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Christian Lenz

(b Leipzig, Feb 12, 1884; d New York, Dec 27, 1950).

German painter, draughtsman, printmaker and teacher. He was one of the most important German painters of the 20th century. He was initially influenced by traditional styles, but during World War I he rejected perspective and classical proportion in favour of a more expressive objective art. He was persecuted by the Nazis in the 1930s but continued to work, painting his celebrated secular triptychs in the late 1930s and the 1940s.

Beckmann showed artistic promise from an early age, painting as early as c. 1898 a Self-portrait with Soap Bubbles (mixed media on cardboard; priv. col.; see Lackner, 1991, p. 10). After training at the Kunstschule in Weimar (1900–03), he studied under the patronage of Julius Meier-Graefe in Paris. There he became acquainted with the works of the Impressionists, Cézanne, van Gogh and probably such early French paintings as the Avignon Pietà. From 1903 until the outbreak of World War I he lived mostly in or near Berlin. He began painting landscapes and from ...

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(b London, April 19, 1910; d Malden, Essex, March 11, 2005).

English photographer, painter and textile designer. He studied architecture at the Albert-Ludwigs Universität, Freiburg, in Germany (1927–8) and at the Architectural Association School in London (1929–34). During his time in Germany he absorbed the influence of the Neue Sachlichkeit movement and of photographic developments in illustrated journals such as the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung and Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung. Though largely self-taught, he did learn photographic techniques from his brother Michael Spender, an employee of the Leitz camera factory. Among other jobs he worked as a commercial and portrait photographer (1934–9), and as a staff photographer for the Daily Mirror (1936–8) and for Picture Post (1946–9). From its foundation in 1937 until 1939 he was the official photographer for the Mass Observation project, which brought together painters, poets, social scientists and film makers to record the details of everyday British life. During the project Spender worked with a concealed camera so that the scenes he captured were entirely natural, as in ...