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Colin Rhodes

(b Berlin, Oct 5, 1887; d Bad Liebenzell, nr Stuttgart, Nov 14, 1975).

German painter. He studied under Henry Van de Velde at the School of the Fine Arts and Arts and Crafts of the Grand Duchy of Saxony (later the Bauhaus, Weimar) (1906–7), and under Franz von Stuck at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich (1909–10). He worked under Adolf Hölzel at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart from 1912, and by 1918 he had produced his first non-objective works under the influence of the latter. Although primarily an abstract painter he was briefly involved with Magic Realism in the 1920s. He devised a type of colour abstraction, which he called ‘Absolute Painting’, and in 1930 he founded a ‘Seminar for Absolute Painting’ at the Volkshochschule in Stuttgart. Works such as Painting XII (1949; Berlin, Alte N.G.) relied heavily on a body of theory derived mainly from Hölzel and the colour theories of Goethe.

L. Langenfeld...

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

Bauhaus  

Rainer K. Wick

[Bauhaus Berlin; Bauhaus Dessau, Hochschule für Gestaltung; Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar]

German school of art, design and architecture, founded by Walter Gropius. It was active in Weimar from 1919 to 1925, in Dessau from 1925 to 1932 and in Berlin from 1932 to 1933, when it was closed down by the Nazi authorities. The Bauhaus’s name referred to the medieval Bauhütten or masons’ lodges. The school re-established workshop training, as opposed to impractical academic studio education. Its contribution to the development of Functionalism in architecture was widely influential. It exemplified the contemporary desire to form unified academies incorporating art colleges, colleges of arts and crafts and schools of architecture, thus promoting a closer cooperation between the practice of ‘fine’ and ‘applied’ art and architecture. The origins of the school lay in attempts in the 19th and early 20th centuries to re-establish the bond between artistic creativity and manufacturing that had been broken by the Industrial Revolution. According to Walter Gropius in ...

Article

Monica Bohm-Duchen

(b Haag, Austria, April 5, 1900; d Santa Barbara, CA, Sept 30, 1985).

American painter, designer, photographer and typographer, of Austrian birth. After serving in the Austrian army (1917–18), Bayer studied architecture under Professor Schmidthammer in Linz in 1919 and in 1920 worked with the architect Emanuel Margold in Darmstadt. From 1921 to 1923 he attended the Bauhaus in Weimar, studying mural painting (with Vasily Kandinsky) and typography; it was at this time that he created the Universal alphabet, consisting only of lowercase letters. In 1925 he returned to the Bauhaus, then in Dessau, as a teacher of advertising, layout and typography, remaining there until 1928. For the next ten years he was based in Berlin as a commercial artist: he worked as art manager of Vogue (1929–30) and as director of the Dorland advertising agency. Shortly after his first one-man exhibitions at the Galerie Povolotski, Paris, and at the Kunstlerbund März, Linz (both 1929), he created photomontages of a Surrealist nature, such as ...

Article

Marianne Lorenz

[Blauen Vier]

Name applied to a group of German painters, founded at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany, on 31 March 1924. The group consisted of Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Alexei Jawlensky and Lyonel Feininger, who were formerly associated with the Blaue Reiter group. The idea for founding the Blue Four came from Galka Scheyer, a former pupil of Jawlensky, who sought to make the work and ideas of these artists better known in the USA through exhibitions, lectures and sales. While the Blue Four was not an official association, its name was chosen to give American audiences an idea about the type of artists involved and also to allude to the artists’ previous association with the Blaue Reiter group. In May 1924 Scheyer travelled to New York, where the first Blue Four exhibition took place at the Charles Daniel Gallery (Feb–March 1925). Scheyer then moved to California, where the first of many Blue Four exhibitions in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas took place at the Oakland Museum in autumn ...

Article

Anna Rowland

(b Frankfurt am Main, July 11, 1893; d Sydney, Jan 7, 1965).

German painter, printmaker and teacher, active in England and Australia. From 1912 to 1914 he attended the progressive school run by Wilhelm von Debschitz in Munich and studied art history at Munich University. His training was then interrupted for four and a half years by military service. In 1919 he enrolled at Adolf Hölzel’s pioneering academy in Stuttgart. Hölzel communicated to his pupils, who also included Johannes Itten and Oskar Schlemmer, his interest in abstract formal relationships and colour contrasts. At this time Hirschfeld-Mack is known to have been working in the style of the German Expressionists.

In October 1919, attracted by Walter Gropius’s Bauhaus Manifesto, Hirschfeld-Mack enrolled at the Weimar Bauhaus. After taking the Vorkurs devised by Itten, he enrolled in the printing workshop, where he soon emerged as one of the most important apprentices. He worked closely with the Form Master, Lyonel Feininger, helping to prepare Zwölf Holzschnitte von Lyonel Feininger...

Article

Anna Rowland

(b Südern-Linden, Nov 11, 1888; d Zurich, May 25, 1967).

Swiss painter, textile designer, teacher, writer and theorist. He trained first as a primary school teacher in Berne (1904–6), where he became familiar with progressive educational and psychoanalytical ideas. He was, however, interested in art and music, and in 1909 he decided to become a painter. He enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva but was so disappointed that he returned to teacher training in Berne. He read widely and developed an interest in religion and mystic philosophy. After qualifying he returned to Geneva and greatly enjoyed the course on the geometric elements of art run by the Swiss painter Eugène Gilliard (1861–1921). After travelling in Europe, in 1913 Itten went to Stuttgart to study at the academy of Adolf Hölzel, a pioneer of abstraction who was also convinced of the importance of automatism in art. Greatly impressed, Itten absorbed his teaching on colour and contrast and his analyses of Old Masters paintings. Encouraged by Hölzel, he made abstract collages incorporating torn paper and cloth....

Article

Vivian Endicott Barnett

[Vassily; Wassily] (Vasil’yevich)

(b Moscow, Dec 4, 1866; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, Dec 13, 1944).

Russian painter, printmaker, stage designer, decorative artist and theorist. A central figure in the development of 20th-century art and specifically in the transition from representational to abstract art, Kandinsky worked in a wide variety of media and was an important teacher and theoretician. He worked mainly outside Russia, but his Russian heritage continued to be an important factor in his development.

Kandinsky grew up in Odessa and from 1886 to 1893 studied economics, ethnography and law in Moscow, where he wrote a dissertation on the legality of labourers’ wages. He married his cousin Anya Shemyakina in 1892 (divorced 1911). In 1896 Kandinsky decided to become an artist and went to Munich. There he studied from 1896 to 1898 at the art school of Anton Ažbe, where he met Alexei Jawlensky and Marianne von Werefkin, and then in 1900 at the Akademie with Franz von Stuck. The following year he was a co-founder of the ...

Article

Ann Temkin

(b Münchenbuchsee, nr Berne, Dec 18, 1879; d Muralto, nr Locarno, June 29, 1940).

Swiss painter, draughtsman, printmaker, teacher, and writer. Klee’s work forms a major contribution to the history of 20th-century art. He is associated most commonly with the Bauhaus school in Weimar and Dessau. He is regarded as a major theoretician among modern artists and as a master of humour and mystery. In much of his work, he aspired to achieve a naive and untutored quality, but his art is also among the most cerebral of any of the 20th century (e.g. Disturbance, 1934; Turin, Gal. A. Mod.). Klee’s wide-ranging intellectual curiosity is evident in an art profoundly informed by structures and themes drawn from music, nature, and poetry.

Klee was brought up in Berne, where his father was a music teacher. As a boy, he displayed great talent both as a violinist and as a draughtsman. On leaving school he decided to study art in Munich, first with ...

Article

Daniela De Dominicis

(b Rome, Jan 28, 1935; d Marseille, Sept 21, 1963).

Italian painter, sculptor and urban planner. In 1955 he obtained his diploma at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome and began studying architecture, heavily influenced by Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus and De Stijl. He started work as an industrial designer in 1958. He also began to execute works devoted to the study of the dynamic qualities of light in space, which some people have seen as a forerunner of conceptual art and Minimalism. Lo Savio’s first monochrome paintings, based on the study of chromatic transparency, date from 1959 (e.g. Space-Light, Leverkusen, Schloss Morsbroich) as do his Filters series, which comprised layers of opaque and semi-transparent paper squares and circles. Works of this sort were shown in the same year in a group exhibition with Franco Angeli, Tano Festa, Mario Schifano (b 1934) and Giuseppe Uncini at the Galleria L’Appunto in Rome, and in 1960 at the Galleria La Salita in Rome with an exhibition catalogue prefaced by the French critic ...

Article

Terence A. Senter

(b Bácsborsod, Mohol Puszta, Hungary, July 20, 1895; d Chicago, Nov 24, 1946).

American painter, sculptor, photographer, designer, film maker, theorist, and teacher, of Hungarian birth. Moholy-Nagy’s importance in the 20th century is based as much on his theories as on his practical work. His ideologies related to the relationship between space, time, and light, and the interaction of man with these forces. His great achievement was that he applied his mystical outlook to highly practical enterprises and always recognized the purpose behind his creativity.

Moholy-Nagy’s ambition developed when he exchanged village life for the city of Szeged after his father left his family. Academically outstanding, Moholy-Nagy read law for a year at Budapest University before joining the artillery in World War I. Influential praise for his war sketches converted his aspiration from literature to art. His Expressionist style, social conscience, and investigation of light paralleled trends in the Hungarian avant-garde, from ...

Article

Anna Rowland

(b Querfurt, May 8, 1895; d 1987).

German painter and teacher. His father was an amateur painter and art collector who became known as the naive painter Felix Ramholz. In 1913 Muche began studying painting at the Azbe-Kunstschule in Munich. His work was entirely conventional until 1914, when he moved to Berlin and became Herwarth Walden’s exhibitions assistant at the Sturm-Galerie. After his introduction to Expressionist circles, he began to paint intensively, plunging into a heady abstraction that combined a Cubist approach to form with the rich saturated colours of the work of Der Blaue Reiter and Marc Chagall.

By 1915–16 Muche had developed his own abstract style using smudgy, blurred patches of colour in conjunction with hard outlines. This lends his compositions a highly atmospheric and primeval quality that was not lost on his contemporaries. Herwarth Walden dubbed one of his most dramatic compositions ‘And God Divided Light from Dark’ (1916; destr.; see 1980 exh. cat., p. 25, no. M28)....

Article

Anita Kühnel

(b Magdeburg, June 29, 1900; d Posteholz, nr Hameln, May 27, 1980).

German painter and draughtsman. He studied at the Bauhaus in Weimar under Johannes Itten (1921–5). His early work was influenced by Constructivism, but Oelze was soon impressed by Neue Sachlichkeit, with which he became familiar while living in Dresden (1926–9). At this time he also became acquainted with Otto Dix and his work. His pictures from the late 1920s, for example Still-life with White Plate and Coloured Balls (oil on panel, 1928–9; Berne, priv. col.), show a clear concreteness and strong composition and reflect the trance-like state found in works of Magic Realism. During this period he also visited the Bauhaus in Dessau for several months. On a trip to Ascona in 1929 he saw reproductions of the works of Max Ernst and Hans Arp for the first time. In 1933 he moved to Paris, where he remained until 1936 and made contact with the Surrealists. By the 1930s dreams and premonitions were becoming themes in his work, and his paintings increasingly featured dream-creatures, combinations of animal and plant, plant and human, human and animal. In the painting ...

Article

Whitney Chadwick

(b Berlin, Oct 6, 1913; d Berne, Nov 15, 1985).

Swiss painter and sculptor of German birth. She studied in Basle at the Kunstgewerbeschule from 1929 to 1930. After seeing an exhibition of Bauhaus work, including that of Paul Klee, at the Basle Kunsthalle, Oppenheim produced her first Surrealist work, a series of pen-and-ink drawings in a school notebook. Oppenheim’s earliest works reflect the influence of Klee and the artists of Neue Sachlichkeit. She moved to Paris in 1932 and studied briefly at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière before meeting the Surrealists through Alberto Giacometti and Hans Arp the following year. Oppenheim quickly became known as the perfect embodiment of the Surrealist woman, the femme-enfant, who through her youth, naivety and charm was believed to have more direct and spontaneous access to the realms of the dream and the unconscious. She was celebrated by the Surrealists as the ‘fairy woman whom all men desire’. Man Ray posed her nude with an etching press in a celebrated series of photographs that includes ...

Article

Karin von Maur

(b Stuttgart, Sept 4, 1888; d Baden-Baden, April 13, 1943).

German painter, sculptor, choreographer and stage designer. After the death of his parents he lived with his sister at Göppingen, and in Stuttgart from 1903 to 1905 he served an apprenticeship at a workshop specializing in marquetry while attending classes at the Kunstgewerbeschule. He continued his studies on a bursary from 1906 to 1911 at the Kunstakademie in Stuttgart under the plein-air landscape painters Christian Landenberger (1862–1927) and Friedrich von Keller (1840–1914). In 1911–12 he lived in Berlin, where he produced paintings such as Hunting Lodge, Grunewald (1911; Stuttgart, Staatsgal.) and Self-portrait (1912; Stuttgart, Staatsgal.) under the influence of Cubism. After returning to Stuttgart, Schlemmer studied under Adolf Hölzel, whose theory of pictorial methods made him a pioneer of abstract art and who gathered around him an international circle of students that included Willi Baumeister and the Swiss artists Otto Meyer-Amden and Johannes Itten, with whom Schlemmer became friends....

Article

Sepp Kern

(b Altenbögge, Westphalia, Sept 22, 1905; d Herrsching, nr Munich, Oct 1, 1976).

German painter . A self-taught artist, he began to paint c. 1924. Before becoming a student at the Dessau Bauhaus, he worked as a miner and as an electrician. He began by studying theatre but turned to painting in 1929, studying under Oskar Schlemmer, and also Kandinsky and Klee, who were both influential on his artistic ambitions and theory. His abstract pictures of this time reveal a debt to these artists, as well as the influence of Arp and Naum Gabo.

Between 1929 and 1931 Winter frequently went to Davos to visit Kirchner with whom he had a vigorous exchange of ideas. He worked with Gabo in Berlin in 1930. He taught for a short time at the Pädagogische Akademie in Halle. In 1933 he moved to Munich, and in 1935 he retreated to Diessen am Ammersee. From 1935 he created representations of dynamic areas of light, fantastic landscapes with crystalline geometric forms and translucent compositions that are partly reminiscent of the work of Lyonel Feininger, for example ...