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Article

(Maurice)

(b Maisons-Laffitte, July 5, 1889; d Milly-la-Forêt, Oct 11, 1963).

French writer, film maker, draughtsman, painter, printmaker and stage designer. Self-taught and with an insatiable desire to experiment with a wide variety of media, Cocteau combined his activities as a writer and artist with the roles of catalyst, patron, socialite and man of the theatre. His production as a painter, draughtsman and printmaker is mostly regarded as tangential both to the development of French art from the 1920s to the 1950s and to his own creative activities. In general his art has been regarded as an elegant but slight and fundamentally decorative variation of elements from the work of Picasso, with whom he formed a lifelong friendship in 1915. The cult of personality surrounding him, which he did little to discourage, has continued to cloud assessment of his work as a serious artist. Nevertheless the correlations that he created among different media, through his poetry, highly imaginative films and influential work for the theatre, were essential in defining the experimental ambience and cross-fertilizations of art in Paris between the two World Wars....

Article

Eduardo Serrano

(b Cartagena, Dec 18, 1920; d Bogotá, Apr 1, 2004).

Colombian painter, sculptor, printmaker, filmmaker, and stage designer. He studied at the Art Students League in New York from 1941 to 1943 and subsequently visited Italy, where he studied fresco and etching techniques before settling again in Colombia. Consistently devoted to the human form, he initially depicted figures with angular heads and striped tunics in a strong light, with symbolic objects such as eggs, masks, or cages.

In such later paintings as Boy with Umbrella (1964; Washington, DC, A. Mus. Americas) Grau’s figures were transformed into plump, fleshy, and voluptuous beings, richly arrayed with lace, feathers, hats, and fans, like characters taken from the theater or from popular turn-of-the-century postcards. His scenes were gradually filled with anecdotal details and numerous objects, including cupboards, easels, boxes, masks, and flowers, through which he suggested emotionally charged atmospheres. Grau also produced murals, prints, stage sets, films, and especially sculptures. The first of these were assemblages of antique and industrial objects, but he subsequently made cast-bronze sculptures that convey a sensuousness, mystery, and nostalgia similar to that evoked by his paintings....

Article

Lee M. Edwards

(b Waal, Bavaria, May 26, 1849; d Budleigh Salterton, Devon, March 31, 1914).

English painter, illustrator, printmaker, stage designer, film maker, writer and teacher of German birth. He was the only child of Lorenz Herkomer (d 1887), a wood-carver, and Josephine (née Niggl), an accomplished pianist and music teacher. They left Bavaria for the USA in 1851 and lived briefly in Cleveland, OH, before settling in Southampton, England, in 1857.

Herkomer received his first art instruction from his father and from 1864 to 1865 he attended the Southampton School of Art. Later he often criticized the crippling academic methods to which he was exposed as a student. In 1865 he briefly attended the Munich Academy and spent the summer terms of 1866 and 1867 at the South Kensington Art School in London, where he found the teaching ‘aimless and undirected’. With the encouragement of his fellow student Luke Fildes, Herkomer took up black-and-white illustration; his first wood-engraving appeared in Good Words...

Article

Judi Freeman

(b Argentan, Orne, Feb 4, 1881; d Gif-sur-Yvette, Seine-et-Oise, Aug 17, 1955).

French painter, draughtsman, illustrator, printmaker, stage designer, film maker, and ceramicist. Among the most prominent artists in Paris in the first half of the 20th century, he was prolific in many media and articulated a consistent position on the role of art in society in his many lectures and writings. His mature work underwent many changes, from a Cubist-derived abstraction in the 1910s to a distinctive realist imagery in the 1950s. Léger attracted numerous students to his various schools, and his ideas and philosophy were disseminated by modern artists throughout Europe and the Americas.

Born in rural Normandy, Léger often said that he was of ‘peasant stock’. Although his father was a cattle merchant, Léger was sent by his family to Caen in 1897 to be an apprentice in an architect’s office, where he remained until 1899. In 1900 he went to Paris and again worked in an architect’s office as a draughtsman. After compulsory military service in ...