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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

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

David Walker

(b Glasgow, March 31, 1857; d Colinton, Edinburgh, July 2, 1938).

Scottish architect. The son of the Glasgow architect John Burnet (1814–1900), he was a Beaux-Arts-trained classicist who became a modernist. Encouraged by R. Phené Spiers (1838–1916) to study at the Atelier Jean-Louis Pascal, Paris, during his time there (1875–7) he formed life-long friendships with Pascal and Henri-Paul Nénot. The first building wholly to his design was the Glasgow Fine Art Institute (1878–80, destr.), followed by the Clyde Navigation Trust (1883), Robertson Street, Glasgow, the Edinburgh International Exhibition building and the Glasgow Athenaeum, St George’s Place (both 1886). All four were pure Beaux-Arts designs in which sculpture played an important role, the first two being Greco-Renaissance, the third a variant of the design by Léopold Hardy (1829-94) for the Exposition Universelle of 1878 in Paris, and the fourth a highly simplified Roman.

In 1886 another Pascal pupil, John Archibald Campbell (...

Article

Jordi Oliveras

(b Barcelona, Dec 27, 1849; d Barcelona, Dec 27, 1923).

Spanish Catalan architect, professor, historian, and politician. He is considered one of the protagonists of Catalan architectural Modernism, which is characterized by the doctrine of Rationalism, and which contrasted with the more expressionist Modernism headed by Gaudí. His essay ‘En busca de una arquitectura nacional’ in the magazine La Renaixença (Feb 1878) proposed the renewal of tradition and upheld the authenticity of architecture from a rational point of view. One of his first works was a building for the Editorial Montaner y Simón (1880) in Barcelona. For the Exposición International (1888), Barcelona, he built the Hotel Internacional (destr.) and the Café-Restaurante del Parque de la Ciudadela (now the Museu de Zoologia), a building that demonstrates two of his signature qualities: his rationalist concern and his predilection for brick. It was here, after the exhibition, that he and some other artists set up a workshop for architecture-related arts, in line with the Modernist ideal of artistic integration. Such integration is evident in the Instituto Pere Mata (...

Article

Gisela Moeller

(b Berlin, April 12, 1871; d Berlin, April 13, 1925).

German architect, designer, writer and teacher. After moving to Munich in 1892, he abandoned his plan to become a teacher, deciding on a career as a freelance scholar. He then studied aesthetics, psychology and philosophy, being particularly influenced by the lectures of the psychologist Theodor Lipps. He also studied German literature, art and music. In 1895 he intended to write a doctorate on the theme of ‘The Construction of Feeling’. In spring 1896 he met Hermann Obrist, who persuaded him to abandon his proposed academic career and become a self-taught artist. As well as book illustrations and decorative pieces for the art magazines Pan and Dekorative Kunst, he produced decorative designs for wall reliefs, carpets, textiles, coverings, window glass and lamps. In 1897 he designed his first furniture for his cousin, the historian Kurt Breysig. His first architectural work, the Elvira photographic studio in Munich (1896–7; destr. 1944), decorated on its street façade by a gigantic, writhing dragon, was a quintessential work of ...

Article

Peter Blundell Jones

(b Schweinfurt, May 28, 1862; d Munich, Dec 25, 1938).

German architect and teacher. He studied architecture at the Technische Hochschule, Munich, before working for Paul Wallot on the Reichstag in Berlin (1884–94). On returning to Munich, he worked for Gabriel von Seidl and started his own practice. In 1893 Fischer was appointed head of the new planning office in Munich, shaping the developing outskirts of the city and erecting his first public buildings, a series of schools influential throughout Germany, for example a school at Elisabethplatz, Munich (1902–4). He resigned in 1901 to devote time to his expanding practice and to teaching, first at the Technische Hochschule, Stuttgart, and in 1908 at the Technische Hochschule, Munich, where he was the first to teach city planning. He was a founder-member of the Deutscher Werkbund in 1907, serving as its first president, and he designed the central hall at the group’s exhibition in Cologne in 1914. Between ...

Article

Asko Salokorpi

(b Asikkala, nr Lahti, June 4, 1876; d Helsinki, March 2, 1956).

Finnish architect and writer. He became known as an aggressive opponent of the National Romantic style in architecture, which had begun as a reform movement, taking its inspiration from the English Arts and Crafts Movement. In Finland, however, where its most important representatives were Eliel Saarinen and Lars Sonck, the movement’s picturesque and romantic manifestations achieved great popularity. In 1904 Frosterus made his famous attack on romanticism with Gustaf Strengell, with whom he also collaborated on some building projects. In connection with the competitions for the railway stations for Helsinki and Viipuri, the friends published a number of newspaper articles, collected into a pamphlet and furnished with handsome typography, which held that romantic architecture was at its worst and most anachronistic in designs for station buildings that were clearly ‘modern’ design tasks. Saarinen, who won both competitions, suffered their bitterest criticism but was persuaded to take a serious interest in Rationalist architecture, a change that had a lasting and, it is generally held, positive, effect on his work. Frosterus participated in both competitions with progressive and handsome projects. However, the jury thought them ‘imported’ and did not award them prizes. Frosterus had indeed worked on his entries while in ...

Article

Gilles Ragot

(b Lyon, Aug 13, 1869; d La Bédoule, Jan 19, 1948).

French architect, urban planner and writer. Regarded as a precursor of the Modern Movement in France, paradoxically he was absent from the debates that enlivened architectural and urban-planning circles between World Wars I and II. He built only c. 15 works, all in the area around Lyon. A winner of the Grand Prix de Rome and recognized by his profession, he was regularly published in architectural reviews. His fame and influence on the Modern Movement in the 1920s and 1930s was due to a theoretical project for a Cité industrielle, sent from Rome while he was a pensionnaire at the Villa Medici. This project was so rich, as much in its city plan (inspired by the site of Lyon) as architecturally, that it had a profound influence on a whole generation of architects led by Le Corbusier and served as an inexhaustible model for Garnier himself, for almost all his future activities....

Article

Richard Longstreth

(John)

(b Tully, NY, April 26, 1870; d Carlsbad, CA, Oct 7, 1936).

American architect. The son of a building contractor, he was trained in Chicago in the offices of the architects Joseph Lyman Silsbee and Adler & Sullivan. Health considerations prompted his move to San Diego in 1893. Establishing an independent practice there, Gill remained in southern California for the rest of his life. Most of his commissions were for houses, apartment complexes, and institutional buildings in residential districts.

Much of Gill’s early work follows popularized conventions for American middle-class suburbs; it is commodious, efficient and picturesque but seldom inspired. He produced more distinctive work after 1900 as a result of pursuing the rustic simplicity advocated by proponents of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Sizeable dwellings such as the Marston House, San Diego (1904), possess a clear, purposeful order in their composition and detail. On the other hand, modest dwellings such as the Cossitt House, San Diego (1906), are often imbued with a studied casualness....

Article

Ellen G. Landau

(b Allegheny, PA, May 11, 1894; d New York, NY, April 1, 1991).

American dancer and choreographer. Graham is widely considered a major pioneer and exponent of modernism. Her collaboration with American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who designed costumes and sets for the Martha Graham Dance Company from 1935 to 1966, and the extraordinary photographs of her in performance by Imogen Cunningham, Soichi Sunami (1885–1971), Philippe Halsman (1906–79) and especially Barbara Morgan, link Graham’s revolutionary accomplishments in dance to experimentation in the visual arts. During the late 1930s and 1940s, her belief in the ability of dance to tap the power of myth and the unconscious anticipated and was analogous to the tenets of Abstract Expressionism.

Brought up in California the daughter of a physician, in 1916 at age 22, Graham began studying dance under Ruth St Denis (1879–1968) and Ted Shawn (1891–1972). Ten years later she formed the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance in New York. While her own performances were initially based on the Denishawn style, by ...

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

(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

Josephine Gabler

(b Königsberg, Germany [now Kaliningrad, Russia], July 8, 1867; d Moritzburg, nr Dresden, April 22, 1945).

German printmaker and sculptor. She received her first art tuition from Rudolph Mauer (1845–1905) in Königsberg in 1881. She continued her training in 1885 in Berlin under Karl Stauffer-Bern and in 1888 under Ludwig Herterich (1856–1932) in Munich. Influenced by the prints of Max Klinger, which had been brought to her attention by Stauffer-Bern, she devoted herself to this form and gave up painting after 1890. She first produced etchings (see Woman with Dead Child, 1903) and lithographs but later also woodcuts. From 1891 she lived in Berlin where she had her first success: the portfolio of three lithographs and three etchings, A Weavers’ Revolt (1895–8; Washington, DC, N.G.A.), inspired by Gerhard Hauptmann’s play Die Weber, was shown at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung. Kollwitz joined the Secession in Berlin and was appointed to a special teaching post at the Künstlerinnenschule.

Kollwitz was indebted stylistically to naturalism, but her preferred subject-matter was linked to the emerging workers’ movement. Her prints on themes of social comment were carried out predominantly in black and white. However, her training as a painter had initially exerted considerable influence on her style. This changed around the turn of the century. Abandoning natural surroundings, she concentrated on different ways of representing the human body. It was then that a sculptural sensibility became decisive for her graphic forms. The first expression of this changing style was the etching ...

Article

N. Mens

(b Rotterdam, May 10, 1864; d Voorburg, June 21, 1940).

Dutch architect and teacher. After studying in the 1880s at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten in The Hague, he worked as an independent architect in Amsterdam from 1890. Shortage of commissions led him to concentrate initially on competition entries, in which he developed his drawing skills. Although he has been categorized as belonging to Art Nouveau, he challenged this style for relegating the architect to the position of designer. His architectural approach was based on what he called ‘the moulding of cubic masses’, for which he regarded brick as the most effective material. His first large commission was the American Hotel (1899–1902), Amsterdam, largely inspired in its decorative additions by Islamic architecture. The elaborate, projecting dormer windows, and minaret-like turret, embody his concept of moulding in brick. His competition design (1905–6; unexecuted) for the Vredesplein in The Hague made even greater use of Islamic motifs. In the same period he was also engaged in the organization of the architectural profession in the Netherlands. He took the initiative in founding an architectural cooperative representative body, which led to the establishment in ...

Article

Danielle Peltakian

(b Brooklyn, NY, Oct 27, 1877; d White Plains, NY, July 13, 1949).

American painter, illustrator and lithographer. As an organizer of the Armory Show (1913) alongside Arthur B. Davies, he played an integral role in unveiling European modernism to the USA. While he painted landscapes of Maine, Cézanne-inspired still lifes and a series based on the American West, his expressive portraits of circus and vaudeville performers remain his best-known works.

In 1901, he trained at the Académie Colarossi in Paris, but soon transferred to the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich where he studied under Barbizon painter Heinrich von Zügel (1850–1941) until 1903. Upon returning to New York in 1903, he worked as an illustrator for publications such as Life and Puck, exhibited at the Salmagundi Club (1905) and organized artists’ balls for the Kit Kat Club. Working in an Impressionist style, he participated with Robert Henri in the Exhibition of Independent Artists (1910)....

Article

Yehuda Safran

(b Brünn [now Brno], Moravia, Dec 10, 1870; d Kalksburg, Austria, Aug 23, 1933).

Austrian architect, theorist and writer. He was an often satirical critic of the Vienna Secession, an early advocate of the Functionalist aesthetic, a radical polemicist and one of the most important and influential pioneers of the Modern Movement, achieving in his buildings of c. 1910 the style generally adopted elsewhere only a decade later.

His father had studied painting but worked as a sculptor and mason in Brünn, then an important industrial centre of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and early contact with his father’s workshop probably influenced Loos’s choice of career as well as his understanding of and respect for natural materials. In 1887 he obtained a bricklayer’s certificate, in 1887–8 he studied at the Gewerbeschule in Reichenberg and he eventually completed a building engineering course at the Gewerbeschule in Brünn. He then decided to train as an architect and in 1889 attended the Technische Hochschule, Dresden. His course was interrupted by army service and a period at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna; he returned to Dresden (...

Article

Rhys W. Williams

(b Pesitza, Austria–Hungary, June 10, 1867; d Vevey, Switzerland, June 5, 1935).

German art historian. He studied engineering in Munich, Zurich and Liège, before moving to Berlin in 1890, where he attended the university and became involved in artistic circles. In 1894 he co-founded the periodical Pan, becoming its art editor and financial manager, though he was dismissed in April 1895 by wealthy and conservative patrons unhappy with the emphasis given to French art, after publication of the first issue. He moved in 1895 to Paris, where he had already met avant-garde artists, and in 1898 founded the periodical Dekorative Kunst, in which he championed Art Nouveau; he opened an Art Nouveau gallery, La Maison Moderne, in Paris in 1899, which closed in 1903. Returning to Berlin in 1904, he published his most significant contribution to art history, Die Entwicklungsgeschichte der modernen Kunst, in which he was concerned to define the specifically artistic (‘das Bildhafte’) in isolation from socio-economic or historical factors, to trace its development in the 19th century, and to offer a basis for a new aesthetic: 19th-century painting from Delacroix to the Post-Impressionists was presented as a series of solutions to formal problems. In further controversial essays on Arnold Böcklin and Adolf Friedrich Erdmann Menzel, Meier-Graefe questioned prevailing academic and nationalistic judgements. Subsequently he published studies devoted to Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Courbet, and to the French Impressionists. His ...

Article

Nele Bernheim

The term ‘Modernism’ is widely used, but rarely defined, to mean artistic currents responding to the social conditions of Modernity. While such applications occur in all the arts, fashion relates to these conditions in a particularly intimate way. In 1863 Charles Baudelaire defined modernity as ‘the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable’. Few creations are as ephemeral and fugitive as a fashion intended to last a single season, and yet fashion itself is constant. Thus fashion design, one of the most intrinsically ephemeral of artistic practices, could be considered a quintessentially modern art. Further, the emergence of social modernity in cities such as Paris in the mid-19th century was accompanied by the development of the structure of the modern fashion industry. The haute couture house and the department store, two economic institutions that would seem to be diametrically opposed but are actually profoundly interconnected and interdependent (...

Article

(b Amersfoort, March 7, 1872; d New York, Feb 1, 1944).

Dutch painter, theorist, and draughtsman. His work marks the transition at the start of the 20th century from the Hague school and Symbolism to Neo-Impressionism and Cubism. His key position within the international avant-garde is determined by works produced after 1920. He set out his theory in the periodical of Stijl, De, in a series of articles that were summarized in a separate booklet published in Paris in 1920 under the title Le Néo-plasticisme (see Neo-plasticism) by Léonce Rosenberg. The essence of Mondrian’s ideas is that painting, composed of the most fundamental aspects of line and colour, must set an example to the other arts for achieving a society in which art as such has no place but belongs instead to the total realization of ‘beauty’. The representation of the universal, dynamic pulse of life, also expressed in modern jazz and the metropolis, was Mondrian’s point of departure. Even in his lifetime he was regarded as the founder of the most ...