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Article

A. Deirdre Robson

(b London, Dec 8, 1904; d New York, Nov 25, 1979).

American publisher and collector. He trained at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York before working in publishing. In 1950 he set up his own publishing company, Harry N. Abrams Inc., one of the first American companies to specialize in art books. In 1968 he founded Abbeville Books. His collecting, which began in the mid-1930s, went through three distinct phases: his first interest was in such contemporary American painters as Milton Avery and Raphael Soyer. He continued to purchase such works into the 1950s, but from the mid-1940s his collecting began to be dominated by works by major 20th-century artists; he acquired, among other works, Marc Chagall’s Clock (1948), Pablo Picasso’s Motherhood (1921) and Georges Rouault’s Miserere (1939).

Abrams’s most notable period as a collector was the 1960s, when he became known as a major collector of new American art. His interest in this area was fuelled by the ...

Article

Patricia Hills

Art journal published from 1934 to 1937. In 1934, the Artists’ Union joined with the Artists’ Committee of Action, which had been organized to protest against the destruction of Diego Rivera’s mural Man at the Crossroads in Rockefeller Center, New York, to publish Art Front, a journal of news and opinion for artists. The first issue appeared in November 1934 with an editorial committee consisting of eight members of the Artists’ Committee of Action (Hugo Gellert (1892–1985), Stuart Davis , Zoltan Hecht (1890–1968), Abraham Harriton (1893–1986), Rosa Pringle, Hilda Abel, Jennings Tofel (1891–1959) and Harold Baumbach (1903–2002)) and eight from the Artists’ Union (Ethel Olenikov, Boris Gorelick (1912–84), Robert Jonas (b 1907), Max Spivak (1906–81), Michael Loew (1907–85), Katherine Gridley (1898–1940), Herbert Kruckman (1904–98) and C. Mactarian)). Herman Baron served as the Managing Editor. The opening statement announced: ...

Article

Judith Zilczer

Journal devoted to photography that was published from 1903 to 1917. Camera Work evolved from a quarterly journal of photography to become one of the most ground-breaking and influential periodicals in American cultural history. Founded in January 1903 by photographer Alfred Stieglitz as the official publication of the Photo-Secession, the journal originally promoted the cause of photography as a fine art. As Stieglitz, its editor and publisher, expanded the journal’s scope to include essays on aesthetics, literature, criticism and modern art, Camera Work fueled intellectual discourse in early 20th-century America.

Camera Work mirrored the aesthetic philosophy of its founder Alfred Stieglitz. The journal resulted from his decade-long campaign to broaden and professionalize American photography. Serving for three years as editor of American Amateur Photographer (1893–6), Stieglitz championed the expressive potential of photography and advocated expanded exhibition opportunities comparable to those available in European photographic salons. In 1897, when the Society of Amateur Photographers merged with the New York Camera Club, Stieglitz convinced the enlarged organization to replace their modest leaflet with a more substantial quarterly journal, Camera Notes, which he edited until ...

Article

Henry Adams

(b Veracruz, Mar 13, 1880; d Stamford, CT, Jan 10, 1961).

Mexican illustrator, writer, gallery owner, and publisher, active in the USA. He was the son of a wealthy Mexican lawyer and publisher. De Zayas started his career as an artist by providing drawings for his father’s newspaper in Veracruz. In 1906 he moved on to Mexico City’s leading newspaper, El Diario, but a year later, after the ascension of the dictator Porfirio Diaz, whom the newspaper had opposed, he fled to the USA. There he landed a position making caricatures for the New York Evening World. Shortly after his arrival in the USA, he came into contact with Alfred Stieglitz, who staged solo shows of De Zayas’s caricatures at his gallery Gallery 291 in 1909 and 1910, both of which proved to be huge popular successes.

In 1910 De Zayas traveled to Paris, where he stayed almost a year, scouting out adventurous forms of modern art for Stieglitz, notably the cubist work of Picasso and African sculpture. On his return, equipped with knowledge of European modern art and inspired by the work of the French modernist ...

Article

Margaret Kelly

(Stevenson)

(b New York, Aug 19, 1919; d Feb 24, 1990).

American publisher and collector. In his position as Chairman and Editor-in-chief of the fortnightly American business magazine Forbes, he established one of the oldest corporate art collections in America in the 1950s when he began to acquire objets d’art created by Peter Carl Fabergé: the collection contains over 300 pieces, including 12 Imperial Easter eggs. A man of eclectic tastes, and spurred by fond childhood memories, Forbes assembled a collection of 100,000 lead soldiers and over 500 tin clockwork toy boats. The Fabergé works and selected toys are displayed at the Forbes Magazine Galleries in New York with American presidential manuscripts and related historical memorabilia that Forbes believed ‘better depict each [president] than the likenesses that abounded in their time’. Numbering over 3000 pieces, the collection is the finest of its kind in private hands.

The Forbes picture collection, predominantly conservative in flavour, features works by French 19th-century military painters, Victorian artists, Kinetic artists, American Realists and 19th- and 20th-century photographers. Forbes established the ...

Article

E. A. Christensen

(b Bloomington, IL, June 19, 1856; d SS Lusitania, off Co. Cork, May 7, 1915).

American designer. He was initially a successful salesman for the Illinois-based Weller’s Practical Soaps. He settled in East Aurora, near Buffalo, NY, and abandoned selling soap in 1893. During a trip to England the following year, he met William Morris and admired the works of his Kelmscott Press. On returning to East Aurora, Hubbard employed his great showmanship to popularize a simplified version of English Arts and Crafts design for a wide audience. With the help of a local press, he began publishing monthly biographies, Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great (1895–1909), the first two of which treat the lives of George Eliot and John Ruskin. Soon after, he founded the Roycroft Press with the publication of The Philistine (1895–1915), a monthly journal combining popular philosophy, aphorisms and brief preachments with crude Art Nouveau lettering and ornament. The Song of Songs (1895), printed on handmade paper with rough and arty bindings, was the first of many Roycroft books. The press became the centre of the ...

Article

Scholarly organization in New York dedicated to the promotion and study of medieval art. In 1956 the International Center of Romanesque Art (ICRA) was founded in New York as the US committee of the Centre international d’Etudes romanes (CIER). Renamed in 1966 as the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA), it has been headquartered at The Cloisters in New York City since 1969. From its early focus on French Romanesque art, ICMA has evolved into an important scholarly association advocating and promoting the study of European art, including the Mediterranean and Slavic regions, from c. ad 300 to c. 1500.

ICMA publishes Gesta, a biannual and the only journal in English dedicated to medieval art; a newsletter (three times a year), a series of censuses of medieval sculpture in American public collections and other monographs on medieval titles. Since 1998 ICMA has maintained an active website offering digital resources (e.g. International Census of Doctoral Dissertations in Medieval Art, ...

Article

Anne Blecksmith

(b Kiev, Sept 4, 1919; d Miami, FL, Nov 19, 1999).

American painter, photographer and publishing executive of Ukrainian birth. Raised in England and France, he received a degree in philosophy and mathematics from the Sorbonne in 1930. Connected to the Russian exile community in Paris, he was introduced to artists Aleksandr Yakovlev and Marc Chagall. In 1931, he studied painting with André Lhote and enrolled at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture, where he was a student of Auguste Perret. Later that year, he transferred to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. While studying architecture, he was apprenticed to graphic artist Cassandre through whom he found work at the newsweekly Vu, where he created photomontage covers with Russian Constructivist sensibilities and later rose to art director. At Vu he worked with imagery by pioneers of 35 mm photography Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassaï and Erich Salomon. A prolific photographer since childhood, he enthusiastically identified with the candid documentary style of the 35 mm camera.

Arriving in New York in ...

Article

Malcolm Gee

[Israel Ber]

(b Skole, Ukraine, March 2, 1887; d Rye, NY, April 28, 1961).

German dealer and publisher, active in the USA. Israel Ber Neumann, known as J. B. Neumann, opened his first print gallery in Berlin in 1911, exhibiting work by Edvard Munch and members of Brücke, Die. In 1913 he exhibited the complete prints of Munch in three shows and in 1915–16 was secretary to the Berlin Secession. After World War I Neumann, like other dealers in Expressionist art, initially met favourable conditions, with widespread demand for the work of such artists as Max Beckmann, who signed an exclusive contract with Neumann in 1921. This was a close but difficult relationship on both the personal and the commercial level. The deterioration of the German economic and political situation led Neumann to attempt to break into the American market, becoming permanently based in New York from 1923. He entrusted his Berlin gallery to Karl Nierendorf and the Munich one to Günther Franke. In ...

Article

Anne Cannon Palumbo

(b Breslau, Silesia [now Wrocław, Poland], March 12, 1824; d Glendale, CA, June 14, 1909).

American publisher. A leader in the development of chromolithography and its application to fine art printing, he began his lithographic business in 1856 in Boston, where he fled after being banned by the Prussian government for his participation in the uprisings of 1848. Although he did not have particular lithographic training, Prang had considerable knowledge of colour printing and the principles of business management, learnt from his father, a German calico manufacturer. From 1860 until 1897 L. Prang & Co. manufactured a wide range of pictorial products, ranging from maps and fashion plates to advertisements and Christmas cards, and also supplied the plates for several notable publications, including Clement C. Moore’s A Visit from St Nicholas (New York, 1864) and the ten volumes of W. T. Walters’s Collection of Oriental Ceramic Art (New York, 1897). He also published drawing books and reproductions of European Old Masters. Black and white was sometimes employed, but Prang’s reputation rests on his colour printing, particularly on the large chromolithographic reproductions of oil and watercolour paintings that he published under the name ‘Prang’s American Chromos’ from ...

Article

Cheryl Leibold

American family of Philadelphia printmakers, printers, painters, and educators. John Sartain and his children, Emily and William, played an important role in the art world of Philadelphia for over a century. Their influence on American art lies primarily in the impact of their work example and leadership on others, and somewhat less from the value placed on their own artistic output. The patriarch, John Sartain (b London, 24 Oct 1808; d Philadelphia, PA, 25 Oct 1897), arrived in Philadelphia at the age of 22. By 1850 he was the city’s premier engraver of illustrations for a wide range of publications. His brilliant mezzotint engravings, often reproducing the work of others, brought graphic art into the homes of all classes. Reproductive engravings, either framed or in books, were widely popular before the advent of photography. Many writers promulgated the display of such prints as a means to refine and enlighten society. Sartain’s most successful endeavours in this field were his large and elaborate framing prints, commissioned by painters, collectors, and publishers to disseminate important works. The finest of these is ...

Article

[SAH]

Professional organization devoted to the study of architecture worldwide. Founded in 1940 by a small group of students and teachers attending summer session at Harvard University, the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) has grown into the leading professional and scholarly organization in the world concerned with various aspects of the built environment. With a membership of around 2700, composed of architectural historians, architects, planners, preservationists, students, and other individuals interested in the subject, as well as nearly 1000 institutions worldwide, it publishes a scholarly periodical, the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, whose topics range from antiquity to the present day around the world; a monthly electronic Newsletter; and a multi-volume book series of detailed guides to the architecture of the individual American states, Buildings of the United States (BUS). The Society sponsors an annual meeting, held each year in a different part of the USA or Canada, or occasionally elsewhere, where members present scholarly papers, discuss these papers and other architectural topics, explore the area via a series of tours, and learn of the award of a number of prizes for notable accomplishments in the field, as well as designation of Fellows of the Society for lifetime contributions to architectural history. These include four book awards, the Alice Davis Hitchcock, Spiro Kostof, Elisabeth Blair MacDougall, and Antoinette Forrester Downing, for architecture, the built environment, landscape architecture, and preservation, respectively; the Philip Johnson Exhibition Catalogue Award; the Founders’ Award for the best article published in the ...

Article

Mary Ann Smith

(b Osceola, WI, March 9, 1858; d Syracuse, NY, April 20, 1942).

American designer and publisher. During most of the period 1875–99, he worked in various family-owned furniture-manufacturing businesses around Binghamton, NY. He travelled to Europe in the 1890s, seeing work by Arts and Crafts designers. In 1898 he established the Gustave Stickley Company in Eastwood, a suburb of Syracuse, NY. The following year he introduced his unornamented, rectilinear Craftsman furniture inspired by the writings of John Ruskin and William Morris. He adopted a William Morris motto, ‘Als ik kan’ (‘If I can’), as his own and used the symbol of a medieval joiner’s compass as his trademark. In 1903 he dropped the ‘e’ in the spelling of Gustave.

Stickley published The Craftsman Magazine (1901–16), a periodical devoted to the Arts and Crafts Movement (see Craftsman Movement). The first issue was dedicated to Morris, the second to Ruskin. Most issues contained articles and illustrations of Craftsman furniture by Stickley. The periodical contained information on American and foreign designers, Japanese and Native American crafts, manual arts education, socialism, and gardens. The architect ...

Article

Judith Zilczer

(b Hoboken, NJ, Jan 1, 1864; d New York, July 13, 1946).

American photographer, editor, publisher, patron and dealer. Internationally acclaimed as a pioneer of modern photography, he produced a rich and significant body of work between 1883 and 1937 (see fig.). He championed photography as a graphic medium equal in stature to high art and fostered the growth of the cultural vanguard in New York in the early 20th century.

The first of six children born to an upper-middle-class couple of German–Jewish heritage, Stieglitz discovered the pleasure of amateur photography after 1881, when his family left New York to settle temporarily in Germany. His father, Edward Stieglitz, had retired from a successful business in the wool trade with a fortune that enabled him to educate his children abroad. In 1882 Alfred enrolled in the mechanical engineering programme of the Technische Hochschule in Berlin, but he spent his spare time experimenting with photography in a darkroom improvised in his student quarters. His self-directed experiments led him to study photochemistry with the eminent scientist Hermann ...

Article

Marjorie Devon

Printing company based in Los Angeles, CA. The Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Inc. and the subsequent Tamarind Institute are recognized for their role in the preservation of the art of Lithography in the United States and abroad. While fostering the collaboration between an artist and a skilled master printer to make fine art lithography accessible to artists who work primarily in other media, Tamarind has established the highest quality standards for the field and initiated now commonly-followed procedures such as documenting edition details and affixing the symbols of the workshop and the printer on each impression. Tamarind’s research and experimentation have resulted in the development and refinement of processes and materials that have expanded the creative potential of the medium. Tamarind-trained printers hold teaching positions and have staffed or founded studios around the world. Hundreds of artists have made thousands of lithographs in collaboration with Tamarind printers and Tamarind lithographs have been exhibited in more than 50 countries....

Article

Richard Lorenz

(Martin )

(b Minneapolis, MN, July 9, 1908; d Boston, MA, June 24, 1976).

American photographer and writer. He took his first photographs as a child with a Kodak Box Brownie camera and later learnt darkroom procedures as a student at the University of Minnesota. After graduating in 1933 with a degree in botany and English, he wrote poetry for five years while supporting himself with odd jobs. He moved to Portland, OR, in 1938 and became increasingly interested in photography. During 1938–9 he worked for the Works Progress Administration Federal Arts Project as a creative photographer documenting the early architecture and waterfront of Portland. In 1941 the Museum of Modern Art in New York exhibited several of his images. His first one-man show, photographs of the Grande Ronde-Wallowa Mountain area of north-eastern Oregon, opened at the Portland Art Museum in 1942.

White served in the Army Intelligence Corps from 1942 to 1945, during which time he wrote about photography but took few photographs. He visited Alfred Stieglitz in New York at his gallery, An American Place, in ...

Article

The Federal Art Project (FAP) was the visual arts branch of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a government agency created in 1935 to find employment for people on public projects in response to the Great Depression. In December 1933 the ambitious Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) was set up to create regional offices to employ artists, with Edward Bruce of the Treasury Department as national director. The successful program employed some 3749 artists across the country, but it was phased out by the summer of 1934. (Bruce later headed other programs under the Treasury Department that employed artists.)

With the relief needs of artists, writers, musicians and theater people unresolved and with the experimental climate of the New Deal still energizing legislation, Harry Hopkins of the WPA set up Federal Project No. 1 in August 1935, which had the most far-reaching cultural impact on the country. There were four cultural projects: Art, Music, Theatre and Writers. For the art project, ...

Article

Robert Winter

Guides to every state in the Union (and some of the major cities) that were written under the auspices of the Federal Writers Project created by the Works Progress Administration/Federal Art Project during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The idea was part of Roosevelt’s attempt to find work for the thousands of Americans who had been left jobless by the Great Depression of the 1930s. Published between 1937 and 1942, each one began with short chapters on subjects such as political history, the arts, architecture, labor movements, economics and education. These were followed by sections on major cities and their resources. About half of each guide was devoted to a series of tours that might be taken along country roads as well as major highways. They included details of small towns that are still valuable to scholars.

The Federal Writers Project hired some important authors, but few of them wrote for the guides. They were composed by people of lesser note such as unknown college professors, amateur naturalists and architecture buffs. The great majority of the researchers were people who had no training in gathering facts but who nevertheless pursued them with care. One also suspects that the high quality of the finished products was the result of the work of capable editors....