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Peter Webb

(b Kattowitz, Germany [now Katowice, Poland], March 13, 1902; d Paris, Feb 24, 1975).

German photographer, sculptor, printmaker, painter, and writer. As a child he developed fear and hatred for his tyrannical father, who totally dominated his gentle and affectionate mother. He and his younger brother Fritz found refuge from this oppressive family atmosphere in a secret garden decorated with toys and souvenirs and visited by young girls who joined in sexual games. In 1923 Bellmer was sent by his father to study engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin, but he became interested in politics, reading the works of Marx and Lenin and joining in discussions with artists of the Dada. He was especially close to George Grosz, who taught him drawing and perspective in 1924 and whose advice to be a savage critic of society led him to abandon his engineering studies in that year. Having shown artistic talent at an early age, he began designing advertisements as a commercial artist and illustrated various Dada novels, such as ...

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Robert Saltonstall Mattison

(b New York, March 10, 1917; d Dec 21, 1992).

American sculptor, painter, and photographer. Throughout his career he was devoted to Surrealist ideas. He had no formal training, but at schools in New York, Colorado, and California he graduated in biology and chemistry, which may have influenced his interest in primal origins and the biomorphic shapes in his sculptures and paintings. He worked briefly as a commercial photographer in New York around 1940, experimenting in 1941 with a thermographic technique invented by the Surrealists in which the negative was melted to distort the image. From 1941 to 1944 he was one of the Americans most closely associated with the European Surrealist emigrés, and he edited the Surrealist magazine VVV with assistance from Duchamp, Breton, and Ernst. He became committed to the Surrealists’ exploration of psychic automatism and to their use of mythological subjects.

Hare’s first sculptures were plaster works produced in the mid-1940s and exhibited at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century Gallery in New York in ...

Article

Anneke E. Wijnbeek

(b Lessines, Hainaut, Nov 21, 1898; d Schaerbeek, Brussels, Aug 15, 1967).

Belgian painter, draughtsman, printmaker, sculptor, photographer and film maker. He was one of the major figures of Surrealism and perhaps the greatest Belgian artist of the 20th century (see Les Promenades d’Euclid, 1955). His work, while lacking the drama of conventional stylistic development, continued to be admired during the later years of his life, in spite of changes in fashion, and can be said to have continued to grow in popularity and critical esteem after his death.

Magritte studied from 1916 to 1918 at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, producing his first paintings in an Impressionist manner. Under the supervision of the Belgian painter Gisbert Combaz (1869–1941), he produced his first posters, which were the first works he exhibited in ...

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Ronald Alley

(b Malmédy, Aug 31, 1910; d March 24, 1985).

Belgian painter, sculptor and photographer, active in France. He originally intended to become a waterways and forestry inspector. His interest in art was aroused when he made his first visit to Paris in 1928 and met several artists, including Otto Freundlich. After returning to Malmédy he read the Manifeste du Surréalisme (1924) by André Breton. In 1930 he settled in Paris and made contact with the Surrealist group, attending the first showing of Luis Buñuel’s film L’Age d’or (1931). He attended the Faculté des Lettres of the Sorbonne briefly but soon left to frequent the studios of Montparnasse. About 1933–4 he attended the Ecole des Arts Appliqués for more than a year, studying mainly drawing and photography. In the course of a visit to Austria and the Dalmatian coast in 1933, he visited the island of Hvar where he made some assemblages of stones, which he drew and photographed, for example ...