1-20 of 61 results  for:

  • 1900–2000 x
Clear all

Article

Henri Béhar

(b Paris, Oct 3, 1897; d Paris, Dec 24, 1982).

French writer. He took up writing as a career after studying medicine during World War I. He was mobilized in 1917 at the same time as his friend André Breton, with whom he had contributed poems to Pierre Reverdy’s Nord-Sud. His first critical article, ‘Du décor’, published in Le Film (16 Sept 1918), praised the novelty of the cinema and the aims of modern life, which he defined as progress, novelty of experience, liberty of artistic expression and inspiration of love. These were his main concerns when he founded the review Littérature (1919), together with Breton and the French writer Philippe Soupault. Fascinated by Tristan Tzara and by the collages of Max Ernst, he wrote his poems Feu de joie (Paris, 1920) and his parodic stories Anicet and Les Aventures de Télémaque (both Paris, 1922) under the influence of Dada, whose techniques he borrowed and to which he added his own insolence. Experimentation with subconscious motivations led to the formation of the ...

Article

Greta Stroeh

[Jean] (Peter Wilhelm)

(b Strassburg, Germany [now Strasbourg, France], Sept 16, 1886; d Basle, Switzerland, June 7, 1966).

French sculptor, painter, collagist, printmaker, and poet of German birth. The son of a German father and French Alsatian mother, he developed a cosmopolitan outlook from an early age and as a mature artist maintained close contact with the avant-garde throughout Europe. He was a pioneer of abstract art and one of the founders of Dada in Zurich, but he also participated actively in both Surrealism and Constructivism. While he prefigured junk art and the Fluxus movement in his incorporation of waste material, it was through his investigation of biomorphism and of chance and accident that he proved especially influential on later 20th-century art in liberating unconscious creative forces.

Following a brief period at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Strasbourg (1900–01), Arp received instruction from 1901 from a friend and neighbour, the painter and printmaker Georges Ritleng (1875–1972). He then attended the Kunstschule in Weimar (1904–7) and the Académie Julian in Paris (...

Article

Amelia Pavel

In 

Article

(Gruenwald, Alfred Emanuel Ferdinand]

(b Stettin, Pomerania [now Szczecin, Poland], Oct 9, 1892; d nr Chamonix, France, 17 or Aug 18, 1927).

German collagist, draughtsman, writer and publisher. Although he came from an upper middle-class family, after serving as a volunteer in World War I he became a pacifist and a supporter of democratic socialism on Soviet lines. In 1918 he began a political career as a committee member of the mid-Rhine district of the Independent Social-Democratic Party, a Marxist party that had split from the Social-Democratic Party of Germany. The short-lived journal he edited, Der Ventilator, which published six issues in Cologne in February and March 1919, was a satirical magazine directed against the Social Democrat government in Berlin.

Having discovered the work of de Chirico and come under the influence of Dada, in autumn 1919 Baargeld became an opponent of tradition and convention in art as well, setting himself particularly against Expressionism. In November 1919 he and Max Ernst, who together can be said to have founded the Cologne branch of ...

Article

(b Geneva, Feb 25, 1872; d Lausanne, Jan 1, 1938).

Swiss painter and multimedia artist . From 1890/91 she studied under Hugues Bovy (1841–1903) and Denise Sarkissof at the Ecole d’Art in Geneva. A travel scholarship enabled her to study in Munich for a year. From 1904 until the outbreak of World War I Bailly lived in Paris, where she associated with Cubist artists, including Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, Fernand Léger, Marie Laurencin and Sonia Lewitska (1882–1914). From 1905 to 1926 she exhibited regularly at the Salon d’Automne. From 1906 to 1910 her work was influenced by Fauvism, and from 1910 she became interested in Cubism and Futurism: Equestrian Fantasy with Pink Lady (1913; Zurich, Gal. Strunskaja) is reminiscent of the work of Gino Severini or Franz Marc in its rhythmic movement and planar fragmentation of horses and riders into coloured patterns. Other paintings of this period that are also indebted to these movements include ...

Article

Peter W. Guenther

(b Pirmasens, Feb 22, 1886; d San Abbondio, Switzerland, Sept 14, 1927).

German writer and performer . After studying sociology and philosophy at the universities of Munich and Heidelberg he began working as a stage manager at the theatre in Plauen in 1910. He wrote a number of plays while in Munich in 1912. He also wrote poetry and was charged with obscenity for his poem Der Henker (pubd in Revolution, 15 Oct 1913) but was later exonerated on account of its ‘unintelligibility’. About this time he experimented with Expressionist painting. His plans to form, with Vasily Kandinsky, a new type of experimental Expressionist theatre in Munich were interrupted by the beginnings of World War I. Ball volunteered but was rejected for health reasons. He became a pacifist and published poetry and prose in several journals.

Ball became a leading figure in the development of the Dada movement, and he is credited with inventing the name. In 1915, with Richard Huelsenbeck, he organized Expressionist readings in Berlin. In May of the same year he emigrated with ...

Article

Henri Béhar

(b Tinchebray, Feb 19, 1896; d Paris, Sept 28, 1966).

French writer. While still an adolescent he came under the influence of Paul Valéry and Gustave Moreau, who for a long period were to influence his perception of beauty. From that time on, his poetic creation interrelated with his reflections on art, which like Gide’s were conditioned by a moral code. He considered that it is not possible to write for a living, but only from interior necessity; in the same way, painting must always derive from an irrepressible need for self-expression. These criteria guided Breton both in his dealings with the Surrealist group (of which he was the uncontested leader) and in his articles on painting, collected in editions of Le Surréalisme et la peinture (first published in 1928).

Breton’s family were of modest means. He was educated in the modern section of a lycée, without any Latin or Greek, and had embarked on a study of medicine when he was called up to serve in World War I. During this period he was drawn to poetry by his fascination with Arthur Rimbaud. His meeting with the aesthete Jacques Vaché temporarily dulled his interest in Rimbaud, and instead he turned to Guillaume Apollinaire, whose advice and friendship were a significant influence on him. Through Apollinaire he came into contact with Marie Laurencin, Derain, De Chirico and Picasso, and became friendly with the French poet and novelist Philippe Soupault. The review ...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Lisbon, Aug 9, 1923).

Portuguese painter and poet. He studied fine art and music and in 1942 took part in the meetings at the Café Herminius of a group of students, including Cruzeiro Seixas and Fernando de Azevedo, engaged in Dada activities. His writings for Júlio Pomar’s art page in the newspaper Tarde in 1945 called for the politicization of art. In 1947 he was one of the founder-members of the Lisbon Surrealist Group but left, forming a dissident group called The Surrealists in 1948. Although this group was disbanded after two exhibitions (1949 and 1950), both Cesariny and Cruzeiro Seixas retained a surrealizing tendency in their work.

Although better known as a poet, Cesariny continued to be involved with the visual arts. Psychic automatism and the use of varied materials including found objects played an important part in the genesis of his images. His poem-objects are quirky and humorous, if somewhat derivative of French Surrealism....

Article

Patricia Delettre

(Ivanovich)

(b Buguruslan, Aug 4, 1888; d Villeneuve-Saint Georges, France, Nov 24, 1975).

Russian painter active mainly in France. After being rejected by the Academy of Fine Arts in Kazan’, Charchoune moved in 1909 to Moscow, where he was taught by Ilya Machov (1881–1944), discovered French Cubism and met avant-garde artists such as Mikhail Larionov, Natal’ya Goncharova and Vladimir Tatlin. In 1910 he was called up for three years’ military service, but he deserted in 1912, moving to Berlin and then Paris, where he became part of the informal Ecole de Paris. By this stage he was initiating himself into the rigours of Cubism, studying under Jean Metzinger and, above all, Henri Le Fauconnier, whose influence is apparent in paintings such as Watermill at Ploumanac’h (1913; see Creuze, pl. 39). Charchoune went to Barcelona in 1914 to avoid involvement in World War I, and there rediscovered the ornamental through seeing Spanish-Moorish art, notably geometric patterns in ceramics and tiles; his enthusiasm for these is seen in such works as ...

Article

Erika Billeter

(b Berlin, Dec 15, 1896; d Wassenaar, March 13, 1983).

Dutch photographer, Photomontagist and painter, active also in Germany. He belonged to the Dada group in Berlin and was a friend of George Grosz, Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield and Erwin Blumenfeld. From 1922 to 1925 he was associated with the Bauhaus in Weimar, producing during this period the photocollage Metropolis (1923; Leiden, Rijksuniv.), the single work for which he remains best known, and which has become a classic image of the 20th-century city. His period at the Bauhaus clearly helped shape his photographic style, his photomontages in particular betraying the influence of both Dada and Constructivism. In 1927 he moved to the Netherlands, founding and then teaching at the Nieuwe Kunstschool in Amsterdam (1933–7). From 1935 to 1940, and again from 1945 to 1960, he was professor of drawing and painting at the Academie voor Beeldenden Kunsten in The Hague. He continued to work as both a painter and photographer without ever recapturing the fame that he had enjoyed with his work of the 1920s....

Article

Ronald Alley

(b Bulle, Switzerland, April 24, 1878; d Paris, Jan 30, 1958).

French painter of Swiss birth. From 1901 he spent almost all his life in Paris, studying there at the Académie Julian. His early work was influenced first by Impressionism, then by Fauvism and Art Nouveau, and included a number of rhythmically stylized female heads in pastel colours, followed from c. 1910 by a more strongly constructed Cubist phase. He spent two years in New York (1914–16), where he met (Henri-Robert-)Marcel Duchamp—whose sister Suzanne Duchamp he married in 1919—and Francis Picabia, and became involved in the Dada movement until 1921; his Dada paintings and reliefs are delicate and poetic and often combine the forms of objects, such as mechanical instruments, with words and typography, as in his portrait of Thomas Edison (1920; London, Tate).

In the 1920s, seeking to create a visionary art that would transport the artist and viewer into unknown worlds expressive of the aspirations of the soul, Crotti began to produce pictures in a variety of styles, sometimes completely abstract, like ...

Article

Dada  

Dawn Ades and Matthew Gale

Artistic and literary movement launched in Zurich in 1916 but shared by independent groups in New York, Berlin, Paris, and elsewhere. The Dadaists channelled their revulsion at World War I into an indictment of the nationalist and materialist values that had brought it about. They were united not by a common style but by a rejection of conventions in art and thought, seeking through their unorthodox techniques, performances, and provocations to shock society into self-awareness. The name Dada itself was typical of the movement’s anti-rationalism. Various members of the Zurich group are credited with the invention of the name; according to one account it was selected by the insertion of a knife into a dictionary and was retained for its multilingual, childish, and nonsensical connotations. The Zurich group was formed around the poets Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings, Tristan Tzara, and Richard Huelsenbeck, and the painters Hans Arp, Marcel Janco, and ...

Article

Inmaculada Julián

[Cat.: ‘die at seven’]

Artistic and literary group based in Barcelona and active from 1948 to 1956. It was founded in September 1948 by the poet Joan Brossa, who proposed the group’s name, together with philosopher Arnau Puig and the painters Modest Cuixart, Joan Ponç (b 1927), Antoni Tàpies and Joan-Josep Tharrats. They based their stance largely on Dada and Surrealism and related developments, notably on Max Ernst’s early work and on the art of Paul Klee and Joan Miró, and directed much of their attention to the sub-conscious by way of magic and the occult. Making clear their opposition to academic and official artistic circles, they were an important force in promoting contemporary art in Catalonia after the damage to their culture effected by the Spanish Civil War (1936–9).

The group’s ideas, and the work of the artists associated with it, were transmitted largely through their magazine, also titled ...

Article

Allan Doig

(b Utrecht, Aug 30, 1883; d Davos, Switzerland, March 7, 1931).

Dutch painter, architect, designer and writer. He was officially registered as the son of Wilhelm Küpper and Henrietta Catharina Margadant, but he was so convinced that his mother’s second husband, Theodorus Doesburg, was his father that he took his name. Little is known of his early life, but he began painting naturalistic subjects c. 1899. In 1903 he began his military service, and around the same time he met his first wife, Agnita Feis, a Theosophist and poet. Between about 1908 and 1910, much influenced by the work of Honoré Daumier, he produced caricatures, some of which were later published in his first book De maskers af! (1916). Also during this period he painted some Impressionist-inspired landscapes and portraits in the manner of George Hendrik Breitner. Between 1914 and 1915 the influence of Kandinsky became clear in such drawings as Streetmusic I and Streetmusic II (The Hague, Rijksdienst Beeld. Kst) and other abstract works....

Article

Francis M. Naumann

(b Blainville, Normandy, July 28, 1887; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, Oct 2, 1968).

French painter, sculptor and writer, active also in the USA. The art and ideas of Duchamp, perhaps more than those of any other 20th-century artist, have served to exemplify the range of possibilities inherent in a more conceptual approach to the art-making process. Not only is his work of historical importance—from his early experiments with Cubism to his association with Dada and Surrealism—but his conception of the ready-made decisively altered our understanding of what constitutes an object of art. Duchamp refused to accept the standards and practices of an established art system, conventions that were considered essential to attain fame and financial success: he refused to repeat himself, to develop a recognizable style or to show his work regularly. It is the more theoretical aspects implicit to both his art and life that have had the most profound impact on artists later in the century, allowing us to identify Duchamp as one of the most influential artists of the modern era....

Article

Marsha Meskimmon

(b Blainville, 1889; d Neuilly, 1963).

French sculptor, collagist and draughtsman. Sister of (Henri-Robert-)Marcel Duchamp. Suzanne Duchamp’s work was significant to the development of Paris Dada and modernism and her drawings and collages explore fascinating gender dynamics. She worked closely with her husband, the artist Jean Crotti and her brother, which has exacerbated the tendency to subsume her particular production under their influence.

Beginning her art studies in 1905 at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Rouen, by the outset of World War I Duchamp had moved to Paris. Between 1916 and 1921 she produced a significant body of work in a formal language that has come to be called ‘mechanomorphic’—images taken from commonplace mechanical or technological objects (such as cogs, pulleys, lightbulbs, car parts, etc) arranged to describe or infer human agency, desire or behaviour. The work of Francis Picabia, with whom Duchamp and Crotti were closely allied even after his ‘rejection’ of Dada in the 1920s, typifies the mechanomorphic tendency. Duchamp’s own mechanomorphic works, such as ...

Article

(b Lund, Oct 21, 1880; d Berlin, May 19, 1925).

Swedish draughtsman, film maker, painter and writer. After a limited education in Sweden he emigrated to Germany in 1897, where he received a commercial training at Flensburg that year. Around 1900 he began work as a bookkeeper at a watch factory in Le Locle in Switzerland, and from c. 1901 to c. 1907 he worked as a bookkeeper in Milan. There he attended the Accademi di Belle Arti di Brera in the evenings. In 1907 he obtained a post as a bookkeeper at the Lyceum Alpinum in Zuoz, Switzerland, where he was also allowed to teach art. His wife’s ill-health forced him to resign the post and, after a visit to Essen in 1910, he moved to Paris (1911) and became acquainted with Arp, Modigliani, Othon Friesz and Moise Kisling; he was particularly impressed by the work of André Derain, but he probably also studied the work of the Cubists....

Article

Valerie Holman

[Grindel, Eugène(-Emile-Paul)]

(b Saint-Denis, Dec 14, 1895; d Charenton-le-Pont, Seine, Nov 18, 1952).

French writer and collector. He was an innovative poet and was intimately involved with the Surrealist movement from its inception. He maintained a lasting friendship with Max Ernst, and his first wife Gala later married Salvador Dalí. He counted Pablo Picasso as one of his closest friends and dedicated more poems to him than to any other artist. Surrealist painters constantly stressed the importance of the inspiration they derived from the poets in their circle, in which Eluard was a central figure, largely because of his great sensitivity to the ways in which art and language could enhance each other. Not only did he publish numerous works dedicated to contemporary artists—notably Capitale de la douleur (Paris, 1926), La Vie immédiate (Paris, 1932) and Donner à voir (Paris, 1939)—but on many occasions he commissioned them to illustrate his poems: his collaborations with Max Ernst (Les Malheurs des immortels...

Article

Malcolm Gee

(b Brühl, nr Cologne, April 2, 1891; d Paris, April 1, 1976).

German painter, printmaker, and sculptor, naturalized American in 1948 and French in 1958. He was a major contributor to the theory and practice of Surrealism (see Two Children Are Threatened by a Nightingale, 1924). His work challenged and disrupted what he considered to be repressive aspects of European culture, in particular Christian doctrine, conventional morality, and the aesthetic codes of Western academic art. Until the mid-1920s he was little known outside a small circle of artists and writers in Cologne and Paris, but he became increasingly successful from c. 1928 onwards. After 1945 he was respected and honoured as a surviving representative of a ‘heroic’ generation of avant-garde artists.

Article

Daniel Robbins

(b Paris, Dec 8, 1881; d Avignon, June 23, 1953).

French painter, printmaker and writer. He grew up in Courbevoie, a suburb of Paris, and as a student at the Collège Chaptal became interested in theatre and painting. At 19, his father put him to work in the family interior design and fabric business, an experience that contributed to a lifelong respect for skilled workmanship. The first paintings he exhibited, at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1902, were Impressionist in character, but the work accepted within two years at the Salon d’Automne showed a shift to social themes, a tendency that accelerated until 1908. Compulsory military service from 1903 to 1905 thrust him into the company of working-class people, arousing a permanent sense of solidarity with their aspirations and needs. The results were immediately apparent in the Association Ernest Renan, which he helped to establish in 1905, a kind of popular university with secular and socialist aims. He was also one of the founders of a community of intellectuals based near Paris, the ...