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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

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Vila Nova de Gaia, Jan 17, 1923; d 2002).

Portuguese painter, graphic artist, critic and art administrator . In 1947 he was a founder-member of the Grupo Surrealista de Lisboa, with which he exhibited in 1949. By 1952 he was one of the few remaining members of the original group still involved in Surrealism. That year he held a large exhibition with two other artists, showing Occultations, photographs in which parts of the images were masked by overpainting. At the time he was more interested in the process of image-making, in the unconscious genesis of images and their internal rhythms, than in the result as an aesthetic object. From the mid-1950s, Azevedo’s paintings were almost entirely abstract and gestural, with greater overt affinities to lyrical abstraction than to automatism, for example Painting (1961; Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian). While in smaller works he often returned to the Surrealist use of collaged photographs introducing an element of shock or surprise, in his paintings there is an overriding interest in morphological dissolution and mutation, which remains lyrical rather than violent....

Article

Karel Srp

(b Protivín, Sept 24, 1914; d Prague, Aug 11, 2002).

Czech collagist and poet, active in France. He had a considerable influence on Czech art from the 1940s until the early 1970s and was the main representative of the association of artists known as Group 42. The principal features of his aesthetic ideas are the mythology of urban life and the discovery of the miraculous in the commonplace. He was already at work on collage in 1939 when he exhibited at the Prague Mozart Collection, and he returned to collage in the late 1950s, partly as a result of his interest in Concrete and serial art. He worked out a method of constructing poem-collages based on linking completely different texts, then transferred his experimental efforts to the purely visual sphere, calling his first realization ‘non-verbal poetry’. At first he created collages from glued, randomly juxtaposed objects, including everyday objects that particularly interested him. His most important innovation was, however, his use of reproductions of outstanding paintings and sculptures, making them into numerous and varied formal combinations. By the 1990s he had worked out more than a hundred different collage processes, from which further methods could be derived. He experimented with metalanguage art, with the continuous reassessment of new values and the rediscovery of old values. His creative ideas have helped to bring collage, which before World War II was primarily linked with Cubism and Surrealism, to a new level of expression....

Article

(b Antwerp, April 29, 1920; d Brussels, Sept 19, 1993).

Belgian writer, painter, collagist, draughtsman and sculptor. He left school at the age of 14 and in 1937 met Magritte, and the Belgian writers Louis Scutenaire (1905–87) and Paul Nougé (1895–1967), through whom he soon became drawn into the Surrealist movement. Though largely involved with writing poetry and essays, like many Surrealists he also produced collages, such as La Traversée du rêve (1938–45; Paris, Gal. Isy Brachot). Also in 1937 he participated in his first Surrealist exhibition, Surrealist Objects and Poems, organized by E. L. T. Mesens at the London Gallery in London. From 1940 to 1941 he was held prisoner in Germany. On his return to Belgium he founded the publishing house L’Aiguille Aimantée, which issued Paul Eluard’s Moralité du sommeil in 1941. In 1943 he published the first monograph on Magritte and two years later took part in the important exhibition of Belgian Surrealism at the Galerie La Boëtie in Brussels. In ...

Article

Louisa Buck

(b London, Oct 14, 1900; d Chiddingly, E. Sussex, April 23, 1984).

English patron, poet, painter, sculptor and collagist. After completing his BA at Queens’ College, Cambridge, in 1922, he worked as a painter in France from 1922 to 1935 and through Max Ernst became closely involved with the Surrealist group in Paris. On his return to England, he established the British Surrealist Group and in 1936 organized the first International Surrealist Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries in London, which provided Britain’s first full-scale exposure to the movement. He took part in most of the group’s activities and was secretary and treasurer of its showcase, the London Gallery, as well as co-editor of its publication, the London Gallery Bulletin.

Penrose began collecting art in the early 1930s and in 1938 bought Paul Eluard’s collection of Surrealist, African and other art. This included 40 major works by Max Ernst, including the Elephant Celebes (1921; London, Tate), several paintings by Giorgio De Chirico, most notably the ...

Article

Karel Srp

(b Prague, Dec 13, 1900; d Prague, Oct 1, 1951).

Bohemian critic, theorist, collagist and typographer. He was one of the founders of Devětsil (1920–31) and was the spokesman and theorist of the Czechoslovak Surrealist group (1934–51), inviting André Breton and Paul Eluard to Prague in 1935. His early works were influenced by Cubism. During the 1920s and 1930s he was an enthusiastic typographer, while in the 1940s he devoted himself primarily to making Surrealist collages, concentrating in particular on the female nude. As a theorist he was active from 1920, becoming the spokesman of his generation and its main interpreter, editing the journals Disk (1923, 1925) and ReD (Revue Devětsilu; 1927–31). At first interested in utopian prototypes, he developed an interest in Constructivism after a visit to Paris in 1923. In the late 1920s he became an internationally acknowledged theorist of modern architecture. He delivered a cycle of lectures at the Bauhaus on the sociology of architecture (...