(b Isleworth, Middx, May 17, 1863; d Godden Green, Kent, May 23, 1942).
English designer, writer, architect and social reformer . He was educated at King’s College, Cambridge. As a young man he was deeply influenced by the teachings of John Ruskin and William Morris, and particularly by their vision of creative workmanship in the Middle Ages; such a vision made work in modern times seem like mechanical drudgery. Ashbee played many parts and might be thought a dilettante; but his purpose was always to give a practical expression to what he had learnt from Ruskin and Morris. An intense and rather isolated figure, he found security in a life dedicated to making the world a better place.
In 1888, while he was training to be an architect in the office of G. F. Bodley and Thomas Garner (1839–1906), Ashbee set up the Guild and School of Handicraft in the East End of London. The School lasted only until 1895, but the Guild, a craft workshop that combined the ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement with a romantic, apolitical socialism, was to be the focus of Ashbee’s work for the next 20 years. There were five guildsmen at first, making furniture and base metalwork. In ...
(b Charlotte, NC, Sept 2, 1911 or 1912; d New York City, Mar 12, 1988).
African American painter, collagist, and author. Bearden is best known for his collages, which often addressed urban themes (e.g. The Dove). He was a founding member of Spiral, a group of African American artists who started meeting at his downtown New York studio in 1963. He also published essays and cartoons, designed book jackets, magazine and album covers, and is widely regarded as the first African American artist to successfully enter the mainstream of the contemporary art world. The posthumously published book he co-authored with Harry Henderson, A History of African-American Artists: From 1792 to the Present (1993), in a very short time became an almost canonical text in the field.
Bearden’s family moved permanently to Harlem, a predominately black neighborhood of New York City, in 1920. His mother, Bessye Bearden, was the New York correspondent for the Chicago Defender, an African American newspaper, and through her Bearden was introduced to many of the artists, writers, and intellectuals associated with the ...
[Karel] (François Gommaire)
(b Brussels, Oct 13, 1837; d Uccle, July 13, 1914).
Belgian urban planner and writer. The son of a jeweller, he spent a somewhat isolated youth: poor health enhanced a shyness, which set him apart from other children. Although he completed secondary schooling, in terms of his vocation he was largely self-taught. After nearly two years of artistic training in Paris and Italy, he gave up plans to follow in his father’s trade, choosing instead to take up the cause of educational reform. With some of his liberal friends he founded in 1864 the Ligue de l’Enseignement, a pressure group with close ties to Masonic circles. He particularly devoted himself to drawing primary instruction away from ecclesiastical influence and to setting up a new teaching method based on comprehension and experience rather than on learning by rote. In 1875 he became the first director of a successful model school created according to these new didactical objectives.
All the while Buls was deeply concerned with the development of the decorative arts. Disappointment with the appeal of the artistic production of his time made him turn to history for roots and principles that might provide a more invigorating approach. Influenced by the mid-19th-century German art historians, Karl Schnaase and Wilhelm Lübke, and by the aesthetic theories of Gottfried Semper, he soon adopted their rationalist thesis whereby each of the decorative arts was to be determined by its use, the properties of its materials and the method of construction. Philosophical considerations by Kant and Schopenhauer convinced him that eternal ideas were the foundation of aesthetical contemplation, ideas that Buls related to the inherent nature and tradition of the population and the place from which the artistic expression emanated. He thus arrived at the concept of a national art that he was to defend for the rest of his life....
Italian family of jewellers, collectors and writers. The firm founded in Rome by (1) Fortunato Pio Castellani shortly after 1820 and expanded by his sons (2) Alessandro Castellani and (3) Augusto Castellani was foremost in reviving period style in jewellery design. Their reputation was established in Rome by the mid-19th century, and they were renowned as antiquarians as much as jewellers and were consulted by museums in London, Paris and Vienna. After 1860 the Castellani opened shops in Paris and Naples; from 1862 until 1884 they exhibited regularly at international exhibitions, including the International Exhibition of 1862 in London, and their work remained virtually unaffected by subsequent stylistic developments. Designs were closely inspired by, and in some cases reproduced, antique and medieval pieces, often from their own considerable study collection. They were widely imitated throughout England, France, Italy and the USA. Their jewellery is notable for its use of gold; the family perfected processes for simulating the techniques of filigree and granulation used in antique jewellery. A variety of chainwork and hinged pieces with repoussé decoration are characteristic of the firm. Among their most popular designs were pieces ornamented with fine glass mosaic inspired by Byzantine jewellery (e.g. bracelet with white and gold mosaic, ...
(b Paris, March 6, 1829; d Paris, Nov 12, 1896).
French sculptor and writer. Born in humble circumstances, he was apprenticed to a jeweller at the age of 11. He subsequently trained with the painter Abel de Pujol (1785–1861) but seems to have taught himself the techniques of sculpture, and at the 1848 Salon he exhibited a plaster sketch of Khair-ed-Din, called Barbarossa (untraced). In 1851, on the advice of his patron, the Comte de Nieuwekerke, he became François Rude’s last pupil. In 1853 he exhibited a plaster group of Queen Hortense and her Son Louis Napoleon (untraced; ex-Bagnères-de-Bigorre, Mus. A.), which brought him a commission from Louis Napoleon, by then Napoleon III, for a marble of the same group (Compiègne, Château); this was exhibited in 1855 at the Exposition Universelle, Paris. During the remaining years of the Second Empire, Chatrousse executed a number of sculptures to decorate public buildings in Paris, such as the Louvre, the Tuileries, the Hôtel de Ville and numerous churches. He exhibited works with religious and historical subjects: some of these, such as ...
Robert J. Belton
(b Jassy [now Iaşi], Romania, Aug 29, 1933).
Canadian sculptor, film maker, costume designer, playwright and poet of Romanian birth. His formal art training began in 1945 but in 1950 he emigrated to Israel. From 1953 he studied at the Institute of Painting and Sculpture in Tel Aviv. Etrog’s first one-man exhibition took place in 1958 and consisted of Painted Constructions, wood and canvas objects blurring the distinctions between painting and low relief (see Heinrich). In these works he tried to embody uncertainties that stemmed from his experience of Nazi aggression as a boy. The results were loosely expressionistic versions of geometric abstraction, derived in part from the work of Paul Klee.
Assisted by the painter Marcel Janco, Etrog went on a scholarship to New York, where he was inspired by Oceanic and African artefacts he saw in the collections there. This led to a preoccupation with organic abstractions, flowing totemic forms, and metaphors of growth and movement, seen in ...
(b Berlin, June 5, 1867; d Amsterdam, Oct 11, 1958).
German art historian and museum director. The son of the court jeweller in Berlin, he studied in Munich, Florence and Leipzig, where he wrote a dissertation on Albrecht Altdorfer. After practical training in Berlin and his first, brief activity at the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne, he became an assistant at the Gemäldegalerie der Staatlichen Museen, Berlin, in 1896. He became Deputy Director in 1904 and Director in 1924; from 1908 he was head of the Kupferstichkabinett. With Wilhelm von Bode he systematically increased the holdings of the Berlin museums and donated a number of important works to the Gemäldegalerie and Kupferstichkabinett. In 1933 he left museum service and in 1939 emigrated to Amsterdam. Friedländer, who had a strongly positivistic education, was regarded as a severe critic of Giovanni Morelli’s method of art analysis, most notably represented in German-speaking countries by Franz Wickhoff. Friedländer wrote over 600 books and articles, especially on early German and early Netherlandish art, and a monograph on ...
(b Montauban, Tarn-et-Garonne, May 12, 1872; d Montricoux, Tarn-et-Garonne, Sept 7, 1931).
French painter, printmaker and poet. He was the son of a jeweller and at an early age learnt how to produce lithographs and etchings. He quickly established a reputation as a creator of illuminated Symbolist works such as the gouache The Monster (1897; Paris, Flamand-Charbonnier priv. col.; see 1972 exh. cat., p. 64). This was executed in an Art Nouveau style and depicted the common Symbolist theme of woman as the destructive temptress of man. Four works, including this, were shown at the sixth Salon de la Rose + Croix at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris (1897), and he had similar works published in periodicals such as L’Estampe moderne, L’Aube and Le Courrier français.
Marcel-Lenoir’s first paintings were produced with a palette knife or by using paint straight from the tube, as in A Review in the Cours Foucault in Montauban (1907; Toulouse, Mus. Augustins). He produced other townscapes also, such as ...
Sarah Barter Bailey
(b London, Aug 26, 1783; d Goodrich Court, Hereford & Worcs, April 2, 1848).
English lawyer, collector and historian. He practised as a barrister. In 1815 he published, with Charles Hamilton Smith (1776–1859), The Costume of the Original Inhabitants of the British Islands, which brought him into contact with a group of antiquaries and collectors, including Francis Douce, Sir Walter Scott and James Robinson Planché (1796–1880), who devoted themselves to the study of the Middle Ages.
Meyrick collected and studied arms and armour all his life, but it was the publication of A Critical Inquiry into Antient Armour (1824) that established his reputation as an authority on the subject. In 1826 he advised on the arrangement of the collection in the Tower of London, which he had criticized severely, and two years later he performed a similar service for the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. His own collection was regularly available to students in London (Richard Parkes Bonington and Delacroix visited in ...
(b Shoeburyness, Essex, Feb 4, 1909; d Vancouver, BC, Nov 22, 1998).
Canadian painter, draughtsman and writer of English birth. In 1912 his family emigrated to British Columbia. Educated at Victoria College, BC (1926–7), and the Provincial Normal School in Victoria (1929), he studied art at the Euston Road Art School, London (1937), the André Lhote School of Art, Paris (1938), and the Art Students’ League, New York (1948–9). From 1929 to 1937 he taught art to children in Vancouver and in 1938 joined the Vancouver School of Art, where he was head of painting and drawing from 1945 to 1966. In 1944–5 he served with the Canadian war artists. In 1955 he became the first instructor at the Emma Lake Workshop, Regina College, Sask. He also executed costume and poster designs for theatre and dance, as well as murals for Edmonton Airport, the National Arts Centre, Ottawa, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Vancouver....
(b London, July 25, 1829; d London, Feb 11, 1862).
English painter, Model and poet. She was introduced to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood by Walter Howell Deverell. On seeing her working in a milliner’s shop in 1849, he was apparently struck by her fine and unusual appearance and asked her to model for him. She agreed and posed for the figure of Viola in his painting Twelfth Night (1849–50; London, Forbes Mag. Col.). She next modelled for William Holman Hunt, appearing in a number of his paintings dating from 1850, and then for John Everett Millais’s Ophelia (1852; London, Tate). By 1852 she had met Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and by the end of the year she sat only to him.
Siddal took up drawing and painting in 1852 while in close association with the Pre-Raphaelites and concentrated on medieval literary themes and portraits. She often worked closely with Rossetti, whom she married in 1860. Her early works were mainly illustrations to poems by Tennyson, such as ...
In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....
Deborah J. Haynes
(b Hamburg, June 13, 1866; d Hamburg, Oct 26, 1929).
German art historian. His research interests ranged widely, including the art of the Renaissance, costume, festivals, medicine, astrology and magic, but his primary contribution to cultural history is the Warburg Institute.
Warburg was born into a wealthy Jewish banking family and was never obliged to seek academic employment. He trained at the University of Bonn with scholars such as Hermann Usener (1834–1905) and Karl Lamprecht (1856–1915), becoming interested in psychology, in a broad evolutionary perspective and in historical periods of transition. He continued his studies in Munich, Florence and Strasbourg, finally completing a dissertation in 1891 on how Botticelli’s Primavera and the Birth of Venus demonstrate the ‘afterlife of the Antique’. At this time Jacob Burckhardt’s interpretation of the Renaissance as a period of emancipation from medieval values and the rise of the modern individual was being challenged by scholars such as Henry Thode, who argued for an important role for Christian influences. Warburg can be seen as siding with Burckhardt in this disagreement; but whereas Burckhardt conceived of history as progress and the Renaissance as a cultural unity within that progressive movement, Warburg interpreted the Renaissance as a period of transition and uncertainty, viewing it as if abstracted from the course of time. For Warburg history was a vital and energetic tradition, communicated through images as well as words, but these documents could best be understood by looking for their non-temporal unity. Such themes were particularly evident in his dissertation and his writings of ...
Francis R. Kowsky
(b ?London, c. 1815; d London, c. 1872).
English architect and writer, active in the USA . He was the son of a jeweller and trained under R. C. Carpenter. In the 1840s he emigrated to the USA and established a practice first in Hartford, CT, later moving to Philadelphia. From 1851 to 1860 he worked in New York. In 1860 his address was listed as the Brooklyn Post Office (destr.), a building that he had designed. Apparently Wheeler returned to London in the same year, for his name no longer appeared in New York city directories after that date. In London he continued to practise architecture and in 1867 became a FRIBA.
Most of Wheeler’s known commissions were for houses. His designs, which appeared in architectural periodicals and in his own books, contributed to the growing body of literature in the USA that concentrated on the detached middle-class dwelling as a building type. A champion of affordable housing, Wheeler attracted the attention of ...
Camara Dia Holloway
(b Philadelphia, PA, Feb 5, 1948).
American photographer, curator and scholar. Willis was born in North Philadelphia to a hairdresser mother and a policeman father who was an amateur photographer. Within a familial and communal context, Willis learned that photographs could function as powerful statements of African American identity. These ideas were reinforced by reading her family’s copy of the publication The Sweet Flypaper of Life (1955) that featured the photographs of Roy DeCarava, a major African American photographer. She also attended the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition, Harlem on My Mind in 1969. Willis earned a BFA from the Philadelphia College of Art in 1975 and an MFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1979. Inspired by the quilting and storytelling traditions in her family, Willis developed a practice that combined her photographs, family photographs and other elements into autobiographical quilts. Her later works focused more on the female body.
From 1980 to 1992...