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Article

Kristen E. Stewart

(b Santo Domingo, Jul 22, 1932; d Kent, CT, Oct 20, 2014).

Dominican-born American fashion designer. De la Renta’s illustrious career spans nearly six decades and is part of the canon of American fashion design (see fig.). Known for flattering, highly wearable designs characterized by sophisticated femininity and romantic details, de la Renta made a name for himself both as a designer and as a man of style at the centre of prominent social circles.

Oscar de la Renta was born the youngest child and only boy in a family of six sisters, to a Dominican mother, Maria Fiallo, and a Puerto Rican father, Oscar Ortiz de la Renta. Raised under the matriarchal rule of his maternal grandmother, de la Renta’s childhood experiences in the lushly tropical community surrounded by grand and proper women in crisply starched ruffles shaped his perception of femininity as strength. The regalia of the Catholic Church and the aristocratic European glamour of an uncle’s Russian mistress supplied his romantic nature with an exotic aesthetic vocabulary....

Article

Mai Vu

(b Chatham, Kent, Sept 19, 1940).

English textile and fashion designer. Zandra Rhodes was born into a working-class family. Her mother, whom she considers to be one of her greatest influences, had worked as a fitter for the House of Worth and taught fashion at Medway College of Art (now University for the Creative Arts, Rochester). Rhodes attended Medway, where she realized her passion for textile design as well as its artistic and technical challenges. She went on to study textile design at the Royal College of Art in London. At the time, most serious designers were steered towards the creation of patterns for decorative arts and furnishings. Rhodes however, dedicated her skills to the traditionally less prestigious area of fabrics for dress and fashion; possibly an influence from her mother. She created patterns under the notion that they would be cut and sewn to form garments; they would not forever remain flat on the printing table as a painting would, but rather become a part of the body of the wearer....

Article

Marijke Küper

(Thomas)

(b Utrecht, June 24, 1888; d Utrecht, June 25, 1964).

Dutch architect and furniture designer. He started work in his father’s furniture workshop at the age of 12, and then from 1906 to 1911 he worked as a draughtsman for C. J. Begeer, a jeweller in Utrecht. During 1904–8 he took evening classes in drawing and the study of ornamentation at the Kunstindustrieel Onderwijs der Vereeniging of the Museum van Kunstnijverheid in Utrecht. His interests nevertheless extended further than the applied arts. Around 1906 he attended classes given by the architect P. J. C. Klaarhamer (1874–1954), a like-minded contemporary of H. P. Berlage. This contact with Klaarhamer, who at that time shared a studio with Bart van der Leck, was of great importance for Rietveld’s development, for it was through them that he learnt of recent national and international trends in architecture and the applied arts.

In 1917 Rietveld set up a furniture workshop in Utrecht; the following year ...

Article

Lourdes Font

(b Paris, 1902; d Paris March 14, 1955).

French fashion designer (see figs 1 and 2 ). From 1925 to 1953, Rochas was an innovator in Paris fashion. In the1930s he was known for architectural suits and coats, bold graphic patterns and Surrealist details, and in the post-war period for romantic designs inspired by the 19th century.

Rochas founded his Paris couture house in 1925, and within two years copies of his modern and practical daywear were sold in New York City department stores. In 1929 he was among those leading the way toward a new silhouette by raising waistlines and lowering hemlines. In 1931 he was inspired, like Elsa Schiaparelli , by the South-east Asian architecture and Balinese dancers at the Exposition Coloniale in Paris. By the end of the year he had shown broader shoulders and fuller sleeves in his collections. He continued the South-east Asian theme with his ‘Angkor’ coat of 1934, which had peaked shoulders, sleeves forming sharp points at the elbow and a silver-plated belt shaped like a palm frond. Other designs had flanges at the neckline and shoulders that projected from the body like cantilevered walls (...

Article

Lourdes Font

[ Mathieu-Saint-Laurent, Yves Henri Donat ]

(b Oran, Algeria, Aug 1, 1936; d Paris, June 1, 2008).

French fashion designer ( see fig. ). In the late 20th century, few fashion designers could match Saint Laurent’s versatility, flawless sense of proportion and painterly gift for colour. From his six seasons as head designer at the house of Dior to his forty-year career at his own house, Saint Laurent safeguarded the standards of the Paris couture. Beginning in 1966, he and his partner Pierre Bergé also created an international network of ready-to-wear boutiques, launched fragrance, cosmetics and menswear subsidiaries and supervised the production of licensed products. The basis for Saint Laurent’s success was a talent nurtured by a deep knowledge of art and literature and a love for the theatre. He began his career as an innovator, able to synthesize the legacies of earlier couturiers while keeping a discerning eye on the contemporary street. In 1976, Saint Laurent demonstrated that, like Dior, he was capable of transforming the fashionable woman with a single collection. Having created a style of his own, Saint Laurent ended his career as the standard-bearer of French modern Classicism....

Article

Kirsta Willis

( di )

(b Florence, May 5, 1933; d New York, Aug 29, 1989).

American fashion and accessories designer of Italian birth ( see fig. ). Sant’ Angelo burst onto the fashion scene in the late 1960s with his brightly-coloured accessories, unconventional styling, cultural and historical references and a novel approach to dressing. Firmly believing stretch fabrics were the future, Sant’ Angelo eschewed zippers and exalted the female form through wrapping, draping and layering.

Sant’ Angelo’s formative years, spent on his grandparents’ Argentinean ranch, nurtured his appreciation of nature, music, colour and costume. His actual birth name is unknown, as he referred to himself on different occasions as Jorge Alberto Imperatrice and Count Giorgio Alberto Imperatrice di Sant’ Angelo. Consequently, details of his past are often unclear, but he evidently spent two years studying law at Sante Fe’s Universidad Nacional de Litoral before entering the architecture and industrial design programme at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. During this time, Sant’ Angelo was also enrolled in various private painting, sculpture, drawing and ceramic courses and success with the latter led to a six month scholarship studying art with ...

Article

Elizabeth Q. Bryan

(b Rome, Sept 10, 1890; d Paris, Nov 13, 1973)

Italian-born French fashion designer. Although Schiaparelli began her career with sportswear in the late 1920s, she is remembered for her Surrealism designs of the 1930s, often created in collaboration with such artists as Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau and Marcel Vertès. The drama of her original embroideries, vivid colours and strikingly witty accessories overshadows the simplicity of her sharply tailored suits and slender evening dresses (see fig. 1 and 2 ). Her ultimate success as a designer stemmed from her original sense of style and her instinctive attraction to the most avant-garde artistic circles.

Schiaparelli was born in Rome to a family of scholars and scientists and was educated in Switzerland and England. In London she fell in love in 1914 with the theosophist Wilhelm Wendt de Kerlor and married him without her family’s approval later that year. From 1914 to 1920 Schiaparelli and her husband led a precarious and bohemian existence, travelling from Britain to France to the United States. Along the way Schiaparelli met members of the international avant-garde, among them the Dadaist ...

Article

Jordana Moore Saggese

(b Baltimore, MD, Nov 15, 1948).

African American sculptor, jeweller, printmaker, installation artist, performance artist, and poet . Daughter of the renowned quiltmaker Elizabeth Talford Scott (b 1914), she received a BFA in art education from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, in 1970 and her MFA from Institute Allende in Mexico in 1971. She also studied at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, ME. As a visual and performance artist, Scott is most noted for works that engage with both politics and popular culture. The signature of Scott’s visual work is the application of beads, which she frequently used in her sculptures, installations, and jewellery. Her predilection for a material typically associated with craft, rather than fine arts, was inspired in part by the handicraft traditions of African and African American cultures. Such traditions were very familiar to Scott as her maternal grandfather was a basket-maker and a blacksmith and her paternal grandfather was a woodworker; her mother and grandmother both made quilts as well. The use of beads also connects Scott to a broader history of art. For example, one can see the influence of Yoruba beadwork in her creation of objects that are both beautiful and functional. The work also extends beyond Africa to include many other cultures and communities—Native American, Czech, Mexican, and Russian—which all have beading traditions. Scott’s manipulation of so-called women’s arts (i.e. quilting, sewing, and beadwork) connects her to a longer tradition of black feminist artists including Betye Saar and Howardena Pindell. Even with these connections to personal, cultural, and artistic histories, however, Scott’s materials are unique in that the sparkling and seductive surfaces they create are integral to the artist’s desire to shock and to surprise her viewers....

Article

Kevin Mulhearn

(b Cape Town, 1964).

South African installation and multimedia artist. Searle received her MA from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, in 1995. Her work has regularly addressed the complex politics of identity in South Africa and the deep and contested historical roots that inflect its contemporary manifestations. She has often used her own body in her work and dealt with themes connected in some way to her own complicated heritage, but she has typically produced work that also speaks to broader issues of both local and global import.

Much of Searle’s art has grappled with the history of South Africa’s ‘coloured’ people, a multiracial population that was the outcome of centuries of cohabitation between indigenes, Europeans, and imported slave labour. In her photographic series Colour Me (1998–2000), Searle covered her skin with such spices as clove and turmeric, allowing her to acknowledge the trade in these commodities, which prompted European settlement on the southern tip of Africa in the 17th century and brought slaves to the region from present-day Malaysia and Indonesia. The dual video projection ...

Article

Joyce Zemans

(Leonard)

(b Shoeburyness, Essex, Feb 4, 1909; d Vancouver, BC, Nov 22, 1998).

Canadian painter, draughtsman and writer of English birth. In 1912 his family emigrated to British Columbia. Educated at Victoria College, BC (1926–7), and the Provincial Normal School in Victoria (1929), he studied art at the Euston Road Art School, London (1937), the André Lhote School of Art, Paris (1938), and the Art Students’ League, New York (1948–9). From 1929 to 1937 he taught art to children in Vancouver and in 1938 joined the Vancouver School of Art, where he was head of painting and drawing from 1945 to 1966. In 1944–5 he served with the Canadian war artists. In 1955 he became the first instructor at the Emma Lake Workshop, Regina College, Sask. He also executed costume and poster designs for theatre and dance, as well as murals for Edmonton Airport, the National Arts Centre, Ottawa, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Vancouver....

Article

W. Ali

(Rashad) [Shawwa, Layla Rashād]

(b Gaza, April 4, 1940).

Palestinian painter and jewellery designer. She was trained in Cairo at the Leonardo Da Vinci School of Art (1957–8), and in Rome at the Accademia di Belle Arti (1958–64) and the Accademia di S Giacomo (1960–64); she also attended summer courses at the School of Seeing in Salzburg, where she worked under Oskar Kokoschka. On returning to Gaza she was appointed supervisor for arts and crafts education in UNRWA schools (1965–7) and a UNESCO lecturer in child education at training courses for UNRWA teachers (1966–7). From 1967 to 1975 she worked in Beirut as a full-time painter and children’s book illustrator. In 1977 she collaborated with a team of architects on the construction of the Cultural Centre in Gaza, executing large stained-glass windows for the project. In 1987 she settled in London. Her paintings are distinguished by their bold style and subject-matter. After a period early in her career when she depicted fictional Oriental cities and horses, she dealt with contemporary issues, such as the role and aspirations of women (e.g. ...

Article

Andrew Cross

revised by Mary Chou

(b London Aug 9, 1962).

British sculptor, painter and installation artist. Born to Nigerian parents, he grew up in Nigeria before returning to England to study Fine Art in London at Byam Shaw School of Art and Goldsmiths’ College where he completed his MFA. Shonibare’s West African heritage has been at the heart of his work since he started exhibiting in 1988, when he began using ‘Dutch-wax’ dyed fabrics, commonly found in Western Africa, both for wall-mounted works (as pseudo paintings) and for sculpted figures. Generally perceived as ‘authentic’African cloth, the tradition of Batik originated in Indonesia, and was appropriated by the Dutch who colonized the country. Manufactured in Holland and Britain, the cloth was then shipped to West Africa where it became the dress of the working class in nations such as Nigeria. Shonibare used the material as a way of deconstructing the more complex histories that determine these and other images of ethnicity. As such, he has been described as a ‘post-cultural hybrid’ or the ‘quintessential postcolonial artist’ by critics as well as the artist himself....

Article

María Antonia González-Arnal

(b Barquisimeto, 1940; d Barquisimeto, July 26, 1995).

Venezuelan photographer and teacher. He first studied architecture, ceramics and jewellery, but in 1963 turned to the study of photography in Philadelphia with Murry Weiss and Sol Libsohn, returning to Venezuela in 1964 where he taught and led workshops in photography at the Instituto de Diseño, Caracas, and at the Consejo Nacional de la Cultura, Caracas. Sigala worked as a photographer for the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Caracas and for the newspaper ...

Article

Beth Dincuff Charleston

(b Ohio; Sept 12, 1953, d March 4, 2004, New York).

American fashion and textile designer ( see fig. ). Sprouse was democratic in his design references but esoterically concerned with the quality of his creations. He drew inspiration from many different forms of art and popular culture. He is best remembered for his association with Andy Warhol , his collaborations with Keith Haring and other artists on textile designs, and his translation of rock and roll, particularly punk, to fashion. These interpretive designs bridged the Pop art of the 1960s with the Post-modernism of the 1980s.

Dressed all in black with either a bandanna or knit cap on his head, Sprouse’s appearance belied his middle American upbringing. Born to an insurance salesman father and a stay-at-home mother, Sprouse showed an early talent for drawing and design. At the age of 14 his father arranged a summer internship for him at Bill Blass . After briefly studying at the Rhode Island School of Design, Sprouse began working with leading American fashion designer ...

Article

Christina Lodder

(Fyodorovna)

(b Kovno [now Kaunas, Lithuania], Nov 5, 1894; d Moscow, May 20, 1958).

Russian painter and designer of Lithuanian birth. She trained at the Kazan’ School of Art (c. 1910–11) where she met Aleksandr Rodchenko, whom she subsequently married. In 1912 she moved to Moscow where she attended the Stroganov School (1913–14) and studied with Konstantin Yuon and Il’ya Mashkov. In 1919 Stepanova became involved with the Futurist poets, composing zaum’ (‘transrational’) poetry herself and producing collaged and handwritten books, including Rtny Khomle, Zigra ar and her masterpiece Gaust Chaba (all 1918; copies in St Petersburg, Rus. Mus.), in which she wrote her zaum’ text on newspaper. After the Revolution, Stepanova worked in the Museums office of the Department of Fine Arts (IZO) in Narkompros (the People’s Commissariat for Enlightenment) and from c. 1921 taught at the Academy of Social Education.

Stepanova participated in numerous exhibitions organized by IZO, including the Fifth State Exhibition and the Tenth State Exhibition. She was one of the first members of ...

Article

Kristen E. Stewart

(b Dearborn Heights, MI, c. 1955).

American fashion designer. Sui’s approach exemplifies the Post-modernist spirit of American fashion design that surfaced in the late 20th century. Sui achieved the quirky femininity and kitschy romance associated with her house through an unorthodox appropriation and layering of iconic elements drawn from the history of both fashion and anti-fashion. A connoisseur of cool, Sui and her designs have gained a following among rock stars, models and movie stars with a glamorous but edgy aesthetic.

Sui was the second of three children born to middle-class Chinese immigrant parents. In interviews, she often recalls the moment when she knew that she wanted to design clothes for stars. Playing with her brother’s toy soldiers, Sui dressed them in tissue-paper gowns and staged them in a mock Academy Awards ceremony. Experimenting with her style from a very young age, Sui made her own clothes and appliquéd her accessories with swatches to create the matched sets that would later become a trademark. As a teenager, Sui cut out and saved inspiring images from magazines. Now part of a lifelong archive and dubbed her Genius Files, these images are available on her website as emblems of her aesthetic. Growing up in suburban Detroit, Sui was also enthralled by the thriving local music scene, which was to later influence her designs....

Article

Nele Bernheim

Surrealism was a 20th-century international intellectual movement centred in Paris. It was characterized by the belief in the creative powers of the subconscious mind. Initially manifested in literature, from the mid-1920s onwards Surrealism extended to the visual and decorative arts, and from then on Surrealism developed a mutual affinity with fashion. On the one hand, fashion was appropriated by Surrealists as a symbol of the ephemeral and of metamorphosis, and it provided artists with a powerful metaphor. On the other hand, Surrealism, with its disconcerting imagery, its displacement of conventional elements, its quest for convulsive beauty and its propensity to surprise and shock, was exploited by couturiers who had strong bonds with the avant-garde ( see fig. ). This interaction reached its apogee in Paris in the late 1930s.

As early as 1927, the Belgian couture house Norine appliquéd a Max(imilian) Ernst design onto a sports ensemble. That same year, ...

Article

Tony Mackle

(b Auckland, Aug 4, 1906; d Wellington, June 6, 1964).

New Zealand printmaker, book illustrator and painter . Taylor had no formal art training, but his work in both jewellery manufacturing and commercial advertising developed his superb skills as a draughtsman and his innate sense of design. Significantly, from 1944 to 1946 Taylor was appointed as art editor and illustrator for the Schools Publications branch of the New Zealand Education Department. He saw the merits of wood-engraving for illustration in school journals and during the remainder of his career created over 200 woodblock images of the flora and fauna of New Zealand and Maori mythology. International recognition for his wood-engraving came through exhibitions in New York (1954) and in Russia (1958).

In 1952 Taylor received a New Zealand Art Societies Scholarship with which he studied Maori life and society, publishing in 1959 Maori Myths and Legends through his own publishing house, The Mermaid Press. Taylor also illustrated books published by the Wingfield Press, Pelorus Press and A. G. & A. W. Reed, as well as encouraging the graphic arts and printmaking through his involvement with the New Zealand Print Council and the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts....

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Jerusalem, May 18, 1945).

Israeli conceptual artist. He emerged as an artist, in the 1970s, without having had any formal education, addressing disparate concerns germane to conceptual art. The series Five Finger Excercise, begun in 1973, looked at the idea of sameness and uniqueness in art by covering canvases with the artist’s fingerprints. Towards the end of the decade he began to settle on a core of related themes and concerns that continued to preoccupy him. Fascinated by Modernist art’s pursuit of formalism, Toren sought metaphors for the way in which art cannibalizes itself; in so doing he has addressed issues relating to representation in art. In the series Neither a Painting nor a Chair (1979–80; see exh. cat. 1990–91, p. 15) Toren used shavings of wood from a demolished chair as pigment for a series of ten paintings reconstituting the chair as an image. A similar series begun in 1983, Of The Times...

Article

Transculturalism proposes an approach to contemporary Asian art practices that addresses the conditions defining the modern experience of Asian artists living and working outside of their home countries. It is a term derived from the word transculturation, which describes the process of adjustment and re-creation that arises from the convergence of different cultures. The term became popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a period defined by major social changes wrought by globalization, increased mobility and ethnic intermingling that affected local community networks in both home and host countries, and also an upsurge in interest paid to contemporary art in and out of Asian countries.

Cuban anthropologist and humanist Fernando Ortiz (1881–1969) developed the concept of transculturalism in the 1940s, when he coined the term transculturation in a pioneering description of Afro-Cuban culture (Contrapunto cubano del tabaco y el azúcar, 1947). Ortiz devised the term to counter the notion of acculturation introduced by the British anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski (...