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Article

Colin Rhodes

(b Berlin, Oct 5, 1887; d Bad Liebenzell, nr Stuttgart, Nov 14, 1975).

German painter. He studied under Henry Van de Velde at the School of the Fine Arts and Arts and Crafts of the Grand Duchy of Saxony (later the Bauhaus, Weimar) (1906–7), and under Franz von Stuck at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich (1909–10). He worked under Adolf Hölzel at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart from 1912, and by 1918 he had produced his first non-objective works under the influence of the latter. Although primarily an abstract painter he was briefly involved with Magic Realism in the 1920s. He devised a type of colour abstraction, which he called ‘Absolute Painting’, and in 1930 he founded a ‘Seminar for Absolute Painting’ at the Volkshochschule in Stuttgart. Works such as Painting XII (1949; Berlin, Alte N.G.) relied heavily on a body of theory derived mainly from Hölzel and the colour theories of Goethe.

L. Langenfeld...

Article

[Bronstein, Max]

(b Tuchów, Poland, July 13, 1896; d Jerusalem, June 18, 1992).

Israeli painter of Polish birth. As a young boy he greatly admired El Greco, Goya and Rembrandt. From 1920 to 1925 he studied at the Bauhaus, Weimar, under Klee, Kandinsky, Johannes Itten and Lyonel Feininger and the following year studied painting techniques at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Munich under Max Doerner. During the 1920s he changed his name from Max Bronstein to Mordecai Ardon. He taught at the Kunstschule Itten in Berlin from 1929 to 1933, when Nazi persecution forced him to flee to Jerusalem. Though he had been an active Communist in Germany, in Jerusalem he soon found a great affinity with Jewish religion and culture. In 1935 he was made a professor at the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem, and was its Director from 1940 to 1952.

Ardon’s early paintings show the influence of Expressionism, as in Seated Woman in a Straw Chair...

Article

Barbara Barsch

[Koehler, Otto]

(b Blumenau, Brazil, Feb 6, 1904; d 1995).

German sculptor . He studied at the Bauhaus in Weimar under László Moholy-Nagy and Oskar Schlemmer from 1923 to 1924; he emigrated to Czechoslovakia in 1935, where he was co-founder and director of the Oskar-Kokoschka-Bund. He lived in London from 1939 to 1947 and then returned to Berlin, where he taught at the Hochschule für Bildende und Angewandte Kunst (1950–58). In East Germany Balden was seen as developing a modern idiom within the context of naturalism, somewhat in the manner of Henry Moore. Even his early works, such as Beaten Jew (1943) and Reminder (1946; both Berlin, Staatl. Museen, Neue N.G.), show his interest in expressive form and his liking for sculpture ‘containing space’. He always created socially-orientated works based on his own beliefs about the independence of the individual, as in the Karl Liebknecht monument (1968) in the Marktplatz, Luckau.

R. Hoffmann: Theo Balden...

Article

Kathleen James-Chakraborty

After the closure in 1933 of the Bauhaus in Berlin, its staff and students dispersed. Many found their way to the USA, where they became highly influential teachers as well as artists and architects. The pedagogical methods developed at the school, particularly in the preliminary course, became commonplace in all levels of art education, as the former centrality in America of life drawing to instruction in the visual arts was now challenged by experimentation with abstract principles of composition and the qualities of individual materials.

Josef and Anni Albers family were the first Bauhäusler to immigrate to the USA. They arrived in 1933 and quickly took up positions at Black Mountain College, NC. In 1950 Josef became chair of the department of design at Yale University, New Haven, CT, from which he retired in 1958. His increasingly rigorous investigations into geometry and colour culminated in a series of paintings entitled ...

Article

Monica Bohm-Duchen

(b Haag, Austria, April 5, 1900; d Santa Barbara, CA, Sept 30, 1985).

American painter, designer, photographer and typographer, of Austrian birth. After serving in the Austrian army (1917–18), Bayer studied architecture under Professor Schmidthammer in Linz in 1919 and in 1920 worked with the architect Emanuel Margold in Darmstadt. From 1921 to 1923 he attended the Bauhaus in Weimar, studying mural painting (with Vasily Kandinsky) and typography; it was at this time that he created the Universal alphabet, consisting only of lowercase letters. In 1925 he returned to the Bauhaus, then in Dessau, as a teacher of advertising, layout and typography, remaining there until 1928. For the next ten years he was based in Berlin as a commercial artist: he worked as art manager of Vogue (1929–30) and as director of the Dorland advertising agency. Shortly after his first one-man exhibitions at the Galerie Povolotski, Paris, and at the Kunstlerbund März, Linz (both 1929), he created photomontages of a Surrealist nature, such as ...

Article

(b Chemnitz, Oct 1, 1893; d Kirchberg, June 18, 1983).

German metalworker and designer. One of the best-known of the Bauhaus metalworkers, she studied painting and sculpture at the Kunstakademie in Weimar (1911–14). Around 1923 she went to study at the Bauhaus in Weimar and on the advice of László Moholy-Nagy joined the metal workshop there. The development of her work parallels the philosophical developments at the Bauhaus, from the craft orientation of the Weimar period (1919–25) to the interest in technology and industrial design of the Dessau period (1925–33). Her early designs, for example the hand-crafted nickel-silver teapot (1924; see fig.) and brass and ebony tea-essence pot (1924; Berlin, Bauhaus-Archv), are based on pure geometrical forms—cylinders, spheres and hemispheres. Functional considerations are secondary to aesthetic concerns. Her later designs, particularly those for lighting fixtures, reflect the influence of Moholy-Nagy. Under his direction the metal workshop concentrated on producing prototypes for mass production (...

Article

Anna Rowland

(Lajos)

(b Pécs, May 21, 1902; d New York, July 1, 1981).

American furniture designer and architect of Hungarian birth. In 1920 he took up a scholarship at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, but he left almost immediately to find a job in an architect’s office. A few weeks later he enrolled at the Bauhaus at Weimar on the recommendation of the Hungarian architect Fred Forbat (1897–1972). Breuer soon became an outstanding student in the carpentry workshop, which he led in its endeavours to find radically innovative forms for modern furniture. In practice, this meant rejecting traditional forms, which were considered symbolic of bourgeois life. The results of these experiments were initially as idiosyncratic as those of other workshops at Weimar, including the adoption of non-Western forms, for example the African chair (1921; see Rowland, 1990, p. 66) and an aggressively castellated style inspired by Constructivism.

Breuer was impressed by De Stijl, whose founder Theo van Doesburg made his presence felt in Weimar in ...

Article

Erika Billeter

(b Buenos Aires, July 31, 1906; d Buenos Aires, June 18, 2012).

Argentine photographer. Having produced his first photographs in 1928, he studied in 1932 at the Bauhaus, Berlin, under the American photographer Walter Peterhans (1897–1960). There he met the German photographer Grete Stern, whom he was later to marry and with whom he started a studio for publicity photography in Buenos Aires in 1937. He established his name in 1936 with the publication of his book on Buenos Aires. He preferred to illustrate art books and was particularly interested in the ceramic culture of Peru and the sculpture of Rodin. Among his other publications were monographs on Stonehenge, Paestum and the Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum in Duisburg, and the volume De Fotografía (Buenos Aires, 1969).

Coppola, Horacio Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires, 1936)Imagema: Antología fotográfica, 1927–1994 (Buenos Aires, [c.1994]) E. Billeter: Fotografie Lateinamerika (Zurich and Berne, 1981)S. Facio: La fotografía en la Argentina desde 1840 a nuestros días...

Article

Alexander Koutamanis

[Despo, Jan]

(b Chios, Jan 7, 1903; d Oct 1, 1992).

Greek architect, teacher and writer. He studied under Hannes Meyer at the Bauhaus, Weimar (1924–5), and at the Königliche Technische Hochschule, Hannover (1928), and worked for Erich Mendelsohn in Berlin. In the 1930s he was a major figure in Greek architecture, being the only architect to relate Modernism to socio-economic structures and to socialist views. In 1932 he was co-founder of the Greek group of CIAM. His pre-war buildings include three sanatoria: Sotiria (1934) in Holargos, Attica, one (1936–40) in Tripolis, Peloponnese, and one (1937–40) in Asvestochori, near Thessaloniki; these were the first buildings of this type in Greece to show the influence of Modernism. From 1942 to 1946 and 1961 to 1966 he was Professor of Architectural Composition at the National Technical University, Athens, the intervening years being spent in Sweden, where he taught at various universities. In 1959...

Article

Gilbert Herbert

(Adolf Georg)

(b Berlin, May 18, 1883; d Boston, MA, July 5, 1969).

American architect, industrial designer and teacher of German birth. He was one of the most influential figures in the development of the Modern Movement, whose contribution lay as much in his work as theoretician and teacher as it did in his innovative architecture. The important buildings and projects in Gropius’s career—the early factories, the Bauhaus complex at Dessau (1925–6), the Totaltheater project for Berlin, the housing estates and prefabricated dwellings—were all more than immediate answers to specific problems. Rather, they were a series of researches in which he sought prototypical solutions that would offer universal applicability. They were also didactic in purpose—concrete demonstrations, manifestos, of his theories and beliefs. His theories sought to integrate the individual and society, art and industry, form and function and the part with the whole. He left Germany for England in 1934; three years later he emigrated to the USA, where he continued to teach, write and design for the rest of his life....

Article

Anna Rowland

(b Frankfurt am Main, July 11, 1893; d Sydney, Jan 7, 1965).

German painter, printmaker and teacher, active in England and Australia. From 1912 to 1914 he attended the progressive school run by Wilhelm von Debschitz in Munich and studied art history at Munich University. His training was then interrupted for four and a half years by military service. In 1919 he enrolled at Adolf Hölzel’s pioneering academy in Stuttgart. Hölzel communicated to his pupils, who also included Johannes Itten and Oskar Schlemmer, his interest in abstract formal relationships and colour contrasts. At this time Hirschfeld-Mack is known to have been working in the style of the German Expressionists.

In October 1919, attracted by Walter Gropius’s Bauhaus Manifesto, Hirschfeld-Mack enrolled at the Weimar Bauhaus. After taking the Vorkurs devised by Itten, he enrolled in the printing workshop, where he soon emerged as one of the most important apprentices. He worked closely with the Form Master, Lyonel Feininger, helping to prepare Zwölf Holzschnitte von Lyonel Feininger...

Article

Anna Rowland

(b Südern-Linden, Nov 11, 1888; d Zurich, May 25, 1967).

Swiss painter, textile designer, teacher, writer and theorist. He trained first as a primary school teacher in Berne (1904–6), where he became familiar with progressive educational and psychoanalytical ideas. He was, however, interested in art and music, and in 1909 he decided to become a painter. He enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva but was so disappointed that he returned to teacher training in Berne. He read widely and developed an interest in religion and mystic philosophy. After qualifying he returned to Geneva and greatly enjoyed the course on the geometric elements of art run by the Swiss painter Eugène Gilliard (1861–1921). After travelling in Europe, in 1913 Itten went to Stuttgart to study at the academy of Adolf Hölzel, a pioneer of abstraction who was also convinced of the importance of automatism in art. Greatly impressed, Itten absorbed his teaching on colour and contrast and his analyses of Old Masters paintings. Encouraged by Hölzel, he made abstract collages incorporating torn paper and cloth....

Article

Vivian Endicott Barnett

[Vassily; Wassily] (Vasil’yevich)

(b Moscow, Dec 4, 1866; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, Dec 13, 1944).

Russian painter, printmaker, stage designer, decorative artist and theorist. A central figure in the development of 20th-century art and specifically in the transition from representational to abstract art, Kandinsky worked in a wide variety of media and was an important teacher and theoretician. He worked mainly outside Russia, but his Russian heritage continued to be an important factor in his development.

Kandinsky grew up in Odessa and from 1886 to 1893 studied economics, ethnography and law in Moscow, where he wrote a dissertation on the legality of labourers’ wages. He married his cousin Anya Shemyakina in 1892 (divorced 1911). In 1896 Kandinsky decided to become an artist and went to Munich. There he studied from 1896 to 1898 at the art school of Anton Ažbe, where he met Alexei Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin, and then in 1900 at the Akademie with Franz von Stuck. The following year he was a co-founder of the ...

Article

Ann Temkin

(b Münchenbuchsee, nr Berne, Dec 18, 1879; d Muralto, nr Locarno, June 29, 1940).

Swiss painter, draughtsman, printmaker, teacher, and writer. Klee’s work forms a major contribution to the history of 20th-century art. He is associated most commonly with the Bauhaus school in Weimar and Dessau. He is regarded as a major theoretician among modern artists and as a master of humour and mystery. In much of his work, he aspired to achieve a naive and untutored quality, but his art is also among the most cerebral of any of the 20th century (e.g. Disturbance, 1934; Turin, Gal. A. Mod.). Klee’s wide-ranging intellectual curiosity is evident in an art profoundly informed by structures and themes drawn from music, nature, and poetry.

Klee was brought up in Berne, where his father was a music teacher. As a boy, he displayed great talent both as a violinist and as a draughtsman. On leaving school he decided to study art in Munich, first with ...

Article

Daniela De Dominicis

(b Rome, Jan 28, 1935; d Marseille, Sept 21, 1963).

Italian painter, sculptor and urban planner. In 1955 he obtained his diploma at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome and began studying architecture, heavily influenced by Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus and De Stijl. He started work as an industrial designer in 1958. He also began to execute works devoted to the study of the dynamic qualities of light in space, which some people have seen as a forerunner of conceptual art and Minimalism. Lo Savio’s first monochrome paintings, based on the study of chromatic transparency, date from 1959 (e.g. Space-Light, Leverkusen, Schloss Morsbroich) as do his Filters series, which comprised layers of opaque and semi-transparent paper squares and circles. Works of this sort were shown in the same year in a group exhibition with Franco Angeli, Tano Festa, Mario Schifano (b 1934) and Giuseppe Uncini at the Galleria L’Appunto in Rome, and in 1960 at the Galleria La Salita in Rome with an exhibition catalogue prefaced by the French critic ...

Article

Martina Rudloff

(b Berlin, Feb 18, 1889; d Burgbrohl, nr Cologne, Nov 13, 1981).

German sculptor, potter, draughtsman and printmaker. He first sculpted animals while studying under Richard Scheibe (from 1907), and in 1910 modelled animals for the Schwarzburg Porcelain Factory. After World War I his interest in classicism gave way to the influence of Expressionism and of the Sturm artists, as part of a search for a new spirituality. This new style of work can be seen in Woman Suckling (gold-plated limewood relief, 1919; Bremen, Marcks-Haus). Walter Gropius, who founded the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1919, asked Marcks to establish a ceramics workshop for the school in the nearby village of Dornburg. With his students he set out to create a Bauhaus ceramics ethic of simplicity and honesty of design as determined by the materials used and the function of the object. In stylistic terms he combined geometry with a local pottery tradition. He was also inspired by Lyonel Feininger to make woodcuts of rural genre themes....

Article

Anna Rowland

(b Basle, Nov 18, 1889; d Savosa, Ticino, July 19, 1954).

Swiss architect, theorist and designer. He was born into a family of architects and studied building at the Gewerbeschule, Basle (1905–9). In Berlin he continued his training at the Kunstgewerbeschule and attended classes in urban planning at the Landwirtschafts-Akademie (1909–12). He became increasingly concerned about housing conditions in the modern industrial city and developed a strong interest in urban planning and land reform. In 1912 he went to England where he studied the Co-operative movement and the garden cities of Letchworth, Bourneville and Port Sunlight for a year. After two years’ military service in Switzerland (1914–16), he worked for Krupps Housing Welfare Office and became increasingly interested in using standardized components in the construction of housing estates. In 1919 he set up his own practice in Basle, where he designed and supervised the foundation of the Siedlung Freidorf (Freihof) (1919–24) at Muttenz, near Basle, the first full-scale cooperative housing estate in Switzerland. The client (Verband Schweizerische Konsumvereine) rejected the Constructivist approach that Meyer favoured, so he developed a style based on local Jura building types. In ...

Article

Peter Carter

(b Aachen, March 27, 1886; d Chicago, IL, Aug 17, 1969).

German architect, furniture designer, and teacher, active also in the USA. With Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, and Le Corbusier, he was a leading figure in the development of modern architecture. His reputation rests not only on his buildings and projects but also on his rationally based method of architectural education.

He was born Ludwig Mies but later adopted his mother’s name, van der Rohe. The son of a master stone mason, Mies van der Rohe had no formal architectural education. He attended the Domschule in Aachen until 1900 and then the local trade school (1900–02) while working on building sites for his father, from whom he acquired a respect for the nature of building materials. The town’s many fine medieval buildings stimulated a youthful interest in architecture, and their characteristically clear and honest construction exerted a lasting influence upon his creative work. Two years as a draughtsman and designer for a firm specializing in stucco decoration followed, before he left for Berlin in ...

Article

Terence A. Senter

(b Bácsborsod, Mohol Puszta, Hungary, July 20, 1895; d Chicago, Nov 24, 1946).

American painter, sculptor, photographer, designer, film maker, theorist, and teacher, of Hungarian birth. Moholy-Nagy’s importance in the 20th century is based as much on his theories as on his practical work. His ideologies related to the relationship between space, time, and light, and the interaction of man with these forces. His great achievement was that he applied his mystical outlook to highly practical enterprises and always recognized the purpose behind his creativity.

Moholy-Nagy’s ambition developed when he exchanged village life for the city of Szeged after his father left his family. Academically outstanding, Moholy-Nagy read law for a year at Budapest University before joining the artillery in World War I. Influential praise for his war sketches converted his aspiration from literature to art. His Expressionist style, social conscience, and investigation of light paralleled trends in the Hungarian avant-garde, from ...

Article

Anna Rowland

(b Querfurt, May 8, 1895; d 1987).

German painter and teacher. His father was an amateur painter and art collector who became known as the naive painter Felix Ramholz. In 1913 Muche began studying painting at the Azbe-Kunstschule in Munich. His work was entirely conventional until 1914, when he moved to Berlin and became Herwarth Walden’s exhibitions assistant at the Sturm-Galerie. After his introduction to Expressionist circles, he began to paint intensively, plunging into a heady abstraction that combined a Cubist approach to form with the rich saturated colours of the work of Der Blaue Reiter and Marc Chagall.

By 1915–16 Muche had developed his own abstract style using smudgy, blurred patches of colour in conjunction with hard outlines. This lends his compositions a highly atmospheric and primeval quality that was not lost on his contemporaries. Herwarth Walden dubbed one of his most dramatic compositions ‘And God Divided Light from Dark’ (1916; destr.; see 1980 exh. cat., p. 25, no. M28)....