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Article

Roberto Pontual

revised by Gillian Sneed

(b Araraquara, 1903; d Asunción, Paraguay, 1992).

Brazilian printmaker and teacher. Abramo was born into a middle-class Italian immigrant family in Araraquara, in the state of São Paulo, before moving to the city of São Paulo in 1909. In 1911 he studied drawing with painter Enrico Vio (1874–1960) at the Colégio Dante Alighieri in São Paulo. In 1926 he came into contact with German Expressionism and the work of engraver Oswaldo Goeldi, and made his first woodcut print, Vista Chinesa (1926; Echauri de Muxfeldt 2012, pl. 122), depicting a village bridge in an Expressionist style. Initially self-taught in printmaking, his work addressed social themes such as the São Paulo working class. In 1928 and 1929 he created linocuts depicting images of the working class in a Cubist style for the newspaper Lo Spaghetto. In the early 1930s he became influenced by the paintings of Tarsila’s anthropophagic phase (1928–1929) and Lasar Segall’s Expressionism. In 1930 Abramo joined the Communist Party (PCB), but he was expelled in 1932 after he was accused of being a Trotskyist. In 1931 he began working as a draftsman for the ...

Article

David Anfam

Term applied to a movement in American painting that flourished in the 1940s and 1950s, sometimes referred to as the New York School or, very narrowly, as Action painting, although it was first coined in relation to the work of Vasily Kandinsky in 1929. The works of the generation of artists active in New York from the 1940s and regarded as Abstract Expressionists resist definition as a cohesive style; they range from Barnett Newman’s unbroken fields of colour to De Kooning family, §1’s violent handling of the figure. They were linked by a concern with varying degrees of abstraction used to convey strong emotional or expressive content. Although the term primarily denotes a small nucleus of painters, Abstract Expressionist qualities can also be seen in the sculpture of David Smith, Ibram Lassaw and others, the photography of Aaron Siskind and the painting of Mark Tobey, as well as in the work of less renowned artists such as ...

Article

David Anfam

Term applied to the work of American Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and, by extension, to the art of their followers at home and abroad during the 1950s. An alternative but slightly more general term is gestural painting; the other division within Abstract Expressionism was colour field painting.

The critic Harold Rosenberg defined action painting in an article, ‘The American Action Painters’ (1952), where he wrote: ‘At a certain moment the canvas began to appear to one American painter after another as an arena in which to act. …What was to go on canvas was not a picture but an event’. This proposition drew heavily, and perhaps crudely, upon ideas then current in intellectual circles, especially in the wake of Jean-Paul Sartre’s essay L’Existentialisme est un humanisme (Paris, 1946; Eng. trans., 1948), which claimed that ‘there is no reality except in action’. In the 1940s Herbert Ferber, Barnett Newman and others had already characterized their creative process in similar terms; Rosenberg was probably also inspired by photographs of Pollock at work (rather than the actual paintings) that emphasized his apparent psychological freedom and physical engagement with materials (e.g. ...

Article

Annie Dell’Aria

Term coined during the height of Abstract Expressionism in the USA, with particular relevance to the work of painter Jackson Pollock. The ‘all-over’ quality of works such as Lavender Mist: Number 1, 1950 (Washington, DC, N.G.A.) refers to its lack of compositional structure (no apparent foreground, middleground, or background) as in traditional representational painting. It also suggests the lack of spatial delineations or focal points of any kind, creating an entirely abstract work that asserts the canvas’s flat surface and eschews any attempt at representational or symbolic interpretation (see fig.). The large scale of Pollock’s drip paintings made their all-over quality all the more impressive as the sprawled paint made the viewer survey the entire surface. Though initially used to describe Pollock’s drip paintings, the term was later applied to the colour field painters of the second generation of Abstract Expressionists. Furthermore, the term ‘all-over’ can be applied to a variety of abstract design strategies (for example, some works by Cy Twombly)....

Article

(b Solothurn, March 28, 1868; d Oschwand, July 6, 1961).

Swiss painter and sculptor. From 1884 to 1886 he received irregular lessons from the Swiss painter Frank Buscher (1828–90). In the autumn of 1886 he attended the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Munich and the following year met Giovanni Giacometti, who was to be a lifelong friend. In 1888 he visited the Internationale Kunstausstellung in Munich, where he was particularly impressed by the work of Jules Bastien-Lepage and Whistler. This prompted him to go to Paris to continue his studies, and from 1888 to 1891 he attended the Académie Julian, working under William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Tony Robert-Fleury and Gabriel Ferrier. While in Paris he also met Paul Sérusier, Maurice Denis and other Nabis artists, though his own painting of this period was most influenced by Impressionism. In 1892 he was advised to visit Pont-Aven in Brittany, where he met Emile Bernard, Armand Séguin and Roderic O’Conor, as well as seeing the works of Vincent Van Gogh and Gauguin at first hand. This brief period had a decisive effect upon his work, leading to such Synthetist paintings as ...

Article

Allan Doig

Group of Expressionist architects and craftsworkers active mainly in Amsterdam from c. 1915 to c. 1930. The term was first used in 1916 by Jan Gratama in an article in a Festschrift for H. P. Berlage. From 1918 the group was loosely centred around the periodical Wendingen (1918–31). They were closely involved in attempts to provide architectural solutions for the social and economic problems in Amsterdam during this period.

The acute need for improved housing stock in the Netherlands was greatest in Amsterdam (see Amsterdam §II 5.), where the population had more than doubled (reaching half a million) during the last quarter of the 19th century. A growing number of housing associations were founded, and the standard of the dwellings produced under their auspices was enormously improved by the implementation of Amsterdam’s first building code in 1905. The greatest need, but the least profits, were to be found in the provision of good housing for the lowest-income groups. Legislation, subsidies and large-scale council ownership of the land scheduled for development allowed close governmental control, with a minimum of speculation by developers. Responsibility for the overall urban plan for the area known as Amsterdam South was given to ...

Article

Joan Marter

[Aleksandr ]

(b Kiev, Ukraine, May 30, 1887; d New York, Feb 25, 1964).

Ukrainian sculptor, active in Paris and in the USA. He began studying painting and sculpture at the School of Art in Kiev in 1902 but was forced to leave in 1905 after criticizing the academicism of his instructors. In 1906 he went to Moscow, where, according to the artist, he participated in some group exhibitions (Archipenko, p. 68). In 1908 he established himself in Paris, where he rejected the most favoured contemporary sculptural styles, including the work of Rodin. After only two weeks of formal instruction at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts he left to teach himself sculpture by direct study of examples in the Musée du Louvre. By 1910 Archipenko was exhibiting with the Cubists at the Salon des Indépendants, and his work was shown at the Salon d’Automne from 1911 to 1913.

A variety of cultural sources lies behind Archipenko’s work. He remained indebted throughout his career to the spiritual values and visual effects found in the Byzantine culture of his youth and had a strong affinity for ancient Egyptian, Gothic, and primitive art that co-existed with the influence of modernist styles such as Cubism and Futurism....

Article

Yvonne Modlin

(b Wedel, nr Hamburg, Jan 2, 1870; d Rostock, Oct 24, 1938).

German sculptor and printmaker. He experimented with several media because he believed that conventional forms of communication were too formulaic and often failed to make tangible the essence of artistic vision. In his plastic and literary oeuvres Barlach sought to define and externalize the inner processes of humanity and nature through depriving his subject of its superficial mask and extraneous detail.

Barlach studied sculpture at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Hamburg (1888–9) and at the Dresden Akademie (1891–5), where he became the chief pupil of the sculptor Robert Diez (b 1844). After two brief visits to the Académie Julian in Paris, he returned to Germany and collaborated with his friend Karl Garbers (b 1864) on a commission for architectural sculptures for the city halls of Hamburg and Altona. Barlach’s early work was influenced by the sinuous, wavy line of Jugendstil. In 1899 he moved to Berlin, where he lived for two years, but he later returned to Wedel, hoping to find inspiration in a familial environment. In the winter of ...

Article

Kathleen James-Chakraborty

(b Karlsruhe, April 12, 1883; d Darmstadt, Feb 20, 1959).

German architect and writer. Bartning studied at the Technische Hochschule in Karlsruhe and at the Technische Hochschule and the University in Berlin. In 1905 he established a practice in Berlin. By 1918 he had received c. 50 commissions, but he only began to publish his work after World War I. The upheavals of the period prompted him to propose the spatial and stylistic reorganization of German Protestant church building as a means of restoring social harmony. His book, On New Church Buildings, appeared in 1919 and spurred a revolution in German sacred architecture. During the 1920s Bartning joined the Novembergruppe, the Arbeitsrat für Kunst, and Der Ring, the principal German avant-garde artistic and architectural groups. His most interesting contribution to the brief period of German Expressionism was the Sternkirche project (1922). The centralized church is surmounted by a roof of layered concrete shells that are supported by a thicket of columns, intended as a reinterpretation of Gothic construction....

Article

Judith Zilczer

Term applied to a group of American artists active in San Francisco from 1950 to the mid-1960s who forged a vibrant brand of figurative expressionism. Originating in the studios and art schools of postwar San Francisco, the movement transcended its regional identity to attain national recognition as a major trend in mid-20th-century American art.

Around 1950, painters David Park, Elmer Bischoff, Richard Diebenkorn and James Weeks (1922–98) adapted the gestural style and painterly techniques of Abstract Expressionism to create luminous canvases devoted to recognizable subjects including genre scenes, figure paintings and the local landscape of the Bay Area. These four “founders” were soon joined by slightly younger artists—Nathan Oliveira, Paul Wonner (1920–2008) and Theophilus Brown (b 1919), as well as former students Joan Brown (1938–90), Bruce McGaw (b 1935) and the lone sculptor, Manuel Neri (b 1930). Although Park and his fellow artists would deny they had created a new movement, their shared sensibilities resulted in the cohesive style and widespread influence of the Bay Area Figurative school....

Article

Christian Lenz

(b Leipzig, Feb 12, 1884; d New York, Dec 27, 1950).

German painter, draughtsman, printmaker and teacher. He was one of the most important German painters of the 20th century. He was initially influenced by traditional styles, but during World War I he rejected perspective and classical proportion in favour of a more expressive objective art. He was persecuted by the Nazis in the 1930s but continued to work, painting his celebrated secular triptychs in the late 1930s and the 1940s.

Beckmann showed artistic promise from an early age, painting as early as c. 1898 a Self-portrait with Soap Bubbles (mixed media on cardboard; priv. col.; see Lackner, 1991, p. 10). After training at the Kunstschule in Weimar (1900–03), he studied under the patronage of Julius Meier-Graefe in Paris. There he became acquainted with the works of the Impressionists, Cézanne, van Gogh and probably such early French paintings as the Avignon Pietà. From 1903 until the outbreak of World War I he lived mostly in or near Berlin. He began painting landscapes and from ...

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

Lenka Bydžovská

(b Velké Lišice, nr Chlumec nad Cidlinou, Jan 22, 1883; d Prague, March 27, 1979).

Czech painter, writer and theorist. In 1902–4 he studied at the Prague School of Applied Art and in 1904–7 at the Academy of Fine Arts. After visiting Dresden, Berlin, Munich and Paris, he returned to Prague and joined Eight, the, which had been set up by his former fellow students; he exhibited at the group’s second show in 1908. His early work was influenced by the ideas of Bohumil Kubišta, with whom he shared a workshop. Although basically an uncomplicated, sensual painter, he attempted to keep well informed about contemporary artistic trends. In 1910–14 he became a fervent devotee of Cubism and, together with Emil Filla, adhered faithfully to the style of Picasso and Braque. He was one of the founders (1911) of the Group of Plastic Artists and contributed theoretical articles to its journal, Umělecký měsíčník. No consistent reconstruction of his paintings before World War I can be made because most of his Cubist works were later destroyed. His process of crystallization in relation to the painting of space culminated in ...

Article

Claudia Bölling

(b Stettin [now Szczecin, Poland], April 17, 1870; d Baden-Baden, Jan 22, 1947).

German architect and urban planner. At the Technische Hochschule, Charlottenburg, Berlin, he was greatly influenced by his teacher, Carl Schäfer. Schäfer was a fervent supporter of Gothic architecture, which he saw as the true expression of construction. Emphasis on construction became an important feature of Berg’s architecture. Under the urban planner Franz Adickes (1846–1915), from Frankfurt am Main, who introduced zoning into planning, he became familiar with the problems of urban planning and politics. In 1909 he became a senior building official in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland), a post that he held until 1925. Hans Poelzig was head of the Königliche Kunst- und Kunstgewerbeschule in Breslau, and he and Berg had studied together at Charlottenburg and collaborated on a number of projects in Breslau. Berg’s reputation is based on his works in Breslau. One of his most important works is the Jahrhunderthalle (1911–13), part of a large complex designed for the centenary celebrations of the War of Liberation (...

Article

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

Pieter Singelenberg

(b Amsterdam, Feb 21, 1856; d The Hague, Aug 12, 1934).

Dutch architect, urban planner, designer and writer. He abandoned early his intention to become a painter and instead trained in architecture at the Bauschule of the Eidgenössiche Polytechnikum (now Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule) in Zurich under Gottfried Semper’s followers. Semper was a major influence on Berlage, especially for Berlage’s emphatic use of a variety of materials and an acute attention to construction. The other major influence was the work of Viollet-le-Duc. After his training Berlage visited Germany and Italy from 1878 to 1881, returning to Amsterdam to become an associate of the classicist architect and businessman Theodorus Sanders, who very soon handed over to him the task of designing. The shop and office-block for Focke & Meltzer (1884–5), Kalverstraat, Amsterdam, was critically acclaimed for its correct application of the Venetian Renaissance style favoured by Semper and for the grandeur of its shopping area, with its unusually large windows. Berlage voiced doubts in ...

Article

C. Nagy

(b Budapest, Oct 26, 1941).

Hungarian painter, photographer and conceptual artist. He studied under Géza Fónyi at the Fine Art College in Budapest and then from 1966 to 1972 produced portraits, in which the influence of Expressionism was noticeable. From 1973 to 1979, however, he moved in a different direction, producing films, photographic sequences and textual conceptual works, all based on structuralist analysis of pictorial representation and of the institutions of the exhibition and the museum (e.g. the photographic sequences Inquiries on the Exterior Wall of the Museum of Fine Arts, 1975–6; and Reflections, 1976). From 1975 to 1980 he was involved in the Indigo project led by Miklós Erdély, but in 1980 he returned to oil painting, producing abstract works divided into two or three sections and often symmetrical in composition. At first these were vividly coloured, using bold brushstrokes and inspired by the Hungarian landscape, but later works were dominated by schematic representations of the human face, reduced after ...

Article

Rosel Gollek

[Ger.: ‘Blue Rider’]

German group of artists active in Munich from 1911 to 1914. The principal members were Vasily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Gabriele Münter (see Still-life with Vases, No. 2, 1914; Emden, Henri Nannen Collection), Alfred Kubin, Paul Klee, and August Macke. The group’s aim was to express the inner desires of the different artists in a variety of forms, rather than to strive for a unified style or theme. It was the successor to the Neue Künstlervereinigung München (NKVM), founded in Munich in 1909.

The conservatism of certain members of the NKVM led to the resignation of Kandinsky, Münter, Marc, and Kubin in 1911. At the instigation of Kandinsky and Marc, the four organized the first exhibition of the editorial board of ...

Article

(b Parchim, Jan 16, 1897; d Perth, 1990).

Australian painter of German birth. Blumann studied at the Berlin Academy of Art under Max Liebermann and Käthe Kollwitz. Influenced by their example, as well as the Der Sturm artists, her favoured style was a robust Expressionism. In 1923 she married Dr Arnold Blumann and they migrated to Perth in 1938. There her expressionist techniques were combined with a sensitivity to the local light and colour of the Western Australian landscape, charting in particular the Swan River near her home in Nedlands. While her bold and energetic landscape works were accepted, her unashamed approach to the human figure was not tolerated so well. For example, in her 1944 exhibition (held under the anglicized name Elise Burleigh), images of nude bodies in the landscape caused a great deal of controversy. In 1942, with Robert Campbell of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Blumann established the Perth Art Group, to cultivate local interest in modern art. She also gave private lessons in her home and sought to unleash her students’ innate creativity. After travelling through Europe in the 1950s and 1960s, her output and exhibiton rate diminished. Her first major retrospective in Gallery G in ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Frauenberg, Nov 11, 1951).

German painter and sculptor. He studied sociology, politics and educational theory at university (1970–76). Bömmels became known within the context of German Neo-Expressionism in the early 1980s: he was a member of the Cologne-based group Mülheimer Freiheit, and his vigorous, fluid technique and symbolist leanings led him to be associated with the ‘wild’ painters or New Primitives. Break with History (1984–5; see Faust, 1990, pl. 22) is typical of his early style: intense, expressionistic facture combines with a striking palette of brown, yellow and red to depict a cryptic scene of fleshy but ghost-like figures in a torn landscape; the scene could be read as referring to the contemporary political divisions within Germany. Bömmels’s interest in history and love of hermetic allegories gradually led him to be influenced by the medieval and Roman art of Cologne. Scales of Justice (1984–5; see Faust, 1990, pl. 22) is characteristic of the early stages of this development: two old tradesmen’s signs, painted with obscure symbols, hang from a crooked wooden cross which stands in the stump of a tree. Towards the end of the 1980s his handling shed its vigour and came to resemble the faintly comic style of Romanesque sculpture; he also began to employ a variety of new formats, including relief carving and paintings on wood. ...