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Article

Henry Adams

(b Veracruz, Mar 13, 1880; d Stamford, CT, Jan 10, 1961).

Mexican illustrator, writer, gallery owner, and publisher, active in the USA. He was the son of a wealthy Mexican lawyer and publisher. De Zayas started his career as an artist by providing drawings for his father’s newspaper in Veracruz. In 1906 he moved on to Mexico City’s leading newspaper, El Diario, but a year later, after the ascension of the dictator Porfirio Diaz, whom the newspaper had opposed, he fled to the USA. There he landed a position making caricatures for the New York Evening World. Shortly after his arrival in the USA, he came into contact with Alfred Stieglitz, who staged solo shows of De Zayas’s caricatures at his gallery Gallery 291 in 1909 and 1910, both of which proved to be huge popular successes.

In 1910 De Zayas traveled to Paris, where he stayed almost a year, scouting out adventurous forms of modern art for Stieglitz, notably the cubist work of Picasso and African sculpture. On his return, equipped with knowledge of European modern art and inspired by the work of the French modernist ...

Article

M. N. Sokolov

(Mikhaylovich) [Chemiakin, Mihail]

(b Moscow, May 4, 1943).

Russian painter, graphic designer, sculptor and publisher. One of the most important representatives of the St Petersburg tradition of nonconformist art, he was born to a military family and spent his early years in the German Democratic Republic. His family returned to the USSR in 1957 and until 1961 he studied at the secondary school of art attached to the Il’ya Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, Leningrad (now St Petersburg). His work combines the World of Art tradition with the surreal grotesque, portraying the world as a colourful carnival, intimidating in its terrifying metamorphoses, but drawing upon a wealth of artistic styles and psychologically striking tones. He was a master of the anarchic, bohemian life, and the poet Andrey Voznesensky (b 1933) described him as the ‘black prince of the Russian Underground’. After confrontations with the authorities, notably his participation in a group exhibition by underground artists of the ...

Article

Sepp Kern

(b Pulsnitz, nr Dresden, Jan 28, 1938).

German printmaker, publisher and art dealer. He was self-taught as an artist and produced his first prints and posters in 1960. In 1965 he founded the publishing house Edition Tangente in Heidelberg (now Edition Staeck). In his mass-produced posters, postcards and stickers, aimed at a large audience, he used mainly collage and photomontage techniques. In terms of the social–critical message, the relation between image and text is of prime importance: Albrecht Dürer’s portrait drawing of his 63-year-old mother (1514; Berlin, Kupferstichkab.) was provocatively reproduced on a poster with the caption ‘Würden Sie dieser Frau ein Zimmer vermieten?’ (see 1978 exh. cat., no. 45). In the 1970s, when he actively worked for the political left, he achieved a great deal through irony. He also made purely textual posters (e.g. ‘Die Reichen müssen noch reicher werden’ and ‘Die Mieten müssen steigen—wählt christdemokratisch!’; see 1974 exh. cat., pp. 89–90). In numerous exhibitions and through his publishing house, he attempted to display the political components of art, and this led to a collaboration with ...

Article

Aída Sierra Torres

(b Veracruz, 1848; d Tacubaya, Mexico City, Feb 14, 1904).

Mexican illustrator and lithographer. He began his career in 1869, making prints for the weekly La ilustración potosina in San Luis Potosí. He collaborated with Alejandro Casarín and Jesús Alamilla on illustrations using engravings coloured with pen for the novel Ensalada de pollos by José Tomás de Cuéllar. In these the use of a schematic design accentuated the appearance of the figures portrayed. He created caricatures (1872–3) for La orquesta and other periodicals, but he established his reputation with caricatures (1874–6) of government figures for the weekly Hijo Ahuizote. Villasana was a member of the political party of President Porfirio Díaz and in 1880 published ferocious caricatures of Díaz’s opponents in El coyote emplumado. He was co-publisher in 1883, with Ireneo Paz, of La patria ilustrada and in 1888 he founded his own weekly, México y sus costumbres; in both periodicals he published his own caricatures of public figures. In ...