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Article

Christina Lodder

revised by Benjamin Benus

Avant-garde tendency in 20th-century painting, sculpture, photography, design and architecture, with associated developments in literature, theatre and film. The term was first coined by artists in Russia in early 1921 and achieved wide international currency in the 1920s. Russian Constructivism refers specifically to a group of artists who sought to move beyond the autonomous art object, extending the formal language of abstract art into practical design work. This development was prompted by the utopian climate following the October Revolution of 1917, which led artists to seek to create a new visual environment, embodying the social needs and values of the new Communist order. The concept of International Constructivism defines a broader current in European art, most vital from around 1922 until the end of the 1920s, that was centred primarily in Central and Eastern Europe. International Constructivists were inspired by the Russian example, both artistically and politically. They continued, however, to work in the traditional artistic media of painting and sculpture, while also experimenting with film and photography and recognizing the potential of the new formal language for utilitarian design. The term Constructivism has frequently been used since the 1920s, in a looser fashion, to evoke a continuing tradition of geometric abstract art that is ‘constructed’ from autonomous visual elements such as lines and planes, and characterized by such qualities as precision, impersonality, a clear formal order, simplicity and economy of organization and the use of contemporary materials such as plastic and metal....

Article

Courtney Gerber

[Dicker, Friederike]

(b Vienna, July 30, 1898; d Auschwitz-Birkenau, Oct 9, 1944).

Austrian designer, painter, teacher and political activist. The only child of Simon Dicker and Karolina Fanta, she studied photography with Johannes Beckmann in Vienna at the Graphische Lehr- unde Versuchsanstalt in 1914. She mastered the medium within two years, but found its expressive potential limiting and did not pursue it further. In 1915 Dicker-Brandeis enrolled at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna as a student of painter Franz Cižek. In 1916 she transferred to Johannes Itten’s private school in Vienna where she engaged with Itten’s unconventional teaching methods, which focused on unearthing one’s creative powers through meditation, colour theory and interpreting the rhythmic and formal language of art while allowing them to converge. She decided to leave Vienna in 1919 so that she could continue working with Itten who had been offered a post at the Bauhaus School in Weimar. Dicker-Brandeis remained at the Bauhaus until 1923, training in the textile, printing, painting, sculpture and stage design workshops. Her instructors included such artists as Lyonel Feininger and Paul Klee. An exemplary student, after her first year she was asked to teach Itten’s Basic Course for the school’s new students. While at the Bauhaus Dicker-Brandeis created a myriad of works ranging from fine art works on paper to children’s toys. The mixed-media composition ...

Article

Gjergj Frashëri

[Nikollë]

(b Shkodër, Aug 15, 1860; d Shkodër, Dec 12, 1939).

Albanian painter, architect, sculptor and photographer. His grandfather Andrea Idromeno was a painter and a doctor of theology; his father, Arsen Idromeno, was a furniture designer and painter. Kol Idromeno took private lessons in painting (1871–5) at the studio of the photographer and painter Pietro Marubi (1834–1903). In 1875 he won a competition and began studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Venice. However, due to arguments with his teacher, he abandoned the school and continued his studies in one of the large studios in Venice (1876–8).

At first Idromeno produced works with both religious and secular themes that were noted for their highly realistic rendering of the human form (e.g. St Mary Magdalene, oil on canvas, 1877; Shkodër Mus.). Many of his biblical works were executed in churches within the Shkodër district, with perhaps his best work being the frescoes of the Orthodox Church in Shkodër, especially the fragment depicting ...

Article

Deborah Cullen

[MoMA] (New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 by patrons Lillie P(lummer) Bliss, Cornelius J. Sullivan and Rockefeller family §(1) to establish an institution devoted to modern art. Over the next ten years the Museum moved three times and in 1939 settled in the Early Modern style building (1938–9) designed by Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone that it still occupies at 11 West 53 Street. Subsequent renovations and expansions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s by Philip Johnson, in 1984 by Cesar Pelli and in 2002–4 by Yoshirō Taniguchi (b 1937). MoMA QNS, the temporary headquarters during this project, was subsequently used to provide art storage. In 2000, MoMA and the contemporary art space, P.S.1, Long Island City, Queens, announced their affiliation. Recent projects are shown at P.S.1 in Queens in a renovated public school building.

According to founding director, Alfred H(amilton) Barr...

Article

Jean A. Follett

(b Boston, MA, 1842; d Boston, MA, 1910).

American architect, stained-glass designer, furniture designer, and photographer. Preston was the son of Jonathan Preston (1801–88), a successful builder in Boston. William completed a year’s study at the Lawrence Scientific School in Cambridge, MA (later incorporated into Harvard University), and then went to Paris where he enrolled briefly in the Atelier Douillard. He returned to Boston in 1861 to work with his father, with whom he remained in partnership until the latter’s death. William then practised independently until his own death.

Preston was a prolific architect, designing over 740 buildings in the course of a career spanning 50 years. His early work was in the French Renaissance style, as seen in his Boston Society of Natural History building (1861–4), a tripartite structure with its floor levels arranged to equate with the proportions of the base, shaft, and capital of a Classical column. It has monumental Corinthian columns and pilasters and a central pediment flanked by a balustraded parapet. He worked in a typically eclectic manner during the 1870s and became an extremely fine designer in the Queen Anne Revival style in the 1880s and early 1890s. The varied massing, stained-glass windows, terracotta, moulded brick, and carved-wood detail of the John D. Sturtevant House (...