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Article

Paule Thévenin

[Antoine Marie Joseph]

(b Marseille, Sept 4, 1896; d Ivry-sur-Seine, March 4, 1948).

French writer, draughtsman, stage designer, actor and director . He learnt to draw and paint in 1918–19 while staying in an establishment near Neuchâtel where he had been sent suffering from a nervous complaint that had begun in 1914. There he was prescribed opium in May 1919. He arrived in Paris in the spring of 1920 and visited salons, galleries and studios, produced art criticism (see Oeuvres complètes, ii), continued to sketch small portraits of himself or his family and composed poems. In the atelier of Charles Dullin (1885–1949), where he trained as an actor, he was asked to design the costumes for several performances. Nevertheless, after an attempt in 1923 to paint the portrait of a young friend and her father, he abandoned painting and drawing. Through the painter Elie Lascaux (b 1888), whom he knew from Max Jacob’s circle, he met the art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and the artists of his gallery. He became a friend of André Masson in particular and soon became a regular visitor at Masson’s studio in the Rue Blomet, then also frequented by other painters such as Joan Miró, Jean Dubuffet and Georges Malkine and visited by writers Robert Desnos (...

Article

Fani-Maria Tsigakou

(b Athens, Oct 21, 1910; d Athens, Oct 31, 1985).

Greek painter, stage designer and poet. He spent his school years in Constantinople (now Istanbul) and Paris. Between 1932 and 1938 he studied at the Higher School of Fine Arts in Athens under Konstantinos Parthenis and Yannis Kefallinos (1893–1957). At the same time he worked with Fotis Kontoglou. The publication in 1938 of his first collection of surrealistic poems, and the first exhibition of his paintings the following year, were enthusiastically received by the most authoritative members of the Greek literary and artistic avant-garde, such as Andreas Embirikos (1901–75) and Odysseas Elytis (b 1911). From 1941 to 1972 he held the post of professor of painting at the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens. He was one of the first exponents of Surrealism in Greece, combining the universal principles of the movement with the Greek artistic and cultural tradition. Deeply influenced by de Chirico’s metaphysical painting, he attempted to create an imagery of unexpected combinations, based upon poetic imagination and colour. His paintings are characterized by the presence of mannequins placed in Neo-classical houses overlooking the Parthenon or within strange Greek interiors. The female figure is almost always present in his works, as in ...

Article

Leland M. Roth and Gordon Campbell

(John)

(b Vienna, Sept 22, 1890; d New York, Dec 27, 1965).

American architect, stage designer, furniture designer and writer of Austrian birth. In 1920 he worked with Adolf Loos in Vienna. He was also in contact with the artists associated with De Stijl and began experimenting with innovative theatre designs. In 1924 he produced the Endless Theatre design. The ‘Endless’ was a double-curved shell of reinforced concrete that could enclose any irregularly traditional divisions into floor, wall, and ceiling but offered the inhabitant an open interior that could be modified at will. For the theatre he adapted the ‘Endless’ by devising a double-spiral stage interconnected by ramps and rings of spectator seats. Kiesler believed that the Endless Theatre, without proscenium or curtain, projecting out into the audience, with perpetually moving walls bathed in light of ever changing colour, would promote greater interaction between actors and audience.

For the celebrated Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925...

Article

Celia Rabinovitch

(b Basle, July 20, 1900; d Sugar Loaf, NY, Jan 2, 1962).

American painter, printmaker, sculptor, stage designer and writer of Swiss birth. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva (1920) and at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence (1927). From this training he drew upon two dominant influences, combining a predilection for the illusionistic deep space and the clear vibrant colour of the Italian tradition with the fantastic narratives explored by earlier Swiss artists such as Johann Heinrich Füseli, Ferdinand Hodler, Urs Graf and Niklaus Manuel Deutsch.

In 1929 Seligmann moved to Paris, where he remained until 1938 and where he became associated with Surrealists. While in Paris he also became a member of Abstraction–Création and an acquaintance of Le Corbusier as well as Hans Arp, whose example led him to explore deliberately ambiguous biomorphic imagery. Although he did not formally join the Surrealist movement until 1937, he participated in Surrealist exhibitions throughout the 1930s and made use of organic and fantastic forms, often fusing natural with artificial elements. His paintings and etchings of this period, distinguished by their high degree of finish, make striking use of masks and of dancing figures constructed of abstract forms. Their sense of play, secrecy and concealment recalls the animism of the fairy tale and the Gothic tradition of northern Europe. The element of drama, tension and struggle in the dance is particularly apparent in his depiction of multiple figures. He worked in white tempera on a reddish ground, glazing over that layer with transparent colour and black outline. The highlights were added at the end in keeping with a traditional systematic approach to the illusionistic depiction of space....