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Article

Michèle Lavallée

[Fr.: ‘new art’]

Decorative style of the late 19th century and the early 20th that flourished principally in Europe and the USA. Although it influenced painting and sculpture, its chief manifestations were in architecture and the decorative and graphic arts, the aspects on which this survey concentrates. It is characterized by sinuous, asymmetrical lines based on organic forms; in a broader sense it encompasses the geometrical and more abstract patterns and rhythms that were evolved as part of the general reaction to 19th-century historicism. There are wide variations in the style according to where it appeared and the materials that were employed.

Art Nouveau has been held to have had its beginnings in 1894 or 1895. A more appropriate date would be 1884, the year the progressive group Les XX was founded in Belgium, and the term was used in the periodical that supported it, Art Moderne: ‘we are believers in Art Nouveau’. The origin of the name is usually attributed to ...

Article

Valerie Holman

(b Mennecy, Seine-et-Oise, Feb 3, 1895; d Paris, June 6, 1979).

French painter, sculptor, draughtsman, graphic artist, ceramicist and tapestry designer. He attended the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, from 1911, until he joined the army in 1915. After World War I he devoted himself primarily to painting. In 1922 he met Juan Gris with whose encouragement his early Matisse-influenced rhythmical compositions acquired greater stability. In the late 1920s he was promoted by Tériade as a successor to the Cubists, with such works as The Mirror (1929; Paris, Pompidou), in which a highly simplified figure and its mirror-image are defined by patches of flat colour and fragments of linear contrast, and by the 1940s he was seen as one of the major representatives of the Ecole de Paris. In the 1950s his earlier predilection for curvilinear shapes gave way to a more angular and dynamic geometry, as in the First Race (1952; Paris, Pompidou). His subject-matter was taken from daily life, with marked preferences for the nude in movement, as in ...

Article

Biba  

M. B. Whitaker

British fashion boutique. Established in 1963 by fashion illustrator Barbara Hulanicki (b 1936) as a mail-order catalogue, Biba swiftly evolved into a popular London boutique, and finally, from 1973 to 1975, a short-lived department store. Biba offered eclectic and affordable clothing, accessories, cosmetics and other products to students and teenagers, consequently becoming a fundamental driving force behind street fashion during the 1960s and 1970s (see fig.).

Barbara Hulanicki, born in Warsaw, worked as a fashion illustrator in London for a variety of magazines in the late 1950s and early 1960s. This introduced her to the privileged and dictatorial world of haute couture, which turned her away from high fashion. With the encouragement of her husband, Steven Fitz-Simon, she began designing and started the Biba Postal Boutique in 1963. This mail-order catalogue, named after her sister, was a quick success. Her most popular design for the catalogue was a gingham frock and kerchief that later became a staple of the Biba shop (...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(António Teixeira Bastos Nunes)

(b Lisbon, Sept 18, 1899; d Lisbon, Aug 18, 1982).

Portuguese painter, printmaker and designer of tapestries and tile panels. Known primarily as a ‘painter of Lisbon’, he began his artistic career as an illustrator and cartoonist as well as writing a weekly satirical page (1928–50) in the newspaper O sempre fixe. He visited Paris in 1929, 1930–1 and again in 1937, when he was impressed by a retrospective exhibition of the work of van Gogh, whose influence is evident in Botelho’s scenes of urban squalor of the late 1930s. He had begun to depict calm, unpopulated views of Lisbon in the early 1930s, for example Side View of the Castle (1935; Lisbon, Mus. Cidade), and from the early 1940s concentrated almost exclusively on this theme. The compositions became increasingly crisp and planar and the piling up of volumes and compression of space increasingly stylized, especially after he began to paint from memory in 1949. The tonalities of Botelho’s paintings remained consistently pale, as in ...

Article

David Blayney Brown

[Frantz]

(b Rostock, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, 1582; d London, 1658).

German painter, designer, illustrator and printmaker. He probably studied first in the Low Countries. He was perhaps in Denmark c.1611, but then spent four years in Italy, mainly in Rome and Venice, where he met the English ambassador Sir Henry Wotton. By 1617 he was living in Copenhagen; an inscribed drawing of Apollo and Marsyas from this period is in the Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen. Between 1618 and 1623 Cleyn was employed by Christian IV at Rosenborg Slot, decorating the King’s writing closet with pastoral landscapes, Venetian views, genre scenes and grotesque designs. Commissions followed for larger subject pictures (which show pronounced Venetian influence) and for similar decorative schemes for the royal castles at Frederiksborg (Fireworks), Christiansborg (Children on their Way to School) and Kronborg. In 1623 Cleyn visited England, with a letter of introduction to Prince Charles (later Charles I) from the English envoy in Copenhagen, Sir Robert Anstruther. In the Prince’s absence in Spain, he was received by James I, who wished to retain his services for himself and sent him back to Copenhagen with a request to Christian IV to release him. Work in progress kept Cleyn in Denmark until late in ...

Article

Alberto Cernuschi

(b Montauban, Sept 30, 1894; d Perpignan, July 21, 1972).

French painter, printmaker, stage designer, illustrator and tapestry designer. He was encouraged to study art by Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, to whom he showed his drawings at the age of 16, and was taught by him at the Ecole de Dessin à la Manufacture des Gobelins. From 1912 to 1914 he attended the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in Montauban, and after serving in the infantry during World War I he moved to Paris, where he showed his work regularly at such exhibitions as the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon d’Automne.

Desnoyer lived and worked among the Cubists, but like the Fauves he favoured bright primary colours, marrying colour and line in landscapes, still-lifes and portraits. His debt to both movements is visible in paintings such as La Foire du Trône (1927; Paris, Pompidou). He also produced an illustrated edition of La Fontaine’s Dies Irae (Editions Mortier, 1947) and stage designs for the Opéra Comique in Paris, for example for Henri Barrand’s ...

Article

S. Kontha

(b Budapest, April 17, 1904; d Budapest, Jan 26, 1986).

Hungarian painter, illustrator, mosaicist, tapestry designer, stage designer, poster designer, printmaker, sculptor, teacher and administrator. From 1922 to 1929 he studied at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts (Magyar Kepzőmüvészeti Főiskolá) in Budapest under Gyula Rudnay (1878–1957) and János Vaszary (1867–1939). In the mid-1920s he became acquainted with Béla Uitz’s General Ludd series (1923; Budapest, N.G.) and in Venice he saw the work of such Russian avant-garde artists as Rodchenko and El Lissitzky and such Italian Futurists as Severini. In 1926 in Paris he studied the works of Léger, Braque, Picasso and others in the collection of Léonce Rosenberg. He was also influenced by the art of Brancusi and Joseph Csáky, as well as André Breton’s Manifeste du surréalisme (Paris, 1924). From the outset, Hincz’s work revealed a number of different objectives. Although he experimented with abstraction, the reference to the figure is always present in one form or another. His profound interest in humanity and its social interaction was based on, and motivated by, this interest in the figure. His early paintings are expressionist in mood and are composed of flattened forms in a shallow space in a manner reminiscent of Cubo–Futurist art. Elements of Purism and Surrealism are also present. After World War II he became increasingly preoccupied with realism, political agitprop art and the problems inherent in creating new symbols; a study trip to Korea, China and Vietnam in ...

Article

John Mawer

(b Bodiam, E. Sussex, Feb 17, 1849; d London, Aug 21, 1930).

English designer. He was educated at Marlborough College and New College, Oxford, where he studied drawing under John Ruskin. Although he took Holy Orders in 1873, he continued to practise as a designer and eventually gave up his clerical duties in 1882, the year in which Arthur Mackmurdo founded the Century Guild of Artists, London. In 1883 Mackmurdo and Image opened the Century Guild Workshops. Image painted panels and inscriptions and designed inlaid decoration for furniture made by the Guild and also produced the title-page woodcut for its magazine The Hobby Horse, first published in 1884, which he co-edited from 1886 to 1892. The Guild itself was dissolved in 1888. He undertook design commissions in several fields—stained glass, typography, mosaic and embroidery (for the Royal School of Needlework). He also became active within the Art Workers’ Guild, London, of which he became master in 1900. In the same year he began working for the Glasgow furniture manufacturers ...

Article

(b Rouen, Nov 11, 1738; d Paris, May 7, 1826).

French painter, illustrator and writer. He began his studies in Rouen and, at 17, won first prize for drawing at the city’s Académie. Shortly afterwards he travelled to Paris, entering the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture as a student of Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre. In 1767–8 he was in Rome, a fact confirmed by a number of dated and inscribed drawings and paintings, including the pen, ink and wash drawing Landscape Inspired by the Gardens of the Villa d’Este at Tivoli (Paris, Ecole N. Sup. B.-A.). He was in Switzerland in 1776, where he spent several years drawing illustrations for Beát Zurlauben’s Tableau de la Suisse ou voyage pittoresque fait dans les treize cantons du Corps Helvétique (Paris, 1780–86). In 1780, having returned to France, he was approved (agréé) by the Académie Royale and received (reçu) in 1785 with Jupiter Asleep on Mount Ida (Paris, Ecole N. Sup. B.-A.). Thereafter he regularly exhibited moralistic pictures at the Salon until ...

Article

Antoinette Le Normand-Romain

(b Banyuls-sur-Mer, Oct 8, 1861; d Perpignan, Sept 24, 1944).

French sculptor, painter, designer and illustrator. He began his career as a painter and tapestry designer, but after c. 1900 devoted himself to three-dimensional work, becoming one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century. He concentrated almost exclusively on the nude female figure in the round, consciously wishing to strip form of all literary associations and architectural context. Although inspired by the Classical tradition of Greek and Roman sculpture, his figures have all the elemental sensuousness and dignity associated with the Mediterranean peasant.

Maillol first intended to become a painter and went to Paris in 1881, where he lived in extreme poverty. Three years later the Ecole des Beaux-Arts finally accepted him as a pupil, where he began studies under Alexandre Cabanel. He found the teaching there discouraging and his early painted work was more strongly influenced by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Paul Gauguin, and the Nabis group which he joined around ...

Article

(b Aix-en-Provence, Feb 10, 1907; d 1997).

French painter, illustrator, stage designer and tapestry designer. He started painting at the age of 13 in spite of his family’s categorical opposition to art as a profession, and six years later he moved to Paris to pursue his vocation. He was self-taught. He began exhibiting at the Salon d’Automne in Paris in 1932 and at the Salon des Indépendants from 1933, when he was producing stark realist paintings of figures in desolate landscapes, such as The Strangers (1935–6; Paris, Pompidou).

Marchand was prone to striking changes in his style and technique, ranging from Ingres-style drawings between 1933 and 1937 to a developing interest in the 1940s in more textured surfaces and a more stylized form of representation, as in Landscape with Olive Trees (1943; see 1963 exh. cat., no. 18), in which the angular branches of the trees create an almost abstract pattern. In the early 1950s, in such works as ...

Article

(b Paris, May 21, 1846; d Paris, Nov 14, 1920).

French painter and illustrator. He was the son of the painter and art critic Charles-Olivier Merson (1822–1902) and trained initially at the Ecole de Dessin in Paris under Gustave Adolphe Chassevent (1818–1901) and then at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Isidore-Alexandre-Augustin Pils. He made his début at the Salon in 1867 and won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1869 with the melodramatic work, the Soldier of Marathon (1869; Paris, Ecole N. Sup. B.-A.). As a prizewinner he then spent five years in Italy, where he was impressed and influenced by the works of the Italian Primitives, as is apparent in such works as St Edmund, King and Martyr (1871; Troyes, Mus. B.-A. & Archéol.), with its muted colours and rigid composition. In the Salon of 1875 he exhibited Sacrifice for the Country, St Michael, which had been commissioned as a design for a ...

Article

Fani-Maria Tsigakou

[Yiannis, Giannis]

(b Arta, April 23, 1916; d Athens, Dec 20, 2009).

Greek painter, printmaker, illustrator, stage designer and decorative artist. From 1931 to 1936 he studied painting and printmaking at the Higher School of Fine Arts in Athens under Konstantinos Parthenis and Yannis Kefallinos (1893–1957). As soon as he graduated he participated in the exhibition of Greek printmakers that was organized in Czechoslovakia in 1936. The same year, on a scholarship from the Academy of Athens, he went to Rome and then to Paris to study at the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and the Ecole des Arts et Métiers. He returned to Athens in 1940, when he participated in the last pre-war panhellenic exhibition, in which he was awarded the first prize. During the period of the German occupation (1941–4) he started painting portraits to earn his living. In these his restricted palette and the opposition of light and shadow with as little half-tone as possible reveal his concern with the flattening of form and space. His post-war canvases are painted with a directness of execution and solidly modelled forms. His concern with the structure of form led him gradually to geometrical compositions. In ...

Article

Peter Stansky

(b Walthamstow [now in London], March 24, 1834; d London, Oct 3, 1896).

English designer, writer and activist. His importance as both a designer and propagandist for the arts cannot easily be overestimated, and his influence has continued to be felt throughout the 20th century. He was a committed Socialist whose aim was that, as in the Middle Ages, art should be for the people and by the people, a view expressed in several of his writings. After abandoning his training as an architect, he studied painting among members of the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1861 he founded his own firm, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. (from 1875 Morris & Co.), which produced stained glass, furniture, wallpaper and fabrics (see §3 below). Morris’s interests constantly led him into new activities such as his last enterprise, the Kelmscott Press (see §5 below). In 1950 his home at Walthamstow became the William Morris Gallery. The William Morris Society was founded in 1956, and it publishes a biannual journal and quarterly newsletter....

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Lisbon, May 19, 1921).

Portuguese painter, printer, tapestry designer and illustrator. He studied architecture and painting, without completing either course, at the Escola Superior de Belas Artes in Lisbon. His early works show an affinity with Neo-Realism in their melancholic atmosphere and ironic depiction of daily life in Lisbon. This tendency was tempered by his love of Bonnard and interest in the abstract qualities of colour and light. A sojourn in London (1962–4) marked the beginning of a new phase in which a revivalism deriving from the influence of British Pop art overlaid his own innate nostalgic lyricism. The canvases treated with photosensitive emulsion of the late 1960s and early 1970s are of a greater eroticism and violence, and were followed by paintings on intimist themes with a local flavour and an emphasis on light.

M. T. Chicó, A. Vieira Santos and J.-A. Fraņca: Diccionário universal da pintura, 3 (Lisbon, 1973)

Article

Athena S. E. Leoussi

(b Istanbul, 30 July (ns 12 Aug) 1916; d Eygalières, nr Avignon, Oct 23, 1985).

French painter, illustrator, stage designer, tapestry designer and writer of Greek descent. He moved to Paris in 1922, registered at the Sorbonne in 1932 and briefly attended the studio of the French painter Clement Serveau (b 1886). Through his father’s literary interests he became acquainted with Surrealism, meeting Paul Eluard, André Breton, Salvador Dalí and others in 1934, and decided to become an artist. From 1932 to 1936 he worked in a Surrealist style, introducing procedures of automatism and formal ambiguities that he retained in his later work. From 1938 to 1947 he painted portraits of women and cats in an Expressionist style before experimenting briefly with abstraction.

In 1951 Prassinos settled in Provence, where he painted landscapes from nature in which he created a personal formal vocabulary of signs inspired in part by Chinese ideograms. After visiting Greece in 1957 he explored his national origins and childhood years in portraits of his grandfather entitled ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Como, Feb 5, 1901; d Como, Sept 7, 1957).

Italian painter and designer. He studied painting at the Scuole Techniche in Como (1918–23), where he met Giuseppe Terragni and Mario Radice. Attracted by Futurism, he taught painting at the Scuola di Arte Applicata (1919–37) and the Collegio ‘Baragiola’ (1920–28), Como, and became a poster designer and satirical cartoonist for La Zanzara (1922–4). As secretary to the Istituto Nazionale di Setificio (1923–9), he produced designs for silk, but his paintings (some pseudonymously signed Boroscki, Prague) remained rooted in Novecento classicism. In 1932 Rho followed Radice’s adoption of finely poised geometric abstraction, and subsequently they encouraged younger artists, notably Carla Badiali (b 1907) and Aldo Galli (1906–81). They formed the Gruppo di Como with Terragni and other Rationalist architects and established links with the Galleria del Milione in Milan. In 1936 the group organized the abstract section of the Como ...

Article

Lourdes Font

(b Paris, 1902; d Paris March 14, 1955).

French fashion designer (see figs 1 and 2 ). From 1925 to 1953, Rochas was an innovator in Paris fashion. In the1930s he was known for architectural suits and coats, bold graphic patterns and Surrealist details, and in the post-war period for romantic designs inspired by the 19th century.

Rochas founded his Paris couture house in 1925, and within two years copies of his modern and practical daywear were sold in New York City department stores. In 1929 he was among those leading the way toward a new silhouette by raising waistlines and lowering hemlines. In 1931 he was inspired, like Elsa Schiaparelli , by the South-east Asian architecture and Balinese dancers at the Exposition Coloniale in Paris. By the end of the year he had shown broader shoulders and fuller sleeves in his collections. He continued the South-east Asian theme with his ‘Angkor’ coat of 1934, which had peaked shoulders, sleeves forming sharp points at the elbow and a silver-plated belt shaped like a palm frond. Other designs had flanges at the neckline and shoulders that projected from the body like cantilevered walls (...

Article

Phillip Dennis Cate

(b Lausanne, Nov 10, 1859; d Paris, Dec 13, 1923).

French illustrator, printmaker, painter and sculptor, of Swiss birth. After studying at the University at Lausanne and working as an apprentice designer in a textile factory in Mulhouse, Steinlen arrived in Paris in 1881 and quickly established himself in Montmartre, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. In 1883 the illustrator Adolphe Willette introduced him to the avant-garde literary and artistic environment of the Chat Noir cabaret which had been founded in 1881 by another Swiss expatriot, Rodolphe Salis. Steinlen soon became an illustrator of its satirical and humorous journal, Chat noir, and an artistic collaborator with writers such as Emile Zola, poets such as Jean Richepin, composers such as Paul Delmet, artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec and, most important, the singer and songwriter Aristide Bruant, all of whom he encountered at the Chat Noir. Bruant’s lyrics incorporate the argot of the poor, the worker, the rogue, the pimp and the prostitute, for whom Steinlen’s empathy had been awakened on reading Zola’s novel ...

Article

Daniel Robbins

(b Moscow, July 31, 1879; d Paris, Oct 30, 1968).

Russian painter, designer and illustrator. He was directed to enter the piano factory operated by his Finnish father, and besides learning the piano he took a commercial diploma in 1897. After becoming severely ill at the age of 22, he rethought his career and entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Introduced to the modern movement through the collections of Sergey Shchukin and Ivan Morosov, he joined the ranks of the Moscow avant-garde and by 1906 was close to the circle associated with the magazine Zolotoye runo (see Golden Fleece). He also met Alexander Archipenko, exhibiting with him in the company of David Burlyuk, Vladimir Burlyuk, Mikhail Larionov and Natal’ya Goncharova. With Hélène Moniuschko, whom he subsequently married, he travelled to Western Europe, visiting Paris in July 1908. The following August the couple settled in Paris, where Survage worked as a piano tuner and briefly attended the short-lived school run by ...