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Article

Zdisław Żygulski jr

(b Felenty, nr Warsaw, 1930).

Polish textile artist. She studied at the College of Fine Arts, Sopot, and graduated in 1955 from the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw. At the beginning of her career she was interested in drawing, painting and sculpture, but after 1960 she concentrated on textile arts in the broad sense of the term. Breaking with tradition, she initiated bold experiments with fibre and fabric. Her work contributed to the revolutionary textile movement known as Fibre art and finally entered the domain of modern sculpture.

Abakanowicz’s début, with a composition of forms made of white fabrics, was in 1962 at the first Biennale Internationale de la Tapisserie in Lausanne. At that time she also experimented with tapestry, giving it three-dimensional relief by introducing non-woven shapes. In the late 1960s her development of three-dimensional textiles was fully realized in her ‘abakans’. These took various forms—winged, open or round—and were red, orange or white. She also created fifteen heavy, monolithic ‘black forms’ and three large ‘black garments’. In ...

Article

(b Paris, Jan 14, 1904; d La Clarté, Brittany, Aug 27, 1967).

French sculptor, printmaker and tapestry designer. His father was a jeweller, and after his return from World War I in 1918 Adam worked in his studio and learnt how to engrave. At the same time he studied drawing at the Ecole Germain-Pilon and read Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal, which was to have a great influence on him. In 1925 he attended evening classes at a school of drawing in Montparnasse. From 1928 to 1934 he started to produce prints and became associated with André Breton, Louis Aragon and Paul Eluard, although he was never greatly influenced by them. His early prints, reminiscent of the work of George Grosz, were mostly designed as social satire, mocking the myths surrounding patriotism, the family and religion, as in When Papa is Patriotic (1935). In 1933 he designed the costumes and scenery for Hans Schlumberg’s Miracle à Verdun performed at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris. His first exhibition of prints was held in ...

Article

Andrew Weiner

(b Beirut, 1925).

Lebanese painter and writer active in the USA. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Adnan was educated in Lebanon before going on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and the University of California, Berkeley. For many years she taught aesthetics at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA; she also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities. During the 1970s Adnan regularly contributed editorials, essays, and cultural criticism to the Beirut-based publications Al-Safa and L’Orient-Le Jour. In 1978 she published the novel Sitt Marie Rose, which won considerable acclaim for its critical portrayal of cultural and social politics during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War. Adnan published numerous books of poetry, originating in her opposition to the American war in Vietnam and proceeding to encompass topics as diverse as the landscape of Northern California and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Her poetry served as the basis for numerous works of theater and contemporary classical music....

Article

Gordon Campbell

[Società Cooperativa Aemilia Ars]

Workshop founded in Bologna in 1898 by the architect Alfonso Rubbiani (1848–1913), modelled on the English Arts and Crafts Movement; its formal name was Società Cooperativa Aemilia Ars. At first the workshop produced a wide range of products, including glass and pottery, but from 1902 to 1914 its principal products were textiles, especially lace....

Article

Gordon Campbell

[Fr. point d’Alençon]

Type of lace produced in France. In 1675 a group of 30 Venetian lacemakers was settled in the Norman town of Alençon by Jean-Baptiste Colbert (Louis XIV’s minister of finance). The Venetians instructed local needlewomen in point de Venise, but by the 1690s the distinctive local style known as point d’Alençon had emerged (see alsoLace §2, (iii), §2(iii)). Needlewomen adopted the net ground technique, and invented a series of new stitches.

Lace production was halted at the Revolution because of its association with the ancien régime, but revived under Napoleon (reg 1804–14) and again under the Second Empire. Lace is still produced in Alençon, supported by the Atelier National du Point d’Alençon founded in 1976, and there are good collections of Alençon lace in the Musée de la Dentelle au Point d’Alençon and the Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle.

The term point d’Alençon now denotes a style as well as a place of origin. The style is characterized by a uniform mesh (called the ...

Article

Chika Okeke-Agulu

(b Cairo, May 22, 1963).

American painter, sculptor, fibre and installation artist of Egyptian birth. Amer, one of the few young artists of African origin to gain prominence in the late 1990s international art scene, studied painting in France at the Villa Arson EPIAR, Nice (MFA, 1989), and the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Art Plastique, Paris (1991). She subsequently moved to New York. She is best known for her canvases in which paint and embroidery are combined to explore themes of love, desire, sexuality, and women’s identity in a patriarchal world. Amer’s use of Embroidery, historically regarded as a genteel female craft, to create images of women fulfilling their sexual desires without inhibition, recalls the provocations and strategies of 1970s Western feminist art. However, her work also reflects her alarm at the incremental curbing of women’s social and political freedoms in her native Egypt following the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, especially after the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser ended in ...

Article

Diane Maglio

(b Piacenza, July 11, 1934).

Italian fashion designer. Armani was dubbed the ‘Sexy Tailor’ by the American fashion press for sartorial innovations he introduced in menswear. He brought sensual drape to traditional suit coats by eliminating rigid interlinings that had shaped and restricted men’s clothing in the 1970s. To complement his new softly-tailored coats, he created short, supple, collared shirts and textural, patterned ties. Armani’s impact on menswear went beyond unstructured sewing techniques to include a serene colour palette inspired by the Italian artist Giorgio Morandi. The neutral earth tones included an inventive grey–beige (‘greige’), moss, mushroom and smoky grey–blue, tones not seen before in menswear. Armani claimed to be ‘the stylist without colour’. Armani also brought a feminine touch to menswear and eventually expanded his design aesthetic to women’s clothing, bringing a powerful look to women’s fashion. His minimal modernism in cut and fit, while retaining maximum impact in silhouette and colour, stimulated the fashion imagination of Hollywood, retailers, journalists and customers of both sexes....

Article

Suzanne Tise

Descriptive term applied to a style of decorative arts that was widely disseminated in Europe and the USA during the 1920s and 1930s. Derived from the style made popular by the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925, the term has been used only since the late 1960s, when there was a revival of interest in the decorative arts of the early 20th century. Since then the term ‘Art Deco’ has been applied to a wide variety of works produced during the inter-war years, and even to those of the German Bauhaus. But Art Deco was essentially of French origin, and the term should, therefore, be applied only to French works and those from countries directly influenced by France.

The development of the Art Deco style, or the Style moderne as it was called at the time, closely paralleled the initiation of the 1925...

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

Alan Crawford

Informal movement in architecture and the decorative arts that championed the unity of the arts, the experience of the individual craftsman, and the qualities of materials and construction in the work itself.

The Arts and Crafts Movement developed in the second half of the 19th century and lasted well into the 20th, drawing its support from progressive artists, architects and designers, philanthropists, amateurs, and middle-class women seeking work in the home. They set up small workshops apart from the world of industry, revived old techniques, and revered the humble household objects of pre-industrial times. The movement was strongest in the industrializing countries of northern Europe and in the USA, and it can best be understood as an unfocused reaction against industrialization. Although quixotic in its anti-industrialism, it was not unique; indeed it was only one among several late 19th-century reform movements, such as the Garden City movement, vegetarianism, and folksong revivals, that set the Romantic values of nature and folk culture against the artificiality of modern life....

Article

Pamela Elizabeth Grimaud

[Bernard, Augusta]

(b 1886; d 1946).

French fashion designer. Augustabernard is known for her understated, elegant garments, whose subtlety belies a mastery of technique. Hailed as a ‘sculptor of cloth’ and a ‘classic modern’, Augustabernard was considered among the most innovative and skilled couturières of her generation.

Augustabernard was born in Provence in the south of France and began her fashion career by creating reproductions of designs by the leading couturiers of the day. In 1919 she opened her Paris salon in the Rue de Rivoli. At that time there were two competing houses using the name Bernard, and it is likely that because of this Augustabernard joined her first name and surname together, creating a griffe or signature label synonymous with exclusivity. In 1928 she moved to 3, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, bringing with her a selective and devoted clientele. By the early 1930s Augustabernard was receiving coverage in the French and international fashion press, achieving success with her simple, yet innovative designs....

Article

Molly Sorkin

(b Getaria, Jan 21, 1895; d Valencia, March 24, 1972).

Spanish fashion designer, active in Paris. Based in Paris from 1937 to 1968, Balenciaga was a modernist couturier whose designs ranged from the austere to the romantic. His uncompromising vision was defined by his quest for perfection in cut, proportion and construction. Influenced in part by the historical art and culture of his native Spain, Balenciaga’s style was often ahead of its time even as it slowly evolved over more than 40 years. Balenciaga dressed an élite group of women who understood and appreciated how his designs took shape on the body (see fig.). He used minimal understructure, instead relying on the fabric, manipulating it into streamlined suits or voluminous evening dresses. Even the most abstract silhouettes retained a soft quality that was flattering to many figures. Like his friends and fellow couturiers Madeleine Vionnet and Coco Chanel, his work has had a profound influence on 20th and 21st century fashion....

Article

Lourdes Font

(Alexandre)

(b Saint–Jean-de-Maurienne, May 18, 1914; d Paris, June 29, 1982).

French fashion designer (see fig.). Balmain was born in the Savoie region of France to a family engaged in various branches of the fashion industry. His father, who died when he was seven, was a wholesale textile merchant and his mother and aunts kept a fashion boutique. Although he was always drawn to a career in fashion, his mother hoped that he would enter another field, and allowed him to study architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1932.

In Paris, Balmain sketched original fashion designs and offered them for sale to couture houses, hoping to be hired. In 1934 he was hired by Edward Molyneux, the couturier he most admired. Balmain claimed that from Molyneux he learned to strip designs down to their essentials. However, he was not given much opportunity to contribute to the house’s collections. The talented but inexperienced Balmain was in need of training, but Molyneux, who already had John Cavanagh and Mitzah Bricard as assistant designers, did not have much need for him. Late in ...

Article

Bauhaus  

Rainer K. Wick

[Bauhaus Berlin; Bauhaus Dessau, Hochschule für Gestaltung; Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar]

German school of art, design and architecture, founded by Walter Gropius. It was active in Weimar from 1919 to 1925, in Dessau from 1925 to 1932 and in Berlin from 1932 to 1933, when it was closed down by the Nazi authorities. The Bauhaus’s name referred to the medieval Bauhütten or masons’ lodges. The school re-established workshop training, as opposed to impractical academic studio education. Its contribution to the development of Functionalism in architecture was widely influential. It exemplified the contemporary desire to form unified academies incorporating art colleges, colleges of arts and crafts and schools of architecture, thus promoting a closer cooperation between the practice of ‘fine’ and ‘applied’ art and architecture. The origins of the school lay in attempts in the 19th and early 20th centuries to re-establish the bond between artistic creativity and manufacturing that had been broken by the Industrial Revolution. According to Walter Gropius in ...

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

Article

Mark Jones

(b Paris, Jan 17, 1913; d Paris, 1994).

French painter, sculptor, medallist and designer. He studied in Paris, at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and was much influenced by his friendship with Maurice Denis. He worked principally as a painter, adopting the saturated colours of Henri Matisse in landscapes and figure studies often based on observation of ‘exotic’ cultures, notably Mediterranean and North African. In the mid-1960s a new rawness emerged in his work, derived from ‘primitive’ examples and new materials associated with his experiments in other media. He executed tapestry designs for Aubusson, posters (winning the Grand Prix de l’Affiche Française in 1984), costumes and sets for ballets at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, reliefs and murals. In 1965 he took up medal-making, expressing in his numerous metallic works for the Paris Mint that obsession with found objects which is also evident in his large-scale sculpture and in his posters.

Bénézit Roger Bezombes: Nice, débarcadère du Levant...

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

Gordon Campbell

Type of lace made since the 17th century at Binche, near Brussels and Valenciennes, both of whose laces it resembles. It is a heavy lace with decorative grounds, and was used for bedspreads and as a costume trimming. The name has since become the generic term for the type of lace once made at Binche....

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 ...