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Article

Rigmor Lovring

(b Ordrup, July 14, 1919; d Munkerup, nr Dronningmølle, Hillerød, June 29, 1982).

Danish painter, sculptor, designer and writer. He studied at the Kunsthåndvaerkerskole (1936–9) and the Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi (1939–46), both in Copenhagen. He experimented with non-figurative forms of expression in numerous media. He was a co-founder of Groupe Espace in 1951, and his work was important for the development of Concrete art internationally.

From 1947 to 1950 Aagaard Andersen developed a new, pure pictorial dynamic, moving from fine-lined drawings and faceted landscapes towards an abstract formal language that explored form in terms of light, shadow and reflection. His ‘picture boxes’, in which various elements manifested rhythmic and dynamic growth, explored the concept of painting as object. He began to use the techniques of folding and pleating (e.g. Black Picture Surface with Three Folded Sections, 1964; Esbjerg, Kstpav.), and his work was dominated by his interest in light and shadow.

Besides paintings, Aagaard Andersen produced a number of sculptures, for example the abstract steel work ...

Article

(b Ashton-upon-Mersey, June 6, 1879; d Aston Tirrold, Oxon, March 23, 1957).

English urban planner, architect and writer. He was educated at Uppingham, Leics, and was an apprentice in architectural offices, first in Manchester and then in Liverpool. In 1907 Charles H. Reilly appointed him to the School of Architecture at the University of Liverpool, and in 1909, following the foundation of the School of Civic Design, the first urban planning school in Britain, he became deputy to its professor, S. D. Adshead. He helped found its publication, the Town Planning Review, and became a major contributor; he wrote a series of articles on American and European cities, giving a detailed account of his conception of history, architectural styles and the analysis of urban planning. In 1915 he became Professor of Civic Design and was nominated Librarian for the Town Planning Institute. He was active as an editor and conference organizer as well as a teacher and practising architect, involved in work stimulated by the Housing and Town Planning Act of ...

Article

Pat Gilmour

(b Glendale, CA, Dec 11, 1918; d Albuquerque, NM, May 13, 2002).

American painter, printmaker, art historian, writer and teacher. His appointment to the art faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1942 was interrupted by military service, and it was not until 1946 that he resumed his career as a teacher of the practice and theory of art. This took him to the universities of Kentucky (Lexington), Florida (Gainesville) and finally New Mexico (Albuquerque), where he served as Dean (1961–76). Despite academic demands, Adams always found time to paint and showed his work in over 50 solo exhibitions. Equally at home in oil, acrylic, watercolour and egg tempera, he was initially inspired by the abstracted cityscapes of Stuart Davis. Later he absorbed the lessons of Matisse, achieving particularly radiant paintings during the 1980s. In 1993 he was elected an Academician by the National Academy of Design.

In 1948, at Stanton Macdonald-Wright’s suggestion, Adams began to make lithographs with the Los Angeles printer, ...

Article

(b Holywood, County Down, Ireland, Jan 26, 1922).

Australian painter, printmaker, book designer, lecturer, collector, gallery director and publisher of limited edition artists’ books, of Irish decent. He worked as a draughtsman before entering war service in the British Admiralty from 1940 to 1949, including five years in Colombo, where he made sketching trips to jungle temples with the Buddhist monk and artist Manjsiro Thero. Between 1949 and 1951 Adams worked as an exhibition designer in London and studied wood-engraving with Gertrude Hermes in her evening class at the Central School of Arts and Crafts (now Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design). In 1951, after moving to Melbourne, Adams began a 30-year teaching commitment at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), where he instructed many of the younger generation of Australian printmakers, including George Baldessin and Jan Senbergs. A brief return to Britain and Ireland in 1957–8 provided experience with Dolmen Press, Dublin, which published his first book of engravings, ...

Article

(b Berlin, Oct 15, 1827; d Berlin, Sept 15, 1908).

German architect, archaeologist and writer. He was one of the leading figures of Berlin’s architectural establishment in the latter half of the 19th century. On completion of his studies in 1852, he was given the prestigious post of Bauleiter at the Neues Museum in Berlin, designed by Friedrich August Stüler. He subsequently became a lecturer and in 1861 a professor of architectural history at the Bauakademie in Berlin. Many of his church buildings used medieval motifs and elements, for example the Christuskirche (1862–8) in Berlin and the Elisabethkirche (1869–72) in Wilhelmshafen. He followed Karl Bötticher in his attempts to merge medieval and classical elements, best illustrated in his design for the Thomaskirche (competition 1862; built 1865–70), Berlin. There, Adler used Gothic structural devices embellished with rich Renaissance detail, a tendency that was also present in many of the entries for the Berlin Cathedral competition (...

Article

Isabelle Gournay

(b Tours, 1875; d 1934).

French architect, urban planner and writer. He graduated in 1905 from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, where he was a student in the atelier of Victor Laloux. In 1902 he came into contact with the Musée Social, a non-profit organization of bourgeois reformers, which sent him to visit the Louisiana Purchase International Exposition (1904) in St Louis, MO. Like a number of French architects of his generation such as Léon Jaussely and Marcel Auburtin (1872–1926), with whom he founded the Société Française des Architectes Urbanistes in 1913, he established a practice focused on urban design, achieving an international reputation in this field. Agache claimed to have coined the word ‘urbanisme’ and in 1914 he organized the first courses ever taught on the subject in France at the Collège Libre des Sciences Sociales et Economiques in Paris. His professional work included a prizewinning entry (1912; unexecuted) to the international competition for the design of Canberra, the new capital city of Australia, and master plans for Dunkerque (...

Article

Walter Smith

(b Buenos Aires, 1945).

American architect and theorist of Argentine birth. She received her Diploma of Architecture at the University of Buenos Aires in 1967 and studied further in Paris at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and the Centre du Recherche d’Urbanisme (1967–9). She moved to New York in 1971. From 1976 Agrest taught at Cooper Union, New York, and at Columbia, Princeton and Yale universities. In 1980 she went into partnership with her husband, Mario Gandelsonas (b 1938), in the firm A & G Development Consultants Inc., in New York. She also formed her own firm, Diana Agrest, Architect, in New York. Agrest was deeply involved in theoretical research, and was a Fellow at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, New York, from 1972 to 1984. She was strongly influenced by semiotics and developed the idea that architecture can refer beyond itself, discussed particularly in her essay on architecture and film (...

Article

(b Harplinge, Halland, June 10, 1891; d Stockholm, March 12, 1984).

Swedish architect and writer. He graduated from the Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (1914) and from the Kungliga Akademien för de fria Konsterna in Stockholm (1918), before working in the office of Ivar Tengbom. From 1921 to 1924 Ahlberg was a writer for and editor of Byggmästaren, the Swedish journal of building and architecture. His architectural production encompassed the traditionalism and neo-classicism of the early 20th century, as well as the International Style, characterized by rational, pragmatic design. His Arts and Crafts Stand at the Göteborg Jubilee Exposition (1923), with its mannered, slender pavilions, was an early contribution to the neo-classical revival of the 1920s. The Freemasons’ Orphanage (1928–31) at Blackeberg outside Stockholm showed his development of this classicism into austere geometrical simplicity, while the buildings of the Trade Union High School (1928–50) at Brünnsvik, Dalecarlia, are based on the national timber-building tradition, with red panelling, white-framed windows and tiled, hipped roofs. The same combination of rational simplicity and romantic traditionalism occurs in Ahlberg’s ecclesiastical buildings, such as Mälarhöjden Chapel (...

Article

(b Hudiksvall, May 25, 1905; d 1997).

Swedish architect and writer. He graduated from the Kungliga Tekniska Högskola in Stockholm in 1927 and entered the office of Ivar Tengbom to work on office and commercial buildings. In 1931 he formed a partnership with Helge Zimdal, who had studied with him at the Kungliga Tekniska Högskola. The partnership lasted until 1950. Their winning entry in the competition for Sveaplan Girls High School (1931), Stockholm, was a functionalistic design based on a rational plan that divides classrooms from special facilities by placing them in architecturally separate areas. A series of school buildings, including Skanstull High School (1943), Eriksdal Schools and Gubbängen Public School (1947), High School and Gymnasium (1954), all in Stockholm, develop this method of rational planning but with a less ostentatiously modern vocabulary of red or yellow brickwork. The Östergötlands Länsmuseum (1938) in Linköping with its carefully designed gallery lighting is of a similar type. Ahrbom was appointed professor at the Kungliga Tekniska Högskola in ...

Article

(b Stockholm, Aug 6, 1897; d Arvika, Oct 8, 1977).

Swedish architect and writer. While a student at the Kungliga Tekniska Högskola in Stockholm (1915–19), he participated in the Home Exhibition of the Swedish Society of Arts and Crafts at Liljevalchs Konsthall in Stockholm. He worked in the office of Gunnar Asplund (1921–3), and his early works are in the then-prevalent Neo-classical style. However, he soon adopted the Modernism of Le Corbusier’s Pavillon de l’Esprit Nouveau (1925) and the Weissenhofsiedlung at Stuttgart (1927), and he became a protagonist of rational and socially directed planning and architecture. His Students’ Union building at the Kungliga Tekniska Högskola (1928; with Sven Markelius), the Flamman Cinema (1929) and the Ford Motor Co. warehouse (1930), all in Stockholm, represent this new aesthetic. Furniture and industrial design were also an important part of his work during the 1920s and 1930s. As a prolific writer for the press and professional journals, he was an effective propagandist of Modernism, contributing to the Stockholm Exhibition of ...

Article

Michael Spens

(b Tokyo, June 5, 1937).

Japanese architect, teacher and writer. He graduated from Waseda University, Tokyo, in 1960 and obtained his MArch in 1966 and DEng in 1971. He began teaching architecture at Shibaura Institute of Technology in 1962, becoming a lecturer in engineering there in 1966 and subsequently assistant professor (1973) and professor (1976). In 1967 he opened his own office in Tokyo. A founding member of the counter-Metabolist group Architext (1971), Aida was one of the New Wave of avant-garde Japanese architects, expressing his theories in both buildings and writings. His journal articles clearly state his desire to question—if not overthrow—orthodox Modernist ideas of rationality, order and suitability of form to function. He likened architectural design to an intellectual game, and he was one of the first to equate deconstruction with the art of construction, for example in his Artist’s House (1967), Kunitachi, Tokyo, in which all the elements have arbitrary relationships with each other. In other buildings he focused on the creation of architectural experiences that reflect immediate events. In the Nirvana House (...

Article

V. V. Vanslov

(Pavlovich)

(b Kharkiv, April 16, 1901; d Moscow, Sept 6, 1968).

Russian stage designer, director, painter and graphic artist of Ukranian birth. He studied in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) from 1915 to 1919 in an artists’ workshop under Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Aleksandr Yakovlev and Vasily Shukhayev. From 1920 to 1922 he worked as a stage designer in Khar’kov (now Kharkiv). In 1923 he returned to Petrograd, where he worked as a book illustrator and stage designer at the Theatre of Musical Comedy, the Theatre of Drama and the Gor’ky Bol’shoy Theatre of Drama; he also worked in Moscow, at the Theatre of the Revolution, the Vakhtangov Theatre and the Moscow Art Theatre (MKhAT). From 1929 he worked as a director, designing his own productions. He was the Art Director of the Leningrad Theatre of Comedy (1935–49), where the most notable productions he directed and designed were Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (1938), Lope de Vega’s Dog in the Manger and ...

Article

Aurélie Verdier

(b Saïda, Algeria, 1953).

French painter, sculptor, photographer, film maker, writer and installation artist of Algerian birth. Born to Spanish parents, he was much affected by North African as well as Southern European culture. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre. Despite a pervasive and diverse use of media, Alberola often stressed the coexistence of his different artistic practices as leading to painting alone. His paintings relied heavily on evocative narratives, at once personal and ‘historical’. Alberola conceived of his role as a storyteller, on the model of African oral cultures. Convinced that narratives could not be renewed, he argued that a painter’s main task was to reactivate his work through contact with his pictorial heritage. The main points of reference for his paintings of the early 1980s were Velázquez, Manet or Matisse, whose works he quoted in a personal way. In the early 1980s he undertook a series of paintings inspired by mythological subjects, which he combined with his own history as the principal subject-matter of his work. The biblical story of Susannah and the Elders as well as the Greek myth of Actaeon provided his most enduring subjects, both referring to the act of looking as taboo, as in ...

Article

Stephen Grabow

(b Vienna, Oct 4, 1936).

British architect, theorist and writer. He studied architecture and mathematics at Cambridge University, England (1956–9), and at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1960–63). While at Harvard he was the joint author with Serge Chermayeff of Community and Privacy (1963), which was a discussion of urban courtyard house-plans by others of the time but which already contained the beginnings of a view of architecture as involving interactive processes rather than finished forms. In 1963 he took up his first faculty position at the University of California at Berkeley, later becoming professor of architecture there. In 1964 he published Notes on a Synthesis of Form, discussing the use of information theory in planning, with examples from his consulting work in India; in April and May 1965 he applied similar observations from mathematics to the current debate on lack of complexity in urban planning in the article ‘A City is not a Tree’. In ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

[‛Alī Wijdān; Wijdan]

(b Baghdad, Aug 29, 1939).

Jordanian painter and art patron. She studied history at Beirut University College (formerly Beirut College for Women), receiving a BA in 1961. In 1993 she took a PhD in Islamic Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. After serving in the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and representing her country at United Nations meetings in Geneva and New York, Ali founded the Royal Society of Fine Arts in Jordan in 1979 and the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in 1980 (see Jordan, Hashemite Kingdom of). In 1988 she organized in Amman the Third International Seminar on Islamic Art, entitled ‘Problems of Art Education in the Islamic World’, and in 1989 she organized the exhibition Contemporary Art from the Islamic World at the Barbican Centre, London. In 2001 she founded the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Jordan, and has received numerous awards in recognition of her work in the arts....

Article

Deborah Cullen

(Henry) [Spinky]

(b Charlotte, NC, Nov 29, 1907; d April 27, 1977).

African American painter, sculptor, graphic artist, muralist and educator. In 1913, Charles Alston’s family relocated from North Carolina to New York where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School. In 1929, he attended Columbia College and then Teachers College at Columbia University, where he obtained his MFA in 1931. Alston’s art career began while he was a student, creating illustrations for Opportunity magazine and album covers for jazz musician Duke Ellington.

Alston was a groundbreaking educator and mentor. He directed the Harlem Arts Workshop and then initiated the influential space known simply as “306,” which ran from 1934 to 1938. He taught at the Works Progress Administration’s Harlem Community Art Center and was supervisor of the Harlem Hospital Center murals, leading 35 artists as the first African American project supervisor of the Federal Art Project. His two murals reveal the influence of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886–1957). His artwork ranged from the comic to the abstract, while often including references to African art. During World War II, he worked at the Office of War Information and Public Information, creating cartoons and posters to mobilize the black community in the war effort....

Article

José Manuel Fernandes

(b Lisbon, April 28, 1910; d Lisbon, Feb 19, 1975).

Portuguese architect, theorist and writer. He studied with Carlos Ramos in the early 1930s and his first significant work was a Modernist pavilion (1937; destr.) for the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne, Paris (1937), a commission he won in competition against Raul Lino. Influenced by contemporary Dutch architecture and urban planning, he designed Lisbon’s airport (1943) at Portela and various works in the capital’s parks. The latter are intimate, modernist and successfully integrated projects, for example restaurants in the Campo Grande park (1948; destr.), in the Florestal de Monsanto park (1940; altered) and in the Eduardo VII park (altered). He also designed for the same parks a municipal swimming-pool (1965), a tennis club building (1952; with Hernâni Gandra and Alberto Pessoa) and the remodelled Estufa Fria (cold house for plants) respectively. A born teacher, researcher and polemicist, Amaral formed a school of theory and practice of architecture in which he fostered the idea of cultural and social awareness as a determining factor in design. In the years following World War II he was active in politics, adhering firmly to left-wing ideas. He was the main instigator of the survey of vernacular architecture in Portugal (...

Article

John F. Pile

(b Resistencia, June 1943).

American architect, industrial designer and museum curator of Argentine birth. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree in architecture from Princeton University, NJ, and then taught at Princeton, at Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh and at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, Germany. From 1969 to 1976 he was Curator of Design for the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. In 1972 he produced the exhibition Italy: The New Domestic Landscape and a related book for MOMA. The exhibition offered historical background and a presentation of contemporary Italian avant-garde work and theory. His architectural works include the Lucille Halsell Conservatory at San Antonio, TX (1987); Banque Bruxelles Lambert offices in Milan (1981), Lausanne (1983) and New York (1984); and offices for the Financial Guaranty Insurance Company in New York (1986), for which he won the International Interior Design Award. An innovative designer, Ambasz sought to reinterpret the poetic aspects of Modernism and the relationship between architecture and the landscape. As an industrial designer, he developed furniture, lighting, a diesel engine, and packaging and graphic designs. His work has won many honours and awards....

Article

Roy R. Behrens

[ Ames, Adelbert, II ]

(b Lowell, MA, Aug 19, 1880; d Hanover, NH, July 3, 1955).

American artist, optical physiologist and perceptual psychologist . Born to an affluent upper-class family, both his father, Adelbert Ames sr, and his maternal grandfather, Benjamin F. Butler, were distinguished Union generals during the American Civil War, while the latter was also a presidential candidate in 1884. Ames himself was trained as a lawyer at Harvard University (1899–1906), where his most influential professor was the philosopher William James (1842–1910). At 30, disillusioned with law and disappointed in love, he radically re-shaped his life. He abandoned his law career and withdrew from his engagement to Margaret (Peggy) James, the daughter of William James. Determined to become an artist, he transformed a police wagon into a makeshift mobile home in which to travel, paint and sleep. At the same time, he was hired by the Shawmut Bank of Boston to create a bust of an heroic Native American leader for use as the company’s trademark. While engaged in this, he shared a studio with his sister, Blanche Ames Ames (...

Article

José Miguel Rojas

(b San José, June 1, 1907; d 1998).

Costa Rican engraver, painter, illustrator, draughtsman, writer and critic. He studied for a year from 1931 at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes but was otherwise initially self-taught, using Louis Gonse’s L’Art japonais (Paris, 1883) as a source. He produced a series of caricature drawings, influenced by Cubism, in the Album de dibujos de 1926. During 1929 he met the sculptors Juan Manuel Sánchez and Francisco Zúñiga (the latter was also a printmaker), and through his interest in German and Mexican Expressionist printmakers, he developed a passion for wood-engraving. His first wood-engravings were published in the periodical Repertorio Americano (1929). He went on to contribute wood-engravings and drawings to collections of short stories and poetry, educational books, periodicals and newspapers. In 1931 he taught drawing and wood-engraving at the Escuela Normal in Heredia. He exhibited at the Salones Anuales de Artes Plásticas in San José (1931–6...