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Malcolm Gee

(b Brühl, nr Cologne, April 2, 1891; d Paris, April 1, 1976).

German painter, printmaker, and sculptor, naturalized American in 1948 and French in 1958. He was a major contributor to the theory and practice of Surrealism (see Two Children Are Threatened by a Nightingale, 1924). His work challenged and disrupted what he considered to be repressive aspects of European culture, in particular Christian doctrine, conventional morality, and the aesthetic codes of Western academic art. Until the mid-1920s he was little known outside a small circle of artists and writers in Cologne and Paris, but he became increasingly successful from c. 1928 onwards. After 1945 he was respected and honoured as a surviving representative of a ‘heroic’ generation of avant-garde artists.

Article

Roberto Pontual

revised by Gillian Sneed

(b São Paulo, Dec 21, 1931; d São Paulo, Sept 12, 2010).

Brazilian painter and draftsman. The grandson of missionaries from the United States and Brazilians of Portuguese descent, Lee grew up in São Paulo. In the early 1950s he trained at the Museu de Arte Assis Châteaubriand (MASP), São Paulo, and later at the Parsons School of Design in New York, where he studied graphic arts. In New York he was introduced to Dada and Neo-Dada through the works of Marcel Duchamp, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns, which influenced his early practice. He returned to Brazil in 1955, working in an advertising agency until 1957, when he became an apprentice in the studio of the painter Karl Plattner (1919–1989). After traveling to Paris, Italy, and Austria to work and study, he returned to Brazil in 1960. In 1963, with the critic Pedro Manuel-Gismondi (1925–1999), the painter Maria Cecilia Gismondi (b 1928), the photographer Otto Stupakoff (1935–2009), and the writer Carlos Felipe Saldanha (...

Article

Man Ray  

Merry A. Foresta

[Radnitzky, Emmanuel ]

(b Philadelphia, PA, Aug 25, 1890; d Paris, Nov 18, 1976).

American photographer and painter. He was brought up in New York, and he adopted the pseudonym Man Ray as early as 1909. He was one of the leading spirits of Dada and Surrealism and the only American artist to play a prominent role in the launching of those two influential movements (see Cadeau, 1921). Throughout the 1910s he was involved with avant-garde activities that prefigured the Dada movement. After attending drawing classes supervised by Robert Henri and George Bellows at the Francisco Ferrer Social Center, or Modern School, he lived for a time in the art colony of Ridgefield, NJ, where he designed, illustrated, and produced several small press pamphlets, such as the Ridgefield Gazook, published in 1915, and A Book of Diverse Writings.

Man Ray was a frequent visitor to Alfred Stieglitz influential gallery, Gallery 291, where he was introduced not only to a dizzying array of European contemporary art, from Auguste Rodin’s drawings to collages by Braque and Picasso, but also to photographs by Stieglitz and others. Like many American artists, he was also greatly influenced by the avant-garde art exhibited at the ...

Article

Gisela Hossmann

[Johannes] (Siegfried)

(b Berlin, April 6, 1888; d Minusio, nr Locarno, Feb 1, 1976).

American painter, film maker, theorist and writer of German birth. He studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Berlin and at the Akademie in Weimar from 1908 to 1909. Until c. 1910 he produced academic figure drawings, individual genre scenes and book illustrations (e.g. for Boccaccio’s Decameron). His early paintings showed the influence of Symbolism and of Jugendstil. Between 1911 and 1914 he came under the influence of Cézanne and also of Expressionism. At this time his paintings were flat in character, but with a fluid, dynamic and expressive drawing style, strongly outlined forms and powerful brushstrokes, as in Kurfürstendamm (1911; Locarno, Pin. Casa Rusca).

From 1914 until 1916 Richter’s work was influenced by Cubism, and he realized his idea of the visualization of rhythmical movements, proportion and order. His aim was the ‘free orchestration of forms …as music has orchestrated time …with sound’. Following the example of Picasso and Braque, Richter chose musical subjects for his paintings, such as ...

Article

Wilford W. Scott

(b Philadelphia, PA, Oct 15, 1881; d Philadelphia, Oct 13, 1918).

American painter and photographer. After training as an architect at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (A.B., 1903), he studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, also in Philadelphia, from 1903 to 1906 under William Merritt Chase, with whom he travelled to Europe. From 1907 to 1909 he lived mostly in Paris, where he saw the work of major avant-garde artists, including Cézanne, Picasso and Matisse, and benefited from contact with Leo Stein, an important collector and writer. By 1909 Schamberg had responded to the example of Cézanne’s paintings, including simplified and more solid forms in his own work. Following his participation in the Armory Show in 1913, Cubism became the dominant element of his art, modified in such works as Figure B, Geometric Patterns (1913; Fort Worth, TX, Amon Carter Mus.) by his use of vibrant colour. About 1915 Schamberg met Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia in New York through Walter Arensberg and in works such as ...