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Article

Barbara Lange

revised by Andrés Mario Zervigón

[Herzfeld, Helmut ]

(b Berlin, June 19, 1891; d Berlin, April 26, 1968).

German photomontagist, draughtsman, typographer, stage designer, and film director. After a difficult childhood owing to the persecution of his father for his political beliefs, he studied art at the Königliche Kunstgewerbeschule in Munich from 1907 to 1911, specializing in advertising art. In 1912 he took his first job in a paper packaging company (for which he completed graphic design work) in Mannheim, moving to Berlin in 1913, where he and his brother Wieland Herzfeld made contact with avant-garde circles. (Wieland changed his surname to Herzfelde in early 1914.) Heartfield’s experiences in World War I led him to conclude that the only worthy art was that which took account of social realities (see Eclipse of the Sun on the Rhine, 1957). He destroyed all his early work.

From 1916 Heartfield collaborated closely with George Grosz and in the summer of 1917, like Grosz, anglicized his name, although he did not adopt this form officially until after the war. His earnest criticism of bourgeois society found its expression in his commitment to the ...

Article

(b Paris, Oct 31, 1883; d Paris, June 8, 1956).

French painter, stage designer and illustrator. After studying porcelain painting at the Sèvres factory (1901) and drawing in Paris under the French flower painter Madelaine Lemaire (1845–1928), in 1903–4 she studied at the Académie Humbert in Paris, where she met Georges Braque and Francis Picabia. In 1907 she first exhibited paintings at the Salon des Indépendants, met Picasso at Clovis Sagot’s gallery and through Picasso was introduced to the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Laurencin and Apollinaire were soon on intimate terms, their relationship lasting until 1912.

Laurencin became a regular associate of the painters and poets associated with the Bateau-Lavoir, who included Picasso, Braque, Gris, Max Jacob and André Salmon. She was present at the banquet given by Picasso in honour of Henri Rousseau in 1908 and produced the first version of Apollinaire and his Friends (1908; Baltimore, MD, Mus. A.) in a highly simplified style, in which she pictured herself and the poet with Picasso and his companion Fernande Olivier. Both this and a larger version with additional figures (...

Article

Hans-Peter Wittwer

(b Lucerne, Aug 11, 1930; d Berlin, Nov 9, 1985).

Swiss painter, draughtsman and stage designer. He met Serge Stauffer (b 1930) in 1946, with whom he shared an admiration for Dada and Surrealism, and in particular for Hans Arp and Marcel Duchamp. In 1947 they started to exchange letters (some of which survive; see 1985 exh. cat.). Thomkins studied under Max von Moos (b 1903) at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Lucerne (1947–9), although he did not formally enrol at the college. He then attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris (1950–51). In 1952 he settled in Rheydt, near Lucerne, where he created the autobiographical figure Schwebsel, analogous to Max Ernst’s Lop-Lop bird.

In 1954 Thomkins moved to Essen. He produced the first Vexierklischees (painted photographs) in 1955 (e.g. Ornamental Asparagus is Re-potted Here, 1956; The Hague, Gemeentemus.) and began to experiment with Lackskins, produced by letting oil paint drip on to a water surface and using paper to pick up the coloured paint as it spread and mixed with the water. In these works he was experimenting with the interplay between manipulation and chance, which he had observed in the work of the Surrealists. In ...