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Jan Minchin

(Vladimir Jossif)

(b Vienna, Oct 13, 1920).

Israeli painter of Austrian birth, active in Australia. He grew up in Warsaw. His father, the pseudonymous Jewish writer Melech Ravitch, owned books on German Expressionism, which were an early influence. Conscious of rising anti-Semitism in Poland, Ravitch visited Australia in 1934 and later arranged for his family to settle there. Bergner arrived in Melbourne in 1937. Poor, and with little English, his struggle to paint went hand-in-hand with a struggle to survive. In 1939 he attended the National Gallery of Victoria’s art school and came into contact with a group of young artists including Victor O’Connor (b 1918) and Noel Counihan, who were greatly influenced by Bergner’s haunting images of refugees, hard-pressed workers and the unemployed, for example The Pumpkin-eaters (c. 1940; Canberra, N.G.). Executed in an expressionist mode using a low-toned palette, they were among the first social realist pictures done in Australia.

In 1941...

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

(b Amsterdam, Dec 4, 1868; d Bloemendaal, Dec 31, 1938).

Dutch painter, printmaker, illustrator, writer and stained-glass artist. He trained at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam (1886–90), under the directorship of August Allebé. Having initially painted and drawn Impressionistic landscapes, he started working in the ’t Gooi region in 1892, where, influenced by Vincent van Gogh and Jan Toorop, he made a number of Symbolist drawings and lithographs. In 1896 he married the Dutch writer Henriette van der Schalk. They both devoted themselves to the recently founded Sociaal Democratische Arbeiders Partij. In the years up to c. 1900 Holst produced among other things a series of lithographs of political cartoons with socialist content, as well as serene landscapes and paintings of girls from the village of Huizen. His allegorical murals (1902; in situ), on topics such as ‘Industry’ or ‘Commerce’, in the new Koopmansbeurs in Amsterdam by H. P. Berlage (1876–1903), marked an important point in his career as his first opportunity to construct a monumental piece of work. Partly inspired by the murals in the town hall at ’s Hertogenbosch by Antoon Derkinderen, he developed a tight, stylized type of design, which he believed to be ideal for visually representing idealistic and exalted thoughts. In his murals (...

Article

Sergey Kuznetsov

(b Kaunas, June 1, 1929; d Vilnius, Feb 10, 1977).

Lithuanian draughtsman, printmaker and illustrator. He studied at the Lithuanian State Institute of Art in Vilnius (1952–8) and taught there from 1961. During the early 1950s his drawing was impressionistic, as in Portrait of My Wife (1959; artist’s estate). He was also a follower of German Expressionism, as represented by the group Die Brücke. Towards the 1960s he developed two different styles of illustration: the first consisted of flat, flowing lines, used mainly in linocuts; the second consisted of sculptural shapes expressed in woodcuts. Krasauskas gradually moved towards the embodiment of abstract ideas in his work and became interested in zincography. From the mid-1960s he used his linear style to indicate the masculine creative principle and the sculptural to indicate eternal life, the feminine principle. The unpublished series of linocuts illustrating the Song of Songs (1964) was followed by the series Movement (1971), an apologia for sporting competitions and physical and moral efforts to attain success. Among his greatest achievements was the series ...

Article

Christoph Brockhaus

(Leopold Isidor)

(b Leitmeritz, northern Bohemia [now Litoměřice, Czech Republic], April 10, 1877; d Schloss Zwickledt, nr Wernstein, Aug 20, 1959).

Austrian draughtsman, illustrator, painter and writer. In 1892 he was apprenticed in Klagenfurt to the landscape photographer Alois Beer. Though learning very little, he remained there until 1896, when he attempted to commit suicide as a result of his unstable disposition. A brief period in the Austrian army in 1897 led to a nervous collapse, after which he was allowed to study art. In 1898 he moved to Munich, where he studied first at the private school run by the German painter Ludwig Schmidt-Reutte (1863–1909) and then briefly at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in the drawing class of Nikolaus Gysis in 1899. In Munich he first saw the graphic work of James Ensor, Goya, Max Klinger, Edvard Munch, Odilon Redon and Félicien Rops, finding Klinger’s work closest to his own aesthetic. He also read Arthur Schopenhauer’s pessimistic philosophy, which he found attractive, and befriended many artists, including the Elf Scharfrichter circle around Frank Wedekind. His work of the period largely consisted of ink and wash drawings modelled on Goya’s and Klinger’s aquatint technique. By their inclusion of fantastic monsters and deformed or maimed humans, these drawings revealed Kubin’s abiding interest in the macabre. Thematically they were related to Symbolism, as shown by the ink drawing ...

Article

G. Jansen

(b Kralingen, June 13, 1866; d Bussum, Jan 8, 1947).

Dutch sculptor. He received his first artistic training in Amsterdam, first in the form of drawing lessons from painter and illustrator Bernard Willem Wierink (1856–1939) and later at the Quellinusschool under the direction of engineer Emmanuel Constant Edouard Colinet (1840–90) and at the School for Applied Arts. There he became friendly with, among others, Joseph Mendes da Costa; through the society Labor et Ars he met Gerrit Willem Dijsselhof, Jan Eisenlöffel, H. P. Berlage, K. P. C. de Bazel and J. L. Mathieu Lauweriks. In the company of these young artists, who disliked the traditional styles, his attention was directed particularly to ancient Egyptian and Assyrian art.

In 1893 Zijl was invited by Berlage to collaborate on his building (destr. 1964) for De Algemeene life insurance company on the Damrak, Amsterdam. For this building and particularly for the Koopmansbeurs (1898–1903), Amsterdam, also by Berlage, he developed a style that can be seen as the high point of his career. This so-called ‘architecture sculpture’ is always considered as a subsidiary to the architectural concept of the whole, therefore contributing to the ...

Article

Lenka Bydžovská

(b Vadin, near Havlíčkův Brod, Nov 5, 1890; d Prague, Oct 12, 1977).

Czech painter and illustrator . He studied painting in Prague, first in private schools, then at the School of Applied Art (1907–9). In autumn 1907 he made his first, brief visit to Paris. Shortly after his return he succeeded for the first time in expressing his own inner world, infused with a new melancholy, in a small pastel Valley of Sadness (1907; painted version, 1908; both Prague, N.G.), which he looked upon as his talisman throughout his life. His early work ranged from flat and linear painting in the Gauguin tradition, via remarkable collages made from coloured foil, to rhapsodic Expressionism, as in Antichrist (1909; Prague, N.G.). Several self-portraits of 1908–9 bear witness to his quest for himself and to his penchant for self-stylization.

Zrzavý’s emphasis on the symbolic and psychic roots of his artistic work brought him into the Sursum group, which in 1910–12 attracted the second Symbolist generation in Bohemia, including ...