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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

Éva Bajkay

(b Ersekujvar, Hungary, March 21, 1887; d Budapest, July 22, 1967).

Hungarian writer, painter, theorist, collagist, designer, printmaker and draughtsman. His family moved to Budapest in 1904, and, after finishing an apprenticeship as a blacksmith, in 1908 he began publishing stories and poems. In 1909–10 he travelled across Western Europe and spent some time in Paris, becoming acquainted with modern art and anarchist ideas. He published short stories, plays and poems in Budapest and from November 1915 he edited the periodical A Tett (‘The deed’), which was anti-militarist and discussed socialist theories and avant-garde ideas. In summer 1916 he spent time in the Kecskemét artists’ colony with his brother-in-law Béla Uitz and under his influence executed his first ink drawings (e.g. Landscape, 1916; Budapest, N.G.). Progressive young artists and aesthetes grouped themselves around Kassák; after A Tett was banned in September 1916, he started in November a new periodical, MA (‘Today’; see MA group), which he edited with Uitz (to ...

Article

Éva Bajkay

(b Beszterce [now Bistriţa, Romania], Dec 1, 1908; d Budapest, Aug 17, 1984).

Hungarian painter, printmaker, collagist, teacher and experimental film maker. In 1921 he attended the Artur Podolni-Volkmann private school in Budapest, and in 1923 he spent a year in Holland. He attended the Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest (1925–30), exhibiting in a group show in 1930 with artists associated with Lajos Kassák’s Work Circle (Munka-kört). After a period in Paris and Holland in 1930, he worked at the Szentendre colony in a Constructivist-Surrealist style similar to that of Lajos Vajda, drawing upon local and folk art motifs (e.g. Szentendre Motif, 1935; Budapest, N.G.), and the musical theory of Béla Bartók. Korniss fought in World War II, returning from a prisoner-of-war camp in 1945. He went on to make small monotypes of rooftops (e.g. Illuminations, c. 1946; Budapest, N.G.). In 1946 he joined the European School, and in 1947–8 he taught at the School of Crafts and Design, Budapest. His work became abstract and geometric, although symbolic meaning is conveyed in the most effective works (e.g. ...

Article

Anna Bentkowska

(b Abbeville, Aug 27, 1931).

Polish painter, etcher and conceptual artist. He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Łódź (1949–50) and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (1950–56). His early works were influenced by Neo-Constructivist tendencies, then very prevalent in Polish art. He gradually moved towards conceptual art and developed monochrome compositions that repeat a particular motif in rhythmic sequences. Chronomes (1961–3; Łódź, Mus. A.) are abstract paintings composed of a multitude of minute dots. In Banners (1967; Warsaw, N. Mus.), a series of etchings, Opałka took a fragment of a photograph showing a street demonstration and repeated it many times in different sizes in the same work. He also created the series Three-dimensional Structures (1964–7; artist’s col.), made of battens and canvas, composed of only horizontal lines. In a series of etchings based on biblical themes, Description of the World (1968–70; Warsaw, N. Mus.), Opałka again explored the idea of the repetition of similar motifs, as in ...

Article

Lajos Németh

(b Zalaegerszeg, Aug 1908; d Budakeszi, Sept 7, 1941).

Hungarian painter, draughtsman, collagist and printmaker. He studied in 1927–30 at the Art School in Budapest under István Csók. At this stage he was committed to Constructivism, left-wing political ideas and the Munka-kört (workers’ circle), run by Lajos Kassák. From 1930 to 1934 he lived in Paris, where Cubism and Surrealism impressed him, but his greatest interest was Soviet avant-garde film, which influenced the politically committed Surrealist simultaneous photomontages that he made in Paris. In 1935–6 he worked in the Szentendre colony, near Budapest, and in Szigetmonostor with Dezső Korniss: the artistic programme they worked out there was a visual version of Béla Bartók’s musical theory. Through the painterly transformation of the material and spiritual remnants of peasant culture, Vajda wanted to construct a modern art style that reconciled the icons of eastern European art with the western avant-garde. Using elements of Constructivism and Surrealism, and building on the principle of simultaneity, he made drawings and coloured collages using forms drawn from Serbian Orthodox Church traditions and modern trends. In ...

Article

Daniel Robbins

(b Angoûleme, April 4, 1885; d Paris, March 25, 1937).

French painter, collagist, draughtsman and stage designer. A few years younger than most of the Cubists with whom he became associated, he received a traditional art education at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1906 to 1910. He did not participate in any of the manifestations of Cubism that took place before World War I. His interest in the movement appears to have developed under the influence of Albert Gleizes, who painted his portrait while both served near the front in the 167th regiment at Toul in 1914–15. By 1916 Valmier was making small and very delicate collages markedly different from those of Picasso, Braque or Gris, composed of minutely fragmented surfaces.

In 1919 Valmier signed a contract with the dealer Léonce Rosenberg, for whose Bulletin de l’effort moderne he later designed a cover. Rosenberg gave him his first one-man exhibition at his Galerie de l’Effort Moderne, Paris, in ...