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Radomíra Sedláková

(b Prague, March 12, 1882; d Prague, Aug 1, 1956).

Czech architect, designer, theorist and teacher. He graduated in architecture from the Czech Technical University, Prague, where he studied under Josef Schulz and Josef Zítek, and from 1906 to 1907 he was a student of Otto Wagner at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna. In 1908 he worked in Jan Kotěra’s studio in Prague. His early work was influenced by the modernism of Wagner and Kotěra, but he perceived a danger of uniformity in a purely rationalist approach to architecture. In 1911, together with Josef Chochol, Josef Gočár, Vlastislav Hofman (1884–1964), Emil Filla, Václav Špála, Antonín Procházka, Otto Gutfreund and others, he founded the Group of Fine Artists, which sought a more artistic approach to architecture, and in 1912 he and Gočár founded the Prague Art Workshops for the design of arts, crafts and furniture. Within the Group of Fine Artists, Janák developed the principles of Czech Cubism...

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 ...

Article

Radomíra Sedláková

(b Benešov, Jan 11, 1880; d Prague, April 4, 1959).

Czech architect, designer, teacher and writer. He graduated (1903) in architecture from the Academy of Applied Arts, Prague, where he studied under Jan Kotěra. He worked for a year in Kotěra’s studio, then set up his own practice. Novotný was a notable member of the generation that laid the foundations for modern architecture in Czechoslovakia. He was initially influenced by the Viennese Secession style, as seen in his finely decorative Otto villa (1909), Zbraslav, but at this time he was also developing an individual style using bare brickwork with great skill. Perhaps the best examples of this modern, rationalist approach are found in the Štenc house and publishing offices (1909–11), Prague, for which he also designed some elegant black-and-white furniture, and in his clubhouses (1911 and 1912) for the Sokol national physical education movement in Holice and Rakovník. He was less influenced by Czech Cubism, although he did design three houses (...

Article

Deborah A. Middleton

(b Brooklyn, New York, Aug 11, 1927; d Pound Ridge, NY, Jan 24, 2006).

American art historian and museum curator. Rubin has been credited with defining the historical narrative of modern art through his writings and exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the 1970s, and 1980s. The vision of founding director Alfred H(amilton) Barr to establish the Museum of Modern Art as a global authority in modern paintings and sculpture was continued during Rubin’s tenure as Director of the Department of Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art (1973–88).

William was one of three sons of a successful New York textile merchant. Rubin grew up in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York and attended Fieldstone School where he interned on special museum education projects with teacher and mentor Victor D’Amico who was also Director of Education at the Museum of Modern Art. While at Columbia University he joined the military during World War II to serve in the American occupation forces in Europe. Upon completing his undergraduate degree in ...