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Article

Roberto Pontual

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

Brazilian printmaker and teacher. He worked initially as a printmaker and painter until 1933 when, influenced by Lasar Segall’s expressionism, he abandoned painting for wood-engraving, which he had first practised in São Paulo c. 1926. He initially treated social themes such as the São Paulo working class. Between 1935 and 1938 he produced a series of wood-engravings, Spain, based on the Spanish Civil War, for example War (1937; U. São Paulo, Inst. Estud. Bras.). In 1950 he won a trip abroad from the Salão Nacional de Belas Artes, Rio de Janeiro, and visited Italy, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands. On his return he made the series of wood-engravings, Rio, with scenes and landscapes characterized by a frank lyricism. He was named best national engraver in the first São Paulo Bienal in 1951. His constant activity as a teacher influenced many younger engravers. In 1957 he founded the Julian de la Herreria engraving workshop in Asunción, Paraguay, and in ...

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

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

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

(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. ...

Article

Frances K. Smith

[Friedrich] (Wilhelm)

(b Danzig, Germany [now Gdańsk, Poland], July 28, 1896; d Montreal, Nov 7, 1969).

Canadian painter of German birth. He was self-taught as an artist while in Danzig during the 1920s. He was attracted by Expressionist ideas and studied the work of contemporary artists in Germany through exhibitions and in books. Equally important was his experience of nature in the Baltic coastal region. A small, vivid painting, Bather, Baltic Sea (1925; Montreal, priv. col., see 1982 exh. cat., no. 1), which he took with him to Canada in 1928, echoes these experiences with stylistic influences from Max Pechstein and Paul Gauguin.

In Winnipeg, Brandtner found work as a designer for a mail-order catalogue. There he also formed a warm friendship with LeMoine FitzGerald. However, his highly coloured, emotionally aggressive drawings and paintings found few positive responses in Winnipeg, which had as yet little exposure to modern European art. In 1934, on FitzGerald’s advice, Brandtner moved to Montreal, where he devoted himself to painting and to teaching art to underprivileged children. He was commissioned to design a number of murals, including several for the Canadian National Railway for various parts of the country. In these he pioneered the use of carved and painted linoleum. His mural for the ballroom of the Newfoundland Hotel, St John’s, is a colourful, stylized rendering of musicians in carnival costume, the surface animated by textural variety. Other murals involved working in cast cement, stone, engraved steel and glass, as well as painting on canvas. He was among the first in Canada to experiment with abstract, Cubist and Constructivist styles, and his strength lay in his ability to assimilate influences into an intense personal statement. His lifelong concern for social issues, especially during the years of depression and war, is reflected in such works as the ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Jena, Thüringen, March 15, 1954).

German painter and sculptor. He studied at Berlin University but was self-taught as an artist. He came to international prominence in the early 1980s along with a generation of young German Neo-Expressionist painters. In particular, he was associated with a group from Hamburg that included Albert Oehlen (with whom he had a long and formative association) and Martin Kippenberger. Like many of the Hamburg painters, his work was characterized by satirical attacks on the bourgeoisie, while its fantastical and infantilist dimensions were informed by a distaste for the excesses of contemporary mass culture. Still Life with Ray and Special Offer (1983; see 1987 exh. cat.) is in many ways typical of his early work: a comical image of a frowning ray, it is executed in thick, vigorous strokes and dominated by the dark palette favoured by Büttner during this period. The title, which appears to offer little with which to interpret the image is also characteristic of the way in which he counterposed image and title. His sculpture took a number of forms, but appears to be predominantly inspired by Dada traditions. ...

Article

Timothy O. Benson

(b Krefeld, Nov 3, 1889; d Amsterdam, May 9, 1957).

German painter, printmaker and stained-glass artist. He attended the Fachschule für Textilindustrie and the Kunstgewerbeschule in Krefeld (1905–9), where his teacher Johan Thorn Prikker showed him the power of line and colour and introduced him to the work of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne. In 1911 he was invited by Franz Marc and Vasily Kandinsky to Sindelsdorf in Upper Bavaria. They knew of his work through August Macke whose cousin, Helmut, shared a studio with Campendonk. While Campendonk’s harmonious and often transparent application of luxurious Fauvist colours reflects the influence of Robert and Sonia Delaunay and of Macke, Marc’s geometric compositional approach is clearly visible in the experimental style of such paintings as Leaping Horse (1911; Saarbrücken, Saarland Mus.), shown in the first exhibition of Der Blaue Reiter in 1911–12 in Munich and illustrated in the almanac Der Blaue Reiter. Unlike Marc, however, he included figures in his mystical portrayals of animals in nature. This subject-matter was also explored in his first tentative graphic works, published in ...

Article

Vojtěch Lahoda

(b Hronov, March 23, 1887; d Bergen-Belsen, April 1945).

Czech painter, printmaker and writer. He studied weaving (1901–3) in Vrchlabí and then from 1904 to 1910 decorative painting at the School of Applied Arts in Prague, where he was influenced by the highly decorative art of the Secession. During this period he wrote stories with his brother, the novelist Karel Čapek (1890–1938). In 1910 they went to Paris for nearly a year, where Josef Čapek studied painting at the Académie Colarossi and became a friend of Apollinaire. In 1911 he and his brother co-founded the Cubist-orientated Group of Plastic Artists. Čapek attempted to modify Cubism by introducing elements of Expressionism and Symbolism. His efforts dumbfounded some members of the group, and in 1912 he and various of his friends parted company with it. From 1915 he began to achieve a synthesis of Cubism, Neo-classicism and a personal symbolism (e.g. the Man in the Hat, 1915...

Article

Radomíra Sedláková

(b Písek, Oct 13, 1880; d Karlovy Vary, July 6, 1956).

Czech architect. He studied architecture at the Technical University, Prague, and later at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, under Otto Wagner. In 1911, together with Josef Gočár, Pavel Janák, Vlastislav Hofman (1884–1964) and others, he founded the Group of Plastic Artists, Prague, which sought to develop a more artistic approach to architecture. He subsequently became one of the leading exponents of Czech Cubism in architecture, which concentrated on the sculptural articulation of façades with abstract, prismatic forms. He designed four houses (1911–13; for illustration) below Vyšehrad Hill in Prague with faceted façades that are among the best examples of Czech Cubism. At about the same time, however, he produced drawings for austere, geometric, undecorated façades that anticipated the later development of Czech Purism. Buildings he designed in the Purist style included an office building (1920–21) in Jindřišska Street and a building (1923–5) for the ...

Article

Wojciech Włodarczyk

(b Kraków, June 13, 1884; d Barvish, nr Moscow, Aug 20, 1944).

Polish painter, Theoretician, philosopher and mathematician. He had little artistic training, spending half a year at the studio of Józef Mehoffer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków (1903–4) and studying drawing in Paris in 1913–14. He began exhibiting in 1917, but only in Poland. From 1906 he taught mathematics, first at a secondary school, then at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and from 1930 as Professor of Mathematical Logic at Jan Kazimierz University in Lwow (now Lviv, Ukraine). In 1941 while fleeing from the Germans he stayed in Tbilisi and then Moscow, where he associated with the Polish communist authorities.

In his youth Chwistek had links with the artistic circle in Zakopane and was a friend of Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz. From the moment of his first exhibition he was committed to the Formist movement (see Formists) and became its leading theoretician, producing his article ‘Wielość rzeczywistości w sztuce’ (‘Plurality of reality in art’) in ...