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Article

Aleca le Blanc

(b Grão Mogol, Minas Gerais State, April 25, 1944; d Montes Claros, Minas Gerais State, March 28, 1986).

Brazilian painter. Colares worked in Rio de Janeiro during the country’s military dictatorship (1964–85), his work synthesizing the Constructivist sensibilities of Brazil’s Concrete artists of the 1950s with the rapidly expanding urban visual culture of Rio de Janeiro. Originally from a small rural town, Colares moved to Rio de Janeiro to study art in 1965 at the age of 21. He became acquainted with young avant-garde artists such as Antonio Manuel (b 1947), Antônio Dias, and Hélio Oiticica, and participated in the landmark exhibition Nova objetividade brasileira at the Museu de Arte Moderna in 1967.

Having rejected his civil engineer training, he dedicated his attention to courses at the Escola de Belas Artes and Ivan Serpa’s influential Open Studio at the Museu de Arte Moderna. There he learnt about the European avant-garde and figures such as Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, and Giacomo Balla, who became important aesthetic reference points. In an interview with curator Frederico Morais, he stated, ‘the painting that most influenced me was Nude Descending a Staircase by Marcel Duchamp’. Colares translated the dynamism and structure of the European tradition into his own large paintings that depicted the bright colours, high velocity, and multitude of buses constantly moving through Rio’s urban centre. The compositions took on a geometric format and Colares painted representations of fragments of the vehicles—headlights, body, and grilles—into the discrete spaces of the configuration, frequently in the form of a grid. That Colares only captured a snippet of the bus re-enacts the pedestrian’s visual experience; as they hurtle by at high speed, one can only comprehend a fraction of the vehicle before it has passed. Colares executed these by applying industrial paint to aluminium panels, creating a shiny and blemish-free image of urban life. And while this approach to the serial repetition of consumer culture creates an obvious visual link to the contemporaneous Pop art movement in the USA, Colares’ paintings cannot be divorced from the circumstances of the military dictatorship in Brazil, which legalized surveillance and censorship. Although not overtly political, it is impossible to know whether these paintings celebrate or criticize life in Rio de Janeiro. Many artists working in Brazil at the time created works with similar interpretive ambiguity, a mechanism by which one could potentially insert veiled political criticism and still avoid punishment....

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

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

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

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. ...