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Article

(b Ashton-upon-Mersey, June 6, 1879; d Aston Tirrold, Oxon, March 23, 1957).

English urban planner, architect and writer. He was educated at Uppingham, Leics, and was an apprentice in architectural offices, first in Manchester and then in Liverpool. In 1907 Charles H. Reilly appointed him to the School of Architecture at the University of Liverpool, and in 1909, following the foundation of the School of Civic Design, the first urban planning school in Britain, he became deputy to its professor, S. D. Adshead. He helped found its publication, the Town Planning Review, and became a major contributor; he wrote a series of articles on American and European cities, giving a detailed account of his conception of history, architectural styles and the analysis of urban planning. In 1915 he became Professor of Civic Design and was nominated Librarian for the Town Planning Institute. He was active as an editor and conference organizer as well as a teacher and practising architect, involved in work stimulated by the Housing and Town Planning Act of ...

Article

In the 1990s, Aboriginal art gained for the first time a substantial audience as contemporary art. Ten years earlier it had been the preserve of anthropologists and marketed as ‘primitive fine art’ to collectors of tribal art. In 1980, Andrew Crocker, the newly-appointed manager of Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd—the Western Desert artist-run company formed in 1972—sought to change this by marketing the art on purely aesthetic grounds without reference to its Aboriginality. This coincided with a growing interest in the art by an emerging generation of contemporary artists. When abstract paintings from Papunya Tula began appearing in contemporary art venues, Australian critics wondered if they were pieces of Post-modernist or conceptual art. By the end of the decade, such questions were being asked at an international level, with Western Desert art playing a significant role in the emerging post-colonial debate. While this international interest by critics quickly waned, from this time onwards, Aboriginal art became well and truly framed in the Australia art world by the discourses of Post-modernism, post-colonialism and contemporary art....

Article

Nelson Goodman

Term used in an art context in several ways: in general for processes of imagemaking in which only some of the visual elements usually ascribed to ‘the natural world’ are extracted (i.e. ‘to abstract’), and also for the description of certain works that fall only partially, if at all, into what is commonly understood to be representational. Differing ideas and manifestations of abstraction appeared in artists’ works in the successive modern movements of the 20th century (see Abstract art). As the notion of abstraction in the second sense is always dependent on what the parameters of representation are thought to be, the two terms can be contiguous in definition, raising interesting points for the general theory of reference. For instance, an abstract work is often defined as one that does not represent anything, but not every work that does not represent anything is necessarily abstract. A painting that has a fictitious subject, for example a painting of Don Quixote or Camelot, does not represent anything (for there is no such person or place) but is not therefore abstract. A Zeus-picture or a Paradise-picture is no more abstract than a Napoleon-picture or a Paris-picture. An abstract work neither represents anything nor is representational....

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Oakland, CA, 1893; d. Shiraz, Iran, 25 Jan. 1977).

American historian of Iranian art. While studying mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, Ackerman met and eventually married Arthur Upham Pope, with whom she had taken courses in philosophy and aesthetics. In 1926 she and Pope organized the first ever exhibition of Persian art at the Pennsylvania Museum and helped create the First International Congress of Oriental Art. In 1930 Ackerman was stricken with polio but taught herself to walk again. They were instrumental in preparing the 1931 Persian Art Exhibition at Burlington House, London, and the Second International Congress of Iranian Art and Archaeology, as well as the Third Congress in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1935 and the exhibition of Iranian art at the Iranian Institute in New York in 1940. She visited Iran for the first time in 1964, when the shah of Iran invited Pope to revive the Asia Institute; it was associated with Pahlavi University in Shiraz until ...

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

Pat Gilmour

(b Glendale, CA, Dec 11, 1918; d Albuquerque, NM, May 13, 2002).

American painter, printmaker, art historian, writer and teacher. His appointment to the art faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1942 was interrupted by military service, and it was not until 1946 that he resumed his career as a teacher of the practice and theory of art. This took him to the universities of Kentucky (Lexington), Florida (Gainesville) and finally New Mexico (Albuquerque), where he served as Dean (1961–76). Despite academic demands, Adams always found time to paint and showed his work in over 50 solo exhibitions. Equally at home in oil, acrylic, watercolour and egg tempera, he was initially inspired by the abstracted cityscapes of Stuart Davis. Later he absorbed the lessons of Matisse, achieving particularly radiant paintings during the 1980s. In 1993 he was elected an Academician by the National Academy of Design.

In 1948, at Stanton Macdonald-Wright’s suggestion, Adams began to make lithographs with the Los Angeles printer, ...

Article

Margaret Medley

(b London, June 11, 1914; d Pembury, Kent, July 31, 1983).

English diplomat, collector and art historian. In 1947, as a member of the British Diplomatic Service, he was posted to Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, then the capital of the Nationalist Chinese government. He became interested in Chinese art and history and began a collection of porcelain, furniture and textiles at a time of political and economic uncertainty, when Chinese collectors were forced to sell. When he moved to the British embassy in Beijing in 1954 he continued his research into Chinese ceramic history with the help of specialists from the Palace Museum. In 1963 he became British ambassador to the Philippines and was largely responsible for organizing the Manila Trade Pottery Seminar (1968), to which he also contributed five of the nine discussion monographs. From 1972 to 1974, as British ambassador to China, he played an important part in promoting the Chinese archaeological exhibition The Genius of China, held in London at the Royal Academy in ...

Article

(b Paris, 1908; d Paris, June 20, 1987).

French art historian. He came from a distinguished Provençal family and studied art history first at the Ecole des Chartes, Paris, under Marcel Aubert and then at the Sorbonne, Paris, under Henri Focillon. At the invitation of Julien Cain (d 1974), in 1932 he joined the staff of the Cabinet des Estampes et de Photographie in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. As Director of the department (1961–77) he made a significant contribution to the collection, acquiring numerous old and contemporary works. He also recognized the importance of the photographic collection and oversaw its expansion. Adhémar was involved in organizing over 20 exhibitions at the library; in 1935 he organized a major exhibition of the prints of Francisco de Goya. During the 1930s Adhémar was the Paris correspondent for Fritz Saxl and the Warburg Institute in London. His first book (1939) showed the inspiration of the Warburg on his approach. His principal interest was the arts and patronage of the French Renaissance. He edited important catalogues on 16th-century engravers (...

Article

Isabelle Gournay

(b Tours, 1875; d 1934).

French architect, urban planner and writer. He graduated in 1905 from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, where he was a student in the atelier of Victor Laloux. In 1902 he came into contact with the Musée Social, a non-profit organization of bourgeois reformers, which sent him to visit the Louisiana Purchase International Exposition (1904) in St Louis, MO. Like a number of French architects of his generation such as Léon Jaussely and Marcel Auburtin (1872–1926), with whom he founded the Société Française des Architectes Urbanistes in 1913, he established a practice focused on urban design, achieving an international reputation in this field. Agache claimed to have coined the word ‘urbanisme’ and in 1914 he organized the first courses ever taught on the subject in France at the Collège Libre des Sciences Sociales et Economiques in Paris. His professional work included a prizewinning entry (1912; unexecuted) to the international competition for the design of Canberra, the new capital city of Australia, and master plans for Dunkerque (...

Article

Walter Smith

(b Buenos Aires, 1945).

American architect and theorist of Argentine birth. She received her Diploma of Architecture at the University of Buenos Aires in 1967 and studied further in Paris at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and the Centre du Recherche d’Urbanisme (1967–9). She moved to New York in 1971. From 1976 Agrest taught at Cooper Union, New York, and at Columbia, Princeton and Yale universities. In 1980 she went into partnership with her husband, Mario Gandelsonas (b 1938), in the firm A & G Development Consultants Inc., in New York. She also formed her own firm, Diana Agrest, Architect, in New York. Agrest was deeply involved in theoretical research, and was a Fellow at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, New York, from 1972 to 1984. She was strongly influenced by semiotics and developed the idea that architecture can refer beyond itself, discussed particularly in her essay on architecture and film (...

Article

(b Harplinge, Halland, June 10, 1891; d Stockholm, March 12, 1984).

Swedish architect and writer. He graduated from the Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (1914) and from the Kungliga Akademien för de fria Konsterna in Stockholm (1918), before working in the office of Ivar Tengbom. From 1921 to 1924 Ahlberg was a writer for and editor of Byggmästaren, the Swedish journal of building and architecture. His architectural production encompassed the traditionalism and neo-classicism of the early 20th century, as well as the International Style, characterized by rational, pragmatic design. His Arts and Crafts Stand at the Göteborg Jubilee Exposition (1923), with its mannered, slender pavilions, was an early contribution to the neo-classical revival of the 1920s. The Freemasons’ Orphanage (1928–31) at Blackeberg outside Stockholm showed his development of this classicism into austere geometrical simplicity, while the buildings of the Trade Union High School (1928–50) at Brünnsvik, Dalecarlia, are based on the national timber-building tradition, with red panelling, white-framed windows and tiled, hipped roofs. The same combination of rational simplicity and romantic traditionalism occurs in Ahlberg’s ecclesiastical buildings, such as Mälarhöjden Chapel (...

Article

(b Hudiksvall, May 25, 1905; d 1997).

Swedish architect and writer. He graduated from the Kungliga Tekniska Högskola in Stockholm in 1927 and entered the office of Ivar Tengbom to work on office and commercial buildings. In 1931 he formed a partnership with Helge Zimdal, who had studied with him at the Kungliga Tekniska Högskola. The partnership lasted until 1950. Their winning entry in the competition for Sveaplan Girls High School (1931), Stockholm, was a functionalistic design based on a rational plan that divides classrooms from special facilities by placing them in architecturally separate areas. A series of school buildings, including Skanstull High School (1943), Eriksdal Schools and Gubbängen Public School (1947), High School and Gymnasium (1954), all in Stockholm, develop this method of rational planning but with a less ostentatiously modern vocabulary of red or yellow brickwork. The Östergötlands Länsmuseum (1938) in Linköping with its carefully designed gallery lighting is of a similar type. Ahrbom was appointed professor at the Kungliga Tekniska Högskola in ...

Article

(b Stockholm, Aug 6, 1897; d Arvika, Oct 8, 1977).

Swedish architect and writer. While a student at the Kungliga Tekniska Högskola in Stockholm (1915–19), he participated in the Home Exhibition of the Swedish Society of Arts and Crafts at Liljevalchs Konsthall in Stockholm. He worked in the office of Gunnar Asplund (1921–3), and his early works are in the then-prevalent Neo-classical style. However, he soon adopted the Modernism of Le Corbusier’s Pavillon de l’Esprit Nouveau (1925) and the Weissenhofsiedlung at Stuttgart (1927), and he became a protagonist of rational and socially directed planning and architecture. His Students’ Union building at the Kungliga Tekniska Högskola (1928; with Sven Markelius), the Flamman Cinema (1929) and the Ford Motor Co. warehouse (1930), all in Stockholm, represent this new aesthetic. Furniture and industrial design were also an important part of his work during the 1920s and 1930s. As a prolific writer for the press and professional journals, he was an effective propagandist of Modernism, contributing to the Stockholm Exhibition of ...

Article

Michael Spens

(b Tokyo, June 5, 1937).

Japanese architect, teacher and writer. He graduated from Waseda University, Tokyo, in 1960 and obtained his MArch in 1966 and DEng in 1971. He began teaching architecture at Shibaura Institute of Technology in 1962, becoming a lecturer in engineering there in 1966 and subsequently assistant professor (1973) and professor (1976). In 1967 he opened his own office in Tokyo. A founding member of the counter-Metabolist group Architext (1971), Aida was one of the New Wave of avant-garde Japanese architects, expressing his theories in both buildings and writings. His journal articles clearly state his desire to question—if not overthrow—orthodox Modernist ideas of rationality, order and suitability of form to function. He likened architectural design to an intellectual game, and he was one of the first to equate deconstruction with the art of construction, for example in his Artist’s House (1967), Kunitachi, Tokyo, in which all the elements have arbitrary relationships with each other. In other buildings he focused on the creation of architectural experiences that reflect immediate events. In the Nirvana House (...

Article

Alain  

[Chartier, Emile-Auguste]

(b Mortagne, Orne Mortagne, Orne, 3 March 1868; d Le Vésinet, nr Paris, 2 June 1951). French philosopher and writer. He studied philosophy under Jules Lagneau (1851–94) at the Lycée de Vanves, near Paris, and from 1889 to 1892 studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, where he read avidly the works of Plato, Aristotle and Immanuel Kant. He then became a professor at the Collège de Pontivy, moving in 1893 to the Lycée de Lorient, where he developed a strong interest in politics. In 1900 he was appointed a professor at Rouen and in 1902 became a professor at the Lycée Michelet in Paris.

In 1906 Alain published the first of his propos or brief articles, in La Dépêche de Rouen; these were entitled ‘Propos d’un Normand’ and signed Alain, after the medieval poet Alain Chartier, whose work he admired. Between 1906 and 1914...

Article

Stephen Grabow

(b Vienna, Oct 4, 1936).

British architect, theorist and writer. He studied architecture and mathematics at Cambridge University, England (1956–9), and at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1960–63). While at Harvard he was the joint author with Serge Chermayeff of Community and Privacy (1963), which was a discussion of urban courtyard house-plans by others of the time but which already contained the beginnings of a view of architecture as involving interactive processes rather than finished forms. In 1963 he took up his first faculty position at the University of California at Berkeley, later becoming professor of architecture there. In 1964 he published Notes on a Synthesis of Form, discussing the use of information theory in planning, with examples from his consulting work in India; in April and May 1965 he applied similar observations from mathematics to the current debate on lack of complexity in urban planning in the article ‘A City is not a Tree’. In ...

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

Philip Cooper

(Charles Félix)

(b Paris, Jan 22, 1885; d 1961).

French critic and poet. His poetry was influenced by Joachim du Bellay (1522–60), Charles Baudelaire and Auguste Angellier (1848–1911), and the many volumes he published include La Féerie des heures (Paris and Lille, 1902) and L’Appartement des jeunes filles (Paris, 1919). He was briefly associated with the Abbaye de Créteil in 1907–08, and he moved to Paris from Lille in spring 1910, soon coming into contact with the Cubists. He was one of their earliest and most perceptive defenders. In his first article on art, a review of the Salon d’Automne of 1910, he wrote approvingly of the work of Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes and Henri Le Fauconnier as marking the final rout of Impressionism. Allard played a leading role in bringing these and other Cubists together for the first group exhibition at the Salon des Indépendants of 1911 and largely remained a supporter of Salon Cubism. He maintained a broad attitude towards Cubism, seeing it as a return to the balance and composure of classicism, blended with the more modern ideas of Henri Bergson. Initially unaware of the pioneering work of Picasso and Braque, he reacted with hostility in his article ‘Sur quelques peintres’ (...

Article

V. S. Turchin

(Vladimirovich)

(b Moscow, Dec 10, 1902; d Moscow, May 9, 1986).

Russian art historian. He graduated from Moscow University in 1921. Much of his time was devoted to teaching, at the Higher State Artistic and Technical Institute (Vkhutein), the Theatre and Architecture institutes, Moscow University and the institute attached to the Academy of Arts. His main areas of interest were Old Russian art, the art of the Renaissance, and Russian art of the 18th and 19th centuries. He was particularly concerned with the links between the art of different regions, trying to combine iconographical method with a stylistic analysis. His premise was that ‘art is a metaphor for life’. In his descriptions of works of art he aimed to provide a written equivalent of visual images, using his skills as a poet and artist. He was internationally respected and his work was published in the journals Iskusstvo, Slavia, Commentari, Belvedere, Revue des études grecques, among others. He became known in 1924...

Article

(b Amsterdam, May 16, 1899; d Amsterdam, Oct 18, 1980).

Dutch museum curator and art historian. After a short stay at the Koninklijk Academie voor Kunsten, Amsterdam, he studied in Paris (with Frits Lugt), Rome and Utrecht (with W. Vogelsang), gaining his doctorate at Utrecht in 1935 with a study of the drawings of Jacques de Gheyn. After an interlude in the art trade, Altena became curator of three small municipal museums in Amsterdam (1932–7) and then a professor in the history of art at the University of Amsterdam (1937–69). Concurrently he served as director of the Rijksprentenkabinet of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (1948–62), keeper of the art collections of the Teyler Foundation, Haarlem (1952–73), and co-editor of the journal Oud-Holland (1946–73). Altena’s professional writings include numerous articles, mostly concerning Netherlandish painting of the 15th–17th centuries, but his main interest lay in drawings, of which he was recognized as an outstanding connoisseur and collector. He enriched the ...