Argentine movement of the 1940s based in Buenos Aires and led by Gyula Košice and the Uruguayan artists Carmelo Arden Quin (b 1913) and Rhod Rothfuss (b 1920). Together with Joaquín Torres García and the Argentine poet Edgar Bayley (b 1919), they were responsible for the publication in early 1944 of a single issue of a magazine, Arturo, which heralded the development of the Constructivist movement in Argentina, stressing the importance of pure invention and of interdisciplinary links. Tomás Maldonado, who designed the cover, and Lidy Prati (b 1921), who was responsible for most of the vignettes, soon dissociated themselves from their colleagues to help set up the Asociación arte concreto invención; the editorial content of the magazine, however, suggested a coherent aesthetic that was also promoted in booklets published by Košice and Bayley in 1945 and in two exhibitions, Art Concret Invention...
Argentine group of artists formed in 1952 and active until 1954. It was founded on the initiative of the art critic Aldo Pellegrini (1903–1975) as a union of Constructivist painters belonging to the Asociación arte concreto invención—Tomás Maldonado, Alfredo Hlito, Lidy Prati (1921–2008), Ennio Iommi, and Claudio Girola (1923–1994)—and four independent semi-abstract artists: José Antonio Fernández Muro, Sarah Grilo, Miguel Ocampo, and Hans Aebi (1923–1985). Pellegrini’s main concern was with the quality of the artists’ work rather than with a shared program. They were the first abstract artists in Argentina to exhibit together as a group abroad: in 1953 they showed both at the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro and at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
Pelligrini was pleased with the genuine interaction within the group. The work of the independent artists became more rigorous and economical, inclining progressively toward geometric abstraction, and their lack of dogmatism in turn led the Constructivists to adopt a more flexible approach. The group disbanded on Maldonado’s move to Germany in ...
Argentine group formed in November 1945 by Tomás Maldonado and other Constructivist artists and active until c. 1964. Its other original members were Lidy Prati (b 1921), Alfredo Hlito, Manuel Espinosa, Raúl Lozza (b 1911), Alberto Molenberg (b 1921), Ennio Iommi, Claudio Girola (b 1923), Jorge Souza (b 1919), Primaldo Mónaco (b 1921), Oscar Núñez (b 1919), Antonio Caraduje (b 1920) and the poet Edgar Bayley (b 1919). Maldonado and Prati were prominent among the artists involved in the publication of the single issue of the magazine Arturo in early 1944, in which the image–invention was proposed as an alternative to representational, naturalistic or symbolic imagery, but they did not take part in two exhibitions of associated artists in 1945 that led to the establishment of Arte Madí. In fact, their central role in setting up the Asociación Arte Concreto Invención was a way of declaring their independence from the other group....
(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 ...
Colin C. Sanderson
[Pevzner, Naum (Borisovich)]
(b Klimovichi, Belarus, Aug 5, 1890; d Waterbury, CT, Aug 23, 1977).
American sculptor of Belorussian birth. He was brought up in the Russian town of Bryansk, where his father owned a metallurgy business. Early paintings display his romantic and literary spirit, for example Self-portrait (c. 1907–10; artist’s family priv. col., see 1986 exh. cat., pl. 128), but in 1910 he went to the University of Munich to study medical and scientific subjects (1910–12), then philosophy and history of art (1912–14). The lectures of Heinrich Wölfflin and the writings of Henri Bergson were significant influences on him at this time. Gabo also studied engineering at the Technische Hochschule, Munich (1912–14), where there was a large collection of mathematical models. During World War I he took refuge in Norway (1914–17) and started working with his ‘stereometric method’ of construction, one of several techniques he adopted from such models, and through which he made a significant contribution to the development of the language of ...
(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....
(b Buenos Aires, May 4, 1923; d 1993).
Argentine painter. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires from 1938 to 1942 and in 1945 was a founder-member of the Asociación Arte Concreto Invención. He played a leading role in the development of abstract art in Argentina during the 1940s and 1950s. From 1945 he worked in a Constructivist style that took as its starting-point the notion of a line fracturing the plane in the work of Joaquín Torres García; by the early 1950s this was elaborated into compositions of pure geometrical forms. From 1954 to 1962 he explored effects of vibrating colour, first using discernible forms conveyed in a pointillist technique and then by juxtaposing lightly applied flat brushstrokes in diluted colours to create a shimmering veil-like surface.
While living in Mexico from 1963 to 1973, Hlito developed a vocabulary of rhythmic, fundamentally organic forms using curved lines; these led to acrylic paintings in a vertical format in which vibrant atmospheres, interpenetrated by dynamic planes, generated monumental spaces of glittering colour. In ...
(b Rosario, March 20, 1926).
Argentine sculptor. His father was a sculptor, and Iommi studied in his father’s workshop and attended metalwork courses. He was a founder-member of the Asociación Arte Concreto Invención and is one of the most representative Constructivist sculptors in Argentina. In 1954 he created Continual Forms (white concrete, 2.0×0.8×1.2 m), a sculpture for a house in La Plata designed by Le Corbusier. His highly formal work was characterized at first by an economy of means, rigorous logic and dynamic rhythms and tensions, with an intelligible and rational structure of form that was optimistic in tone. It was with such works that he won a gold medal in Brussels at the Exposition Universelle et Internationale in 1958, took part in the exhibition Concret Art at the Kunsthaus, Zurich, in 1958, and participated hors concours in the São Paulo Biennale in 1961 and Venice Biennale in 1964.
Iommi completely changed direction in 1977...
(b Asunción, 1921; d Asunción, May 14, 1993).
Paraguayan painter and engraver. She studied under Jaime Bestard and Lívio Abramo in Asunción and from 1958 in São Paulo, Brazil. Her paintings of the 1950s were Cubist-inspired landscapes and still-lifes in oils. In the late 1950s she began to transpose her schematized pictorial style into wood-engraving; in the early 1960s her engravings were increasingly based on the simple play of black and white and textures, and she then passed through a phase of abstraction related to Art informel finally to reach a purified but effectively suggestive abstraction based on organic forms. Her engravings of this period show her skill in synthesis and her capacity for expression: large shapes are realized straightforwardly in black and white but are animated by an intense inner energy. In the 1970s she embarked on a new technique based on multiple impressions and the use of colour: large masses of strong shades and contrasting tones were superimposed and juxtaposed to provoke special chromatic tensions. This series of engravings, entitled ...
(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...
[Fallik, Fernando ]
(b Košice, Czechoslovakia [now Slovak Republic], 1924).
Argentine sculptor, theorist and poet of Slovak birth. A resident of Argentina from 1928, he studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes ‘Manuel Belgrano’ in Buenos Aires, and in 1944 he collaborated with Joaquín Torres García and the Argentine poet Edgar Bayley (1919–90) on the magazine Arturo (one issue only), which proposed geometric abstraction for the first time in Argentina. He was also a leading figure of Arte Madí, together with Carmelo Arden Quin (b 1913). During this period he produced his first articulated mobiles (e.g. Royi, 1944; see Glusberg, p. 73), which involved the active participation of the spectator, and early examples of sculptures made of neon (e.g. Madí Aluminium Structure No. 3, 1946;). Like his colleagues in Arte Madí, he proposed the radical autonomy of the art object, and in his later work he explored the possibilities of a diverse range of materials, including even water in his ...
(b Buenos Aires, Apr 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 traveled 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 ...
(b Waterbury, CT, Jan 19, 1944).
American architect and educator. Mayne trained at the University of Southern California (BA 1968) and Harvard (MArch 1978) and his work is influenced by the twin traditions of Russian Constructivism and Postmodern deconstruction. Many of his buildings grapple with both questions of form (in particular its relation to program) and the shifting nature of materials. He, along with Frank O(wen) Gehry, is among the best known of a generation of West Coast architects to emerge from the turbulent social and cultural milieu of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
As a young boy Mayne moved with his mother to Whittier, CA, where he was, by his own account, something of a loner and a misfit. Mayne matriculated at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, but soon transferred to the University of Southern California whose faculty at the time included Craig Ellwood, Gregory Ain and Ralph Knowles. After completing his bachelor of architecture in ...
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 ...
Argentine movement initiated in Buenos Aires in 1947 under the leadership of the painter Raúl Lozza (b 1911) and the theoreticians Rembrandt Lozza (1915–90) and Abraham Haber (1924–86). It was announced in 1948 by an exhibition and manifesto. Like the Asociación Arte Concreto Invención, from whose internal disagreements the movement emerged, it was concerned with the promotion of Constructivism in Argentina. The theories they promulgated were also conveyed through a magazine, Perceptismo: Teórico y polémico, published from 1950 to 1953. One of their primary concerns was with the relationship between the quantity (in terms of surface area) and quality of flat colour; they conceived of the surface as a field against which to arrange shapes whose only justification lay in their interrelationships. In rejecting the supposed conflict between pictorial or fictitious space and the physical space in which we move, they proposed that both were equivalent in value. Lozza’s use of enamel on wood to create surfaces as polished and perfect as lacquer typified the technical perfection sought by these painters as a means of suppressing any trace of subjectivity that would otherwise distract the observer from the physical presence of the work, as, for example, in ...
(b Berlin, April 6, 1888; d Minusio, nr Locarno, Feb 1, 1976).
American painter, film maker, theorist and writer of German birth. He studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Berlin and at the Akademie in Weimar from 1908 to 1909. Until c. 1910 he produced academic figure drawings, individual genre scenes and book illustrations (e.g. for Boccaccio’s Decameron). His early paintings showed the influence of Symbolism and of Jugendstil. Between 1911 and 1914 he came under the influence of Cézanne and also of Expressionism. At this time his paintings were flat in character, but with a fluid, dynamic and expressive drawing style, strongly outlined forms and powerful brushstrokes, as in Kurfürstendamm (1911; Locarno, Pin. Casa Rusca).
From 1914 until 1916 Richter’s work was influenced by Cubism, and he realized his idea of the visualization of rhythmical movements, proportion and order. His aim was the ‘free orchestration of forms …as music has orchestrated time …with sound’. Following the example of Picasso and Braque, Richter chose musical subjects for his paintings, such as ...
(b South Bend, IN, June 6, 1907; d St Paul, MN, July 17, 2002).
American sculptor. Brought up near Glasgow in Scotland, Rickey left in 1929 to study in Paris with Andre Lhote, Fernand Léger, and Amédée Ozenfant. He returned to the USA in 1934, taught at several colleges, was partly funded by the Works Progress Administration, and continued to paint. While working as an engineer in the army during World War II, Rickey had access to a machine shop and created his first sculpture: small mobiles reminiscent of Alexander Calder’s work. After exposure to Constructivist theories through lectures by Naum Gabo at the Institute of Design, Chicago, and an exhibition of works by Antoine Pevsner at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1948, he abandoned painting to focus on Kinetic art and became a pioneer of that movement. His early sculpture varied from whimsical, referential pieces like Cocktail Party (1954; New York, Mr and Mrs Stephen Kellen priv. col.), of painted mild steel and stainless steel, to more purely formal geometric work. Rickey’s mature style emerged between ...
Holliday T. Day
(b Bronx, New York, May 11, 1912; d Aug 25, 1999).
American sculptor. He received a BA from New York City College in 1934, served in the US Navy between 1941 and 1945 and studied with the Cubist sculptor Ossip Zadkine in Paris in 1951–2. After travelling in Italy and Spain to look at Baroque architecture and sculpture, he returned to New York in 1955. In 1957 he joined the New Sculpture Group—an association dedicated to replacing reference to the human figure with a new internal logic—and the Brata Gallery, a 10th Street cooperative, which showed his work in 1957 and 1958 in group exhibitions. He showed mostly small-scale natural-coloured wood sculpture. His first polychromed sculpture was Yellow Top (1959; Minneapolis, MN, Walker A. Cent.), which was c. 2 m high and made of laminated wood; it was considered extremely radical because each form was painted a different bright colour. The most ambitious sculpture of the 1960s was a 7.26 m long, 19-part indoor work, called ...
(b Montevideo, July 28, 1874; d Montevideo, Aug 8, 1949).
Uruguayan painter, teacher and theorist, active also in Spain and France. His father was a Catalan emigrant from Mataró and his mother was Uruguayan. Financial problems forced the family to return to Catalonia in 1891, and he entered the Escuela de Artes y Oficios in Mataró. In 1892 he went to Barcelona, where he attended the Academia Baixas and became involved in the Cercle Artistic, also working as an illustrator for magazines and participating in various exhibitions. In 1903–4 he collaborated with Antoni Gaudí on the Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia (begun 1882) in Barcelona and on renovating the stained glass in the cathedral of Palma de Mallorca. In 1905, through the works he exhibited at the Sala Parés, his talent as a muralist was recognized by Eugenio d’Ors. He became involved in teaching and met Manolita Piña, whom he married in 1909. In 1910 he provided decorations for the Uruguayan pavilion at the Exposition Universelle et Internationale in Brussels. In ...