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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

John Glaves-Smith

(Owen)

(b London, Nov 18, 1886; d London, July 22, 1963).

English sculptor, painter and designer. The son of a commercial artist, from 1902 to 1904 he worked in the studio of the academic sculptor William Reynolds-Stephens. The few surviving paintings from before 1914 show the influence of such French painters as Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin. By the time Dobson enlisted in the Artists’ Rifles in October 1914 he had begun to carve. In 1920 he was selected by Wyndham Lewis as the only sculptor in the ‘Group X’ exhibition. His first post-war carvings such as Man Child (1921; London, Tate) exhibit an aggressive angularity, which suggests a conscious intention to adopt the Vorticist style of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Jacob Epstein. This was a short-lived phase, and from the mid-1920s Dobson was to concentrate on the naked female figure treated in a calm, simplified monumental fashion. The most obvious affinity was with the work of Aristide Maillol: Reclining Figure...

Article

Serge Lemoine

(b Zurich, June 12, 1917).

Swiss painter, sculptor and printmaker. He studied (1932) at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Zurich, and first worked as a designer (1933–6). From the age of 20 he concentrated on graphic and commercial art, and it was not until 1957, with the creation of his first ‘tableau-relief’, that his career really began. Painting abstract works influenced by Zurich Concrete art and by contemporary American painting from 1950 onwards, Honegger developed as an artist during his stay in New York (1958–60) where his first exhibition was held at the Martha Jackson Gallery in 1960. Honegger settled in Paris in 1961, where he continued to experiment in painting and sculpture. His pictures were composed following a system and use simple, geometric forms in relief, executed in monochrome but with particular attention to technique and surface presentation. His shapes (squares, circles) are placed inside an orthogonal frame, following a pattern established beforehand and always based on numerical calculation. The paintings are made up of sharp-edged cardboard pieces placed, with strengthened backing, on to canvas and covered with several layers of paint. In this manner, the artist obtained a relief effect on the surface that catches the light and gives the composition a changeable quality (e.g. ...

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

Laural Weintraub

(b Milan, Oct 24, 1907; d Milan, Sept 29, 1998).

Italian sculptor, painter, film maker and designer. His artistic ambition was influenced by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti whom he met in Milan in the mid-1920s. Munari formally allied himself with the second generation of Futurists in 1927 and continued to exhibit with them into the 1930s (see Furttenbach [Furtenbach; Furttembach], Josef [Joseph], the elder and Aeropittura). Few works of Munari’s remain from this period, as most were made from transient materials. One extant work in tempera from 1932 (see Tanchis, p. 13) suggests that Munari had fully adopted Futurist aesthetics. Several other examples from the 1930s, however, show a clear debt to Surrealism.

In his sculpture from 1930 Munari adopted a different attitude. Aerial Machine (1930; see Tanchis, p. 21), for example, indicates a move towards a Constructivist aesthetic. This elegant object is a precursor of his Useless Machines, the first of which was executed in 1933. Constructed of painted cardboard and other lightweight materials, they served to liberate abstract forms in three dimensions. Moreover, they were meant to integrate with the surrounding environment through their kinetic action....

Article

Elisabeth Lebovici

(b Béziers, Hérault, Dec 25, 1924).

French painter and sculptor. He studied drawing and painting in Pau from 1939 to 1945 while qualifying as an engineer there. From 1945 to 1955 he worked as an aeronautics designer and draughtsman within the firm Turboméca before deciding to devote himself full-time to painting, taking as his starting-point Art informel and particularly the work of Jean Dubuffet. He wrote, in a sort of graffiti, directly on to the substances from which he made his pictures, favouring materials that offered resistance and that could be built up and modelled, such as crushed flint mixed with a synthetic resin and coloured with powdered pigments. Through such methods an affinity was suggested with ancient palimpsests covered in successive layers of writing.

Noël lived in New York from 1969 to 1981 and under the influence of Minimalism subjected his work to a more formal structure. His signs lost their resemblance to mysterious writing, instead becoming enmeshed in patterns of latticework, grids and patchworks that defined the painted surface. On his return to France he again took up the large scale and themes of murals that he had painted on commission before moving to New York, for example at the Lycée du Grand Lac in Var, Alpes Maritimes, in ...

Article

Bengt von Bonsdorff

(b Helsinki, Aug 19, 1924).

Finnish painter, sculptor and printmaker. He studied at the Central School of Industrial Arts in Helsinki (1946–9) and practised drawing at the Free Art School. His earliest work consisted mostly of figure drawings and still-lifes (e.g. the coloured wood engraving Chair Still-life, 1946; see 1982 exh. cat., no. 1). He was drawn to Synthetic Cubism in the spirit of Juan Gris and to faces and masks similar to those in the works of Picasso or in non-Western art. These representations soon gave way to the purely abstract. Nordström first exhibited in 1947 at Nuorten näyttely (‘Exhibition by young artists’; Helsinki, A. Exh. Hall). Two years later he held his first one-man exhibition. It was the first in Finland that consisted entirely of paintings influenced by Constructivism. Nordström developed his abstract programme in a very short time at the end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s. It was then that the foundation of his painting was laid, both technically and formally. This also applied to the prints and three-dimensional constructions, which were small at first (e.g. the coloured wood engraving ...

Article

Ewa Mikina

(b Wadowice, nr Kraków, July 20, 1928; d Kraków, Feb 16, 1986).

Polish industrial designer, photographer, sculptor and painter. He studied at the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts from 1945 to 1950, later becoming dean of the Faculty of Industrial Design there, as well as president of the Polish Association of Designers and vice-president of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. He was the author of numerous theoretical studies on design and an adherent of ‘natural’ design. Throughout his life he experimented with photography, producing works without using a camera or negative, such as prints of gestures of the flat of the hand and abstract forms painted with developers on light-sensitive materials. His camerawork consisted of wide-angle close-ups of fragments of the human body, which transformed into semi-sculptural compositions. Cineforms (1957) were kinetic, abstract images projected on to a screen by a special device without the use of film. The variable composition was achieved by the movement of coloured forms between the light of the projector and its likewise variable system of lenses. ...

Article

Richard Humphreys

(Herman Edward Karl Julius)

(b Hannover, June 20, 1887; d Kendal, Westmorland, England, Jan 8, 1948).

German painter, sculptor, designer and writer. He studied at the Kunstakademie in Dresden (1909–14) and served as a clerical officer and mechanical draughtsman during World War I. At first his painting was naturalistic and then Impressionistic, until he came into contact with Expressionist art, particularly the art associated with Der Sturm, in 1918. He painted mystical and apocalyptic landscapes, such as Mountain Graveyard (1912; New York, Guggenheim), and also wrote Expressionist poetry for Der Sturm magazine. He became associated with the Dada movement in Berlin after meeting Hans Arp, Raoul Hausmann, Hannah Höch and Richard Huelsenbeck, and he began to make collages that he called Merzbilder. These were made from waste materials picked up in the streets and parks of Hannover, and in them he saw the creation of a fragile new beauty out of the ruins of German culture. Similarly he began to compose his poetry from snatches of overheard conversations and randomly derived phrases from newspapers and magazines. His mock-romantic poem ...