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(Isayevich)

(b Vinnitsa, Ukraine, Dec 22, 1889; d Leningrad [now St Petersburg], Dec 12, 1970).

Russian painter, graphic artist, sculptor and designer of Ukrainian birth. He studied painting at the School of Art in Odessa (1901–7) under Kiriak Kostandi (1852–1921), at the same time attending classes in sculpture. In 1908–9 he made a series of pointillist paintings. He visited Vienna and Munich in 1910 before going to Paris, where he worked at Vasil’yeva’s Free Russian Academy until 1912, producing paintings on Jewish themes and studying Cubism. In 1912 he went to St Petersburg, where he painted a number of Cubist portraits, for example of the poet Anna Akhmatova (1914; St Petersburg, Rus. Mus.). His Cubist work makes much use of faceting and transparent planes. From 1918 to 1921 he taught at the Department of Visual Arts (IZO) of Narkompros in Petrograd, but he was criticized for his attempts to identify Futurism with the art of the proletariat. Al’tman became well known as the designer of post-Revolutionary mass parades and monuments, for example the celebration of the first anniversary of the Revolution on ...

Article

[Bronstein, Max]

(b Tuchów, Poland, July 13, 1896; d Jerusalem, June 18, 1992).

Israeli painter of Polish birth. As a young boy he greatly admired El Greco, Goya and Rembrandt. From 1920 to 1925 he studied at the Bauhaus, Weimar, under Klee, Kandinsky, Johannes Itten and Lyonel Feininger and the following year studied painting techniques at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Munich under Max Doerner. During the 1920s he changed his name from Max Bronstein to Mordecai Ardon. He taught at the Kunstschule Itten in Berlin from 1929 to 1933, when Nazi persecution forced him to flee to Jerusalem. Though he had been an active Communist in Germany, in Jerusalem he soon found a great affinity with Jewish religion and culture. In 1935 he was made a professor at the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts in Jerusalem, and was its Director from 1940 to 1952.

Ardon’s early paintings show the influence of Expressionism, as in Seated Woman in a Straw Chair...

Article

Susan Compton

[Shagal, Mark (Zakharovich); Shagal, Moses]

(b Vitebsk [now Viciebsk], Belarus’, July 7, 1887; d Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Alpes-Maritimes, March 28, 1985).

French painter, draughtsman, printmaker, designer, sculptor, ceramicist, and writer of Belarusian birth. A prolific artist, Chagall excelled in the European tradition of subject painting and distinguished himself as an expressive colourist. His work is noted for its consistent use of folkloric imagery and its sweetness of colour, and it is characterized by a style that, although developed in the years before World War I, underwent little progression throughout his long career (see.g. I and the Village, 1911; New York, MOMA). Though he preferred to be known as a Belarusian artist, following his exile from the Soviet Union in 1923 he was recognized as a major figure of the Ecole de Paris, especially in the later 1920s and the 1930s. In his last years he was regarded as a leading artist in stained glass.

Chagall spent his childhood, admirably recorded in his autobiography, in a warm Hassidic family in Vitebsk [now Viciebsk], with frequent visits to his grandfather’s village home. He attended the traditional Jewish school but afterwards succeeded in entering the local Russian high school, where he excelled in geometry and drawing and determined to become an artist. At first he studied locally in the studio of ...

Article

Ronald Alley

Term applied to the loose affiliation of artists working in Paris from the 1920s to the 1950s. It was first used by the critic André Warnod in Comoedia in the early 1920s as a way of referring to the non-French artists who had settled and worked in Paris for some years, many of whom lived either in Montmartre or Montparnasse, and who included a number of artists of Eastern European or Jewish origin.

From c. 1900 a number of major artists had been attracted to the capital because of its reputation as the most vital international centre for painting and sculpture; these included Picasso, Gris and Miró from Spain, Chagall, Soutine and Lipchitz from Russia or Lithuania, Brancusi from Romania and Modigliani from Italy. The prominence of Jewish artists in Paris and of foreign artistic influences in general began by c. 1925 to cause intense resentment and led to the foreigners being labelled as ‘Ecole de Paris’ in contrast to French-born artists such as ...

Article

David M. Sokol

(b Russian Poland, April 10, 1872; d New York, July 26, 1946).

American painter of Russian-Polish origin. He claimed to have carved wooden ceremonial objects as a young boy, but ceased to create until he retired from his clothing manufacturing concern and began to paint. When Sidney Janis was arranging an exhibition of American folk art for the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, in 1939, he saw Hirshfield’s naive works in a gallery in New York. He exhibited two in the show and organized a one-man show for the artist in 1943; he also purchased two works, including Beach Girl (1937; New York, MOMA). In such paintings Hirshfield based large areas of the overall design on the fabrics with which he worked during his years in business, and his outlined forms on the art of patternmaking. In this and slightly later works, such as Inseparable Friends (1941; New York, MOMA), an ambiguous treatment of young female sexuality is played off against the patterns and the repetition of forms....

Article

Katalin Gellér

[Lipót]

(b Kassa [now Košice, Slovak Republic], Feb 2, 1838; d Vienna, Nov 16, 1917).

Hungarian painter. After attending drawing classes in Kassa, he continued his studies at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna. In 1860 he won a scholarship, enabling him to travel to Paris, where he settled, painting mostly portraits and genre pictures. In 1868 he moved to Warsaw, where he completed the biblical composition Anniversary of the Destruction of Jerusalem and painted a series of portraits of Polish and Russian aristocrats. Horovitz had his greatest success with his portraits, for which he was internationally renowned. Like Fülöp Elek László, and several other Hungarian portrait painters, Horovitz was able to travel widely in order to carry out portrait commissions. Between 1901 and 1906 he painted Emperor Francis Joseph five times. He also painted a number of leading figures in Hungarian political, scientific and literary circles, for example Ferenc Pulszky (1890; Budapest, N.G.).

Ö. Gerő: Müvészetről, müvészekről [On art and artists] (Budapest, n.d.), pp. 232–40...

Article

Michael Turner

[Shlomo Zalman Dov]

(b Vrno, Lithuania ?1866; d Denver, CO, March 22, 1932).

Lithuanian sculptor and painter, active in Palestine. Born into a poor, orthodox Jewish family, he attended rabbinical school in Vilna (now Vilnius; 1882–7). During this period he studied art at the local academy and, affected by the anti-Semitism of the period, developed left-wing political interests and the connections to an emancipated Jewish art form. His personal history generated three distinct artistic periods: the early activities in Paris (until 1895), the Bulgarian period (until 1903) and the later Jewish period in Palestine. His first known oil painting, the Dying Will (c. 1886; priv. col., see 1933 exh. cat., no. M16), was typical of late 19th-century romanticism. In 1888 he moved to Warsaw, working intensely on sculptures, reliefs and lithographs. His concept of art for a Jewish national agenda and propaganda was published that year as an article ‘Craftsmanship’ in the Hebrew newspaper Hazfira, forming the basis for his later works. After his marriage (...