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Article

Claudia Büttner

(b Hamburg, July 17, 1883; d W. Berlin, Dec 11, 1973).

German painter. He studied in Hamburg under the German painter Arthur Siebelist (1870–1946) in 1900. In 1907 he went to Paris, where he sought contact with French modernism and its protagonists in the Café du Dôme and as a student at the Académie Matisse. His works completed before World War I reflect the colour of Matisse and the fragmented planes of Cézanne (e.g. Girl in Kimono, oil, 1910; priv. col., see exh. cat., pl. 5). In the inter-war years his depictions of landscapes, portraits and still-lifes are characterized by the harmony of the abstract rhythm of their planes and forms and by the use of silhouettes indebted to Cubism (e.g. From Old Letters, 1933; priv. col., see exh. cat., pl. 10). From 1928 until his dismissal by the Nazis in 1933 Ahlers-Hestermann taught at art colleges in Hamburg and Cologne. From 1946 to 1949 he was head of the Landeskunstschule in Hamburg....

Article

Libero Andreotti

(b Rovereto, Dec 10, 1896; d Milan, Sept 26, 1982).

Italian architect, stage designer and painter . After studying at the Scuola Reale Elisabettiana, an applied arts school in Rovereto, he joined the Futurist movement, headed locally by Fortunato Depero. After serving in World War I, he enrolled at the Scuola Superiore di Architettura del Politecnico, Milan, graduating in architecture in 1922. He then spent four years (1922–6) in Berlin working as a stage designer and frequenting the avant-garde milieu around Max Reinhardt, Erwin Piscator and Oskar Kokoschka. He returned to Italy in 1926 and set up his own practice. His first important commission, the remodelling of the Bar Craja (1930; with Figini and Pollini) in Milan, with its handsome glass and steel interior, established Baldessari’s reputation as an innovative designer. He collaborated again with Figini and Pollini on the De Angeli-Frua office building (1931–2) in Milan, a fine example of Italian Rationalism at its most restrained. Baldessari’s architectural masterpiece of this period was, however, the Press Pavilion (...

Article

Blanca García Vega

(b Minas de Ríotinto, Huelva, Jan 12, 1871; d Vera de Bidasoa, Navarra, 1953).

Spanish printmaker, painter and writer . He was self-taught. He belonged to the Generación del 98 and the modernist literary movement. He began engraving in 1901 and won second prize at the Exposición Nacional, Madrid (1906), going on to win first prize in 1908. He also began etching c. 1908, and it became his favourite technique, although he also made lithographs. Both his prints and paintings have a literary content and focus thematically on life’s human aspects in a way reminiscent of the work of Toulouse-Lautrec. He illustrated Rubén Darío’s Coloquio de los centauros. Despite their lack of fine detail, his prints are realistic, for example Bar Types (etching and aquatint, c. 1906–9; Madrid, Bib. N.) and Beggars (etching and aquatint, c. 1910; Madrid, Bib. N.). His impressionistic painting style of the 1920s became more roughly worked later, possibly due to the loss of an eye in 1931. In ...

Article

Bauhaus  

Rainer K. Wick

[Bauhaus Berlin; Bauhaus Dessau, Hochschule für Gestaltung; Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar]

German school of art, design and architecture, founded by Walter Gropius. It was active in Weimar from 1919 to 1925, in Dessau from 1925 to 1932 and in Berlin from 1932 to 1933, when it was closed down by the Nazi authorities. The Bauhaus’s name referred to the medieval Bauhütten or masons’ lodges. The school re-established workshop training, as opposed to impractical academic studio education. Its contribution to the development of Functionalism in architecture was widely influential. It exemplified the contemporary desire to form unified academies incorporating art colleges, colleges of arts and crafts and schools of architecture, thus promoting a closer cooperation between the practice of ‘fine’ and ‘applied’ art and architecture. The origins of the school lay in attempts in the 19th and early 20th centuries to re-establish the bond between artistic creativity and manufacturing that had been broken by the Industrial Revolution. According to Walter Gropius in ...

Article

Iain Boyd Whyte

(b Hamburg, April 14, 1868; d Berlin, Feb 27, 1940).

German architect, designer and painter. Progressing from painting and graphics to product design and architecture, Behrens achieved his greatest successes with his work for the Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), in which he reconciled the Prussian Classicist tradition with the demands of industrial fabrication.

After attending the Realgymnasium in Altona, he began his painting studies in 1886 at the Kunstakademie in Karlsruhe. From there he moved to Düsseldorf, where he studied with Ferdinand Brütt. In December 1889 Behrens married Lilli Krämer, and the following year the couple moved to Munich, where he continued his studies with Hugo Kotschenreiter (1854–1908). Behrens was one of the founder-members of the Munich Secession (see Secession, §1) in 1893 and, shortly afterwards, a founder of the more progressive Freie Vereinigung Münchener Künstler, with Otto Eckmann, Max Slevogt, Wilhelm Trübner and Lovis Corinth. He also joined the circle associated with the magazine Pan, which included Otto Julius Bierbaum, Julius Meier-Graefe, Franz Blei, Richard Dehmel and Otto Eckmann....

Article

Adrian Lewis

(b Grangemouth, Scotland, Sept 28, 1920; d Hertford, England, April 5, 2014).

Scottish painter and printmaker. He trained as a painter at Edinburgh College of Art from 1938 to 1940, initially favouring poetic imagery and coming into contact with modernism at exhibitions held in London of works by Picasso (1945; V&A) and Paul Klee (1945; Tate). He explored a diverse range of activities, however, before returning to painting: from 1949 to 1953 he earned his living by making jewellery and in 1947 he worked as a jazz musician, an activity he continued in later life. He wrote poetry during the early 1940s.

From 1947 to 1949 Davie travelled extensively in Europe; in Italy he studied pre-Renaissance art and saw a wide range of modern art, including the Peggy Guggenheim collection in Venice, to which he later continued to have access. Among the works owned by Guggenheim were paintings of the early 1940s by Jackson Pollock, which led Davie to adopt mythic imagery and forceful painterly gestures. He also adopted from later Pollock a procedure of painting rapidly with his canvases on the floor. From this time his pictures concentrated on themes of organic generation and sinister ritual, fluctuating between turbulent paintwork, animate presences and more geometric forms, sometimes in the same work, as in ...

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

Radomíra Sedláková

(b Dobrovice, Jan 15, 1892; d Prague, May 10, 1936).

Czech architect, painter and stage designer. He graduated in architecture (1917) from the Technical University, Prague, and in 1921 he received a scholarship to the Ecole du Louvre in Paris. In 1922 he became a member of Devětsil, the group of avant-garde writers, artists and architects centred on the figure of Karel Teige. He also joined the Architects’ Club. His early work was influenced by Cubism and classicism, but his most significant building was the crematorium (1921–3; with Bohumil Sláma) at Nymburk, a fundamental work of Czech architectural Purism composed of dramatic white cylinders and slabs, with a row of massive columns and ceremonial steps along the main façade. All his designs were strictly tectonic; he aimed for the creation of a new style inspired by the Neo-classical Empire style. During the first half of the 1920s he also worked as a stage designer in Prague, creating a range of designs in the spirit of poetic Purism; examples include sets for the National Theatre (...

Article

Nancy Underhill

[Bessie]

(b Ipswich, Queensland, May 16, 1868; d Brisbane, July 13, 1961).

Australian painter, active also in France. Gibson exhibited at the Royal Academy London and Paris Salons when they stood as bulwarks against modernism. In 1905, after art studies under Godfrey Rivers (1859–1925) at the Central Technical College, Brisbane had very little to offer her. The National Gallery of Queensland had no collection and few exhibitions came, so her aesthetic mainstays were the British magazines Studio and London Illustrated News.

Her respectable family supported Gibson’s decision to live in Paris as an artist, so she settled in Montparnasse and studied at Colarrossi’s with the New Zealand watercolourist Frances Hodgkins and at Castelucho’s, both haunts of foreign artists. During World War I Gibson went to Britain, then went briefly to Paris and finally, aged 79, returned to Brisbane in 1947. Gibson’s career included having one of her miniatures accepted at the Royal Academy in 1905, winning first prize for the best miniature in the First Australian Exhibition of Women’s Work, Melbourne in ...

Article

Jeremy Howard

(Genrikhovna) [Notenberg, Eleanora]

(b St Petersburg, Jan 10, 1877; d Uusikirkko, Finland [now in Russia], May 6, 1913).

Russian painter and poet. She has an important place in the development of Russian modernism, as one of its founders and inspirations, and as an artist of independent and original vision. She studied at the drawing school of the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, St Petersburg (1890–93), in Yan Tsionglinsky’s private studio (1903–5) and at the Zvantseva School (1906–7) under Mstislav Dobuzhinsky and Léon Bakst. She was attracted to Symbolist literature and her visual art was characterized by a psychological impressionism that first appeared in the work she showed in exhibitions organized by Nikolay Kul’bin in 1908–10. Guro concentrated on elements of the Finnish landscape near her dacha, be that a leaf or the seashore, on her cats, her husband (the painter and musician Mikhail Matyushin) or on items such as a drainpipe or the cobbles of a street. Using watercolour and ink, she moved away from visual mimesis towards a Japanese-style response to nature and an empathy with her surroundings, as in ...

Article

Gudrun Schmidt

(b Remscheid, May 18, 1810; d Düsseldorf, Dec 16, 1853).

German painter. His artistic talent was recognized in 1827, while he was at school in Düsseldorf. The same year he embarked on a course in architecture at the Akademie in Düsseldorf. In 1828 he turned to the study of history painting. After a difference of opinion over the theory of art with the Director of the Akademie, Wilhelm von Schadow, Hasenclever went home to Remscheid. There he taught himself portrait painting. An example of his work from this period is the portrait of Gertraude Scharff (1832–3; Remscheid, Dt. Werkzeugmus. & Heimatmus.). From 1832 to 1838 Hasenclever again studied at the Akademie in Düsseldorf in a painting class taught by Ferdinand Theodor Hildebrandt (1804–74). In portraits and humorous genre paintings Hasenclever found a field suited to his gifts. Pithy commentaries on the everyday life of the lower middle classes are present in all of Hasenclever’s work. He was best known for subjects such as wine-tastings and cellar scenes, and he also made a series of ...

Article

Lucius Grisebach

(b Döbeln, nr Dresden, July 31, 1883; d Radolfzell, nr Konstanz, Jan 27, 1970).

German painter, printmaker and sculptor. He was one of the founders of the group Brücke, Die and one of its most influential and active members. His work was central to German Expressionism.

Heckel began painting and drawing as a schoolboy in Chemnitz, where he became a friend of Karl Schmidt (later Schmidt-Rottluff). In 1904 Heckel went to Dresden to study architecture under Fritz Schumacher at the Technische Hochschule, where he met Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and the artist Fritz Bleyl (1880–1966). In 1905 the four artists, united by common artistic desires and aims, formed Die Brücke. Heckel abandoned his architectural studies in order to pursue his creative work and to organize the group, although he continued to work as a draughtsman and site manager for the architect Wilhelm Kreis until 1907. In common with other members of the group, Heckel drew and painted life models, either in the studio or ...

Article

Mark Allen Svede

(b Riga, Feb 18, 1895; d Riga, Nov 30, 1920).

Latvian painter. Like many Latvian modernists, his formal artistic training and the choice of his most compelling subjects derived from his experience as a refugee during World War I. In 1915 he was evacuated from the Art School in Riga to the one in Penza, south-east of Moscow, where he remained until 1917. In Moscow he saw Sergey Shchukin’s and Ivan Morozov’s collections of modern French art. He was also profoundly inspired by the series of Refugee and Riflemen paintings of his fellow countryman Jāzeps Grosvalds, bringing to these themes his own intimist painter’s sensitivity. Refugees (1917; Riga, Latv. Mus. F.A.) combines the modesty and witty minutiae of naive art and a classical pictorial structure. Similarly, Kazaks often recorded his experiences as a soldier with humour and warmth, eschewing the overtly heroic or patriotic. After World War I, he became the leader in Latvia of the avant-garde association Ekpresionisti, which evolved into the ...

Article

Adam M. Thomas

(b Minden, Jan 15, 1902; d Austin, TX, Dec 8, 1985).

American painter of German birth. Kelpe moved to Hannover to study art and architecture in 1919. In the early 1920s he was exposed to the leading abstract trends in European modernism, including Suprematism and Constructivism. Kelpe developed an abstract painting vocabulary characterized by geometric order, hard edges, overlapping planes, and interpenetrating shapes before immigrating to the United States in 1925. He eventually settled in Chicago, where he had his first solo exhibition in 1932 at the Little Gallery. In the late 1920s Kelpe applied found objects to his paintings, as exemplified by Construction with Lock and Key (1927; Washington, DC, Hirshhorn). He abandoned such constructions by the early 1930s in favor of integrating in paint recognizable gears, wheels and machine parts into his abstract compositions. Machine Elements (1934; Newark, NJ, Mus.), with its stacked semi-abstract machine and factory forms, is representative of his work during the period. Kelpe worked for the Public Works of Art Project in ...

Article

(b Hamburg, Sept 14, 1876; d Pansdorf, nr Lübeck, May 13, 1954).

German painter, printmaker, poster and stage designer. He attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Hamburg (c. 1894), and art academies in Düsseldorf and Berlin (c. 1897). In the first decades of the 20th century he exhibited with the New Secessionists. He drew and painted still-lifes and figures in landscapes and interiors in a strongly Expressionist style, which revealed his admiration for Cubism and for the work of Ferdinand Hodler. He was an assiduous worker; besides paintings, woodcuts and lithographs, he designed stained-glass windows, mosaics (e.g. Kaiser Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, Berlin), murals and painted ceilings. He also decorated the interiors of a number of Berlin theatres, as well as the Marmorhaus cinema (1913). Klein and Gerhard Marcks joined Gropius to organize the 1914 Deutscher Werkbund exhibition in Cologne.

In the post-World War I ferment of cultural and political activity, Klein, with Max Pechstein and others, founded the Novembergruppe in Berlin in ...

Article

Éva Bajkay

(b Budapest, April 15, 1936).

Hungarian painter, conceptual artist and teacher. By 1956 he was familiar with most modernist tendencies. In 1960 he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest, having already taken part in exhibitions as an undergraduate. Lakner’s unique Hungarian mixture of Surrealism and naturalism was primarily influenced by the Hungarian painter Tibor Csernus (b 1927). Lakner’s first works were precisely executed naturalistic life studies and still-lifes, imbued with a magical quality (e.g. Scraps of Metal, 1960; Budapest, priv. col.). In other works repetition and density are used to create special effects. From 1962 the influence of Pop art is apparent in his works representing everyday objects, which lacked emotional or personal meaning (e.g. Microscopes, 1960; Budapest, N.G.). Dark tones and metallic shadows characterize his use of colour. Robert Rauschenberg’s art was influential after Lakner saw it at the Venice Biennale of 1964. He was also influenced by montage, in particular John Heartfield’s Dada and Neo-Dada works. He drew upon his knowledge of art history for such montages as ...

Article

Tim Benton

[Jeanneret, Charles-Edouard]

(b La Chaux de Fonds, Oct 6, 1887; d Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Alps-Maritimes, France, Aug 27, 1965).

Swiss architect, urban planner, painter, writer, designer and theorist, active mostly in France. In the range of his work and in his ability to enrage the establishment and surprise his followers, he was matched in the field of modern architecture perhaps only by Frank Lloyd Wright. He adopted the pseudonym Le Corbusier for his architectural work c. 1920 and for his paintings c. 1930. His visionary books, startling white houses and terrifying urban plans set him at the head of the Modern Movement in the 1920s, while in the 1930s he became more of a complex and sceptical explorer of cultural and architectural possibilities. After World War II he frequently shifted position, serving as ‘Old Master’ of the establishment of modern architecture and as unpredictable and charismatic leader for the young. Most of his great ambitions (urban and housing projects) were never fulfilled. However, the power of his designs to stimulate thought is the hallmark of his career. Before he died, he established the Fondation Le Corbusier in Paris to look after and make available to scholars his library, architectural drawings, sketches and paintings....

Article

John Milner

[Lisitsky, El’ ; Lisitsky, Lazar’ (Markovich )]

(b Pochinok, Smolensk province, Nov 23, 1890; d Moscow, Dec 30, 1941).

Russian draughtsman, architect, printmaker, painter, illustrator, designer, photographer, teacher, and theorist.

After attending school in Smolensk, he enrolled in 1909 at the Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt, to study architecture and engineering. He also travelled extensively in Europe, however, and he made a tour of Italy to study art and architecture. He frequently made drawings of the architectural monuments he encountered on his travels. These early graphic works were executed in a restrained, decorative style reminiscent of Russian Art Nouveau book illustration. His drawings of Vitebsk and Smolensk (1910; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus.), for example, show a professional interest in recording specific architectural structures and motifs, but they are simultaneously decorative graphic works in their own right and highly suitable for publication. This innate awareness of the importance of controlling the design of the page was to remain a feature of Lissitzky’s work throughout radical stylistic transformations. He also recorded buildings in Ravenna, Venice, and elsewhere in Italy in ...

Article

Susan Fisher Sterling

(b São Paulo, Dec 2, 1896; d São Paulo, Nov 6, 1964).

Brazilian painter. Malfatti is acknowledged as the artist who brought European and American modernism to Brazil in 1917 and was a key figure in the Semana de Arte Moderna in São Paulo in 1922. The daughter of immigrants—her father was an Italian engineer and her mother was of German descent—Malfatti first studied at Mackenzie College in São Paulo before leaving for Berlin in 1912, where she learnt about German Expressionism from Lovis Corinth and Bischoff Culn at the Lewin Funcke Academy while also attending the influential fourth international Sonderbund exhibition of modern art in Cologne. Although she returned to Brazil in 1914, she left once again for New York in 1915, where she studied at the Independent School of Art with Homer Boss (1882–1956) until May 1916. Boss was extremely important in encouraging Malfatti’s early experimentation with Expressionism, resulting in important works such as O Farol (‘The Lighthouse’, ...

Article

Shulamith Behr

(Baruch)

(b Bernstadt, Prussia [now Germany], April 18, 1884; d Darmstadt, May 14, 1966).

German painter, draughtsman, graphic artist, writer and teacher. He was born into a middle-class Jewish family during the late Wilhelmine period, and his parents wanted him to pursue a profession more practical than an artistic one. Nonetheless, while apprenticed to a bricklayer in 1901, Meidner produced highly accomplished pen-and-ink drawings. Their imagery reveals his attempts to align his Jewish heritage with that of modern-day Christianity and Socialism, an intellectual preoccupation that was to remain consistent throughout his career (e.g. Ibn Esra, 1901; Darmstadt, Stadtmus. & Städt. Kstsamml.). In 1903 he studied at the Königliche Akademie in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland) and in 1905 moved to Berlin where, to earn a living, he designed advertisements for furriers. A stipend from an aunt enabled him to visit Paris between 1905 and 1907. There he met Modigliani, briefly attended the Académie Julian and Académie Cormon and generally broadened his experience of city life. Nonetheless, his correspondence at that time reveals his preference for Berlin, the ‘struggling, earnest burgeoning city…the world’s intellectual and moral capital’ (letter to Franz Landsberger, ...