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Greta Stroeh

[Jean] (Peter Wilhelm)

(b Strassburg, Germany [now Strasbourg, France], Sept 16, 1886; d Basle, Switzerland, June 7, 1966).

French sculptor, painter, collagist, printmaker, and poet of German birth. The son of a German father and French Alsatian mother, he developed a cosmopolitan outlook from an early age and as a mature artist maintained close contact with the avant-garde throughout Europe. He was a pioneer of abstract art and one of the founders of Dada in Zurich, but he also participated actively in both Surrealism and Constructivism. While he prefigured junk art and the Fluxus movement in his incorporation of waste material, it was through his investigation of biomorphism and of chance and accident that he proved especially influential on later 20th-century art in liberating unconscious creative forces.

Following a brief period at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Strasbourg (1900–01), Arp received instruction from 1901 from a friend and neighbour, the painter and printmaker Georges Ritleng (1875–1972). He then attended the Kunstschule in Weimar (1904–7) and the Académie Julian in Paris (...

Article

(b Geneva, Feb 25, 1872; d Lausanne, Jan 1, 1938).

Swiss painter and multimedia artist . From 1890/91 she studied under Hugues Bovy (1841–1903) and Denise Sarkissof at the Ecole d’Art in Geneva. A travel scholarship enabled her to study in Munich for a year. From 1904 until the outbreak of World War I Bailly lived in Paris, where she associated with Cubist artists, including Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, Fernand Léger, Marie Laurencin and Sonia Lewitska (1882–1914). From 1905 to 1926 she exhibited regularly at the Salon d’Automne. From 1906 to 1910 her work was influenced by Fauvism, and from 1910 she became interested in Cubism and Futurism: Equestrian Fantasy with Pink Lady (1913; Zurich, Gal. Strunskaja) is reminiscent of the work of Gino Severini or Franz Marc in its rhythmic movement and planar fragmentation of horses and riders into coloured patterns. Other paintings of this period that are also indebted to these movements include ...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Lisbon, Aug 9, 1923).

Portuguese painter and poet. He studied fine art and music and in 1942 took part in the meetings at the Café Herminius of a group of students, including Cruzeiro Seixas and Fernando de Azevedo, engaged in Dada activities. His writings for Júlio Pomar’s art page in the newspaper Tarde in 1945 called for the politicization of art. In 1947 he was one of the founder-members of the Lisbon Surrealist Group but left, forming a dissident group called The Surrealists in 1948. Although this group was disbanded after two exhibitions (1949 and 1950), both Cesariny and Cruzeiro Seixas retained a surrealizing tendency in their work.

Although better known as a poet, Cesariny continued to be involved with the visual arts. Psychic automatism and the use of varied materials including found objects played an important part in the genesis of his images. His poem-objects are quirky and humorous, if somewhat derivative of French Surrealism....

Article

Patricia Delettre

(Ivanovich)

(b Buguruslan, Aug 4, 1888; d Villeneuve-Saint Georges, France, Nov 24, 1975).

Russian painter active mainly in France. After being rejected by the Academy of Fine Arts in Kazan’, Charchoune moved in 1909 to Moscow, where he was taught by Ilya Machov (1881–1944), discovered French Cubism and met avant-garde artists such as Mikhail Larionov, Natal’ya Goncharova and Vladimir Tatlin. In 1910 he was called up for three years’ military service, but he deserted in 1912, moving to Berlin and then Paris, where he became part of the informal Ecole de Paris. By this stage he was initiating himself into the rigours of Cubism, studying under Jean Metzinger and, above all, Henri Le Fauconnier, whose influence is apparent in paintings such as Watermill at Ploumanac’h (1913; see Creuze, pl. 39). Charchoune went to Barcelona in 1914 to avoid involvement in World War I, and there rediscovered the ornamental through seeing Spanish-Moorish art, notably geometric patterns in ceramics and tiles; his enthusiasm for these is seen in such works as ...

Article

Erika Billeter

(b Berlin, Dec 15, 1896; d Wassenaar, March 13, 1983).

Dutch photographer, Photomontagist and painter, active also in Germany. He belonged to the Dada group in Berlin and was a friend of George Grosz, Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield and Erwin Blumenfeld. From 1922 to 1925 he was associated with the Bauhaus in Weimar, producing during this period the photocollage Metropolis (1923; Leiden, Rijksuniv.), the single work for which he remains best known, and which has become a classic image of the 20th-century city. His period at the Bauhaus clearly helped shape his photographic style, his photomontages in particular betraying the influence of both Dada and Constructivism. In 1927 he moved to the Netherlands, founding and then teaching at the Nieuwe Kunstschool in Amsterdam (1933–7). From 1935 to 1940, and again from 1945 to 1960, he was professor of drawing and painting at the Academie voor Beeldenden Kunsten in The Hague. He continued to work as both a painter and photographer without ever recapturing the fame that he had enjoyed with his work of the 1920s....

Article

Ronald Alley

(b Bulle, Switzerland, April 24, 1878; d Paris, Jan 30, 1958).

French painter of Swiss birth. From 1901 he spent almost all his life in Paris, studying there at the Académie Julian. His early work was influenced first by Impressionism, then by Fauvism and Art Nouveau, and included a number of rhythmically stylized female heads in pastel colours, followed from c. 1910 by a more strongly constructed Cubist phase. He spent two years in New York (1914–16), where he met (Henri-Robert-)Marcel Duchamp—whose sister Suzanne Duchamp he married in 1919—and Francis Picabia, and became involved in the Dada movement until 1921; his Dada paintings and reliefs are delicate and poetic and often combine the forms of objects, such as mechanical instruments, with words and typography, as in his portrait of Thomas Edison (1920; London, Tate).

In the 1920s, seeking to create a visionary art that would transport the artist and viewer into unknown worlds expressive of the aspirations of the soul, Crotti began to produce pictures in a variety of styles, sometimes completely abstract, like ...

Article

Allan Doig

(b Utrecht, Aug 30, 1883; d Davos, Switzerland, March 7, 1931).

Dutch painter, architect, designer and writer. He was officially registered as the son of Wilhelm Küpper and Henrietta Catharina Margadant, but he was so convinced that his mother’s second husband, Theodorus Doesburg, was his father that he took his name. Little is known of his early life, but he began painting naturalistic subjects c. 1899. In 1903 he began his military service, and around the same time he met his first wife, Agnita Feis, a Theosophist and poet. Between about 1908 and 1910, much influenced by the work of Honoré Daumier, he produced caricatures, some of which were later published in his first book De maskers af! (1916). Also during this period he painted some Impressionist-inspired landscapes and portraits in the manner of George Hendrik Breitner. Between 1914 and 1915 the influence of Kandinsky became clear in such drawings as Streetmusic I and Streetmusic II (The Hague, Rijksdienst Beeld. Kst) and other abstract works....

Article

Francis M. Naumann

(b Blainville, Normandy, July 28, 1887; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, Oct 2, 1968).

French painter, sculptor and writer, active also in the USA. The art and ideas of Duchamp, perhaps more than those of any other 20th-century artist, have served to exemplify the range of possibilities inherent in a more conceptual approach to the art-making process. Not only is his work of historical importance—from his early experiments with Cubism to his association with Dada and Surrealism—but his conception of the ready-made decisively altered our understanding of what constitutes an object of art. Duchamp refused to accept the standards and practices of an established art system, conventions that were considered essential to attain fame and financial success: he refused to repeat himself, to develop a recognizable style or to show his work regularly. It is the more theoretical aspects implicit to both his art and life that have had the most profound impact on artists later in the century, allowing us to identify Duchamp as one of the most influential artists of the modern era....

Article

(b Lund, Oct 21, 1880; d Berlin, May 19, 1925).

Swedish draughtsman, film maker, painter and writer. After a limited education in Sweden he emigrated to Germany in 1897, where he received a commercial training at Flensburg that year. Around 1900 he began work as a bookkeeper at a watch factory in Le Locle in Switzerland, and from c. 1901 to c. 1907 he worked as a bookkeeper in Milan. There he attended the Accademi di Belle Arti di Brera in the evenings. In 1907 he obtained a post as a bookkeeper at the Lyceum Alpinum in Zuoz, Switzerland, where he was also allowed to teach art. His wife’s ill-health forced him to resign the post and, after a visit to Essen in 1910, he moved to Paris (1911) and became acquainted with Arp, Modigliani, Othon Friesz and Moise Kisling; he was particularly impressed by the work of André Derain, but he probably also studied the work of the Cubists....

Article

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

Daniel Robbins

(b Paris, Dec 8, 1881; d Avignon, June 23, 1953).

French painter, printmaker and writer. He grew up in Courbevoie, a suburb of Paris, and as a student at the Collège Chaptal became interested in theatre and painting. At 19, his father put him to work in the family interior design and fabric business, an experience that contributed to a lifelong respect for skilled workmanship. The first paintings he exhibited, at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1902, were Impressionist in character, but the work accepted within two years at the Salon d’Automne showed a shift to social themes, a tendency that accelerated until 1908. Compulsory military service from 1903 to 1905 thrust him into the company of working-class people, arousing a permanent sense of solidarity with their aspirations and needs. The results were immediately apparent in the Association Ernest Renan, which he helped to establish in 1905, a kind of popular university with secular and socialist aims. He was also one of the founders of a community of intellectuals based near Paris, the ...

Article

Ursula Zeller

[Georg]

(b Berlin, July 26, 1893; d W. Berlin, July 6, 1959).

German painter, draughtsman, and illustrator. He is particularly valued for his caustic caricatures, in which he used the reed pen with notable success. Although his paintings are not quite as significant as his graphic art, a number of them are, nonetheless, major works. He grew up in the provincial town of Stolp, Pomerania (now Słupsk, Poland), where he attended the Oberrealschule, until he was expelled for disobedience. From 1909 to 1911 he attended the Akademie der Künste in Dresden, where he met Kurt Günther, Bernhard Kretschmar (1889–1972) and Franz Lenk (1898–1968). Under his teacher Richard Müller (1874–1954), Grosz painted and drew from plaster casts. At this time he was unaware of such avant-garde movements as Die Brücke, also active in Dresden. In 1912 he studied with Emil Orlik at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin. A year later he moved to the Académie Colarossi in Paris, where he learnt a free drawing style that swiftly reached the essence of a motif....

Article

Timothy O. Benson

(b Vienna, July 12, 1886; d Limoges, Feb 1, 1971).

Austrian photomontagist, painter, photographer, printmaker, writer, and theorist. He trained in the academic artistic tradition under his father, Victor Hausmann (1859–1920). In 1900 he went to Berlin, where he later became a central figure in Dada. His important friendship with the eccentric architect and mystical artist Johannes Baader (1875–1956) began in 1905. In the first years of the next decade he was associated with such artists as Erich Heckel and Ludwig Meidner and produced numerous paintings, including Blue Nude (1916; Rochechouart, Mus. Dépt.), and woodcuts, several of which were published in his book Material der Malerei Plastik Architektur (Berlin, 1918). These works blended Expressionism with the influences of artists then exhibiting at Herwarth Walden’s Sturm-Galerie: Fernand Léger, Alexander Archipenko, Robert Delaunay and Sonia Delaunay, Arthur Segal, and others. Around 1915 his widening contacts with the writers Salomon Friedländer and Franz Jung led to innumerable theoretical and satirical writings that were published in ...

Article

Barbara Lange

revised by Andrés Mario Zervigón

[Herzfeld, Helmut ]

(b Berlin, June 19, 1891; d Berlin, April 26, 1968).

German photomontagist, draughtsman, typographer, stage designer, and film director. After a difficult childhood owing to the persecution of his father for his political beliefs, he studied art at the Königliche Kunstgewerbeschule in Munich from 1907 to 1911, specializing in advertising art. In 1912 he took his first job in a paper packaging company (for which he completed graphic design work) in Mannheim, moving to Berlin in 1913, where he and his brother Wieland Herzfeld made contact with avant-garde circles. (Wieland changed his surname to Herzfelde in early 1914.) Heartfield’s experiences in World War I led him to conclude that the only worthy art was that which took account of social realities (see Eclipse of the Sun on the Rhine, 1957). He destroyed all his early work.

From 1916 Heartfield collaborated closely with George Grosz and in the summer of 1917, like Grosz, anglicized his name, although he did not adopt this form officially until after the war. His earnest criticism of bourgeois society found its expression in his commitment to the ...

Article

Ellen Maurer

(Johanne )

(b Gotha, Nov 1, 1889; d Berlin, May 31, 1978).

German painter and photomontagist. She moved to Berlin in 1912 to study at the Städtischen Kunstgewerbe- und Handwerksschule Charlottenburg. Her course was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I, and she then enrolled at the Lehranstalt des Kunstgewerbemuseums in Berlin, where she studied under Emil Orlik until 1920. She had a relationship with Raoul Hausmann from 1915 to 1922, and through him came into contact with the literary and artistic circle that formed the Club Dada (see Dada) in 1918. The collective activities of this avant-garde movement came to a climax between 1918 and 1922 in exhibitions, demonstrations and multimedia events. Photomontage (e.g. Mother, 1925–6) which was its own expressive art form, was created by Höch and Hausmann in 1918, partly as a response to the instability of the war years, and partly as an anti-academic alternative to German Expressionism.

Höch’s best-known photomontage, Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Era of the Weimar Beer-belly Culture...

Article

Benjamin Benus

(b Cologne, Sept 1, 1895; d Cologne, July 3, 1936).

German painter, draughtsman, and printmaker. Along with Franz Wilhelm Seiwert (1894–1933), Hoerle was one of the leading figures of the Cologne-based Gruppe Progressiver Künstler. During his studies at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Cologne in 1912, Hoerle first met several of the artists with whom he would later collaborate in the post-war Dadaist Stupid group—among them, Angelika Fick (1899–1923) and her brother Willy Fick (1894–1970). In 1917 Hoerle began contributing prints and drawings to the Berlin-based journal Die Aktion. The same year Hoerle was drafted into the German army and sent to the front—an experience that affected him deeply and had a lasting impact on his artwork. Hoerle’s Krüppelmappe (1919–20; priv. col.), for example, depicts the physical and psychological traumas experienced by wounded soldiers returning from the front, while the mechanized, automaton-like figures that appear in a number of his works after 1920—for example his now-lost oil painting ...

Article

Richard Sheppard

(b Frankenau, Hessen, April 23, 1892; d Minusio, Switzerland, April 20, 1974).

German writer, painter and doctor. He met Hugo Ball in 1912 and became involved with the Munich circle associated with the journal Revolution and Franz Pfemfert’s circle in Berlin associated with Die Aktion. Huelsenbeck moved to Zurich in February 1916, becoming a central member of the Dada group in the Cabaret Voltaire. He returned to Berlin in late December 1916, and together with the groups involved with the periodicals Neue Jugend, run by Wieland Herzfelde (1896–1988), and Die freie Strasse, run by Franz Jung (1888–1963), he organized Berlin Dada from 1917 to 1922. His publications of this period included two versions of the Phantastische Gebete (Zurich, 1916 and 1920), a book of verse illustrated by Hans Arp and George Grosz, the novel Doktor Billig am Ende (Munich, 1921), illustrated by Grosz, and the ‘Dadaistische Welt-Atlas’, Dadaco (unpublished), as well as various polemical tracts on the movement. In ...

Article

Ioana Vlasiu

(b Bucharest, 1895; d Ein Hod, 1984).

Romanian painter, printmaker, architect and writer. He was a pupil of the painter Iosif Iser and from 1915 studied architecture in Zurich. With Tristan Tzara, Hans Arp, Richard Huelsenbeck and Hugo Ball, Janco participated in the Dada performances of the Cabaret Voltaire (see Dada, §1 and Mask, c. 1919). Janco made props and posters for the Dada group and illustrated with engravings the books of Tristan Tzara; he broke with Dada in 1922. In 1918 he became involved with the Neue Leben group in Basle. After returning to Romania in 1920 he took part in all the major avant-garde exhibitions, showed at the Maison d’Art in Bucharest (1922) and was a member of the group Contimporanul (1924), which published an eponymous review and organized the first international avant-garde exhibition in December 1924. Janco was prolific as an artist, drawing, painting, engraving, designing buildings (e.g. Wexler House, ...

Article

Éva Bajkay

(b Ersekujvar, Hungary, March 21, 1887; d Budapest, July 22, 1967).

Hungarian writer, painter, theorist, collagist, designer, printmaker and draughtsman. His family moved to Budapest in 1904, and, after finishing an apprenticeship as a blacksmith, in 1908 he began publishing stories and poems. In 1909–10 he travelled across Western Europe and spent some time in Paris, becoming acquainted with modern art and anarchist ideas. He published short stories, plays and poems in Budapest and from November 1915 he edited the periodical A Tett (‘The deed’), which was anti-militarist and discussed socialist theories and avant-garde ideas. In summer 1916 he spent time in the Kecskemét artists’ colony with his brother-in-law Béla Uitz and under his influence executed his first ink drawings (e.g. Landscape, 1916; Budapest, N.G.). Progressive young artists and aesthetes grouped themselves around Kassák; after A Tett was banned in September 1916, he started in November a new periodical, MA (‘Today’; see MA group), which he edited with Uitz (to ...

Article

(b Paris, Oct 31, 1883; d Paris, June 8, 1956).

French painter, stage designer and illustrator. After studying porcelain painting at the Sèvres factory (1901) and drawing in Paris under the French flower painter Madelaine Lemaire (1845–1928), in 1903–4 she studied at the Académie Humbert in Paris, where she met Georges Braque and Francis Picabia. In 1907 she first exhibited paintings at the Salon des Indépendants, met Picasso at Clovis Sagot’s gallery and through Picasso was introduced to the poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Laurencin and Apollinaire were soon on intimate terms, their relationship lasting until 1912.

Laurencin became a regular associate of the painters and poets associated with the Bateau-Lavoir, who included Picasso, Braque, Gris, Max Jacob and André Salmon. She was present at the banquet given by Picasso in honour of Henri Rousseau in 1908 and produced the first version of Apollinaire and his Friends (1908; Baltimore, MD, Mus. A.) in a highly simplified style, in which she pictured herself and the poet with Picasso and his companion Fernande Olivier. Both this and a larger version with additional figures (...