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Article

José Miguel Rojas

(b San José, June 1, 1907; d 1998).

Costa Rican engraver, painter, illustrator, draughtsman, writer and critic. He studied for a year from 1931 at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes but was otherwise initially self-taught, using Louis Gonse’s L’Art japonais (Paris, 1883) as a source. He produced a series of caricature drawings, influenced by Cubism, in the Album de dibujos de 1926. During 1929 he met the sculptors Juan Manuel Sánchez and Francisco Zúñiga (the latter was also a printmaker), and through his interest in German and Mexican Expressionist printmakers, he developed a passion for wood-engraving. His first wood-engravings were published in the periodical Repertorio Americano (1929). He went on to contribute wood-engravings and drawings to collections of short stories and poetry, educational books, periodicals and newspapers. In 1931 he taught drawing and wood-engraving at the Escuela Normal in Heredia. He exhibited at the Salones Anuales de Artes Plásticas in San José (1931–6...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Vila Nova de Gaia, Jan 17, 1923; d 2002).

Portuguese painter, graphic artist, critic and art administrator . In 1947 he was a founder-member of the Grupo Surrealista de Lisboa, with which he exhibited in 1949. By 1952 he was one of the few remaining members of the original group still involved in Surrealism. That year he held a large exhibition with two other artists, showing Occultations, photographs in which parts of the images were masked by overpainting. At the time he was more interested in the process of image-making, in the unconscious genesis of images and their internal rhythms, than in the result as an aesthetic object. From the mid-1950s, Azevedo’s paintings were almost entirely abstract and gestural, with greater overt affinities to lyrical abstraction than to automatism, for example Painting (1961; Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian). While in smaller works he often returned to the Surrealist use of collaged photographs introducing an element of shock or surprise, in his paintings there is an overriding interest in morphological dissolution and mutation, which remains lyrical rather than violent....

Article

Mariana Katzarova

(b Dolni Dŭbnik, nr Pleven, July 24, 1901; d Sofia, Jan 23, 1958).

Bulgarian cartoonist, illustrator, draughtsman, painter, teacher, editor and critic. In 1926 he studied painting at the Academy of Art, Sofia, and although he was later known for his paintings, he achieved greater fame as a political and social cartoonist and newspaper and magazine illustrator. His early cartoons are courageous commentaries on political events in Bulgaria from 1925 to 1934, wittily satirizing the monarchy and dictatorships. He also mocked the machinations of the various bourgeois political parties as they fought for power. Among his most celebrated cartoons are the Kidnapping of the Constitution and the Tsar’s Family, published in the Sofia newspapers Zemedelsko Zname and Sturetz, as well as Suvremennik and other left-wing publications. He also illustrated the series Spanish Chronicle (1936). In 1940 he began freelancing for the anti-Fascist satirical newspaper Sturshel (Sofia) and in 1941 became its editor. During World War II he executed many political cartoons opposing Fascism and Nazism (e.g. ...

Article

Roy R. Behrens

(Karel Joseph)

(b Cleveland, OH, Aug 23, 1906; d Red Wing, MN, Dec 26, 2004).

American painter and theorist. Biederman worked as a graphic designer for several years before studying art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1926 to 1929. A week after his arrival he saw a painting by Cézanne that greatly influenced his subsequent thought. He lived in New York from 1934 to 1940, except for a nine-month period in 1936–7 when he lived in Paris. He began to make reliefs in 1934. His visits in Paris to the studios of Mondrian, Georges Vantongerloo, César Domela and Antoine Pevsner made him aware of De Stijl, Neo-Plasticism, Abstraction-Création and Constructivism. He also met Léger, Miró, Arp, Kandinsky, Robert Delaunay, Alberto Giacometti, Picasso and Brancusi.

Shortly before returning to New York in 1938, Biederman made his first abstract reliefs, which he termed ‘non-mimetic’ (e.g. New York, Number 18, 1938; New York, Met.). In the same year, while visiting Chicago, he attended a seminar given by the Polish-born writer Alfred Korzybski, founder of the General Semantics Institute, which strongly influenced his later theories about history as an evolutionary process. He moved to Red Wing, near Minneapolis, MN, in ...

Article

Hans Frei

(b Winterthur, Dec 22, 1908; d Zurich, Dec 9, 1994).

Swiss architect, sculptor, painter, industrial designer, graphic designer and writer. He attended silversmithing classes at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich from 1924 to 1927. Then, inspired by the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (1925), Paris, by the works of Le Corbusier and by a competition entry (1927) for the Palace of the League of Nations, Geneva, by Hannes Meyer and Hans Wittwer (1894–1952), he decided to become an architect and enrolled in the Bauhaus, Dessau, in 1927. He studied there for two years as a pupil of Josef Albers, László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Klee and Vasily Kandinsky, mainly in the field of ‘free art’. In 1929 he returned to Zurich. After working on graphic designs for the few modern buildings being constructed, he built his first work, his own house and studio (1932–3) in Zurich-Höngg; although this adheres to the principles of the new architecture, it retains echoes of the traditional, for example in the gently sloping saddle roof....

Article

Ester Coen

(b Fondo, Val di Non, Trentino, March 30, 1892; d Rovereto, Nov 29, 1960).

Italian painter, stage designer, illustrator, decorative artist and writer. After difficult years of study, during which he made his first artistic experiments, he travelled to Turin in 1910 and worked as an apprentice decorator at the Esposizione Internazionale. In spite of spending a year as apprentice to a marble-worker, on his return to Rovereto, he decided to become a painter, choosing subjects associated with Symbolism and social realism. Shortly after publishing Spezzature–Impressioni: Segni e ritmi (Rovereto, 1913), a collection of poetry, prose and illustrations, he moved to Rome, where he met Filippo Tommaso Marinetti at the Galleria Permanente Futurista, run by Giuseppe Sprovieri; through Marinetti he met the Futurists, with whom he exhibited at the same gallery in the spring of 1914 (see Furttenbach [Furtenbach; Furttembach], Josef [Joseph], the elder). This was followed by a one-man show at Trento in July 1914, which closed after a few days because of the outbreak of World War I. He succeeded in returning to Rome, where he was officially welcomed into the ...

Article

Fani-Maria Tsigakou

[Nicos]

(b Athens, Feb 26, 1906; d Athens, Sept 3, 1994).

Greek painter, printmaker, illustrator, stage designer and theorist. While still a schoolboy he studied drawing under Konstantinos Parthenis. In 1922 he enrolled at the Sorbonne in Paris for a course in French and Greek literature, but soon moved to the Académie Ranson where he studied painting under Roger Bissière and printmaking under Demetrios Galanis. He first exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants at the age of 17. His first one-man exhibition, at the Galerie Percier, Paris (1927), was enthusiastically reviewed by Tériade in Cahiers d’art. His first one-man exhibition in Athens was at the Galerie Strategopoulos in 1928.

Ghika returned to Athens in 1934 and became closely involved with aesthetic and educational issues, specifically the popular art movement and the search for Greekness in art. In 1936–7 he edited the Third Eye, an avant-garde magazine in which he was able to introduce new aesthetic trends into Greek cultural life. In collaboration with the leading architects in Greece, he became actively concerned with the problem of urbanism and the restoration of traditional architecture. As a leading member of several cultural and artistic societies and a theoretician of art, he wrote and lectured extensively on art and education. From ...

Article

Christopher Green

[González Pérez, José Victoriano Carmelo Carlos]

(b Madrid, March 23, 1887; d Boulogne-sur-Seine, May 11, 1927).

Spanish painter, draughtsman, illustrator and writer, active in France. His artistic career was spent almost exclusively in France, where he was considered one of the leading Cubist painters from 1912 until his death. An artist valued for the depth and consistency of his approach rather than as an innovator, he is recognized for his independent and distinctive approach to Cubism and as one of its most influential later practitioners and theoreticians.

Gris specialized in mathematics, physics and engineering at the Escuela de Artes y Manufacturas in Madrid from 1902 to 1904; he later described this phase of his education as formative. His approach to Cubism, which has often been called scientific in its logic and precision, may well have been affected by his knowledge of technical drawings. He broke his scientific studies, however, to train briefly with the academic painter José Moreno Carbonero (1860–1942), and he decided to become an artist. From ...

Article

(b Amsterdam, Dec 4, 1868; d Bloemendaal, Dec 31, 1938).

Dutch painter, printmaker, illustrator, writer and stained-glass artist. He trained at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam (1886–90), under the directorship of August Allebé. Having initially painted and drawn Impressionistic landscapes, he started working in the ’t Gooi region in 1892, where, influenced by Vincent van Gogh and Jan Toorop, he made a number of Symbolist drawings and lithographs. In 1896 he married the Dutch writer Henriette van der Schalk. They both devoted themselves to the recently founded Sociaal Democratische Arbeiders Partij. In the years up to c. 1900 Holst produced among other things a series of lithographs of political cartoons with socialist content, as well as serene landscapes and paintings of girls from the village of Huizen. His allegorical murals (1902; in situ), on topics such as ‘Industry’ or ‘Commerce’, in the new Koopmansbeurs in Amsterdam by H. P. Berlage (1876–1903), marked an important point in his career as his first opportunity to construct a monumental piece of work. Partly inspired by the murals in the town hall at ’s Hertogenbosch by Antoon Derkinderen, he developed a tight, stylized type of design, which he believed to be ideal for visually representing idealistic and exalted thoughts. In his murals (...

Article

Anthony Parton

(Fyodorovich)

(b Tiraspol, Moldova, June 3, 1881; d Fontenay-aux-Roses, nr Paris, May 10, 1964).

Russian painter, stage designer, printmaker, illustrator, draughtsman and writer of Moldovan birth. He was a leader of the Russian avant-garde before World War I but came to prominence in the West through his work for Serge Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. During the 1920s he played a significant role within the Ecole de Paris and continued to live and work in France until his death.

He was the son of Fyodor Mikhailovich Larionov, a doctor and pharmacist, and Aleksandra Fyodorovna Petrovskaya, but he grew up in his grandparents’ home in Tiraspol. He completed his secondary education at the Voskresensky Technical High School in Moscow and in 1898 entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Here he studied under Valentin Serov and Konstantin Korovin, and he also became friendly with Natal’ya Goncharova who was to remain his lifelong companion and colleague. Larionov’s work soon caught the imagination of collectors and critics. In ...

Article

John Milner

[Lisitsky, El’ ; Lisitsky, Lazar’ (Markovich )]

(b Pochinok, Smolensk province, Nov 23, 1890; d Moscow, Dec 30, 1941).

Russian draughtsman, architect, printmaker, painter, illustrator, designer, photographer, teacher, and theorist.

After attending school in Smolensk, he enrolled in 1909 at the Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt, to study architecture and engineering. He also travelled extensively in Europe, however, and he made a tour of Italy to study art and architecture. He frequently made drawings of the architectural monuments he encountered on his travels. These early graphic works were executed in a restrained, decorative style reminiscent of Russian Art Nouveau book illustration. His drawings of Vitebsk and Smolensk (1910; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus.), for example, show a professional interest in recording specific architectural structures and motifs, but they are simultaneously decorative graphic works in their own right and highly suitable for publication. This innate awareness of the importance of controlling the design of the page was to remain a feature of Lissitzky’s work throughout radical stylistic transformations. He also recorded buildings in Ravenna, Venice, and elsewhere in Italy in ...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Buenos Aires, Apr 24, 1922).

Argentine painter, graphic designer, teacher, and theorist. He studied at the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires from 1938. In 1944 he was a co-founder of the Argentine avant-garde review Arturo, which was concerned with both art and literature and led to the formation in 1945 of the Asociación arte concreto invención, of which he was also one of the main instigators. In 1948 he traveled to Europe, where he came into contact with Max Bill and other Swiss Constructivists, whose example inspired him both as a painter and as a theorist on his return to Argentina. Blue with Structure and A Form and Series (both 1950, Buenos Aires, Mus. A. Mod.) are typical of a rigorous type of painting with which he became identified. He stressed the application of such ideas, moreover, not only to art but also to social and political concerns, seeking nothing less than the transformation of the physical environment in which we live. Such convictions gave coherence to all his activities from that time on, including his co-founding in ...

Article

David Elliott

(Vladimirovich)

(b Bagdadi, Georgia, July 19, 1893; d Moscow, April 14, 1930).

Russian poet, critic, graphic designer and painter of Georgian birth. Although best known as a poet and playwright he studied painting at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1911–14) and, as a member of the Futurist group Hylea, was a pioneer of what later became known as Performance art. Mayakovsky’s family moved to Moscow on the death of his father in 1906, and he soon became involved in left-wing activities, for which he was repeatedly arrested. On passing the entrance examination of the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in August 1911, his political activities shifted their focus to bohemian épatage. In the class for figure painting Mayakovsky met David Burlyuk, who with his brothers Nikolay Burlyuk (1890–1920) and Vladimir Burlyuk (1886–1917) and the ‘aviator poet’ Vasily Kamensky (1864–1961), formed the core of the Russian Futurist movement. Adopting a stance similar to that of Marinetti, whose Futurist manifesto (...

Article

Sulejman Dashi

(b Hoçisht, Korçë, Aug 18, 1939).

Albanian printmaker, painter and critic. He studied graphic arts at the Higher Academy of Arts, Leningrad (now St Petersburg; 1959–61), and at the Higher Institute of Arts in Tiranë (1964). He first achieved recognition with the series of 12 linocuts Migjeni Motifs (1964; Tiranë, A.G.). In later works, such as Friends (series of four linocuts, 1972; Tiranë, A.G.), Mele attempted to reflect advanced social developments in Albanian society. His work is distinguished for its skilful composition and his use of an economical and laconic means of expression. His expressive lines and balance of tones are permeated by an epic spirit with a tendency for the monumental. He also worked as a painter (e.g. This is Radio Tirana, 1976; Tiranë, A.G.) and designed posters and postage stamps. Mele published numerous articles as an art critic.

‘Monumenti i Skënderbeut në krujë’, Drita (24 March 1985), p. 12

Article

Mariana Katzarova

(b Kessarevo, nr Veliko Turnovo, Jan 1, 1889; d Sofia, May 2, 1954).

Bulgarian writer, teacher, art historian, critic, administrator, illustrator, painter, designer and printmaker. He graduated from the Ecclesiastical Seminary in Sofia and in 1909 from the University of Sofia with a degree in philosophy. In 1919 he graduated from the Academy of Art in Sofia and in 1922 had his first one-man exhibition in Plovdiv, where he showed landscapes in oils, gouache and watercolour. His best paintings, such as Poppies, A Fairy-tale and Cloister, are from this early period. In 1926–7 he studied art history in Paris and established himself there as a designer and printmaker, executing linocuts and wood-engravings in a decorative linear fashion and with allegorical and mythical content. From 1932 to 1951 he was a professor of Art History at the Academy of Art in Sofia, in 1934 became a chairman of the Society of Applied Artists and in 1944, a chairman of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. As an art historian and critic he wrote more than 40 volumes of works, among them a book about Bulgarian portrait painting (...

Article

Jeremy Howard

(b Bebri farmstead, near Saldus, March 18, 1866; d Helsinki, Dec 26, 1916).

Latvian painter, graphic designer, writer, critic and teacher. He was the son of a country blacksmith and at the age of sixteen moved to Riga, where he spent four years as a painter and decorator. He then worked as an extra in the Riga Latvian Society Theatre and briefly attended drawing classes at the German Trade School before entering the St Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1888. He studied under Vladimir Makovsky and in 1894 was made an artist of the first degree for Leaving Church: After the Service (Riga, Latv. Mus. F.A.), a realist depiction of the inequalities of country life and the hypocrisy of church-goers who ignore the beggars outside the church gates. The scene represented is one from his native region, a source that he was to exploit extensively and variously. In the ensuing years he utilized motifs from the landscape, mythology and everyday life of Latvia as, coming into contact with developments abroad, he experimented with his approach. Thus, ...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Buenos Aires, Oct 1, 1927).

Argentine painter, graphic designer, teacher and critic. After studying in Japan from 1935 to 1951 he returned to Argentina, remaining there until his move to New York in 1963. His paintings from 1952 were in the style of Art informel, with a calligraphic emphasis demonstrating his sympathy with oriental art, but around 1960 he moved towards a more gestural abstraction in works such as Painting No. 20 (1961; Buenos Aires, Mus. A. Mod.), using thicker paint and more subdued colours.

In 1964 Sakai began to use more geometric shapes in his pictures, and he continued to do so on moving in 1965 to Mexico, where he remained until 1977. His example opened the way to geometric abstraction in Mexico, where there was no real tradition of such work. In 1976, shortly before returning to New York, he began a series of paintings using the formal repetition of parallel undulating lines of strongly contrasting colour. From ...

Article

John Steen

(Jacob Henri Berend)

(b Amersfoort, Oct 24, 1897; d Amsterdam, April 2, 1984).

Dutch museum official, writer, painter and typographer. He studied briefly in 1919 at the Rijksacademie, Amsterdam. Among his friends was Herman Gorter (1864–1927), Dutch poet and founder of the Dutch Communist Party. Between 1922 and 1926 he was involved with the Mazdaznan movement, meeting Johannes Itten in the Mazdaznan centre of Herrliberg, Switzerland. After visiting Piet Mondrian in Paris in 1923 he decided to become an independent artist. In 1927 he studied pictograms with museum director Otto Neurath in Vienna, where he also took classes in psychology from Alfred Adler (1870–1937) and Karl Bühler (1879–1963). In the same year he visited the Bauhaus.

In 1928 Sandberg was given his first typographic commissions by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Between 1930 and 1935 he read psychology at the University of Utrecht. From 1934 he organized exhibitions regularly for the Stedelijk Museum: Moholy-Nagy (1934), De Stoel...

Article

Ioana Vlasiu

(b Craiova, Aug 13, 1877; d Bucharest, Aug 4, 1953).

Romanian painter, illustrator, critic and teacher. He began his artistic training in a printer’s workshop in Craiova, then worked in a lithographic workshop in Düsseldorf (1898–9); from 1900 to 1905 he studied at the Fine Arts School in Bucharest. He rapidly became a well-known illustrator for newspapers and journals, notable for his polemical spirit, his conciseness and his geometrical and energetic graphic style. He also exhibited paintings in Bucharest at the official Salon and at the exhibitions of the association Tinerimea Artistică (The young artists) (e.g. A Halt, 1912; Bucharest, N. Mus. A.), and in 1916 he began to write art criticism. He participated in the exhibitions of the Arta Română association (1921–4) and with Ştefan Dimitrescu (1886–1933), Nicolae Tonitza (1886–1940) and the sculptor Oscar Han (1891–1976) created the Group of Four (1925–33), whose objective was to promote modern art in Romania. Şirato’s best-known paintings during this period featured Romanian peasants, as in ...

Article

(b Minsk, Belorussia, Nov 21, 1893; d Łódź, Dec 26, 1952).

Polish painter, theoretician, typographer and draughtsman. On completion of his engineering studies at the Moscow Military Academy, he was drafted into the Tsarist army in 1914; seriously wounded, he subsequently began his artistic studies in the post-Revolutionary academies in Moscow, Vkhutemas and Inkhuk. In 1920–22 he was associated with Unovis, and during this period he was influenced by Suprematism, whose principles would in later years form the basis of his polemics. In 1921 he married the sculptor Katarzyna Kobro, and at the beginning of 1922 they both moved to Poland. He published his first articles on the Russian avant-garde in the Kraków periodical Zwrotnica in 1922. Strzemiński organized the Wystawa Nowej Sztuki (‘Exhibition of new art’) in Wilno (now Vilnius, Lithuania) in 1923, which acted as a manifesto of Polish Constructivism; he exhibited Suprematist architectural projects, Cubist paintings and Synthetic Compositions as well as Suprematist abstract works constructed from simple forms in contrasting colours. With Strzemiński’s help, in ...