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Article

Anna Szinyei Merse

(b Katona [now Ketina, Romania], Jan 14, 1900; d Budapest, April 2, 1988).

Hungarian painter, graphic artist, mosaic designer and teacher . He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest, from 1919 to 1924. Towards the end of the 1920s he spent some time in Paris and Italy on a scholarship. He joined the Szentendre colony in 1929, and he became the most influential practitioner of Hungarian Constructivism. He exhibited widely from 1924 onwards and won many awards.

Barcsay’s work developed from the heavily contoured Working Girl (1928; Budapest, N.G.) and emphatically structured landscapes (e.g. Hilly Landscape, 1934; Budapest, N.G.) to a strict Constructivism after 1945. In his landscapes and urban scenes of 1945–7 he abandoned perspective drawing and placed his whitewashed gable-walls on a plainly structured skeleton. Human figures are reduced to mere signs in the homogeneous space. Monumental works began with his design of 1949 for a huge mosaic (realized 1963) in the Assembly Hall of Miskolc University. Another huge mosaic (3×11 m; ...

Article

Hans Frei

(b Winterthur, Dec 22, 1908; d Zurich, Dec 9, 1994).

Swiss architect, sculptor, painter, industrial designer, graphic designer and writer. He attended silversmithing classes at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich from 1924 to 1927. Then, inspired by the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (1925), Paris, by the works of Le Corbusier and by a competition entry (1927) for the Palace of the League of Nations, Geneva, by Hannes Meyer and Hans Wittwer (1894–1952), he decided to become an architect and enrolled in the Bauhaus, Dessau, in 1927. He studied there for two years as a pupil of Josef Albers, László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Klee and Vasily Kandinsky, mainly in the field of ‘free art’. In 1929 he returned to Zurich. After working on graphic designs for the few modern buildings being constructed, he built his first work, his own house and studio (1932–3) in Zurich-Höngg; although this adheres to the principles of the new architecture, it retains echoes of the traditional, for example in the gently sloping saddle roof....

Article

Marco Livingstone

(b Romford, Essex, May 3, 1950).

English painter, draughtsman and illustrator. After studying in London at St Martin’s School of Art (1968–72) and at the Royal College of Art (1972–5), Crowley began painting in a playful post-Cubist idiom. In works such as So and Sew (1980; see 1983 exh. cat., p. 4) he addressed himself for the first time to the subject of the domestic interior, which was to remain a prime concern. The comically charged and manic atmosphere of this early work, in which the excessive energy of a seamstress’s actions seems to have exploded the figure into its constituent elements, still draws on the elements of abstraction and schematization of Crowley’s painting of the mid- to late 1970s; the flatness that had characterized the earlier works, however, has here given way to strongly modelled, volumetric forms contained within a strongly recessive space. It was as Artist-in-Residence to Oxford University in the ...

Article

Christopher Green

[González Pérez, José Victoriano Carmelo Carlos]

(b Madrid, March 23, 1887; d Boulogne-sur-Seine, May 11, 1927).

Spanish painter, draughtsman, illustrator and writer, active in France. His artistic career was spent almost exclusively in France, where he was considered one of the leading Cubist painters from 1912 until his death. An artist valued for the depth and consistency of his approach rather than as an innovator, he is recognized for his independent and distinctive approach to Cubism and as one of its most influential later practitioners and theoreticians.

Gris specialized in mathematics, physics and engineering at the Escuela de Artes y Manufacturas in Madrid from 1902 to 1904; he later described this phase of his education as formative. His approach to Cubism, which has often been called scientific in its logic and precision, may well have been affected by his knowledge of technical drawings. He broke his scientific studies, however, to train briefly with the academic painter José Moreno Carbonero (1860–1942), and he decided to become an artist. From ...

Article

Hiroshi Kashiwagi

(b Niigata, April 6, 1915; d 1997).

Japanese graphic designer. He studied principles of Constructivism at the Institute of New Architecture and Industrial Arts, Tokyo, a private institute established and run by Renshichiro Kawakita with the aim of introducing Bauhaus design theories in Japan; he graduated in 1935 and in 1938 joined the Nippon Kōbō design studio (now Publishing on Design Inc.). For over a decade from 1937 he worked as art director on a number of Japanese magazines, including Nippon and Commerce Japan. In 1951 he participated in the establishment of the Japan Advertising Arts Club, which secured social recognition for the profession of graphic designer. In 1955 he took part in the ‘Graphic ’55’ exhibition, together with Hiromu Hara, Paul Rand and others. Kamekura received an award from the Japan Advertising Arts Club in 1956 for a poster calling for peaceful use of atomic power. He co-founded the Nippon Design Centre (Tokyo) in 1960 with ...

Article

Mark Haworth-Booth

(b Great Falls, MT, Dec 14, 1890; d New York, Oct 22, 1954).

American designer and painter, active in England. He studied painting first, at evening classes at the Mark Hopkins Institute, San Francisco (1910–12), at the Art Institute of Chicago, with lettering (1912), and in Paris at the Académie Moderne (1913–14). In 1912 he adopted the name of an early patron, Professor Joseph McKnight (1865–1942), as a gesture of gratitude. In 1914 he settled in Britain.

From 1915 McKnight Kauffer designed posters for companies such as London Underground Railways (1915–40), Shell UK Ltd, the Daily Herald and British Petroleum (1934–6). One of his master works, Soaring to Success! Daily Herald—The Early Bird (1919; see Haworth-Booth, fig.), was derived from Japanese prints and from Vorticism. In 1920 he was a founder-member of Group R with Wyndham Lewis and others. McKnight Kauffer’s designs included illustrations for T. S. Eliot’s Ariel Poems...

Article

[Klutsis, Gustav (Gustavovich)]

(b Rŭjiena, Latvia, Jan 4, 1895; d Siberia, 1944).

Latvian painter, sculptor, graphic artist, designer and teacher, active in Russia. He was an important exponent of Russian Constructivism. He studied in Riga and Petrograd (now St Petersburg), but in the 1917 October Revolution joined the Latvian Rifle Regiment to defend the Bolshevik government; his sketches of Lenin and his fellow soldiers show Cubist influence. In 1918 he designed posters and decorations for the May Day celebrations and he entered the Free Art Studios (Svomas) in Moscow, where he studied with Malevich and Antoine Pevsner. Dynamic City (1919; Athens, George Costakis priv. col., see Rudenstine, no. 339) illustrates his adoption of the Suprematist style. In 1920 Klucis exhibited with Pevsner and Naum Gabo on Tver’skoy Boulevard in Moscow; in the same year Klucis joined the Communist Party. In 1920–21 he started experimenting with materials, making constructions from wood and paper that combined the geometry of Suprematism with a more Constructivist concern with actual volumes in space. In ...

Article

Lajos Németh

(b Pestlőrinc [now in Budapest], Feb 17, 1931; d Budapest, Dec 12, 1972).

Hungarian painter and printmaker. He studied graphic art at the Budapest College of Fine Arts from 1951 to 1955. His symbolic etchings, which are both expressive and constructivist, broke new ground in modern Hungarian art. His works were exhibited with great success abroad (e.g. at the Venice Biennale, 1968), while in Hungary his first one-man exhibition was held in Budapest in 1960, followed by controversial exhibitions elsewhere in Hungary up to the time of his death, after which commemorative exhibitions were held, and a retrospective (1984).

The composition of Kondor’s early paintings shows the influence of medieval icons, in particular in their use of metallic hues and decorative coloration. From the 1960s a more ‘polyphonic’ type of composition and style characterized his work, often moving between different spatial and temporal dimensions within the same picture. His colours altered from a decorative, deep luminosity to transparent glazes. The symbolism in his pictures was based on a powerful system derived from a combination of Classical, Christian and private mythologies. Drawing on the great ...

Article

John Milner

[Lisitsky, El’ ; Lisitsky, Lazar’ (Markovich )]

(b Pochinok, Smolensk province, Nov 23, 1890; d Moscow, Dec 30, 1941).

Russian draughtsman, architect, printmaker, painter, illustrator, designer, photographer, teacher, and theorist.

After attending school in Smolensk, he enrolled in 1909 at the Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt, to study architecture and engineering. He also travelled extensively in Europe, however, and he made a tour of Italy to study art and architecture. He frequently made drawings of the architectural monuments he encountered on his travels. These early graphic works were executed in a restrained, decorative style reminiscent of Russian Art Nouveau book illustration. His drawings of Vitebsk and Smolensk (1910; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus.), for example, show a professional interest in recording specific architectural structures and motifs, but they are simultaneously decorative graphic works in their own right and highly suitable for publication. This innate awareness of the importance of controlling the design of the page was to remain a feature of Lissitzky’s work throughout radical stylistic transformations. He also recorded buildings in Ravenna, Venice, and elsewhere in Italy in ...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Buenos Aires, April 24, 1922).

Argentine painter, graphic designer, teacher and theorist. He studied at the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires from 1938. In 1944 he was a co-founder of the Argentine avant-garde review Arturo, which was concerned with both art and literature and led to the formation in 1945 of the Asociación Arte Concreto Invención, of which he was also one of the main instigators. In 1948 he travelled to Europe, where he came into contact with Max Bill and other Swiss Constructivists, whose example inspired him both as a painter and as a theorist on his return to Argentina. Blue with Structure and A Form and Series (both 1950, Buenos Aires, Mus. A. Mod.) are typical of a rigorous type of painting with which he became identified. He stressed the application of such ideas, moreover, not only to art but also to social and political concerns, seeking nothing less than the transformation of the physical environment in which we live. Such convictions gave coherence to all his activities from that time on, including his co-founding in ...

Article

A. V. Ikonnikov

(Alekseyevich)

(b Berlin, July 17, 1878; d Moscow, Jan 18, 1939).

Russian architect, graphic designer and stage designer. He studied (1896–1904) in the architectural faculty of the Academy of Arts, St Petersburg, under Leonty Benois, through whom he became acquainted with the World of Art circle. He also studied painting, graphic art and sculpture at the Academy, in the classes of Il’ya Repin, V. V. Mate (1856–1917) and Vladimir Beklemishev (1861–1920). For his diploma work he was awarded a gold medal, giving him the opportunity to travel to Italy, Greece and Turkey. After his return from a second visit to Italy, made in 1906, an exhibition of his architectural drawings and stage designs enjoyed great success (St Petersburg, Academy of Arts; 1907). In 1907 he made his début as a stage designer with a reconstruction of medieval scenery in morality plays for the Starinnyy Theatre of N. N. Yevreinov (1879–1953) in St Petersburg. In his first architectural works, for example the design of café interiors (...

Article

Jan Rous

(b Jaroměř, March 19, 1891; d Paris, July 24, 1971).

Czech painter and illustrator. Although he was resident in France from 1921, he remained in close contact with contemporary Czech art, especially Surrealism, and with Czech poetry. He participated in a number of exhibitions in Czechoslovakia (e.g. of the Devětsil Union of Artists, and the international exhibition Poetry 1932 in Prague). Šíma’s affinity with Surrealism had a cosmological dimension, which resulted after World War II in works that approached lyrical abstraction. He was especially concerned with rendering the relations between man and the cosmos, and the unity of the universe was a major theme. His work, and his ‘poetic’ approach in particular, had brought him close to the poets René Daumal (1908–44), Roger Vailland and Roger Gilbert-Lecomte (1907–43), with whom he founded the group Le Grand Jeu in Paris in 1927. His continued interest in poetry and cosmological concerns underpinned the iconography of his painting and of his illustrations. Throughout the period between the two World Wars he was concerned primarily with the poetic vision of landscape (e.g. ...

Article

Christina Lodder

Russian family of sculptors and designers. Vladimir (Avgustovich) Stenberg (b Moscow, 4 April 1899; d Moscow, 2 May 1982) and his brother Georgy (Avgustovich) Stenberg (b Moscow, 20 March 1900; d Moscow, 15 Oct 1933) were encouraged by their father, a painter, and worked closely together until Georgy’s death. They trained first at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, then continued their studies at the Free State Art Studios (Svomas) under Georgy Yakulov. They were founder-members of the Society of Young Artists (Obmokhu), which produced propaganda posters and urban decorations for revolutionary festivals. They contributed collaborative works to all four of the group’s exhibitions (1919, 1920, 1921, 1923); at the 1921 show they exhibited their three-dimensional constructions alongside Rodchenko’s hanging works. The Stenbergs joined the Institute of Artistic Culture (Inkhuk) in January 1920, becoming members of the First Working Group of Constructivists in ...

Article

(b Minsk, Belorussia, Nov 21, 1893; d Łódź, Dec 26, 1952).

Polish painter, theoretician, typographer and draughtsman. On completion of his engineering studies at the Moscow Military Academy, he was drafted into the Tsarist army in 1914; seriously wounded, he subsequently began his artistic studies in the post-Revolutionary academies in Moscow, Vkhutemas and Inkhuk. In 1920–22 he was associated with Unovis, and during this period he was influenced by Suprematism, whose principles would in later years form the basis of his polemics. In 1921 he married the sculptor Katarzyna Kobro, and at the beginning of 1922 they both moved to Poland. He published his first articles on the Russian avant-garde in the Kraków periodical Zwrotnica in 1922. Strzemiński organized the Wystawa Nowej Sztuki (‘Exhibition of new art’) in Wilno (now Vilnius, Lithuania) in 1923, which acted as a manifesto of Polish Constructivism; he exhibited Suprematist architectural projects, Cubist paintings and Synthetic Compositions as well as Suprematist abstract works constructed from simple forms in contrasting colours. With Strzemiński’s help, in ...

Article

Ewa Mikina

(b Oct 19, 1898; d Tatra Mountains, Aug 13, 1927).

Polish painter, draughtsman, designer, typographer and writer. From 1915 to 1920 he studied at the School of Fine Arts, Warsaw. Allusions and sometimes quotations from Italian 15th- and 16th-century painting give his earliest works, of 1918–20, a Dadaist character (e.g. the Miracle of St Mark). The works featured in his second one-man exhibition (1921), however, were spatial constructions and mobiles made from metal, glass and wood clearly showing the influence of Vladimir Tatlin. The drawing Christ at the Court-martial pointed to his later social concerns. Szczuka’s left-wing convictions were reflected in his artistic programme, which advocated a productivist, utilitarian version of Russian Constructivism. He gave up painting in order to experiment with different materials, and he introduced new techniques. In his theoretical texts he wrote of a post-bourgeois society in which it would be possible to bring down the barriers between art and work and where productive activity in every sphere would be creative....