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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

Rigmor Lovring

(b Copenhagen, Dec 24, 1909; d Halmstad, Sept 13, 1957).

Danish painter and writer. He was the son of the art historian and museum director Carl V. Petersen (1868–1938), who introduced him to the visual arts at an early age. His extensive knowledge of art history had a considerable influence on the development of his paintings and artistic theories. He had private painting lessons before beginning studies at the Kunstakademi in Oslo in 1929. In 1930–31 he studied with Paul Klee, Vasily Kandinsky and Oskar Schlemmer at the Bauhaus in Dessau, after which he returned to Denmark inspired by new conceptions of a completely abstract art. He became a central figure in Danish artistic life in the 1930s. He was a founder-member of the Danish artists’ group Linien (The Line) in 1933, at that time an association of abstract and Surrealist artists, and he edited the group’s journal of the same name.

Bjerke-Petersen was an active artistic experimenter. He favoured Constructivist abstraction at the beginning of the 1930s. His ideas, based on first-hand knowledge of the newest international developments in the art of the time, as for example in the Bauhaus-influenced ...

Article

Ferenc Tóth

(b Bia, nr Budapest, Dec 8, 1922; d Paris, Sept 11, 2008).

Hungarian painter, active in France. He began his studies at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest, in 1941 under Vilmos Aba-Novák (1894–1941) and Béla Kontuly (1904–83). At this time he started to experiment with various techniques, including washing out figures from a basic colour with a brush dipped in water, and scratching out outlines in thick, almost dry paint with a pointed instrument. This anticipated his later methods of production, influenced by Max Ernst. In 1947 he had an exhibition of selected works at the Budapest Forum Salon. His painting On the Balcony (1947–8; Pécs, Mod. Hung. Mus.) has a hallucinatory quality, which represents the transition to his Surrealist works of the 1950s. In 1948 Hantai visited Italy and in 1949 he settled permanently in Paris. At the end of 1952 he became acquainted with André Breton, who wrote the preface to the catalogue of Hantai’s first French exhibition, held in ...

Article

Leena Peltola

(b Turku, Aug 9, 1904; d Turku, June 22, 1955).

Finnish painter. He studied at the Drawing School of the Turku Arts Association from 1920 to 1924. He initially concentrated on human subjects, using dense tones, and his paintings attracted attention at the Finnish art exhibition in Stockholm in 1929. His earliest stimulus came from his teacher Edwin Lydén (1879–1956)—also from Turku—who had become familiar with the work of Paul Klee and Kurt Schwitters in Munich. Mäkilä’s style changed during his first trip to Paris in 1930–31. He began to concentrate on his individual vision in preference to painting from the model, creating fantastic, dream-like images with a refined use of colour. In 1939 Alvar Aalto helped him to obtain an invitation to the La Sarraz castle in Switzerland, whose owner, Hélène de Mandrot, was a generous patron. There he again came into contact with international art. Around this time he produced the significant works Poésie (1938...

Article

José Corredor-Matheos

(b Barcelona, April 20, 1893; d Palma de Mallorca, Dec 25, 1983).

Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker and decorative artist (see fig.). He was never closely aligned with any movement and was too retiring in his manner to be the object of a personality cult, like his compatriot Picasso, but the formal and technical innovations that he sustained over a very long career guaranteed his influence on 20th-century art. A pre-eminent figure in the history of abstraction and an important example to several generations of artists around the world, he remained profoundly attached to the specific circumstances and environment that shaped his art in his early years. An acute balance of sophistication and innocence and a deeply rooted conviction about the relationship between art and nature lie behind all his work and account in good measure for the wide appeal that his art has continued to exercise across many of the usual barriers of style.

Article

Lourdes Cirlot

(b Barcelona, Dec 13, 1923; d Barcelona, February 6, 2012).

Spanish Catalan painter, draughtsman, printmaker and sculptor. He was encouraged by his home environment to form an early interest in cultural and intellectual matters, especially in music and literature; his father was a lawyer and his mother came from a family of booksellers. He first came into contact with contemporary art as a teenager through the magazine D’Ací i D’Allà, published in Barcelona, and during the Spanish Civil War (1936–9), while he was still at school, he taught himself to draw and paint. As early as 1942, when he was recovering from a lung infection, he produced pictures clearly influenced by van Gogh and Picasso (e.g. Figure, 1945; Barcelona, Josep Gudiol priv. col., see Cirici, 1971, p. 67); during this period of enforced rest and tranquillity he dedicated most of his time to reading French and Russian novels. In 1944 he began studying law at Barcelona University while also attending evening classes in drawing at the Academia Valls....