Austrian group of performance artists, active in the 1960s. Its principal members were Günter Brus, Otto Muehl and Hermann Nitsch, who first collaborated informally in 1961, and Rudolf Schwarzkogler, who was introduced to the group in 1963. Others associated with the group included Anni Brus, the film maker Kurt Kren, the composer Anetis Logosthetis and the actor Heinz Cibulka. The group were influenced by the work of Adolf Frohner (b 1934), Arnulf Rainer and Alfons Schilling (b 1934), who were all in turn influenced by American action painting and by the gestural painting associated with Tachism. The members of Aktionismus attached significance, however, not so much to the paintings produced by the artist as to the artist as a participant in the process of production, as a witness to creation rather than as a creator. Muehl, Brus and Nitsch all felt drawn to public performances celebrating and investigating artistic creativity by a natural progression from their earlier sculptural or painterly activities. In ...
A. N. Lavrentiev
(Vladimirovich) [Alpert, Max]
(b Simferopol’ [now in Ukraine], March 18, 1899; d Moscow, Nov 30, 1980).
Russian photographer. He was the son of an artisan. In 1914 Al’pert moved to Odessa and entered a photographic studio as an apprentice. After serving in the Red Army, he worked from 1924 as a photojournalist, taking news photographs for Rabochaya gazeta. He was already distinguished by his energy and his ability to capture events in a highly professional manner. Many of his photographs (e.g. Maxim Gorky’s Return from Italy, 1928; see Shudakov, p. 21) were widely published. In 1928 he moved to the newspaper Pravda, where he began to work systematically on serial photography (e.g. The Construction of the Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Factory, 1929; see Morozov and Lloyd, pp. 130–31). The photoseries 24 Hours in the Life of the Filippov Family (1931; see Shudakov, pp. 22–3) became widely known; it was executed by a collective of photographers in which Al’pert and Arkady Shaykhet played an active role. A consummate example of photonarrative, it reveals in detail the life of a simple Moscow worker’s family....
(b Vinnitsa, Ukraine, Dec 22, 1889; d Leningrad [now St Petersburg], Dec 12, 1970).
Russian painter, graphic artist, sculptor and designer of Ukrainian birth. He studied painting at the School of Art in Odessa (1901–7) under Kiriak Kostandi (1852–1921), at the same time attending classes in sculpture. In 1908–9 he made a series of pointillist paintings. He visited Vienna and Munich in 1910 before going to Paris, where he worked at Vasil’yeva’s Free Russian Academy until 1912, producing paintings on Jewish themes and studying Cubism. In 1912 he went to St Petersburg, where he painted a number of Cubist portraits, for example of the poet Anna Akhmatova (1914; St Petersburg, Rus. Mus.). His Cubist work makes much use of faceting and transparent planes. From 1918 to 1921 he taught at the Department of Visual Arts (IZO) of Narkompros in Petrograd, but he was criticized for his attempts to identify Futurism with the art of the proletariat. Al’tman became well known as the designer of post-Revolutionary mass parades and monuments, for example the celebration of the first anniversary of the Revolution on ...
(b Baghdad, 1917; d Baghdad, 1973).
Iraqi calligrapher. He studied in Baghdad with Mulla ‛Arif and then served an apprenticeship with Mulla Muhammad ‛Ali al-Fadli (d 1948), who awarded him a calligraphy diploma in 1943. In 1944 he continued his studies in Cairo, where he was taught by Sayyid Ibrahim and Muhammad Husni at the Royal Institute of Calligraphy and received further awards. After returning to Baghdad, in 1946 he published a textbook on the riqā‛ style of calligraphy (see Islamic art, §III, 2(iii)(c)). He visited Turkey on several occasions and found favour with the Turkish calligrapher Hamid Aytaç of Istanbul, who awarded him diplomas in 1950 and 1952. In 1960 he was appointed lecturer in Arabic calligraphy at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and later became the head of the department of Arabic calligraphy and Islamic decoration. Hashem followed the classical Baghdad style of Yaqut al-Musta‛simi and combined it with features from the Ottoman school of calligraphy. He was among the best calligraphers of the ...
Pamela Elizabeth Grimaud
(b Tunis, Feb 2, 1935).
French fashion designer, of Tunisian birth. Alaïa is renowned for his ‘second skin’ fashions and masterful cutting techniques (see fig.). Christened the ‘King of Cling’ by fashion journalists, Alaïa rose to prominence in the 1980s following years of realizing commissions for a loyal and select clientele. His designs are modern, overtly feminine in their celebration of the female form and, in Alaïa’s own words: ‘not sexy, voluptuous’. Alaïa’s sculpted fashions have been known to render other designers’ fashions unwearable—they simply feel too large in comparison.
Born in southern Tunisia, Alaïa was raised by his maternal grandparents and at the age of 15 undertook the study of sculpture. Realizing soon after that sculpture was not his calling, and serendipitously passing a dressmaker’s window on his way to classes, he saw a sign for an assistant. He was hired for the task of finishing hems at five francs apiece. Alaïa rose quickly to become a favourite of Tunisian high society, copying for the local clientele the work of the great ...
(b Mortagne, Orne Mortagne, Orne, 3 March 1868; d Le Vésinet, nr Paris, 2 June 1951). French philosopher and writer. He studied philosophy under Jules Lagneau (1851–94) at the Lycée de Vanves, near Paris, and from 1889 to 1892 studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, where he read avidly the works of Plato, Aristotle and Immanuel Kant. He then became a professor at the Collège de Pontivy, moving in 1893 to the Lycée de Lorient, where he developed a strong interest in politics. In 1900 he was appointed a professor at Rouen and in 1902 became a professor at the Lycée Michelet in Paris.
In 1906 Alain published the first of his propos or brief articles, in La Dépêche de Rouen; these were entitled ‘Propos d’un Normand’ and signed Alain, after the medieval poet Alain Chartier, whose work he admired. Between 1906 and 1914...
Islamic dynasty and rulers of Morocco since 1631. Like their predecessors the Sa‛dis, the ‛Alawis are sharīfs (descendants of the Prophet Muhammad), and both dynasties are sometimes classed together as the ‘Sharifs of Morocco’. From a base in the Tafilalt region of south-east Morocco, the ‛Alawi family was able to overcome the centrifugal forces exerted by the Berber tribes who had destroyed the Sa‛di state in the first half of the 17th century. To restore political authority and territorial integrity, Mawlay Isma‛il (reg 1672–1727) added a new black slave corps to the traditional tribal army. Although royal power was weak during the 19th century and the early 20th, when the French and Spanish established protectorates, the ‛Alawis’ power was fully restored after independence from the French in 1956.
‛Alawi building activities (see Islamic art, §II, 7(v)) were concentrated in the four cities that have served as their capitals: Fez and Marrakesh at various times from ...
[Alvárez de Toledo] [now Berwick y Alba]
Spanish family of politicians and collectors. The prominent role of the Alvárez de Toledo family in the history of Spain and the dynastic marriages that have joined many other titles into the house of Berwick y Alba have placed the Alba collection among the finest in Europe. Don Fernando Alvárez de Toledo (1507–82), the ‘Gran-Duque’ de Alba, Governor of the Netherlands (from 1567), commissioned paintings from Anthonis Mor and Titian (General Pardon Conceded to Flanders by the Duque de Alba; Christ in the House of Martha; portrait of Don Fernando Alvárez de Toledo, Duque de Alba, in Armour; all Madrid, Pal. Liria, Col. Duke of Alba). His namesake, Don Fernando Alvárez de Toledo, the 6th duke, returned to Spain in 1653 from an embassy in Italy with a large shipment of works of art. The family collection, which included an impressive holding of tapestries, was housed in the palace of La Abadia in Extremadura and at the former ducal seat in Alba de Tormes....
(b Werden, Essen, May 28, 1835; d Cologne, Aug 9, 1913).
German sculptor and teacher. He trained (1851–4) as a wood-carver in Elberfeld, and from 1855 he studied at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, also working in the studios of August Fischer (1805–66) and Hugo Hagen (?1818–1871). In 1865 Albermann moved to Cologne and established his own workshop. From 1871 to 1896 he taught the modelling class at the Gewerbliche Zeichenschule, and from the 1890s onwards he was active in the Verein zur Förderung der Bildhauerkunst in Rheinland und Westfalen, which was established in reaction to Berlin’s dominance in commissions for monumental sculpture.
Albermann’s early work consists mostly of figurative and ornamental decoration for private houses in Cologne. From the late 1870s, however, he produced many war memorials and statues, of Emperor William I, Frederick III, Bismarck and Moltke, often combined in groups as founders of the German Reich. These works were erected further afield, although still all within the Rhineland, for example at Bielefeld; Werden, Essen, and Kettwig, Essen; Kempen; Neuss and Zweibrücken....
(b Saïda, Algeria, 1953).
French painter, sculptor, photographer, film maker, writer and installation artist of Algerian birth. Born to Spanish parents, he was much affected by North African as well as Southern European culture. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre. Despite a pervasive and diverse use of media, Alberola often stressed the coexistence of his different artistic practices as leading to painting alone. His paintings relied heavily on evocative narratives, at once personal and ‘historical’. Alberola conceived of his role as a storyteller, on the model of African oral cultures. Convinced that narratives could not be renewed, he argued that a painter’s main task was to reactivate his work through contact with his pictorial heritage. The main points of reference for his paintings of the early 1980s were Velázquez, Manet or Matisse, whose works he quoted in a personal way. In the early 1980s he undertook a series of paintings inspired by mythological subjects, which he combined with his own history as the principal subject-matter of his work. The biblical story of Susannah and the Elders as well as the Greek myth of Actaeon provided his most enduring subjects, both referring to the act of looking as taboo, as in ...
Nicholas Fox Weber
American artists of German birth.
(b Bottrop, Ruhr, March 19, 1888; d New Haven, CT, March 25, 1976).
Painter, printmaker, sculptor, designer, writer and teacher. He worked from 1908 to 1913 as a schoolteacher in Bottrop and from 1913 to 1915 trained as an art teacher at the Königliche Kunstschule in Berlin, where he was exposed to many current art movements and to the work of such Old Masters as Dürer and Holbein. His figurative drawings of the next few years, which he kept hidden and which were discovered only after his death (many now in Orange, CT, Albers Found.), show that he applied these influences to his consistent concern with the simplest and most effective means of communicating his subject; he drew rabbits, schoolgirls and the local landscape in as dispassionate and impersonal a manner as possible. After his studies in Berlin he returned to Bottrop and from ...
Carlos Lastarria Hermosilla
(b 1892; d 1967).
Chilean sculptor. From 1902 to 1939 he lived in Germany; he studied under Franz Metzner in Berlin. On his return to Chile, he taught at a private school and then taught sculpture in the Academia Particular of the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, also executing important works such as the tomb of President Pedro Aguirre Cerda (1941; Cementerio General de Santiago) and a large relief, La naturaleza, in Parque Cousiño (1945; Santiago, Escuela Jard. Parque Cousiño).
Albert’s training in Germany, when Expressionism was at its height, led him to use distortion of form as the sign of vehement emotion. In his Ariel and Caliban (bronze, h. 8 m, 1960; Santiago, Parque Forestal), limbs are lengthened, muscles swell, tendons are visible beneath the skin, and one body yields and droops while the other rises imposingly into space. These traits are found in all his other sculptures, with the stress on subjectivity impelling him towards the metaphysical notion that the ‘real’ materials with which he works are his own feelings. Yet there is also a meditative depth in his work and a calming effect arising from an idealized geometry of forms. Albert’s concern with mass, which brought out the sensual qualities of his materials, was part of a profound examination of the specific problems of sculptural language: rhythm, movement and tension of surfaces....
(b Toledo, April 8, 1895; d Moscow, Oct 12, 1962).
Spanish sculptor. Of humble origins, he worked as an apprentice blacksmith, baker and shoemaker before dedicating himself to sculpture. From 1912 he served as an apprentice in the studio. Of the sculptor José Estanys, learning how to cast in plaster. While performing his military service from 1917 (beginning in Melilla on the North African coast) he made busts and figures of Arabs in plaster. On his return to Madrid in 1920 he worked as a baker but also visited museums and produced posters for public meetings, and through Rafael Barradas, whom he knew casually, he began to inform himself about avant-garde artistic trends.
Until 1922 Alberto worked in a neo-Cubist style. His successful participation in 1925 in the first Exposición de Artistas Ibéricas in Madrid helped him obtain a grant from the Diputación Provincial de Toledo, which permitted him to dedicate himself exclusively to art. By this time he had begun to sign and exhibit his works with just his first name. In ...
(b Ühlingen, Sept 16, 1878; d Ettlingen, Feb 26, 1961).
German sculptor. He studied in Karlsruhe, Munich and Paris (partly with Auguste Rodin); from 1903 to 1905 he worked in Rome. By 1910 he had developed his style: he modelled figures of young people, which appear restrained and introverted in spite of poses that convey considerable movement (e.g. Woman in Mourning, 1909–11; Hagen, Osthaus Mus.; Youth, 1911; Essen, Mus. Flkwang). At the same time he created sculptures for buildings in decoratively stylized forms such as those for the Konzerthaus in Karlsruhe.
In 1919 Albiker was appointed to the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Dresden and worked there as a teacher until 1945. By this time his works were heavier and more compact, and they included nudes, portraits and several important war memorials (e.g. Pallas Athene, 1925; Karlsruhe, U. Fridericiana). He created two monumental groups of Sportsmen (h. c. 6 m, incl. base) for the Olympic stadium in Berlin in 1936...
(b Zagreb, July 15, 1886; d Zagreb, Nov 4, 1978).
Croatian architect and teacher. He studied in Vienna and completed studies at the Technical High School in Zagreb in 1923. He then worked in the studios of Viktor Kovačić and Hugo Ehrlich and started his own practice in 1927. At the same time he was a lecturer and, later, professor in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Zagreb until his retirement. His outstanding early work is the cultural centre (1936–40), in the suburb of Sušak, Rijeka. This building, a skyscraper wedged in a very tight corner between two steep streets, with an articulated horizontal mass containing office space and an auditorium, was ahead of its time and was of seminal importance in the development of a refined functionalism in Croatia. Among his other few but carefully designed buildings are the Villa Meixner (1934), Malinov Street, the residential block Arko (1938), Basariček Street, and the Technological Faculty (...
(b Robbiate, Como, Oct 17, 1905; d Milan, Nov 1, 1977).
Italian architect, urban planner and furniture designer. After graduating from the Polytechnic of Milan (1929), he set up individual practice in Milan. One of the group of Rationalist architects who formed around the magazine Casabella, his work in the 1930s ranged from workers’ housing in Milan (1936, 1938; with Renato Camus and Giancarlo Palanti) to an ideal flat and furniture, exhibited at the Triennale in Milan in 1936. Immediately after World War II a series of masterplanning projects included schemes for the City of Milan (1946; with BBPR, Piero Bottoni, Luigi Figini and Gino Pollini) and for Reggio Emilia (1947–8; with Giancarlo De Carlo). Albini’s post-war architecture has a Rationalist clarity combined with sensitivity to context, tradition and history. Expressed first in the Rifugio Pirovano (1949–51) at Cervinia, Aosta, it was the office building for the Istituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni (INA; 1950), Parma, with its simply stated concrete frame that set the pattern developed later in La Rinascente department store (...
Colin J. Bailey
(b Auckland, May 7, 1943).
New Zealand painter. She studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland, from 1960 to 1963 and subsequently travelled extensively in the USA and Europe. Her paintings are abstractions with a basis in nature, to which she alludes in her titles. An early and enduring influence on her work were the colour paintings of Helen Frankenthaler. Albrecht’s painting is distinguished by its strong colouring and feeling. Among her most important works are her Hemisphere paintings from a series begun in 1981, in which the canvases are semi-circular. An example is the Fire and the Rose (1984; Wanganui, Sarjeant A.G.). Since 1989 Albrecht has been working on an oval format and has introduced a deeper, more reflective tone to her paintings. Her work is represented in public art galleries in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin and in private collections worldwide.After Nature: Gretchen Albrecht. A Survey: 23 Years (exh. cat., ed. ...
(b North Harvey, nr Chicago, Feb 20, 1897; d Woodstock, VT, Nov 18, 1983).
American painter, sculptor, printmaker and film maker. He was brought up in the suburbs of Chicago and was exposed to art at an early age by his father, Adam Emory Albright (1862–1957), a portrait painter. He passed on to his son the interest in careful draughtsmanship that he had developed from tuition with Thomas Eakins. Ivan’s initial field of interest was architecture, which he studied at Northwestern University, Evanston (1915–16), and at the University of Illinois, Urbana (1916–17). During World War I he served with an Army medical unit, making surgical drawings with great precision. He subsequently decided to become a painter and attended the Art Institute of Chicago (1920–23), the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Chicago (1923), and the National Academy of Design, New York (1924). Around this time he began to exhibit regularly.
Albright settled in Chicago in ...