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Article

S. J. Vernoit

[Abū’l-Qāsim]

(fl c. 1816).

Persian painter. His only known work is a long composition depicting the Qajar monarch Fath ‛Ali Shah (reg 1797–1834) entertained by female musicians and dancers. The only surviving fragments of it are a painting of the shah (London, B. W. Robinson priv. col.) and three paintings of the entertainers (Tehran, Nigaristan Mus., ex-Amery priv. col.). The paintings of a woman playing a drum and of a woman playing a stringed instrument are signed raqam-i kamtarīn Abū’l-Qāsim (‘painted by the most humble Abu’l-Qasim’) and dated 1816, but the third painting showing a woman dancing is half-length and damaged. All the fragments share the same continuous architectural background and scale (a little less than life-size). Robinson has suggested that this mural might be the one described in the mid-19th century by the traveller Robert Binning, who reported that the house he occupied in Shiraz contained a painting of Fath ‛Ali Shah seated in state attended by ten women. The composition extended around three sides of the room and the figures were almost life-size. This identification suggests that Abu’l-Qasim might have been a native of Shiraz....

Article

M. N. Sokolov

(b Djadjur, Akhuryan district, July 20, 1928; d Erevan, Feb 24, 1975).

Armenian painter and stage designer . He studied at the Institute of Theatre and Art in Erevan (1952–4), as well as at the Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) from 1954 to 1960. He benefited from the advice of the Armenian painter, Martiros Saryan, but developed a style of his own, with an intense use of colour similar to that of Fauvism. The influence of Armenian medieval art is strongly apparent in his landscapes, self-portraits and scenes of peasant life, for example Baking Lavash (1972; Erevan, Pict. Gal. Armenia). His work combines an uncommon and expressive richness of colour with a dramatic monumentality of composition. He had a one-man show in Erevan in 1962 and another in Moscow in 1969. In 1972 his studio was burnt down and a large number of his canvases destroyed. He was also a stage designer, producing designs, for example, for sets for Aram Khachaturian’s ballet ...

Article

Robert J. Belton

(b Jassy [now Iaşi], Romania, Aug 29, 1933).

Canadian sculptor, film maker, costume designer, playwright and poet of Romanian birth. His formal art training began in 1945 but in 1950 he emigrated to Israel. From 1953 he studied at the Institute of Painting and Sculpture in Tel Aviv. Etrog’s first one-man exhibition took place in 1958 and consisted of Painted Constructions, wood and canvas objects blurring the distinctions between painting and low relief (see Heinrich). In these works he tried to embody uncertainties that stemmed from his experience of Nazi aggression as a boy. The results were loosely expressionistic versions of geometric abstraction, derived in part from the work of Paul Klee.

Assisted by the painter Marcel Janco, Etrog went on a scholarship to New York, where he was inspired by Oceanic and African artefacts he saw in the collections there. This led to a preoccupation with organic abstractions, flowing totemic forms, and metaphors of growth and movement, seen in ...

Article

M. N. Sokolov

[Vladimir] (Davidovich)

(b Tiflis [now Tbilisi], March 30, 1896; d Tbilisi, July 20, 1980).

Georgian painter, draughtsman, illustrator and stage designer. From 1910 to 1914 he trained at the Tiflis School of Painting and Sculpture and from 1919 to 1926 at the Académie Ronson in Paris. While in Paris he became closely acquainted with Modigliani, Ignacio Zuloaga, Natal’ya Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov. His early works, with their theatrically romantic depictions of Georgian national life, fantastic and Symbolist motifs and surreal effects of colour, combine elements of the grotesque with a charming poetic mystery (e.g. the ‘Tsotskhali’ Fish, 1920; Tbilisi, Mus. A. Georg.). His affinity with ancient Georgian and Persian art, of which he was a connoisseur, intensified on his return to Georgia in 1926; his colours became shimmering and tinged with gold, and, at the same time, the visual link with theatre became even stronger (many of his paintings have opera or ballet performances as their subjects or portray actresses in costume). He frequently depicted fantastic and mythological subjects (e.g. ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(Joseph)

(b Beirut, Feb 11, 1952).

Palestinian sculptor, performance and installation artist, active in England. Hatoum’s art, as the work of a Palestinian woman in an initially involuntary exile in London, transformed from confrontational performance in the 1980s to a more reflective engagement with a minimalist and conceptualist heritage in the 1990s. This engagement is exemplified by Socle du Monde (1992–3; wood, steel and iron filings, Toronto, A.G. Ont.), a large block covered with a deep patterned crust of magnetized iron filings, a sensuous and visceral remake of Piero Manzoni’s original Socle du Monde (1962; iron and brass, Herning, Kstmus.). The related themes of exile and institutionalized authority pervade Hatoum's oeuvre and find pithy exemplification in her submissions for the 1995 Turner Prize, Light Sentence (1992; Paris, Pompidou) and Corps étranger (1994; video installation; Paris, Pompidou). The latter showed colour video images of an endoscopic probe of the artist's own body, an earthy and disturbing critique of the dualisms of ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ that recasts the political criticisms of her earlier performance work. By working with a variety of media Hatoum criticizes the boundaries of traditional art practice and evokes the danger and threat of authoritarian politics; ...

Article

Mary Chou

(b Bethlehem, 1970).

Palestinian conceptual artist. Jacir’s works use a variety of media including film, photography, installation, performance, video, sound, sculpture and painting. Jacir was raised in Saudi Arabia and attended high school in Rome, Italy. She received her BA from the University of Dallas, Irving, TX in 1992, her MFA from the Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN in 1994, and participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program from 1998 to 1999. She became a professor at the International Academy of Art, Palestine in Ramallah in 2007. Jacir’s conceptual works explore the physical and psychological effects of social and political displacement and exile, primarily how they affect the Palestinian community. Her work investigated the impact of Israeli action on the Palestinian people and countered representations of Palestinians in the press as primarily militant. Jacir often collaborated with members of the Palestinian community, both local and international, in the creation of her works....

Article

M. N. Sokolov

(Nestorovich)

(b Kukhi, nr Kutaisi, Aug 20, 1889; d Tbilisi, May 10, 1952).

Georgian painter, collagist, stage designer and film maker. He was born into a peasant family and studied from 1909 to 1916 in the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics at the University of St Petersburg. From 1910 to 1915 he also studied painting and drawing in the studio of L. Ye. Dmitriyev-Kavakazsky (1849–1916). With Pavel Filonov he became a member of the St Petersburg artistic group Intimnaya Masterskaya (The Intimate Studio). The group’s manifesto (1914) proclaimed the beginning of a new era in art, awarded a central importance to Filonov’s principle of sdelannost’ (‘madeness’) and drew attention to the fundamental structural principles of artistic language. The manifesto was one of the most original developments of the pre-revolutionary avant-garde in Russia.

Kakabadze was an outstanding representative of the artistic avant-garde in Georgia. In his work innovation was always combined with a deep interest in Georgian national traditions, on which he was an expert. He studied medieval Georgian ornament while still a student, and in ...

Article

Jean Robertson

(b Jerusalem, 1969).

Israeli sculptor and video, performance and installation artist. She studied at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, where she was awarded a BFA in 1994 and continued post-graduate studies in 1995. She spent a semester at the Cooper Union School of Art and Design, New York, as an exchange student in 1993. She moved to Tel Aviv in 1996. Landau represented Israel in 1997 at the Venice Biennale and participated in Documenta X that same summer. Since then she became internationally known for complex, ambitious installations that have included video projections, decaying materials such as rotting fruit and cotton candy, and sometimes life-size Ecorché (flayed) figures fashioned by the artist of Papier mâché with surfaces that look like bloody sinew. From 2005, Landau submerged various objects in the Dead Sea then dried them in the desert sun, the salt coating forming a crystallized surface; some are found objects, others are sculptural forms made of barbed wire. The salt-encrusted objects—including lampshade-like forms—became components of installations. She also made individual sculptures of bronze and other materials....

Article

Kimberly Bobier

(b El Nuhud, 1951).

Sudanese multimedia and performance artist, art critic, and art historian, active in France. Musa graduated from the College of Fine and Applied Art, Khartoum Polytechnic, in 1974. After moving to Italy from Sudan, Musa relocated to France and matriculated at Montpellier University, earning ah Doctorate in Art History in 1989 and a teaching diploma in Fine Arts from Montpellier University in 1995. Subsequently, Musa created artist’s books and illustrated tomes of Sudanese folktales and taught calligraphy. His work critiques European imperialism by parodying the authoritative spectacles of Western museum displays, popular icons, and artistic masterpieces such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (c. 1500–07; Paris, Louvre) and Gustave Courbet’s the Origin of the World (1866; Paris, Mus. Orsay), both referenced in Musa’s The Origin of Art (1998). Musa’s artwork has frequently addressed stereotypes of Africans and Arabs.

From the late 1980s Musa’s ongoing performance series ‘Graphic Ceremonies’ engaged public audiences in exploring the intersection between the art exhibition and ritual. In a performance at the ...

Article

Colette E. Bidon

(b Algiers, March 23, 1861; d Marlotte, Seine-et-Marne, March 1932).

French painter and designer. He began his career painting the Algerian scenes of his youth, rendering Orientalist subjects—such as markets and musicians—with a distinctive, unaffected precision. In 1888 he went to Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Auguste Herst (b 1825) and Fernand Cormon. He exhibited at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts from 1890.

The discovery of Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites, and a visit to Italy in 1894, led Point to model his work on the artists of the Florentine Renaissance. The inspiration of Botticelli and Leonardo can be seen in such works as the Eternal Chimera (c. 1895; London, Piccadilly Gal.). Under the dominating influence of Gustave Moreau, his work was also aligned with Symbolism. He became a disciple of Rosicrucianism and a friend of Sâr Peladan, fastidiously rejecting the modern industrial world and what he considered the excessive realism of Zola or Courbet. He painted magicians, endowed with a pure and ancient beauty, or figures of Greek mythology (e.g. ...

Article

Mitra Monir Abbaspour

(b Chbanieh, June 15, 1967).

Lebanese conceptual artist, photographer, video and performance artist active also in America. Raad received his BFA in photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1989, and completed his MA and PhD in Cultural and Visual Studies at the University of Rochester in 1993 and 1996, respectively, and in 2002 became an associate professor at the Cooper Union School in New York. History and its representation, narration, and memory are the central themes of Raad’s work. His experience of the Lebanese wars between 1975 and 1991 and their ongoing effects inform his inquiries into the methods of historical documents.

Raad began contending with narratives of the Lebanese wars in a series of short video documentaries that included Up to the South (1993)–a collaboration with Lebanese artist Jayce Salloum (b 1958)—and Missing Lebanese Wars (1996). Characteristic of his later practice, these videos critically employ a genre (documentary film) associated with factual reportage, foregrounding the relationship between subject and method of the work....

Article

(b Feodosiya, Dec 24, 1867; d Monte Carlo, Aug 17, 1968).

Russian stage designer of Abkhazian descent. In 1893, after studying under Vasily Polenov at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, he went to Paris, where he later joined the Montparnasse art circle established in 1904 by Yelizaveta Kruglikova. From 1891 he worked on easel paintings, but in 1906 he was appointed head of the St Petersburg studio of stage design. His most significant designs during this period were for Vsevolod Meyerhold’s production (1908) of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at the Mariinsky Theatre. In 1911–12 he worked at the Starinny Theatre alongside artists from the World of Art group, such as Nicholas Roerich, Ivan Bilibin, Yevgeny Lansere and Nikolay Kalmakov (1873–1955). Shervashidze also worked as a draughtsman, a book illustrator, a dress designer, and as a critic and theoretist, publishing articles in Apollon, Zolotoye runo, Mir iskusstvo and Iskusstvo. He lived in Sukhumi for a while from ...

Article

Mark Allen Svede

(b nr Cēsis, April 28, 1896; d Tbilisi, Georgia, July 14, 1944).

Latvian painter, printmaker, ceramicist, interior designer, tage and film set designer and theorist. He was the foremost ideologue for modernism in Latvia and was one of its greatest innovators. His militant defence of avant-garde principles befitted his experience as a soldier and as one of the artists who, after World War I, was denied a studio by the city officials and staged an armed occupation of the former premises of the Riga Art School. At the end of the war he painted in an Expressionist manner: In Church (1917; Riga, priv. col., see Suta, 1975, p. 19), for example, is an exaltation of Gothic form and primitivist rendering. Unlike his peers Jāzeps Grosvalds and Jēkabs Kazaks, he was extremely interested in Cubism and Constructivism, the theories of which informed his paintings, drawings, prints and occasional architectural projects of the 1920s. At this time he and his wife, the painter ...

Article

(b Dresden, 1933).

Israeli sculptor, draughtsman and stage designer of German birth. His family left Germany in 1935 to settle in Palestine and there he studied at the Technical School of Tel Aviv until 1949. After serving in the Israeli army he returned to Germany in 1953 to design sets for Bertolt Brecht and the Berliner Ensemble and in 1956 he produced sets for Brecht’s Der gute Mensch von Sezuan. In 1957 he designed theatre sets in the Netherlands, Germany and Israel, by which time he was sculpting in iron, creating works such as Chariot (1956; see 1980 exh. cat.). He had his first one-man show in 1956 at the Santee Landwer Gallery in Amsterdam. In the 1960s he largely used bronze and iron to make his sculptures and assemblages, often incorporating weapon parts into them, as in Aggression (1964; see 1967 exh. cat., pl. 55). Other works of this period are similarly disturbing, such as ...

Article

Janet Southorn

(b Rome, April 11, 1586; d Rome, April 21, 1652).

Italian nobleman, traveller, writer, composer and antiquary. He was a notable figure in the cultural life of 17th-century Rome. His fame rested chiefly on his travels in Asia, which earned him the nickname il Pellegrino. In June 1614 he sailed from Venice to Constantinople, then visited Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Persia and India, sending to his friend Mario Schipano in Naples letters containing detailed descriptions, which he later began to publish. He became known as an authority on the architecture of the Holy Land and Asia Minor (in Constantinople he admired the Süleymaniye Mosque, and suggested Italian architects might learn from mosque design) and for his interest in archaeology. He sent back the first Mesopotamian cuneiform writing tablets seen in Europe, and at Saqqara in Egypt he bought mummies, which were later displayed at his residence in Rome, which adjoined the palace (101 Corso Vittorio Emanuele) where Cardinal Andrea della Valle had organized his antiquities collection in the 16th century....

Article

V. V. Vanslov

( Bagratovich )

(b Tiflis [now Tbilisi], Jan 13, 1909; d 1989).

Georgian stage designer. He studied at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts under Iosif Sharleman’ (1880–1957), at the Higher Artistic and Technical Institute (Vkhutein, formerly Vkhutemas) under Isaak Rabinovich (1894–1961) and Nisson Shifrin (1892–1961) and at the Leningrad (now St Petersburg) Academy of Arts under Mikhail Bobyshov (1885–1964). He started working in the theatre in 1927, and from 1932 to 1936 he was the principal designer of the Paliashvili Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Tbilisi, for which he also designed productions in later years. His best works at this theatre were his stagings of the ballets Serdtse gor (‘Heart of the hills’; 1936) with music by Andrey Balanchivadze and Othello (1957) with music by Aleksey Machavariani. From 1937 Virsaladze worked for the Kirov Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Leningrad; from 1940 to 1941 and from 1945 to 1962...

Article

V. Rakitin

( Bogdanovich )

(b Tiflis [now Tbilisi], Jan 2, 1884; d Erevan, Dec 28, 1928).

Georgian stage designer and painter of Armenian origin, active in Russia . He studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1901–3) but was expelled after a disagreement over the teaching methods. Posted to the Far East during military service, he became acquainted with Far Eastern decorative art, which inspired the works he exhibited with the Blue Rose group after his return to Moscow in 1907 (e.g. The Races, 1905; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.). His work of this time refers to traditional Chinese and medieval European art refracted through Art Nouveau, in an attempt to create a new decorative style in easel painting. In Moscow he often designed the décor for artistic soirées and balls, creating architecturally decorative compositions whose basic components were painted panels. In 1910 he travelled to Italy and in 1912–13 he worked in Paris, where he became acquainted with Sonia Delaunay and Robert Delaunay. In ...

Article

Robbert Ruigrok

(b Aktyubinsk, Kazakhstan, Feb 7, 1945).

Israeli painter, Playwright and theatre director of Kazakh birth. He moved to Israel with his parents when he was four. Having displayed an early artistic talent, Zohar had his first drawing lessons when he was 14. After three years in the army (from 1963), he entered the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. His teachers included Ernst Fuchs, the Viennese fantastic realist painter, who was highly influential on Zohar. Also important in his development were travels in Britain and the Netherlands, where he saw Dutch Old Master collections and in particular the work of Johannes Vermeer. Zohar’s first one-man show (1970) was at the Ahuva Doran Gallery in Tel Aviv. After exhibiting in further solo and group shows, in 1979 he lectured at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Zohar’s paintings of this period reflected strongly the influence of Vermeer in style and subject-matter. By the 1980s his work became more expressionistic and larger in scale. A retrospective in ...