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Susan Compton

[Shagal, Mark (Zakharovich); Shagal, Moses]

(b Vitebsk [now Viciebsk], Belarus’, July 7, 1887; d Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Alpes-Maritimes, March 28, 1985).

French painter, draughtsman, printmaker, designer, sculptor, ceramicist, and writer of Belarusian birth. A prolific artist, Chagall excelled in the European tradition of subject painting and distinguished himself as an expressive colourist. His work is noted for its consistent use of folkloric imagery and its sweetness of colour, and it is characterized by a style that, although developed in the years before World War I, underwent little progression throughout his long career (see.g. I and the Village, 1911; New York, MOMA). Though he preferred to be known as a Belarusian artist, following his exile from the Soviet Union in 1923 he was recognized as a major figure of the Ecole de Paris, especially in the later 1920s and the 1930s. In his last years he was regarded as a leading artist in stained glass.

Chagall spent his childhood, admirably recorded in his autobiography, in a warm Hassidic family in Vitebsk [now Viciebsk], with frequent visits to his grandfather’s village home. He attended the traditional Jewish school but afterwards succeeded in entering the local Russian high school, where he excelled in geometry and drawing and determined to become an artist. At first he studied locally in the studio of ...

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....

Article

Vojtěch Lahoda

(b Chropyně, Moravia [now Czech Republic], April 4, 1882; d Prague, Oct 6, 1953).

Czech painter, printmaker, sculptor, writer and collector. After a short period at a business school and in an insurance office in Brno, he became a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (1903). In 1904 he won the Academy’s first prize. At the end of the year he set out on a lengthy journey to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Italy. He became absorbed in the Old Masters, especially Rembrandt. His own style passed from Post-Impressionism to a more expressive dominance of colour. In 1907 he took part in the first exhibition of The Eight (see Eight, the) with a programme painting, the Reader of Dostoyevsky (Prague, N.G., Trade Fair Pal.), partly influenced by the Munch exhibition in Prague in 1905. At the same time the picture is a very personal manifesto reflecting the Angst and scepticism of his generation. At the second exhibition of The Eight in ...

Article

Melissa McQuillan

(b Málaga, Oct 25, 1881; d Mougins, France, April 8, 1973).

Spanish painter, sculptor, draughtsman, printmaker, decorative artist and writer, active in France. He dominated 20th-century European art and was central in the development of the image of the modern artist. Episodes of his life were recounted in intimate detail, his comments on art were published and his working methods recorded on film. Painting was his principal medium, but his sculptures, prints, theatre designs and ceramics all had an impact on their respective disciplines. Even artists not influenced by the style or appearance of his work had to come to terms with its implications.

With Georges Braque Picasso was responsible for Cubism, one of the most radical re-structurings of the way that a work of art constructs its meaning. During his extremely long life Picasso instigated or responded to most of the artistic dialogues taking place in Europe and North America, registering and transforming the developments that he found most fertile. His marketability as a unique and enormously productive artistic personality, together with the distinctiveness of his work and practice, have made him the most extensively exhibited and discussed artist of the 20th century....