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Article

Whitney Chadwick

(b Buenos Aires, Dec 1, 1899; d London, Nov 17, 1991).

English painter of Argentine birth. She arrived in England in 1906; in 1924 she studied with Leon Underwood (1890–1975), and she attended the Slade School of Fine Art, London, from 1925 to 1926; she also studied art in Paris from 1928 to 1930. She was a member of the London Group from 1933, and her work was selected by Roland Penrose and Herbert Read for the International Surrealist Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries, London, in 1936. Agar exhibited with the Surrealists both in England and abroad. From 1936 she experimented with automatic techniques and new materials, taking photographs and making collages and objects, for example The Angel of Anarchy (fabric over plaster and mixed media, 1936–40; London, Tate). By the 1960s she was producing Tachist paintings with Surrealist elements.

with A. Lambirth: A Look at My Life (London, 1988) Eileen Agar: Retrospective Exhibition (exh. cat., London, Commonwealth Inst., 1971)...

Article

Greta Stroeh

[Jean] (Peter Wilhelm)

(b Strassburg, Germany [now Strasbourg, France], Sept 16, 1886; d Basle, Switzerland, June 7, 1966).

French sculptor, painter, collagist, printmaker, and poet of German birth. The son of a German father and French Alsatian mother, he developed a cosmopolitan outlook from an early age and as a mature artist maintained close contact with the avant-garde throughout Europe. He was a pioneer of abstract art and one of the founders of Dada in Zurich, but he also participated actively in both Surrealism and Constructivism. While he prefigured junk art and the Fluxus movement in his incorporation of waste material, it was through his investigation of biomorphism and of chance and accident that he proved especially influential on later 20th-century art in liberating unconscious creative forces.

Following a brief period at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Strasbourg (1900–01), Arp received instruction from 1901 from a friend and neighbour, the painter and printmaker Georges Ritleng (1875–1972). He then attended the Kunstschule in Weimar (1904–7) and the Académie Julian in Paris (...

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

Peter Webb

(b Kattowitz, Germany [now Katowice, Poland], March 13, 1902; d Paris, Feb 24, 1975).

German photographer, sculptor, printmaker, painter, and writer. As a child he developed fear and hatred for his tyrannical father, who totally dominated his gentle and affectionate mother. He and his younger brother Fritz found refuge from this oppressive family atmosphere in a secret garden decorated with toys and souvenirs and visited by young girls who joined in sexual games. In 1923 Bellmer was sent by his father to study engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin, but he became interested in politics, reading the works of Marx and Lenin and joining in discussions with artists of the Dada. He was especially close to George Grosz, who taught him drawing and perspective in 1924 and whose advice to be a savage critic of society led him to abandon his engineering studies in that year. Having shown artistic talent at an early age, he began designing advertisements as a commercial artist and illustrated various Dada novels, such as ...

Article

Rigmor Lovring

(b Copenhagen, Dec 24, 1909; d Halmstad, Sept 13, 1957).

Danish painter and writer. He was the son of the art historian and museum director Carl V. Petersen (1868–1938), who introduced him to the visual arts at an early age. His extensive knowledge of art history had a considerable influence on the development of his paintings and artistic theories. He had private painting lessons before beginning studies at the Kunstakademi in Oslo in 1929. In 1930–31 he studied with Paul Klee, Vasily Kandinsky and Oskar Schlemmer at the Bauhaus in Dessau, after which he returned to Denmark inspired by new conceptions of a completely abstract art. He became a central figure in Danish artistic life in the 1930s. He was a founder-member of the Danish artists’ group Linien (The Line) in 1933, at that time an association of abstract and Surrealist artists, and he edited the group’s journal of the same name.

Bjerke-Petersen was an active artistic experimenter. He favoured Constructivist abstraction at the beginning of the 1930s. His ideas, based on first-hand knowledge of the newest international developments in the art of the time, as for example in the Bauhaus-influenced ...

Article

Sarah Wilson

(b Piatra Neamt, Moldavia, June 15, 1903; d Paris, March 12, 1966).

Romanian painter, sculptor and draughtsman, active in France. As a child, he shared his father’s passionate interest in spiritualism, heralding a lasting preoccupation with the occult. In 1912 he accompanied his family to Vienna, and from 1916 to 1918 attended the evangelical school at Brăila, near Galaţi, studying zoology with great enthusiasm; he also started to paint. In 1921 he spent a brief period at the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest, where his first exhibition was held in 1924 at the Galerie Mozart. The same year, Brauner and the poet Ilarie Voronca founded the review 75HP, in which he published his manifesto of ‘Pictopoésie’ and an article on ‘Le Surrationalisme’. From 1928 until 1931 he worked with the Dada and Surrealist review UNU, which reproduced his drawings and paintings. Settling in Paris in 1930, he met Constantin Brancusi, who introduced him to photography, and Yves Tanguy, through whom he met the major Surrealists. He lived in the same building as Tanguy and Alberto Giacometti. His premonitory ...

Article

Vanina Costa

(b Nantes, Sept 17, 1907; d Paris, May 8, 1977).

French painter, sculptor, draughtsman and poet. He moved in 1926 to Paris, where he became involved with Surrealism, soon afterwards publishing his first collection of poems, Opoponax (Paris, 1927). In 1934 he exhibited a series of automatic drawings, which were followed by images produced with the assistance of objets trouvés: in Street Object (1936; Paris, Pompidou), for instance, he placed a sheet of paper on the road and then drove a car over it so as to leave the imprint of the tyre tracks. Another work of this period consisted of a bus sign bearing the same letters as his initials, so that it could be read as his signature. He also produced assemblages in a Surrealist spirit, such as Morphology of Desire (wood, plaster, metal, candle and torch, 1934–7; Paris, Pompidou). After World War II Bryen turned increasingly towards painting, through which he became a leading exponent of ...

Article

Andrew Causey

(b London, March 29, 1905; d Hastings, Oct 22, 1976).

English painter, illustrator and stage designer. As a student at the Chelsea Polytechnic (1921–3) and the Royal College of Art (1923–5) he became a talented figure draughtsman. In the second half of the decade he spent much time in France painting intricately detailed urban scenes, which depicted the low life of Toulon and Marseille. Works such as the watercolour Toulon (1927; priv. col., see Causey, cat. no. 33) were executed in a meticulously finished and vividly coloured decorative style. Burra usually used watercolour and tempera and occasionally collage oil paints.

Burra took ideas from Cubism, Dada (notably George Grosz) and, especially, Surrealism, but his work is also linked with the English satirical tradition of William Hogarth, Thomas Rowlandson and Isaac Cruikshank: Burra loved burlesque and poked fun at people’s pretensions and excesses of style and behaviour, as in John Deth (Homage to Conrad Aiken) (...

Article

Pierre Baudson

(b Haine-Saint-Pierre, nr La Louvière, April 26, 1922; d Paris, Sept 28, 2005).

Belgian painter and sculptor. After attending the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Mons he met the poet Achille Chavée at La Louvière in 1939 and joined the Surrealist group Rupture. His first paintings were influenced by Magritte and Yves Tanguy. In 1947 he joined the Jeune Peinture Belge group in Brussels and met Christian Dotremont and Pierre Alechinsky; he was also close to the Cobra group until 1951. When he discovered the art of Alexander Calder he joined the group Art Abstrait (1952). Attracted by movement, he created the Mobile Planes (1953) and the Multiplanes (1957), which were moved by electric motors. He was also developing an aesthetic of slowness, which led in 1959 to 1961 to the Luminous Punctuations and the Erectile Punctuations. After moving to France he published La Boule et le trou (1961).

In 1963 Bury created his first actual sculptures, ‘furniture’ in waxed wood incorporating balls, cubes and cylinders. In ...

Article

Jorge Alberto Manrique

(b Clayten Green, nr Chorley, Lancashire, April 6, 1917; d Mexico City, May 25, 2011).

Mexican painter, sculptor and writer of English birth. In 1936 she travelled to London, where she studied under Amédée Ozenfant and in 1937 met Max(imilian) Ernst, with whom she became involved artistically and romantically, leading to her association with Surrealism. They moved to Paris together in 1937. At the outbreak of World War II, Ernst was interned as an enemy alien, and Carrington escaped to Spain, where she was admitted to a private clinic after having a nervous breakdown; she later recounted the experience in her book En bas (1943). After marrying the Mexican poet Renato Leduc in 1941 (a marriage of convenience), she spent time in New York before settling in Mexico in 1942, devoting herself to painting. There she and Remedios Varo developed an illusionistic Surrealism combining autobiographical and occult symbolism. Having divorced Leduc in 1942, in 1946 she married the Hungarian photographer Imre Weisz.

Carrington remained committed to Surrealism throughout her career, filling her pictures with strange or fantastic creatures in surprising situations, notably horses, which appear in ...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Lisbon, Aug 9, 1923).

Portuguese painter and poet. He studied fine art and music and in 1942 took part in the meetings at the Café Herminius of a group of students, including Cruzeiro Seixas and Fernando de Azevedo, engaged in Dada activities. His writings for Júlio Pomar’s art page in the newspaper Tarde in 1945 called for the politicization of art. In 1947 he was one of the founder-members of the Lisbon Surrealist Group but left, forming a dissident group called The Surrealists in 1948. Although this group was disbanded after two exhibitions (1949 and 1950), both Cesariny and Cruzeiro Seixas retained a surrealizing tendency in their work.

Although better known as a poet, Cesariny continued to be involved with the visual arts. Psychic automatism and the use of varied materials including found objects played an important part in the genesis of his images. His poem-objects are quirky and humorous, if somewhat derivative of French Surrealism....

Article

Lourdes Cirlot

(b Barcelona, Nov 2, 1925).

Spanish Catalan painter. He studied medicine from 1944 to 1946 at the University of Barcelona but abandoned these studies in order to devote himself to painting, which he had taken up in 1941. His early works tended towards a decorative calligraphic abstraction, but on becoming a founder-member of the Dau al Set group in 1948 he underwent the influence of Surrealism in such works as Fishermoons (1949; see Caballero Bonald, pl. 15). He settled in France in 1951, and from 1955 to c. 1965 he produced paintings in different techniques related to Art informel and matter painting. A favourite technique was that of drip painting; often the drips were in light colours or in metal-based paints against dark backgrounds, as in Gran Barroco (1.62×1.30 m, 1959; Madrid, Fund. Juan March). In the mid-1960s he returned to a more overt figuration while on occasion still using techniques adapted from his informal abstractions of the late 1950s....

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Angra do Heroísmo, Azores, Jan 13, 1914; d Lisbon, December 4, 1990).

Portuguese painter, illustrator and poet. In 1935 he moved to Lisbon where his exhibition in 1940 with António Pedro and the English sculptress Pamela Bowden was considered the first national manifestation of Surrealism. In his melancholy and menacing works of the late 1930s and early 1940s, the dream-like spaces are crowded with people and animals in attitudes of violence or alarm, for example Antithesis of Calm (1940; Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian). The Brazilian painter Cícero Dias, who was in Portugal in the early 1940s, was an important influence on him then. During the 1940s his painting became less crowded, and the overt violence gave way to gestures of greater ambiguity. In 1944 a fire in the studio he shared with António Pedro destroyed many of their paintings.

Until 1947, when he emigrated to Paris, Dacosta participated in various group shows, winning the important Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso Award in 1942. He also wrote poetry and illustrated a number of books, such as ...

Article

Fiona Bradley

(Felip Jacint )

(b Figueres, May 11, 1904; d Figueres, Jan 23, 1989).

Spanish Catalan painter, draughtsman, illustrator, sculptor, writer and film maker. One of the most prolific artists of the 20th century, his fantastic imagery and flamboyant personality also made him one of the best known. His most significant artistic contribution, however, was through his association with Surrealism.

Dalí was born into the happy, if ideologically confusing, family of a respected notary. His father was a Republican and atheist, his mother a Roman Catholic. He was named Salvador in memory of a recently dead brother. This had a profound effect: his subsequent experimentation with identity and with the projection of his own persona may have developed out of an early understanding of himself as ‘a reply, a double, an absence’ (Dalí, 1970, p. 92). His childhood provided him with the fertile memories, both true and false, that fill his autobiography and resound in his art. Catalonia remained important to Dalí, but for its landscape rather than its separatist politics. He painted for much of his life in a house he bought in Port Lligat, near the family holiday home in Cadaqués, but the radical political beliefs that his father had taught him were to be replaced by a self-conscious monarchism and Catholicism. Dalí’s first contact with painting was through Ramon Pichot (...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Vólos, Greece, July 10, 1888; d Rome, Nov 20, 1978).

Italian painter, writer, theatre designer, sculptor and printmaker. De Chirico was one of the originators of Pittura Metafisica. His paintings are characterized by a visionary, poetic use of imagery, in which themes such as nostalgia, enigma and myth are explored. He was an important source of inspiration for artists throughout Europe in the inter-war years and again for a new generation of painters in the 1980s. His abrupt stylistic changes, however, have obscured the continuity of his approach, which was rooted in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, and this has often led to controversy.

His parents came from the Italian diaspora within the Ottoman empire. He was very close to his brother, Andrea (who later adopted the pseudonym Alberto Savinio). As children they identified themselves with the heavenly twins, Castor and Pollux, while their closest associates became the Argonauts (a reference to Giorgio’s birthplace, Vólos, from which, in Greek legend, the Argonauts departed to retrieve the Golden Fleece). The brothers’ inherited Greek culture was a consistently rich source of inspiration. Their father, Evaristo de Chirico, was an engineer engaged in supervising the construction of the railway in Thessaly. He encouraged his sons’ artistic talents, engaging drawing tutors for Giorgio and sending him to study with the Swiss painter ...

Article

Kirk Marlow

(b Sathonay, nr Lyon, Feb 25, 1918; d Paris, Dec 6, 1988).

French painter, draughtsman and sculptor. From the early 1950s he showed an interest in mark-making and in the rendering of calligraphic shapes engaging both the surface and the space of the paper or canvas (e.g. Sea Spears, 1954; Paris, Gal. Fournier), an approach similar to the Surrealist method of automatic writing and drawing. In 1955 he held an exhibition at the Galerie l’Etoile Scellée in Paris. André Breton co-wrote the preface to the catalogue and pointed out Degottex’s strong affinity to Zen philosophy and to the drawings of 12th-century Oriental calligraphers. Shortly after, directed in part by Breton, Degottex began a comprehensive study of the history of Oriental calligraphy and read histories of Zen painting from the 8th century to the 12th. His works from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s are an attempt to express the soul of the artist through the spirit of Zen thought. Several quickly executed strokes of paint or India ink are placed against a thinly painted contrasting monochromatic background suggesting the ‘void’ often referred to in Eastern philosophies (e.g. ...

Article

Roger Avermaete

(b Antheit, nr Huy, Sept 23, 1897; d Veurne, July 20, 1994).

Belgian painter and printmaker. He was, with René Magritte, one of the major exponents of Surrealism in Belgium. He began his training in 1920 at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, initially as an architect, but he soon changed to decorative painting, and he completed his studies in 1924. In his earliest works, such as Seascape (1923; Ostend, Mus. S. Kst.) and The Couple (1929; Brussels, Mus. A. Mod.), he was strongly influenced by the Flemish Expressionism of painters such as Constant Permeke and Gustav De Smet. In the mid-1930s, however, he turned decisively to Surrealism, not as an orthodox member of the movement but to a large extent under the influence of Giorgio De Chirico’s Pittura Metafisica, which he had first seen c. 1926. Among his first characteristic works in this vein are Pink Bows (1937; Antwerp, Kon. Mus. S. Kst.) and Phases of the Moon...

Article

M. Dolores Jiménez-Blanco

(b La Laguna, Tenerife, Jan 7, 1906; d Paris, Dec 31, 1957).

Spanish painter and sculptor, active in France. He first lived in Paris in 1927 while working for his family’s banana export business, coming into contact there with avant-garde groups and from 1929 undergoing the influence of Surrealism. Typical of the dreamlike and highly sexual early works that formed the basis of his first one-man exhibition, held in May 1933 at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Tenerife, is Surrealist Landscape (1933; Tenerife, E. Westerdahl priv. col., see Westerdahl, p. 18).

The Surrealist influence became even more marked after Domínguez’s meeting in 1934 with André Breton and Paul Eluard; in 1935 he became a member of the official Surrealist group, playing an active part in their activities and while still in Paris encouraging the dissemination of the movement in Spain. Domínguez had a particularly strong role in the promotion of Surrealism on the Canary Islands, not only through his contributions to the avant-garde journal ...

Article

Willemijn Stokvis

(b Tervuren, Dec 12, 1922; d Buizingen, nr Halle, 1979).

Belgian writer and painter. During World War II he contributed regularly to La Main à plume, the publication of the Parisian Surrealist group. Immediately after the War he published half-literary, half-theoretical texts in politically oriented Belgian periodicals. He was a fervent supporter of the alliance of Surrealism and Communism; in April 1947, in opposition to André Breton, he founded the movement Surréalisme Révolutionnaire in Brussels. In November 1948, when it became clear that further cooperation between the Belgian and French wings of this movement had become impossible, Dotremont, with Asger Jorn, Karel Appel, Constant and Corneille founded the Cobra movement (1948–51).

Dotremont became the prime spokesperson in the movement. In the Cobra periodical, of which he became the chief editor, he explained his ideas. He also produced numerous texts about the work of his fellow members. His most important artistic contribution to the Cobra movement was his cooperation as a poet with the artists of Cobra in, for example, the ...

Article

Francis M. Naumann

(b Blainville, Normandy, July 28, 1887; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, Oct 2, 1968).

French painter, sculptor and writer, active also in the USA. The art and ideas of Duchamp, perhaps more than those of any other 20th-century artist, have served to exemplify the range of possibilities inherent in a more conceptual approach to the art-making process. Not only is his work of historical importance—from his early experiments with Cubism to his association with Dada and Surrealism—but his conception of the ready-made decisively altered our understanding of what constitutes an object of art. Duchamp refused to accept the standards and practices of an established art system, conventions that were considered essential to attain fame and financial success: he refused to repeat himself, to develop a recognizable style or to show his work regularly. It is the more theoretical aspects implicit to both his art and life that have had the most profound impact on artists later in the century, allowing us to identify Duchamp as one of the most influential artists of the modern era....