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Article

Rodolphe Rapetti

(b Paris, Dec 7, 1862; d Paris, Jan 1, 1920).

French writer and critic. His fictional work developed rapidly from a naturalist concept of the novel (e.g. Chair molle, Paris, 1885) to a symbolist one (e.g. Etre, Paris, 1888). As an art critic, he played an important role in the first years of Neo-Impressionism. The few pieces that he wrote between 1886 and 1889 placed him in the top rank of contemporary critics and were of considerable influence. He was less interested in analysing the theoretical bases of Neo-Impressionism than in deciphering their implications, stressing the relationship of this new method of painting to Symbolism. He felt that the use by Seurat and his followers of a body of scientific theories on which to base their art was not only an indication of their adherence to the modernity that pervaded the century but also revealed an underlying tendency towards abstraction. At the same time fundamental visual concepts or ‘preconceived sensorial notions’ that had served as the basis of western art were called into question. In this regard, the ‘pictorial concern to interpret the pure phenomenon’ corresponded to the aspiration towards synthesis that marked Symbolism and was ‘in close correlation to contemporary philosophy, biology and physics in denying the existence of objects, declaring matter to be the mere appearance of vibratory movement that is the source of our impressions, our sensations, our ideas’ (...

Article

Hans-Olof Boström

(Gustave) [Agelii, John Gustaf]

(b Sala, Västmanland, May 24, 1869; d Barcelona, Oct 1, 1917).

Swedish painter. He started to paint of his own initiative on Gotland at the age of 20. In the spring of 1890 he went to Paris, where he studied under Emile Bernard, through whom he became familiar with the work of Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh. He became involved in theosophical circles, with Jacques Tasset, M. E. J. Coulomb and other members of the theosophical group Ananta. During the summers of 1891 and 1892 he went back to Gotland to paint. On returning to Paris he painted only sporadically, while studying oriental languages and religions. In the autumn of 1894 he went to Egypt and began painting intensively, producing such works as Egyptian Landscape (1894/5; Stockholm, Nmus.). In 1895 he was again in Paris where he was an enthusiastic student of Islam, to which he converted in 1898. In 1900 he shot and wounded a banderillero at a bullfight in Paris in protest against the cruelty to the animals: this led to the abolition of bullfights in France....

Article

[Pierre Urbain]

(b Paris, 1859; d Paris, 1937).

French writer and collector. He wrote for a number of journals including Le Figaro, Le Voltaire and L’Evénement. He was the first to use the term Neo-Impressionism in a French publication (L’Evénement, 10 Dec 1886) after its use by Félix Féneon in September in Art moderne in Brussels. His attitude to the emerging Neo-Impressionist movement was somewhat equivocal. In Paris (13 Aug 1888) he wrote of Seurat as ‘the man of great achievements who is in some danger of having the paternity of his own theory wrested from him by ill-informed critics or unscrupulous colleagues’. Although he admired Seurat, he had grave doubts about the effect of his theories on other artists, claiming (in the same article) that they had ‘spoilt some great talents, painters like Angrand and Signac’. His comments particularly infuriated Paul Signac and caused tension within the group. He also wrote on the work of the ...

Article

Isabel L. Taube

Term applied variously to describe a specific style, movement, and artistic affiliation embraced by American artists from about 1885 to 1920. Impressionism began in France in the early 1870s and later spread throughout Europe and the USA. While artists continue to paint in an Impressionist style today, art historians generally use the term American Impressionism to refer to an historical tendency that gained prominence and flourished during the last decades of the 19th century and first decades of the 20th. Impressionism began as a radical reaction to more conservative approaches to painting, and only in the early 20th century did it become a mainstream style in comparison with other developments in modern art. American Impressionism included a diversity of approaches, usually attributed to geographic and regional differences.

Impressionism as an art movement and style began when a group of painters, including Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Auguste Renoir, became frustrated with the traditional criteria favoured by the official French government-sponsored exhibitions and joined together to organize an independent show of their work in Paris in ...

Article

(b Solothurn, March 28, 1868; d Oschwand, July 6, 1961).

Swiss painter and sculptor. From 1884 to 1886 he received irregular lessons from the Swiss painter Frank Buscher (1828–90). In the autumn of 1886 he attended the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Munich and the following year met Giovanni Giacometti, who was to be a lifelong friend. In 1888 he visited the Internationale Kunstausstellung in Munich, where he was particularly impressed by the work of Jules Bastien-Lepage and Whistler. This prompted him to go to Paris to continue his studies, and from 1888 to 1891 he attended the Académie Julian, working under William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Tony Robert-Fleury and Gabriel Ferrier. While in Paris he also met Paul Sérusier, Maurice Denis and other Nabis artists, though his own painting of this period was most influenced by Impressionism. In 1892 he was advised to visit Pont-Aven in Brittany, where he met Emile Bernard, Armand Séguin and Roderic O’Conor, as well as seeing the works of Vincent Van Gogh and Gauguin at first hand. This brief period had a decisive effect upon his work, leading to such Synthetist paintings as ...

Article

Richard Thomson

(b Criquetot-sur-Ouville, Normandy, April 19, 1854; d Rouen, April 1, 1926).

French painter. He was trained at the Académie de Peinture et de Dessin in Rouen, where he won prizes. Although he failed to gain entry to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Angrand began to win a controversial local reputation for canvases in a loosely Impressionist manner. In 1882 he secured a post as a schoolteacher at the Collège Chaptal in Paris. With this security he was able to make contacts in progressive artistic circles, and in 1884 he became a founder-member of the Salon des Indépendants. His paintings of this period depict rural interiors and kitchen gardens, combining the broken brushwork of Monet and Camille Pissarro with the tonal structure of Bastien-Lepage (e.g. In the Garden, 1884; priv. col., see 1979 exh. cat., p. 27).

By the mid-1880s Angrand had met Seurat through Signac and the literary salon of the writer Robert Caze. From 1887 Angrand began to paint in Seurat’s Neo-Impressionist manner and adopted his tenebrist drawing style. Paintings such as ...

Article

Belinda Thomson

(b Etrepagny, nr Gisors, Jan 26, 1861; d Paris, Aug 19, 1932).

French painter. He came to Paris in 1882 and studied art at the Ateliers of Bonnat and Cormon, where he was a contemporary and friend of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Emile Bernard and Vincent van Gogh. His early work shows the influence of Impressionism and of Edgar Degas. In 1887 Anquetin and Bernard devised an innovative method of painting using strong black contour lines and flat areas of colour; Anquetin aroused much comment when he showed his new paintings, including the striking Avenue de Clichy: Five O’Clock in the Evening (1887; Hartford, CT, Wadsworth Atheneum) at the exhibition of Les XX in Brussels and at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris in 1888. The new style, dubbed Cloisonnisme by the critic Edouard Dujardin (1861–1949), resulted from a study of stained glass, Japanese prints and other so-called ‘primitive’ sources; it was close to the Synthetist experiments of Paul Gauguin and was adopted briefly by van Gogh during his Arles period. Anquetin’s works were shown alongside Gauguin’s and Bernard’s at the Café Volpini exhibition in ...

Article

Danielle Derrey-Capon

(b Ghent, Jan 9, 1866; d Ghent, June 9, 1922).

Belgian painter and etcher . The son of a successful mill-owner and an excellent musician, he was a pupil and friend of Gustave Den Duyts (1850–97), and later, at the Ghent Académie, of Jean Delvin (1853–1922). He was involved in the exhibiting society L’Essor in Brussels as well as the triennial salons held in Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent in rotation. Among his earliest important works are The Scheldt at Dendermonde (1887; Ghent, Mus. S. Kst.), which he painted beside Isidore Meyers (1836–1917) and Franz Courtens in a Realist style characteristic of the Dendermonde school. In 1889–90 he attended the studio of Alfred Roll in Paris, where he met Jacques-Emile Blanche and Charles Cottet, and became particularly closely associated with Frits Thaulow, Emile-René Ménard and Edmond Aman-Jean. He exhibited regularly at the Salon in Paris. Although Baertsoen is considered to be one of the first Belgian ...

Article

Kenneth Archer

[Rosenberg, Lev (Samoylovich)]

(b Grodno, Belarus, May 10, 1866; d Paris, Dec 27, 1924).

Russian painter and stage designer of Belorussian birth. Born into a middle-class Jewish family, Bakst was educated in St Petersburg, attending a gymnasium and then the Academy of Arts (1883–6). He began professional life as a copyist and illustrator of teaching materials but quickly moved on to illustration for popular magazines. His tastes were influenced and horizons enlarged when he met Alexandre Benois and his circle in 1890. Bakst travelled regularly to various countries in Europe and North Africa and studied in Paris with a number of notable artists including the French Orientalist painter Jean-Léon Gérôme at the Académie Julian and, from 1893 to 1896, the Finnish landscape painter Albert Edelfelt. Returning to St Petersburg, he became active as a book designer and fashionable portrait painter. With Benois and Serge Diaghilev he was a founder and leading member of the World of Art (Mir Iskusstva) group in 1898...

Article

Rigmor Lovring

(Hendrik)

(b Copenhagen, March 9, 1871; d Copenhagen, Jan 28, 1941).

Danish painter and metalworker . He trained at private schools of painting in Copenhagen. In 1889–1904 he travelled to Paris and Brittany several times and between 1892 and 1906 was often in Italy. Mette Gauguin (b 1850) inspired in him an interest in French art, and it was she who introduced him to Paul Gauguin and Paul Sérusier in Brittany. He was encouraged by his friend the Dutch painter Jan Verkade to convert from Judaism to Catholicism in 1893. Ballin introduced French Symbolism and Art Nouveau to Denmark, and he was valued for his knowledge of the work of Gauguin, Sérusier, the Symbolists and the Synthetists. Symbolist inspiration is apparent in one of his few paintings, At the Beach (1900; Copenhagen, M. Bredholt priv. col.)

After his conversion to Catholicism, Ballin became interested in religious artefacts and abandoned painting for metalwork. In 1899 he opened a metal workshop with the sculptor ...

Article

Thérèse Burollet

(b Thivernal, Seine-et-Oise, Aug 29, 1848; d Paris, 1928).

French sculptor and painter . He first studied law; when the Franco-Prussian war broke out in 1870 he enlisted as a volunteer in Gen. Charles Bourbaki’s army. After the battle of Sedan he fled to Switzerland. As a prisoner on parole, he attended Barthélemy Menn’s studio at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva and decided to devote himself to painting. He worked alone, in a naturalistic manner heavily influenced by that of Jules Bastien-Lepage, with its insistence on working in the open air rather than in the studio. Bartholomé exhibited for eight years at the Salon des Artistes Français (e.g. Recreation, 1885; Paris, priv. col.), receiving encouragement from Joris-Karl Huysmans. His first wife’s death in 1887 plunged him into depression; his best friend, Edgar Degas, advised him to sculpt a tombstone for her (1888; Bouillant cemetery, Crépy-en-Valois, Oise).

Soon after, Bartholomé embarked on the chief work of his career: from ...

Article

Charlotte Humphreys

[Bugayev, Boris (Nikolayevich)]

(b Moscow, Oct 26, 1880; d Moscow, Jan 8, 1934).

Russian writer. He was a leading theorist and poet of the Russian Symbolist movement. In Russia Symbolism embraced a whole idealistic philosophy, strongly influenced by the eschatological and mystical teachings of Vladimir Solovyov (1853–1900) and by the belief, at the turn of the century, that Russia was on the threshold of a new era. The second generation of Russian Symbolist writers—Vyacheslav Ivanov, Aleksandr Blok and Andrey Bely—shared Solovyov’s Platonic concept that this world was merely a shadow of another, real, world to be intuitively divined and revealed by the poet. The anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner was a great influence on Bely; anthroposophy was to become an important component of the aesthetics of Russian Symbolism.

Music and rhythm were central to Bely’s lyrical works and theories. He defined music as the essence of reality, describing it as the absolute art form. Poetry was considered to be close to music because rhythm and sound were its prerequisites. Music acquired a deeper, mystical association for Bely, as a force linking the human and the divine and as an indication of universal harmony. His mystical and abstract approach to music, and his idea that the evocation of mood in art was more important than the representation of reality, were particularly relevant to the ...

Article

Bailey Van Hook

(b Salem, MA, March 24, 1862; d Salem, Nov 15, 1951).

American painter, etcher and teacher. Benson attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from 1880 to 1883 as a student of Otto Grundmann (1844–90) and Frederick Crowninshield (1845–1918). In 1883 he travelled with his fellow student and lifelong friend Edmund C(harles) Tarbell to Paris, where they both studied at the Académie Julian for three years with Gustave(-Clarence-Rodolphe) Boulanger and Jules(-Joseph) Lefebvre. Benson travelled with Tarbell to Italy in 1884 and to Italy, Belgium, Germany and Brittany the following year. When he returned home, Benson became an instructor at the Portland (ME) School of Art, and after his marriage to Ellen Perry Peirson in 1888 he settled in Salem, MA. Benson taught with Tarbell at the Museum School in Boston from 1889 until their resignation over policy differences in 1913. Benson rejoined the staff the next year and taught intermittently as a visiting instructor until ...

Article

Belinda Thomson

(b Lille, April 28, 1868; d Paris, April 15, 1941).

French painter and writer. He was the son of a cloth merchant. Relations with his parents were never harmonious, and in 1884, against his father’s wishes, he enrolled as a student at the Atelier Cormon in Paris. There he became a close friend of Louis Anquetin and Toulouse-Lautrec. In suburban views of Asnières, where his parents lived, Bernard experimented with Impressionist and then Pointillist colour theory, in direct opposition to his master’s academic teaching; an argument with Fernand Cormon led to his expulsion from the studio in 1886. He made a walking tour of Normandy and Brittany that year, drawn to Gothic architecture and the simplicity of the carved Breton calvaries. In Concarneau he struck up a friendship with Claude-Emile Schuffenecker and met Gauguin briefly in Pont-Aven. During the winter Bernard met van Gogh and frequented the shop of the colour merchant Julien-François Tanguy, where he gained access to the little-known work of Cézanne....

Article

Justine Hopkins

(Polhill)

(b Hove, Aug 5, 1865; d London, July 8, 1925).

English painter and lithographer. He studied at the Westminster School of Art and in Paris. In 1890–91, having encountered Paul Sérusier at the Académie Julian in Paris, he made his first visit to Brittany, where he worked with the Pont-Aven group; he also developed an interest in lithography. After contact with Renoir, Bevan made a second visit to Brittany in 1893–4, when he met and was influenced by Gauguin. From the early 1900s Bevan adopted a divisionist or pointillist style in paintings that often depicted London street scenes and horse trading, as in Horse Sale at the Barbican (1913; London, Tate), and landscapes painted on summer holidays in Devon and Cornwall, of which Green Devon (1919; Plymouth, City Mus. & A.G.) is a striking example. In the last years of his life his style changed, the paint becoming thicker and more textural, with a new attention to the juxtaposition of masses. At times he approached a Cubist geometry of form, for example in rural scenes such as ...

Article

Petr Wittlich

(b Chýnov, Bohemia [now in Czech Republic], Nov 6, 1872; d Chýnov, Oct 13, 1941).

Czech sculptor and printmaker. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (1887–8, 1890) under Maximilián Pirner, at the School of Applied Arts in Prague (1888) under Josef Mauder (1854–1920) and at the Académie Colarossi in Paris (1892) under Antoine Injalbert. From the outset of his career Bílek displayed an almost fanatical zeal in using his religious art to rouse mankind to avert a moral decline. While he was in Paris, the dramatic naturalism of his first important statues treating Christological themes was greeted with indignation by the Prague scholarship commission.

In Bílek’s over life-size woodcut of the Crucifixion (1896–9; Prague, St Vitus Cathedral), Symbolism prevailed over his initial naturalism and he was inspired by the work of William Blake and the Pre-Raphaelites. Bílek’s imagination was excited by the neo-Platonic symbolism of light, which he interpreted in an original way in both his woodcuts and prints. When he was criticized by the Catholic Moderns for exaggerated individualism, he turned to the tradition of the medieval Bohemian Hussite movement and began to foster their ideals. This is reflected in his mystically conceived statue of the heretic and leader of the movement, Jan Hus, entitled a ...

Article

Charlotte Humphreys

(Aleksandrovich)

(b St Petersburg, Nov 28, 1880; d Petrograd [now St Petersburg], Aug 7, 1921).

Russian poet and critic. Italian Renaissance painting and the work of contemporary Russian and foreign artists of the modern school greatly influenced Blok’s poetry, which in turn was exceptionally suggestive for masters of the fine arts as well as for many Symbolist poets. Blok belonged to the second generation of Russian Symbolist poets, who saw literature as a powerful theurgic force, capable of revealing the true, ideal world through temporal symbols. Symbolism in Russia was strongly influenced by the mystical philosophy of Vladimir Solovyov (1853–1900), who initiated the cult of the divine Sophia—the image of Eternal Woman as the soul of the universe and the link between the human and the divine. Blok reflected this cult in his Stikhi o prekrasnoy dame (‘Verses about the beautiful lady’). The beautiful lady whom Blok described is both a real woman and a transcendental figure, unattainable Beauty, the Ideal. She assumes an unearthly aspect, revealing herself to the poet in an atmosphere of dreams that are like fairy tales or medieval visions....

Article

Anthony Parton

[Rus. Golubaya Roza]

Group of second-generation Russian Symbolist artists active in Moscow between 1904 and 1908. The term derives from the title of an exhibition that they organized at premises in Myasnitsky Street, Moscow, in 1907. The group originated in Saratov, when in 1904 Pavel Kuznetsov and Pyotr Utkin (1877–1934) organized the exhibition Crimson Rose (Rus. Alaya Roza), which included the work of the two major Symbolist painters Mikhail Vrubel’ and their teacher Viktor Borisov-Musatov. Later that year, at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, they attracted artists of a similar persuasion such as Anatoly Arapov (1876–1949), Nikolay Krymov, Nikolay Milioti, Vasily Milioti, Nikolay Sapunov, Martiros Saryan and Sergey Sudeykin. An important member of the group was the wealthy banker, patron and artist Nikolay Ryabushinsky, who publicized Blue Rose in his magazine Golden Fleece (Rus.: Zolotoye Runo). By 1907 most of the group had become co-editors, but a group statement or manifesto was never published. ...

Article

Antoine Terrasse

(b Fontenay-aux-Roses, nr Paris, Oct 3, 1867; d Le Cannet, Jan 27, 1947).

French painter, printmaker and photographer. He is known particularly for the decorative qualities of his paintings and his individual use of colour. During his life he was associated with other artists, Edouard Vuillard being a good friend, and he was a member of the Nabis.

Bonnard spent some of his childhood at Grand-Lemps in the Isère, where his family owned a house surrounded by a large park. There was a farm adjoining the house, and from an early age he developed a love of nature and animals. After obtaining the baccalauréat at 18, he enrolled in the Law faculty in order to please his father, who wanted him to have a steady job. He graduated when he was 21, and he was sworn in as a barrister in 1889. In the meantime he was already drawing and painting, having enrolled at the Académie Julian, Paris, in 1887. In an attractive ...

Article

Marian Burleigh-Motley

(Yel’pidiforovich)

(b Saratov, April 14, 1870; d Tarusa, Nov 8, 1905).

Russian painter. He studied art in Saratov from 1890 to 1891 and then at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture from 1893 to 1895. In the intervening years he attended the Academy of Art in St Petersburg and worked under Pavel Chistyakov (1832–1919). During three winters in Paris between 1895 and 1898 he attended the studio of the history and portrait painter Fernand Cormon. Cormon had little influence on his style, but the exposure to contemporary French art was crucial, and the first mature works of Borisov-Musatov date from this period. He produced landscapes and figure studies in the high-keyed colours of the French Impressionists, as in the oil painting Boy with a Dog (1895; Khar’kov, Mus. F.A.). In France Borisov-Musatov had also seen the murals of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and he returned to Moscow hoping to produce monumental, decorative art based on a Symbolist rendering of nature. His many paintings of women in early 19th-century dress have a superficial resemblance to the retrospective paintings of the Russian World of Art (Mir Iskusstva) group, but add a new note of melancholy, of an imaginary past irretrievably lost. He came close in mood to the contemporary Russian Symbolist poets, Valery Bryusov (...