term signifying a perfect fusion of opposite forces. He attacked the Realist developments initiated by Courbet and Manet and saw the Impressionists merely as propagators of a ‘pathetic technique’. The inherent materialism of such art repelled him, and he praised instead artists such as Gustave Moreau, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Edward Burne-Jones. His Salon reviews of the 1880s, collected in ...


Giulio V. Blanc

(b Yaguajuay, nr Placetas, Jan 5, 1896; d Havana, April 8, 1968).

Cuban painter, ceramicist and illustrator. She studied under Leopoldo Romañach (1862–1951) at the Academia de S Alejandro in Havana, where she was influenced by Impressionism. She graduated in 1924 and lived in Paris from 1927 to 1933, studying at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and the Ecole du Louvre. She also studied composition and colour with the Russian Constructivist and stage designer Alexandra Exter. She held an individual exhibition at the Galerie Zak in Paris in 1933 and in 1934 returned to Cuba.

Peláez applied her Parisian experiences, particularly of Cubism and of her apprenticeship to Exter, to a personal style based on the forms and colours of the luxuriant tropical vegetation and the Baroque colonial architecture of Cuba. Like Víctor Manuel, she combined modernism with native elements in a style at once Cuban and cosmopolitan in paintings such as Still-life in Red...


Aurora Scotti Tosini

(b Volpedo, Alessandria, July 28, 1868; d June 14, 1907).

Italian painter.

He came from a farming family and in 1884 began attending drawing classes at the Accademia di Brera in Milan. He also began to study painting, first with Giuseppe Puricelli (1832–94) and then in 1886–7 with Pio Sanquirico (1847–1900), but in 1887 he broke off his studies at the Brera and moved to Rome in order to attend the Accademia di S Luca. He very soon became disappointed by the teaching there, which he combined with attendance at the life class at the Académie de France, and went to Florence, where from 1888 he was a pupil of Giovanni Fattori at the Accademia di Belle Arti. After a few months he returned to Volpedo, where he began executing portraits and landscapes that show the influence of the Macchiaioli in their limpid layers of light and geometrically balanced compositions (e.g. Portrait of the Poor Girl...


Colette E. Bidon

(b Mâcon, Sept 11, 1854; d Paris, Sept 18, 1929).

French painter. He began his studies in drawing in Mâcon before going to Paris c. 1885–6 to join the Neo-Impressionists. He became very close to Seurat, who was generous with his advice and instruction and greatly influenced Petitjean’s conté crayon drawings. In 1887 he submitted paintings to the Salon in Stockholm and from 1891 was accepted by the Salon des Artistes Indépendants in Paris. In 1893 he was welcomed in Brussels; in 1898 he gained a new German clientele in Berlin, and in 1903 and 1921 his works were hung in Weimar and Wiesbaden.

Petitjean’s output is relatively small, though his paintings are often large in scale. It includes refined portraits of his wife and daughter (e.g. 1812; Paris, Mus. d’Orsay), epitomizing the era before World War I in France, and views of the Mâcon area and of Paris bridges bustling with figures. But his most notable paintings are symbolical, poetic handlings of the arcadian themes to which Corot was devoted. Though the draughtsmanship derives from Ingres, delicate, immaterialized figures such as ...


V. Rakitin


(b Khvalynsk, Saratov province, Oct 25, 1878; d Leningrad [now St Petersburg], Feb 15, 1939).

Russian painter. He began his studies in the drawing and painting classes of F. Burov (1843–95) in Samara (1893–5), and he attended Baron Stieglitz’s school in St Petersburg from 1895 to 1897. He studied under Abram Arkhipov, Nikolay Kasatkin and Valentin Serov at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture from 1897 to 1905 and at Anton Ažbé’s school in Munich (1901). After working in various private studios in Paris between 1905 and 1908, he travelled to Constantinople (now Istanbul), Greece and Italy in 1905 and to Algiers in 1906. On his return to Russia, he held an exhibition in the editorial offices of the magazine Apollon in St Petersburg (1909). From 1911 to 1924 he exhibited with the World of Art group and from 1925 to 1928 with the Four Arts Society of Artists. From the early 1910s Petrov-Vodkin’s work was influential in the artistic life of St Petersburg. He attempted to reconcile classical and modern trends. His style was formed under a wide range of influences, often seemingly incompatible: 19th-century Russian painters such as Aleksey Venetsianov, Aleksandr Ivanov and Mikhail Vrubel’, the artists of the Munich Secession, Ferdinand Hodler, Maurice Denis, Gauguin, Puvis de Chavannes, Matisse, the painting of Giovanni Bellini, early Russian frescoes and icons and Russian folklore and popular songs....


Jens Peter Munk


(b Copenhagen, June 10, 1840; d Copenhagen, March 3, 1920).

Danish painter, sculptor and draughtsman. He studied at the Kongelige Akademi for de Skønne Kunster, Copenhagen, in 1862–3 and 1865–9, and in Paris under Léon Bonnat in 1875–6. He was an important figure in the development and renewal of Danish naturalism, linking the Danish Golden Age tradition with new French ideas. Conscious of the importance of plein-air painting, he was first a great admirer of the Barbizon school; later he was influenced by the Impressionists, becoming the only truly Danish Impressionist. Frequent visits abroad helped him develop his outlook; he eagerly studied the Old Masters, and the strong light of the south—Italy, Spain, Tunisia—encouraged him to paint pictures full of atmosphere, movement and colour. In A Street in Tunis (1882; Copenhagen, Stat. Mus. Kst), for example, a group of camel riders gallop between whitewashed walls in a rosy-white cloud of dust. While in Italy in 1883 he heard of the current Impressionist theories from his travelling companion, the Belgian painter Rémy Cogghe (...


Franco Bernabei

(b Naples, April 21, 1864; d Milan, May 1, 1930).

Italian critic. His taste was influenced by Symbolism, as can be seen in several areas of his work: the volume entitled Arte aristocratica (Naples, 1892), the studies on contemporary literature written in 1896, his translation and introduction of the Symbolist poem Belkiss by the Portuguese writer Eugénio de Castro, and his strong interest in Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé. From 1897 he collaborated on the Marzocco and from 1900 on the art review Emporium, which he also edited.

Pica’s greatest cultural contribution was the introduction of French Impressionism to the Italian public through his book Gl’impressionisti francesi (Bergamo, 1908), together with his enthusiasm for new art movements. He was closely involved in several important art exhibitions, especially in Venice, and between 1910 and 1926 he was General Secretary of the Venice Biennale. He added greatly to the prestige of that institution through his open-minded presentation of innovative artists such as ...