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Term used to describe a movement of the 1870s and 1880s that manifested itself in the fine and decorative arts and architecture in Britain and subsequently in the USA. Reacting to what was seen as evidence of philistinism in art and design, it was characterized by the cult of the beautiful and an emphasis on the sheer pleasure to be derived from it. In painting there was a belief in the autonomy of art, the concept of Art for Art’s Sake, which originated in France as a literary movement and was introduced into Britain around 1860.

The Aesthetic Movement was championed by the writers and critics Walter Pater, Algernon Charles Swinburne and Oscar Wilde. In keeping with Pater’s theories, the artists associated with it painted pictures without narrative or significant subject-matter. Dante Gabriel Rossetti took his inspiration from Venetian art because of its emphasis on colour and the decorative. This resulted in a number of half-length paintings of female figures, such as the ...

Article

Isabel L. Taube

Late 19th-century movement in the arts and literature characterized by the pursuit and veneration of beauty and the fostering of close relationships among the fine and applied arts. According to its major proponents, beauty was found in imaginative creations that harmonized colours, forms, and patterns derived from Western and non-Western cultures as well as motifs from nature. The Aesthetic Movement gained momentum in England in the 1850s, achieved widespread popularity in England and the USA by the 1870s, and declined by the 1890s.

The principal ideologies and practices of British Aestheticism came to the USA through both educational and commercial channels. As early as 1873, the Scottish stained-glass designer, decorator, and art dealer Daniel Cottier opened a branch of his interior design shop in New York and played a significant role in introducing aesthetic taste and artefacts to Americans. The Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876, with its extensive display of industrial and decorative arts, showcased British Aestheticism and the Japanese ceramics that influenced it. British art magazines and books, especially Charles Locke Eastlake’s ...

Article

Alan Crawford

(b Isleworth, Middx, May 17, 1863; d Godden Green, Kent, May 23, 1942).

English designer, writer, architect and social reformer . He was educated at King’s College, Cambridge. As a young man he was deeply influenced by the teachings of John Ruskin and William Morris, and particularly by their vision of creative workmanship in the Middle Ages; such a vision made work in modern times seem like mechanical drudgery. Ashbee played many parts and might be thought a dilettante; but his purpose was always to give a practical expression to what he had learnt from Ruskin and Morris. An intense and rather isolated figure, he found security in a life dedicated to making the world a better place.

In 1888, while he was training to be an architect in the office of G. F. Bodley and Thomas Garner (1839–1906), Ashbee set up the Guild and School of Handicraft in the East End of London. The School lasted only until 1895, but the Guild, a craft workshop that combined the ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement with a romantic, apolitical socialism, was to be the focus of Ashbee’s work for the next 20 years. There were five guildsmen at first, making furniture and base metalwork. In ...

Article

James M. Dennis

(b Vienna, Dec 6, 1867; d New York, NY, April 10, 1915).

American sculptor of Austrian birth. Bitter is best remembered for his contributions to the late-19th, early 20th-century City Beautiful Movement. He thereby left a lasting imprint on New York City. Examples of his public sculpture grace not only streets and squares from Bowling Green to Morningside Heights but also numerous other urban sites in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Madison and Minneapolis. Born, raised and educated in Vienna, he no sooner completed his formal training at the Kunstgewerbeschule and Kunstakademie than he was conscripted into the army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Refusing to serve an obligatory second year, he escaped to New York via Berlin in 1888 with little more than his sack of tools. His arrival marked the beginning of a prolific career lasting 25 years.

He was immediately discovered by the leading Beaux-Arts architect, Hunt family §(2), who put him to work producing allegorical figures for major, ongoing commissions. These included two Vanderbilt mansions: ...

Article

(b Dundee, Aug 31, 1898; d London, April 14, 1974).

British art historian, scholar, and teacher. Boase studied history at Magdalen College, Oxford before teaching at Hertford College, Oxford from 1922 to 1937. As an historian his appointment as Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art and Professor of the History of Art in 1937 was controversial, but in this role he helped to establish the history of art as an undergraduate degree course. His time at the Courtauld was disrupted by World War II, and he worked to revive the Institute in its aftermath. Boase brought his historical training to his writing on art. His interests were extremely wide-ranging and he published on subjects as diverse as ‘The Arts in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem’ and ‘Illustrations of Shakespeare’s Plays in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’. Both these articles were among his regular contributions to the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes. In addition to his articles on medieval art, in ...

Article

Betsy L. Chunko

(b Le Mans, Nov 1, 1908; d Brisbane, Australia, July 7, 1995).

French architectural historian, active also in America. Bony was educated at the Sorbonne, receiving his agregation in geography and history in 1933. In 1935, converted to art history by Henri(-Joseph) Focillon, he travelled to England under a research grant from the Sorbonne, after which time he became Assistant Master in French at Eton College (1937–9 and 1945–6). He returned to France in 1939 as an infantry lieutenant in World War II in the French Army, was taken as a prisoner of war and spent the years 1940–43 in an internment camp in Germany. After the war he returned to England, first to Eton, then as Lecturer in the History of Art at the French Institute in London (1946–61), Visiting Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art (1948–58), and Slade Professor of Fine Art at St John’s College, Cambridge (1958–61). From 1961 to 1962...

Article

Leslie Bussis Tait

American art dealers of Hungarian birth, active also in France. Joseph Brummer (b Zombor, Hungary (now Sombor, Serbia), 1883; d New York, 14 April 1947) trained as a sculptor, studying under Auguste Rodin (1840–1917). In 1906 he gave up his own practice to open a gallery in Paris. His brother Ernest Brummer (b Zombor, Hungary (now Sombor, Serbia), 1891; d New York, 21 Feb 1964) trained as an archaeologist, studying at the Ecole du Louvre and the Sorbonne. Before and following service in World War I, Ernest participated in several expeditions to Egypt and the Middle East, which were occasions to collect antiquities. These became the stock (along with contemporary painting and sculpture, Japanese prints, African and Pre-Columbian art, and medieval objects) for the Brummer Gallery in Paris where Ernest assisted his brothers Joseph and Imre (d 1928). By 1917 Joseph left France to establish the New York gallery; Ernest joined him shortly before the outbreak of World War II. Their broad knowledge and discernment in many fields led to the Brummers’ prominent reputation as leading art dealers....

Article

Christine Mehring

(b Cologne, 1941).

American art historian, critic, and teacher of German birth. The significance of Buchloh’s work lies in its expansion of the modern art canon, demonstration of a critical potential of art and straddling of micro and macro levels of history. Buchloh’s scholarship on art made in postwar Europe or from unconventional media has broadened previous, particularly American, understandings of modern art. While a committed historian, Buchloh always also assumes the role of critic, insisting on the critical responsibility of art vis à vis history and the present while cautious about its limits. He maintains that one core function of art is to present the illusion, if not the realization, of a suspension of power (Neo-Avantgarde, p. xxiv). In keeping with this, Buchloh often writes on artists of his own generation whose practice and thinking he knows intimately, and on artists who share his commitment, most importantly conceptual artists of the late 1960s and 1970s. Buchloh’s combined roles as historian and critic spearheaded the merger of art history and art criticism that today defines writing on postwar art. Finally, Buchloh’s thinking interweaves macro and micro perspectives on art, anchoring broad historical arguments in formal and material details, or demonstrating, as in his writings on the “neo-avantgarde,” historical and hermeneutic differences between seemingly similar artistic practices and similarities between ones seemingly different. Buchloh, in short, demonstrates to many why art matters....

Article

John Christian

(Coley)

(b Birmingham, Aug 28, 1833; d London, June 17, 1898).

English painter and decorative artist. He was the leading figure in the second phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. His paintings of subjects from medieval legend and Classical mythology and his designs for stained glass, tapestry and many other media played an important part in the Aesthetic Movement and the history of international Symbolism.

He was the only surviving child of Edward Richard Jones, who ran a small carving and gilding business in the centre of Birmingham, and Elizabeth Coley, the daughter of a prosperous jeweller. Christened Edward Coley Burne Jones, he was called simply Edward Jones until c. 1860 when he adopted the surname Burne-Jones. From an early age he drew prolifically but with little guidance and no intention of becoming an artist. In 1844 he entered the local grammar school, King Edward’s, destined for a career in engineering. It was probably in this connection that in 1848 he attended evening classes at the Birmingham School of Design. By the time he left school in ...

Article

Mitchell B. Merback

(b Keighly, Yorks, March 6, 1958; d Chicago, IL, April 29, 2002).

British art historian and medievalist, active in America. He studied English and Art History at the University of Cambridge, graduating with honours in 1980 and then worked towards a PhD (1985) in medieval art under George Henderson and Jean Michel Massing, while reading critical theory with Norman Bryson, who was a key early influence. Hired in 1985 by the University of Chicago, he served as the Mary L. Block Professor until his death in April 2002. Considered among the most innovative medievalists of the 20th century, Camille experimented broadly with literary theory, semiotics and deconstruction, psychoanalysis, gender studies, body history, biographical, and auto-biographical narrative modes. A meteoric streak of provocative and iconoclastic publications, some of them avowedly post-modern, signalled a profound rejection of the 19th century’s romantic and nationalistic vision of the Middle Ages and found audiences far beyond both art history and medieval studies.

Two pioneering articles, coinciding with his arrival in the United States in ...

Article

(CRSBI)

International organization dedicated to the recording and documentation of all known examples of Romanesque sculpture in Britain and Ireland. The organization was the brainchild of George Zarnecki, scholar of Romanesque art and former Deputy Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art. His aim was to develop a photographic and scholarly archive in which every known example of Romanesque sculpture in Britain and Ireland would be recorded for posterity. In 1988 Zarencki and Neil Stratford (Department of Medieval and Later Antiquities, British Museum) submitted a proposal for funding and support to the British Academy which was successful and the project has been under the remit of that organization since.

Under the guidance of scholars, a team of volunteers track down examples of Romanesque sculpture and measure, describe, and photograph the works before they are eventually made available on the internet with a full bibliography. The project has been directed by Peter Lasko...

Article

Lisa Merrill

(b Boston, MA, July 23, 1816; d Boston, MA, Feb 16, 1876).

American actress and patron. Cushman played a significant role in the careers of numerous female visual artists. During her lifetime, Cushman was considered the greatest and most successful actress in the English-speaking world and served as a role model for many women.

When Cushman initially chose to retire from the stage and live abroad, she divided her time between London, where she had established a home, and Rome. While performing in Boston, MA, in 1852, prior to her first trip to Italy, Cushman and her then-partner, British novelist and translator Matilda Hays, made the acquaintance of young American sculptor, Harriet Hosmer. Hosmer accompanied Cushman and Hays to Italy and, for several years, resided with them in Rome. From the start, Cushman envisioned setting up a residence and salon for expatriate female artists from the USA. Just as Cushman had competed openly and aggressively with male actors and insisted upon receiving remuneration equal to theirs, she also encouraged the female artists she supported to compete openly with male sculptors for commissions. She was their fierce advocate in what Hosmer described as “rivalry in the clay” with male sculptors....

Article

Joellen Secondo

(b Peckham Rye, London, Jan 29, 1845; d London, April 18, 1910).

English designer and writer. He was educated in France and Germany, but his interest in design was provided by visits to the South Kensington Museum, London (now the Victoria & Albert Museum). In 1865 he entered the office of Lavers & Barraud, glass painters and designers. Some time later he became keeper of cartoons at Clayton & Bell and by 1870 had joined Heaton, Butler & Bayne, for whom he worked on the decoration of Eaton Hall, Ches. In late 1880 Day started his own business designing textiles, wallpapers, stained glass, embroidery, carpets, tiles, pottery, furniture, silver, jewellery and book covers. He designed tiles for Maw & Co. and Pilkington’s Tile and Pottery Co., stained glass and wallpaper for W. B. Simpson & Co., wallpapers for Jeffrey & Co. and textiles for Turnbull & Stockdale where he was made Art Director in 1881.

Day was a founder-member and Secretary of the ...

Article

Penny Sparke

(b New York, NY, Dec 20, 1865; d Versailles, July 12, 1950).

American interior decorator, active also in France. Born in New York, in the early 1890s she became a professional actress, wearing couture clothes on stage. Recognized as a better “clothes horse” than actress, she transformed herself, aged 40, into an interior decorator. This was partly made possible by the support of her female companion, Elizabeth Marbury, with whom she lived from the early 1890s until World War I, in a house in Irving Place, New York.

Although de Wolfe’s first major interior decorating project, the Colony Club (1905–7) in New York, was undertaken in a Colonial style, on the many projects that she undertook over the next decade across the USA, she used a revived French 18th-century style that was favored by her nouveau riche clients, among them Lolita and J. Ogden Armour, based in Chicago, and Ethel and William H. Crocker in California. In 1913 she wrote a highly successful decorating advice book, ...

Article

Jason Tippeconnic Fox

(b Cernauti, Bukovina [now in Ukraine], Jan 2, 1875; d Stamford, CT, March 5, 1954).

American architect of Austro-Hungarian birth. Eberson is noted as an influential specialist in Cinema design, especially “atmospheric” cinemas. He was educated in Dresden and at the College of Technology in Vienna, where he studied electrical engineering. Eberson immigrated to the United States in 1901 and transitioned to architectural design through work with the St. Louis-based Johnston Realty and Construction Company. This led to the establishment of Eberson’s eponymous architectural firm, although sources differ in regard to the precise date and initial location. The main office relocated from Hamilton, OH to Chicago in 1910 and to New York in 1926. In 1928, his son Drew Eberson (1904–89) became a full partner in the firm, which was renamed John and Drew Eberson, Architects.

Eberson’s early theaters such as the Palace (1914) in Minneapolis were predominantly conventional classically inspired designs. However, in 1923 he set himself apart with the completion of his first fully realized “atmospheric” movie palace, the Majestic in Houston. Atmospheric theaters gave audiences the illusion of sitting in a courtyard beneath the twinkling stars and rolling clouds of the night sky. The electronic nocturnal effects were enhanced by sidewalls resembling the picturesque facades of adjoining buildings, lush foliage, stuffed birds, bubbling fountains and statuary. While the open sky effect was not without precedent, Eberson employed it as part of a larger theme, typically Italian or Spanish, which shaped the design of the entire theater....

Article

Mary M. Tinti

(b Verdun, France, 1965).

French-born American painter and draftsman. Eisenman was born in France, where her father was stationed as an army psychiatrist, and grew up in Scarsdale, NY. In 1987 she earned her BFA in painting at the Rhode Island School of Design. She then began creating an oeuvre of critically acclaimed paintings, murals, drawings, cartoons and illustrations that seamlessly weave together the subjects and symbols of art history, ancient mythology, popular culture and feminist inquiry. Eisenman also mined her own personal interests, humor and biography and in the process created unique, biting and purposefully anachronistic juxtapositions. Her wickedly witty works subvert culturally pervasive social and gender stereotypes.

Like many women artists learning their craft in the 1980s, Eisenman did not discover the art of her female predecessors until much later in her studies (at a time when their works were only just receiving increased attention). Early influences include Sigmar Polke, Sandro Chia, Francesco Clemente, Haim Steinbach, Jeff Koons, Chris Burden and Cindy Sherman alongside a fondness for comic book graphics, punk rock and the culture, artists and ethos of the East Village in New York. Eisenman credits her 1990s exposure to the works of ...

Article

Mona Hadler

(b Cologne, June 25, 1920; d New York, Feb 6, 1984).

American painter of German birth. His father was the prominent Surrealist artist Max(imilian) Ernst and his mother was the art historian and journalist Louise [Lou] Straus-Ernst. In 1935 he was apprenticed as a typographer in the printing firm of J. J. Augustin in Glückstadt where he set type for anthropological studies. The company worked to attain a visa for Ernst, whose mother was Jewish, and he departed Germany one week before Kristallnacht in 1938; his mother was to die in Auschwitz at the end of the war. Ernst passionately recounts these events in his memoir, A Not-So-Still Life, published in 1984, the year of his death.

In 1941, on the recommendation of gallerist Julien Levy, Ernst was employed by the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. After welcoming his father to the city, he began to work for Peggy Guggenheim, which placed him securely within the Surrealist émigré community and burgeoning New York school along with friends such as the painter William Baziotes. His career as an art dealer advanced in tandem with his painting production. With Eleanor Lust, he opened the experimental Norlyst Gallery in ...

Article

Keith Gibson

(b Richmond, VA, Oct 28, 1844; d Rome, Italy, March 21, 1917).

American sculptor, active in Italy. Ezekiel earned international fame during the third quarter of the 19th century for his allegorical monuments and portraiture. Ezekiel was the first Jewish American to create sculptural monuments for the Jewish community and was also noted for his Civil War memorials to Southern heroes. His career was spent in Rome living and working as an expatriate.

Born and raised in Richmond, VA, Ezekiel entered the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, in 1862. His war-time cadetship and especially his participation, along with the rest of the cadet corps in the Battle of New Market greatly influenced him and provided the subjects for several of his later works. Following the Civil War Ezekiel began his sculpture study under the direction of Thomas Dow Jones (1811–81) in Cincinnati, OH, a city with a thriving arts community. His first serious work, Industry (1868; Los Angeles, CA, Skirball Cult. Cent. & Mus.), depicts a young girl dutifully absorbed in handiwork. It was during this year in Cincinnati that Ezekiel was inspired to study in Germany by news of the design for the Tyler Davidson Fountain by the German sculptor August von Kreling (...

Article

Karen Kurczynski

Alternative art space founded by Stefan Eins (b 1943) at 2803 Third Avenue near 147th Street in the South Bronx, New York, from 1978 to 1993. Eins arrived in New York from Austria in 1967. He referred to Fashion Moda as a museum of “Science, Art, Technology, Invention, and Fantasy,” the title of its inaugural exhibition in 1979. He had previously run a downtown storefront art space called the Mercer Street Store at 3 Mercer Street from 1971 to 1978. Black downtown artist, poet and musician Joe Lewis served as Co-Director of the space with Eins, and William Scott, then a teenager from the neighborhood, served as Junior Director. Their collaborative ventures attempted to connect the street culture of the South Bronx, by then a neighborhood in the midst of massive economic decline, to an international cultural scene.

From its opening in 1978, annually funded with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council of the Arts and other sources, Fashion Moda held auctions, performances, seminars and other events. Joe Lewis described it as “an outlet for the disenfranchised, a Salon des Réfusés that cut across the uptown/downtown dichotomy, across the black/white/Hispanic isolation.” Although its glass storefront was located in a neighborhood far from the Soho gallery district, its impact has been measured largely by its effect on the more mainstream art world of the 1980s and early 1990s. It introduced and exhibited a number of artists including Charles Ahearn, John Ahearn (...

Article

Christian F. Otto

(b Düsseldorf, 1921; d Santa Fe, NM, Oct 6, 2012).

American architect of German birth. Franzen was a major figure of the first postwar generation of American architects, among them Paul Rudolph, Harry Cobb, John M(aclane) Johansen, and Philip Johnson. Franzen immigrated with his family to the United States in 1936. His architectural training and experience was shaped by modernists: Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (Franzen received his MArch in 1948), I. M. Pei (Franzen worked for Pei from 1950–55), and Mies van der Rohe (especially his Chicago architecture). He founded his own firm, Ulrich Franzen and Associates, in 1955.

Franzen has characterized his work as “collage architecture”: designs that combine diverse forms and qualities. He felt that the first condition of building was “the simultaneous solution of opposites” (as Alvar Aalto defined architecture). From the work of Mies van der Rohe he learned the discipline of precise detail and exacting proportion. Louis Kahn’s architecture offered the concept of served and servant spaces. Similarly, Franzen’s buildings explore open, continuous space, a plenitude of natural light, transparencies between interior and exterior, articulated structure and minimal, undecorated form. But Franzen also expanded the modernist palate to include traditional as well as industrial materials, and in place of unitary form, he promoted an architecture enriched by “acknowledging the antagonism between form and purpose and ambiguities of reality.”...