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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 ...