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Henri Béhar

(b Paris, Oct 3, 1897; d Paris, Dec 24, 1982).

French writer. He took up writing as a career after studying medicine during World War I. He was mobilized in 1917 at the same time as his friend André Breton, with whom he had contributed poems to Pierre Reverdy’s Nord-Sud. His first critical article, ‘Du décor’, published in Le Film (16 Sept 1918), praised the novelty of the cinema and the aims of modern life, which he defined as progress, novelty of experience, liberty of artistic expression and inspiration of love. These were his main concerns when he founded the review Littérature (1919), together with Breton and the French writer Philippe Soupault. Fascinated by Tristan Tzara and by the collages of Max Ernst, he wrote his poems Feu de joie (Paris, 1920) and his parodic stories Anicet and Les Aventures de Télémaque (both Paris, 1922) under the influence of Dada, whose techniques he borrowed and to which he added his own insolence. Experimentation with subconscious motivations led to the formation of the ...

Article

Greta Stroeh

[Jean] (Peter Wilhelm)

(b Strassburg, Germany [now Strasbourg, France], Sept 16, 1886; d Basle, Switzerland, June 7, 1966).

French sculptor, painter, collagist, printmaker, and poet of German birth. The son of a German father and French Alsatian mother, he developed a cosmopolitan outlook from an early age and as a mature artist maintained close contact with the avant-garde throughout Europe. He was a pioneer of abstract art and one of the founders of Dada in Zurich, but he also participated actively in both Surrealism and Constructivism. While he prefigured junk art and the Fluxus movement in his incorporation of waste material, it was through his investigation of biomorphism and of chance and accident that he proved especially influential on later 20th-century art in liberating unconscious creative forces.

Following a brief period at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Strasbourg (1900–01), Arp received instruction from 1901 from a friend and neighbour, the painter and printmaker Georges Ritleng (1875–1972). He then attended the Kunstschule in Weimar (1904–7) and the Académie Julian in Paris (...

Article

(Gruenwald, Alfred Emanuel Ferdinand]

(b Stettin, Pomerania [now Szczecin, Poland], Oct 9, 1892; d nr Chamonix, France, 17 or Aug 18, 1927).

German collagist, draughtsman, writer and publisher. Although he came from an upper middle-class family, after serving as a volunteer in World War I he became a pacifist and a supporter of democratic socialism on Soviet lines. In 1918 he began a political career as a committee member of the mid-Rhine district of the Independent Social-Democratic Party, a Marxist party that had split from the Social-Democratic Party of Germany. The short-lived journal he edited, Der Ventilator, which published six issues in Cologne in February and March 1919, was a satirical magazine directed against the Social Democrat government in Berlin.

Having discovered the work of de Chirico and come under the influence of Dada, in autumn 1919 Baargeld became an opponent of tradition and convention in art as well, setting himself particularly against Expressionism. In November 1919 he and Max Ernst, who together can be said to have founded the Cologne branch of ...

Article

Peter W. Guenther

(b Pirmasens, Feb 22, 1886; d San Abbondio, Switzerland, Sept 14, 1927).

German writer and performer . After studying sociology and philosophy at the universities of Munich and Heidelberg he began working as a stage manager at the theatre in Plauen in 1910. He wrote a number of plays while in Munich in 1912. He also wrote poetry and was charged with obscenity for his poem Der Henker (pubd in Revolution, 15 Oct 1913) but was later exonerated on account of its ‘unintelligibility’. About this time he experimented with Expressionist painting. His plans to form, with Vasily Kandinsky, a new type of experimental Expressionist theatre in Munich were interrupted by the beginnings of World War I. Ball volunteered but was rejected for health reasons. He became a pacifist and published poetry and prose in several journals.

Ball became a leading figure in the development of the Dada movement, and he is credited with inventing the name. In 1915, with Richard Huelsenbeck, he organized Expressionist readings in Berlin. In May of the same year he emigrated with ...

Article

Henri Béhar

(b Tinchebray, Feb 19, 1896; d Paris, Sept 28, 1966).

French writer. While still an adolescent he came under the influence of Paul Valéry and Gustave Moreau, who for a long period were to influence his perception of beauty. From that time on, his poetic creation interrelated with his reflections on art, which like Gide’s were conditioned by a moral code. He considered that it is not possible to write for a living, but only from interior necessity; in the same way, painting must always derive from an irrepressible need for self-expression. These criteria guided Breton both in his dealings with the Surrealist group (of which he was the uncontested leader) and in his articles on painting, collected in editions of Le Surréalisme et la peinture (first published in 1928).

Breton’s family were of modest means. He was educated in the modern section of a lycée, without any Latin or Greek, and had embarked on a study of medicine when he was called up to serve in World War I. During this period he was drawn to poetry by his fascination with Arthur Rimbaud. His meeting with the aesthete Jacques Vaché temporarily dulled his interest in Rimbaud, and instead he turned to Guillaume Apollinaire, whose advice and friendship were a significant influence on him. Through Apollinaire he came into contact with Marie Laurencin, Derain, De Chirico and Picasso, and became friendly with the French poet and novelist Philippe Soupault. The review ...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Lisbon, Aug 9, 1923).

Portuguese painter and poet. He studied fine art and music and in 1942 took part in the meetings at the Café Herminius of a group of students, including Cruzeiro Seixas and Fernando de Azevedo, engaged in Dada activities. His writings for Júlio Pomar’s art page in the newspaper Tarde in 1945 called for the politicization of art. In 1947 he was one of the founder-members of the Lisbon Surrealist Group but left, forming a dissident group called The Surrealists in 1948. Although this group was disbanded after two exhibitions (1949 and 1950), both Cesariny and Cruzeiro Seixas retained a surrealizing tendency in their work.

Although better known as a poet, Cesariny continued to be involved with the visual arts. Psychic automatism and the use of varied materials including found objects played an important part in the genesis of his images. His poem-objects are quirky and humorous, if somewhat derivative of French Surrealism....

Article

Allan Doig

(b Utrecht, Aug 30, 1883; d Davos, Switzerland, March 7, 1931).

Dutch painter, architect, designer and writer. He was officially registered as the son of Wilhelm Küpper and Henrietta Catharina Margadant, but he was so convinced that his mother’s second husband, Theodorus Doesburg, was his father that he took his name. Little is known of his early life, but he began painting naturalistic subjects c. 1899. In 1903 he began his military service, and around the same time he met his first wife, Agnita Feis, a Theosophist and poet. Between about 1908 and 1910, much influenced by the work of Honoré Daumier, he produced caricatures, some of which were later published in his first book De maskers af! (1916). Also during this period he painted some Impressionist-inspired landscapes and portraits in the manner of George Hendrik Breitner. Between 1914 and 1915 the influence of Kandinsky became clear in such drawings as Streetmusic I and Streetmusic II (The Hague, Rijksdienst Beeld. Kst) and other abstract works....

Article

Francis M. Naumann

(b Blainville, Normandy, July 28, 1887; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, Oct 2, 1968).

French painter, sculptor and writer, active also in the USA. The art and ideas of Duchamp, perhaps more than those of any other 20th-century artist, have served to exemplify the range of possibilities inherent in a more conceptual approach to the art-making process. Not only is his work of historical importance—from his early experiments with Cubism to his association with Dada and Surrealism—but his conception of the ready-made decisively altered our understanding of what constitutes an object of art. Duchamp refused to accept the standards and practices of an established art system, conventions that were considered essential to attain fame and financial success: he refused to repeat himself, to develop a recognizable style or to show his work regularly. It is the more theoretical aspects implicit to both his art and life that have had the most profound impact on artists later in the century, allowing us to identify Duchamp as one of the most influential artists of the modern era....

Article

(b Lund, Oct 21, 1880; d Berlin, May 19, 1925).

Swedish draughtsman, film maker, painter and writer. After a limited education in Sweden he emigrated to Germany in 1897, where he received a commercial training at Flensburg that year. Around 1900 he began work as a bookkeeper at a watch factory in Le Locle in Switzerland, and from c. 1901 to c. 1907 he worked as a bookkeeper in Milan. There he attended the Accademi di Belle Arti di Brera in the evenings. In 1907 he obtained a post as a bookkeeper at the Lyceum Alpinum in Zuoz, Switzerland, where he was also allowed to teach art. His wife’s ill-health forced him to resign the post and, after a visit to Essen in 1910, he moved to Paris (1911) and became acquainted with Arp, Modigliani, Othon Friesz and Moise Kisling; he was particularly impressed by the work of André Derain, but he probably also studied the work of the Cubists....

Article

Valerie Holman

[Grindel, Eugène(-Emile-Paul)]

(b Saint-Denis, Dec 14, 1895; d Charenton-le-Pont, Seine, Nov 18, 1952).

French writer and collector. He was an innovative poet and was intimately involved with the Surrealist movement from its inception. He maintained a lasting friendship with Max Ernst, and his first wife Gala later married Salvador Dalí. He counted Pablo Picasso as one of his closest friends and dedicated more poems to him than to any other artist. Surrealist painters constantly stressed the importance of the inspiration they derived from the poets in their circle, in which Eluard was a central figure, largely because of his great sensitivity to the ways in which art and language could enhance each other. Not only did he publish numerous works dedicated to contemporary artists—notably Capitale de la douleur (Paris, 1926), La Vie immédiate (Paris, 1932) and Donner à voir (Paris, 1939)—but on many occasions he commissioned them to illustrate his poems: his collaborations with Max Ernst (Les Malheurs des immortels...

Article

Daniel Robbins

(b Paris, Dec 8, 1881; d Avignon, June 23, 1953).

French painter, printmaker and writer. He grew up in Courbevoie, a suburb of Paris, and as a student at the Collège Chaptal became interested in theatre and painting. At 19, his father put him to work in the family interior design and fabric business, an experience that contributed to a lifelong respect for skilled workmanship. The first paintings he exhibited, at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1902, were Impressionist in character, but the work accepted within two years at the Salon d’Automne showed a shift to social themes, a tendency that accelerated until 1908. Compulsory military service from 1903 to 1905 thrust him into the company of working-class people, arousing a permanent sense of solidarity with their aspirations and needs. The results were immediately apparent in the Association Ernest Renan, which he helped to establish in 1905, a kind of popular university with secular and socialist aims. He was also one of the founders of a community of intellectuals based near Paris, the ...

Article

Timothy O. Benson

(b Vienna, July 12, 1886; d Limoges, Feb 1, 1971).

Austrian photomontagist, painter, photographer, printmaker, writer, and theorist. He trained in the academic artistic tradition under his father, Victor Hausmann (1859–1920). In 1900 he went to Berlin, where he later became a central figure in Dada. His important friendship with the eccentric architect and mystical artist Johannes Baader (1875–1956) began in 1905. In the first years of the next decade he was associated with such artists as Erich Heckel and Ludwig Meidner and produced numerous paintings, including Blue Nude (1916; Rochechouart, Mus. Dépt.), and woodcuts, several of which were published in his book Material der Malerei Plastik Architektur (Berlin, 1918). These works blended Expressionism with the influences of artists then exhibiting at Herwarth Walden’s Sturm-Galerie: Fernand Léger, Alexander Archipenko, Robert Delaunay and Sonia Delaunay, Arthur Segal, and others. Around 1915 his widening contacts with the writers Salomon Friedländer and Franz Jung led to innumerable theoretical and satirical writings that were published in ...

Article

Richard Sheppard

(b Frankenau, Hessen, April 23, 1892; d Minusio, Switzerland, April 20, 1974).

German writer, painter and doctor. He met Hugo Ball in 1912 and became involved with the Munich circle associated with the journal Revolution and Franz Pfemfert’s circle in Berlin associated with Die Aktion. Huelsenbeck moved to Zurich in February 1916, becoming a central member of the Dada group in the Cabaret Voltaire. He returned to Berlin in late December 1916, and together with the groups involved with the periodicals Neue Jugend, run by Wieland Herzfelde (1896–1988), and Die freie Strasse, run by Franz Jung (1888–1963), he organized Berlin Dada from 1917 to 1922. His publications of this period included two versions of the Phantastische Gebete (Zurich, 1916 and 1920), a book of verse illustrated by Hans Arp and George Grosz, the novel Doktor Billig am Ende (Munich, 1921), illustrated by Grosz, and the ‘Dadaistische Welt-Atlas’, Dadaco (unpublished), as well as various polemical tracts on the movement. In ...

Article

Ioana Vlasiu

(b Bucharest, 1895; d Ein Hod, 1984).

Romanian painter, printmaker, architect and writer. He was a pupil of the painter Iosif Iser and from 1915 studied architecture in Zurich. With Tristan Tzara, Hans Arp, Richard Huelsenbeck and Hugo Ball, Janco participated in the Dada performances of the Cabaret Voltaire (see Dada, §1 and Mask, c. 1919). Janco made props and posters for the Dada group and illustrated with engravings the books of Tristan Tzara; he broke with Dada in 1922. In 1918 he became involved with the Neue Leben group in Basle. After returning to Romania in 1920 he took part in all the major avant-garde exhibitions, showed at the Maison d’Art in Bucharest (1922) and was a member of the group Contimporanul (1924), which published an eponymous review and organized the first international avant-garde exhibition in December 1924. Janco was prolific as an artist, drawing, painting, engraving, designing buildings (e.g. Wexler House, ...

Article

Éva Bajkay

(b Ersekujvar, Hungary, March 21, 1887; d Budapest, July 22, 1967).

Hungarian writer, painter, theorist, collagist, designer, printmaker and draughtsman. His family moved to Budapest in 1904, and, after finishing an apprenticeship as a blacksmith, in 1908 he began publishing stories and poems. In 1909–10 he travelled across Western Europe and spent some time in Paris, becoming acquainted with modern art and anarchist ideas. He published short stories, plays and poems in Budapest and from November 1915 he edited the periodical A Tett (‘The deed’), which was anti-militarist and discussed socialist theories and avant-garde ideas. In summer 1916 he spent time in the Kecskemét artists’ colony with his brother-in-law Béla Uitz and under his influence executed his first ink drawings (e.g. Landscape, 1916; Budapest, N.G.). Progressive young artists and aesthetes grouped themselves around Kassák; after A Tett was banned in September 1916, he started in November a new periodical, MA (‘Today’; see MA group), which he edited with Uitz (to ...

Article

John Milner

[Lisitsky, El’ ; Lisitsky, Lazar’ (Markovich )]

(b Pochinok, Smolensk province, Nov 23, 1890; d Moscow, Dec 30, 1941).

Russian draughtsman, architect, printmaker, painter, illustrator, designer, photographer, teacher, and theorist.

After attending school in Smolensk, he enrolled in 1909 at the Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt, to study architecture and engineering. He also travelled extensively in Europe, however, and he made a tour of Italy to study art and architecture. He frequently made drawings of the architectural monuments he encountered on his travels. These early graphic works were executed in a restrained, decorative style reminiscent of Russian Art Nouveau book illustration. His drawings of Vitebsk and Smolensk (1910; Eindhoven, Stedel. Van Abbemus.), for example, show a professional interest in recording specific architectural structures and motifs, but they are simultaneously decorative graphic works in their own right and highly suitable for publication. This innate awareness of the importance of controlling the design of the page was to remain a feature of Lissitzky’s work throughout radical stylistic transformations. He also recorded buildings in Ravenna, Venice, and elsewhere in Italy in ...

Article

Marianne Heinz

[François] (Marie Martínez)

(b Paris, Jan 22, 1879; d Paris, Nov 30, 1953).

French painter and writer. He was one of the major figures of the Dada movement in France and in the USA but remained as stubbornly uncategorizable as he was influential. In his rejection of consistency and of an identifiable manner, he called into question attitudes to the artistic process that had been regarded as sacrosanct and in so doing guaranteed the intellectual force of his ideas for subsequent generations of artists.

After attending the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in Paris on an irregular basis from 1895 to 1897, he was able to begin his career as a painter thanks to a substantial inheritance from his mother. He gained early recognition with Impressionist-influenced landscapes and townscapes depicting resorts near Paris such as Villeneuve-sur-Yonne and Moret-sur-Loing, for example Banks of the Loing (1905; Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.). These paintings, which he exhibited in Paris at the official salons and in commercial galleries, were particularly close to the work of Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley; in spite of their sometimes mediocre quality they sold easily because of the ready market for this kind of work....

Article

(b Montpellier, June 19, 1884; d Saint-Jeannet, Midi, July 1975).

French writer and painter. The son of a keen amateur painter, he was trained in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and at the Académie Julian and then exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in Paris. His early works were influenced by the Nabis, but most are lost. In 1909 he met Raymond Duchamp-Villon, through whom he became acquainted with the Puteaux group, which included artists such as Léger, Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes and others. Two years later he met Picabia. From 1913 he painted very little, but in 1920 he began to produce mechanomorphic paintings like Picabia’s. Often these were painted on the back of earlier works, such as the Great Musician (1920; see Jotterand, p. 65), which was owned by André Breton and had a Nabi-style work of 1905 on the back. After World War I he collaborated with Picabia on the Dada journal 391 and soon became an important figure in Parisian ...

Article

Gisela Hossmann

[Johannes] (Siegfried)

(b Berlin, April 6, 1888; d Minusio, nr Locarno, Feb 1, 1976).

American painter, film maker, theorist and writer of German birth. He studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Berlin and at the Akademie in Weimar from 1908 to 1909. Until c. 1910 he produced academic figure drawings, individual genre scenes and book illustrations (e.g. for Boccaccio’s Decameron). His early paintings showed the influence of Symbolism and of Jugendstil. Between 1911 and 1914 he came under the influence of Cézanne and also of Expressionism. At this time his paintings were flat in character, but with a fluid, dynamic and expressive drawing style, strongly outlined forms and powerful brushstrokes, as in Kurfürstendamm (1911; Locarno, Pin. Casa Rusca).

From 1914 until 1916 Richter’s work was influenced by Cubism, and he realized his idea of the visualization of rhythmical movements, proportion and order. His aim was the ‘free orchestration of forms …as music has orchestrated time …with sound’. Following the example of Picasso and Braque, Richter chose musical subjects for his paintings, such as ...

Article

Daniela Coia

[Sauvage, Tristan]

(b Alexandria, Egypt, 1924).

Italian writer. After an initial exchange of letters he met André Breton in Paris in 1949, a meeting that had a profound effect on his conception of life. Two years later he befriended Marcel Duchamp, on whom he later published a comprehensive study. He wrote extensively on Dada and Surrealism, and on art after 1950, publishing monographs on Breton (1974) and Man Ray (1977) and a major anthology of writings emanating from Dada. He also wrote under the pseudonym Tristan Sauvage.

In 1949 Schwarz began a research project on the anthropological roots of alchemist thought, which led him to travel in India, Nepal, Polynesia, Japan, Africa, the USA and Europe, and which resulted in the publication of texts and articles in specialist journals. Between 1954 and 1975 Schwarz transformed his library in Milan into the Galleria Schwarz, organizing exhibitions of the major Dadaist and Surrealist painters and other important post-war artists such as Lucio Fontana, Enrico Baj and Mimmo Rotella. After the closure of his gallery in ...