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Article

Ewa Mikina

(b Warsaw, Oct 30, 1894; d Paris, Aug 2, 1967).

Polish painter, designer and writer, active in France. He studied at the School of Art, Warsaw (1904–9), in Antwerp, and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1911–12). In the 1910s he was attracted to Futurism and the work of the Russian avant-garde, and he became one of the originators of Polish Constructivism. His early works show the influence of the Section d’Or, Cubism and Purism. He was a member of the Jung Jiddisch group in 1921–2. He lived in Berlin in 1922–3, exhibiting twice at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellungen. Back in Warsaw, he joined the Constructivist Block group.

In 1924 Berlewi had a one-man show at the premises of the Warsaw branch of the Austro-Daimler automobile company and published the booklet Mechano-Faktura (‘Mechano-Texture’). Both of these events were declarations of the union between art and technology. His works from 1924–6 are abstract compositions of basic geometrical forms and basic colours—as if in preparation for mechanical multiplication. In ...

Article

Ester Coen

(b Reggio Calabria, Oct 19, 1882; d Sorte, Verona, Aug 17, 1916).

Italian sculptor, painter, printmaker and writer. As one of the principal figures of Futurism, he helped shape the movement’s revolutionary aesthetic as a theorist as well as through his art. In spite of the brevity of his life, his concern with dynamism of form and with the breakdown of solid mass in his sculpture continued to influence other artists long after his death.

Boccioni spent his childhood years in Forlì, Genoa and Padua, then finished his studies in Catania and began to involve himself with literature. In 1899 he moved to Rome, where he developed a passionate interest in painting and frequented the Scuola Libera del Nudo. In Rome he met Gino Severini, with whom he made visits to the studio of Giacomo Balla, who taught them the basic principles of the divisionist technique and encouraged them to experiment with the application of colour in small overlapping brushstrokes. Inspired by his own pictorial experiments, Balla also urged them to develop a compositional method using angles and foreshortening analogous to photographic techniques. It was Balla who first introduced them to the use of complementary colours, which Boccioni later expressed in increasingly dramatic and violent ways, and it was Balla who instilled in him the love of landscape and nature that remained a constant feature of all his painting. In his first years of activity, closely following his master’s teaching, Boccioni produced oil paintings, sketches, pastels, studies in tempera and advertising posters....

Article

Jeremy Howard

(Maksimovich)

(b Moscow, Jan 16, 1888; d Moscow, Feb 22, 1945).

Russian theorist and critic. He trained as a lawyer at Moscow University but never practised law, devoting himself instead to art and literature. Prior to the October Revolution of 1917 his apartment was a meeting-place for Futurist poets and he was an active member of the Formalist group OPOYAZ (the Society for the Study of Poetical Language). After the Revolution he worked in the Fine Arts department (IZO) of Narkompros and as a commissar of the Petrograd (now St Petersburg) Svomas (Free Art Studios) in 1919. In 1918 he established the group IMO (Iskusstvo Molodykh: Art of the Young). Gaining Anatoly Lunacharsky’s support and a subsidy from Narkompros, this group was able to publish its views through the radical newspaper Iskusstvo kommuny (‘Art of the Commune’) (1918–19). Brik promoted Russian Futurism as a revolutionary Communist art and actively participated in the setting up of Kom-Fut, a Communist Futurist collective in Petrograd in ...

Article

Matthew Gale

(Dalmazzo)

(b Quarguento, Piedmont, Feb 11, 1881; d Milan, April 13, 1966).

Italian painter, critic and writer. He was apprenticed to a team of decorators at the age of 12, after the death of his mother. His work took him to Milan, London and Switzerland, as well as to the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900. He visited museums, and in Milan in 1906 he enrolled at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, studying under Cesare Tallone. By 1908 he was arranging shows for the Famiglia Artistica, an exhibiting group. He met Umberto Boccioni and Luigi Russolo, and together they came to know Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and to write the Manifesto dei pittori futuristi (1910; see Futurism). Carrà continued, however, to use the technique of Divisionism despite the radical rhetoric of Futurism. In an attempt to find new inspiration Marinetti sent them to visit Paris in autumn 1911, in preparation for the Futurist exhibition of 1912. Cubism was a revelation, and in ...

Article

Ester Coen

(b Fondo, Val di Non, Trentino, March 30, 1892; d Rovereto, Nov 29, 1960).

Italian painter, stage designer, illustrator, decorative artist and writer. After difficult years of study, during which he made his first artistic experiments, he travelled to Turin in 1910 and worked as an apprentice decorator at the Esposizione Internazionale. In spite of spending a year as apprentice to a marble-worker, on his return to Rovereto, he decided to become a painter, choosing subjects associated with Symbolism and social realism. Shortly after publishing Spezzature–Impressioni: Segni e ritmi (Rovereto, 1913), a collection of poetry, prose and illustrations, he moved to Rome, where he met Filippo Tommaso Marinetti at the Galleria Permanente Futurista, run by Giuseppe Sprovieri; through Marinetti he met the Futurists, with whom he exhibited at the same gallery in the spring of 1914 (see Furttenbach [Furtenbach; Furttembach], Josef [Joseph], the elder). This was followed by a one-man show at Trento in July 1914, which closed after a few days because of the outbreak of World War I. He succeeded in returning to Rome, where he was officially welcomed into the ...

Article

Fillia  

Daniela De Dominicis

[Colombo, Luigi]

(b Revello, Oct 4, 1904; d Turin, Feb 1, 1936).

Italian painter, sculptor and writer. He moved to Turin and in 1922 began his literary career by contributing to a booklet of poems entitled 1+1+1=1 Dinamite (Turin, 1922). He started painting as a self-taught artist, using his mother’s surname as a pseudonym. In 1923 he founded the Turin Futurist group, whose other later adherents included the Bulgarian-born painter and architect Nicolay Diulgheroff (1901–82) and the Italian sculptor Mino Rossi (1904–63), with the publication of the manifesto Futurista torinese—Sindacati artistici. Through this group he assumed an important role in the ‘second Futurism’ (see Furttenbach [Furtenbach; Furttembach], Josef [Joseph], the elder).

The inspiration for Fillia’s earliest paintings was ‘mechanical life’, which he portrayed by abstracting from the subject using geometrical forms and a lively range of colours. He was clearly aware not only of the work of Giacomo Balla and Fortunato Depero, but also of the contemporary Constructivist art promoted in the periodicals ...

Article

Charlotte Humphreys

(Viktor Vladimirovich)

(b Tundutov, Astrakhan, Nov 9, 1885; d Santalovo, Novgorod province, June 28, 1922).

Russian poet. He studied mathematics, biology and philology at Kazan’ University before devoting himself to literature. He became a member of the Hylaea circle of Futurist poets grouped around the artist David Burlyuk, which was responsible for the production of a large number of Russian Futurist books between c. 1912 and 1916. Khlebnikov’s theory of a transrational language (zaum), formulated in 1913 with his fellow poet Aleksey Kruchonykh, had a profound influence on the work of avant-garde artists, especially Kazimir Malevich, Jean Pougny (Ivan Puni), Pavel Filonov, Vladimir Tatlin and Pyotr Miturich. Literally ‘beyond the mind’ or ‘beyond sense’, zaum was used by Khlebnikov to signify the rejection of a conventional logic that defines words in terms of a specific meaning. It involved the ‘liberation’ of words, of parts of words and of individual letters and sounds from their accepted meaning, so that they could take on new meanings within a higher system of logic that literally transcends reason. Khlebnikov’s theories for a universal, transnational language were expounded in several articles written between ...

Article

Charlotte Humphreys

(Yeliseyevich)

(b Olevka, Kherson province, 1886; d Moscow, 1968).

Russian poet and critic of Ukrainian birth. He is best known for his creation of Russian Futurist books between 1912 and 1916 in collaboration with the avant-garde artists Natal’ya Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich and Ol’ga Rozanova. These books, some of which were written with Velimir Khlebnikov, are characterized by deliberate mistakes and misprints, bold handwriting or irregular typefaces and printed on differently textured paper or wallpaper. The accompanying illustrations were executed in a coarse and primitive style to match the harsh and dissonant tones of the poetry. The books include Igra v adu (‘A game in Hell’; Moscow, 1912 and 1914), Mirskontsa (‘The world backwards’; Moscow, 1912), Pomada (Moscow, 1913), Utinoye gnezdyshko…durnykh slov (‘A duck’s nest…of bad words’; St Petersburg, 1913), Te Li Le (St Petersburg, 1914), Zaumnaya kniga (‘Transrational book’; Moscow, 1915), Voyna (‘War’; Petrograd, 1915) and Vselenskaya voyna (‘Universal war’; Petrograd, ...

Article

Jeremy Howard

(Anisimovich)

(b Minsk, 1888; d 1937).

Russian theorist of Belarusian birth. He first appeared in 1914 as a Russian Futurist poet; after the Revolution of 1917 he became a prominent cultural commissar and a member of various leftist groups such as Osip Brik’s IMO (Iskusstvo Molodykh: ‘Art of the young’) and the left bloc in the Union of Art Workers (Soyuz Deyateley Iskusstv). His work at IMO in 1918 involved the propagation of left-wing art through meetings with workers in the suburbs of Petrograd (now St Petersburg), in which Vladimir Mayakovsky, Brik and Nikolay Punin participated. This activity led, through a subsidy from Narkompros, to the promotion of Russian Futurism and Formalist criticism in Narkompros’s newspaper Iskusstvo kommuny (‘Art of the Commune’, 1918–19). Kushner also was the chairman of Kom-Fut, a Communist Futurist collective organized in Petrograd in January 1919 that grew out of the work of IMO. Kom-Fut claimed in its manifesto that the cultural policy of the Bolsheviks was bourgeois and should be subjected to a new revolutionary Communist ideology....

Article

Anthony Parton

(Fyodorovich)

(b Tiraspol, Moldova, June 3, 1881; d Fontenay-aux-Roses, nr Paris, May 10, 1964).

Russian painter, stage designer, printmaker, illustrator, draughtsman and writer of Moldovan birth. He was a leader of the Russian avant-garde before World War I but came to prominence in the West through his work for Serge Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. During the 1920s he played a significant role within the Ecole de Paris and continued to live and work in France until his death.

He was the son of Fyodor Mikhailovich Larionov, a doctor and pharmacist, and Aleksandra Fyodorovna Petrovskaya, but he grew up in his grandparents’ home in Tiraspol. He completed his secondary education at the Voskresensky Technical High School in Moscow and in 1898 entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Here he studied under Valentin Serov and Konstantin Korovin, and he also became friendly with Natal’ya Goncharova who was to remain his lifelong companion and colleague. Larionov’s work soon caught the imagination of collectors and critics. In ...

Article

Troels Andersen

(Severinovich)

(b Kiev, Feb 26, 1878; d Leningrad [now St Petersburg], May 15, 1935).

Russian painter, printmaker, decorative artist and writer of Ukranian birth. One of the pioneers of abstract art, Malevich was a central figure in a succession of avant-garde movements during the period of the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917 and immediately after. The style of severe geometric abstraction with which he is most closely associated, Suprematism (see fig.), was a leading force in the development of Constructivism, the repercussions of which continued to be felt throughout the 20th century. His work was suppressed in Soviet Russia in the 1930s and remained little known during the following two decades. The reassessment of his reputation in the West from the mid-1950s was matched by the renewed influence of his work on the paintings of Ad Reinhardt and on developments such as Zero, Hard-edge painting and Minimalism.

Article

(b Alexandria, Dec 22, 1876; d Bellagio, Dec 2, 1944).

Italian writer and theorist. He was educated by Jesuit monks in Alexandria until 1893, when he moved to Paris. Having obtained a Baccalauréat, he studied law at the Università degli Studi di Genova, from which he graduated in 1899. In 1898 he published poetry for the first time, in particular the free verse Les Vieux Marins: this was awarded a prize by Gustave Kahn and the Symbolist poet, Catulle Mendès, and was recited by Sarah Bernhardt at the ‘Samedis populaires’ held at her theatre in Paris. In late 1898 Marinetti settled in Milan where he was to found and run the international review Poesia (1905–9), in which Symbolist poets and forerunners of free verse collaborated. However, he maintained close links with French culture. In Paris he published the epic poem La Conquête des étoiles in 1902 and his first satirical tragedy Le Roi bombance in 1905; the latter, still influenced by Symbolism and Alfred Jarry, was not performed until ...

Article

Christina Lodder

(Vasil’yevich)

(b Nizhny Novgorod, 1861; d Leningrad [now St Petersburg], Oct 14, 1934).

Russian painter, patron, musician, writer and publisher. He pursued a highly original line of artistic thought and practice and developed an organic perception of the world, deriving his inspiration from nature rather than machines, unlike many of his Russian Constructivist contemporaries.

Matyushin trained initially as a musician at the Moscow Conservatory (1878–81) and played the violin in the Court orchestra in St Petersburg from 1881 to 1913. In 1889 he began to attend the School of the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts in St Petersburg, where he studied painting with Yan Tsionglinsky (d 1914). In Tsionglinsky’s studio he met the artist and writer Yelena Guro, whom he married. Later (1906–8) he studied with the World of Art (Mir Iskusstva) painters Léon Bakst and Mstislav Dobuzhinsky at the Zvantseva School of Art in St Petersburg.

In 1909 Matyushin briefly joined the circle around Nikolay Kul’bin and the following year he founded the ...

Article

David Elliott

(Vladimirovich)

(b Bagdadi, Georgia, July 19, 1893; d Moscow, April 14, 1930).

Russian poet, critic, graphic designer and painter of Georgian birth. Although best known as a poet and playwright he studied painting at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1911–14) and, as a member of the Futurist group Hylea, was a pioneer of what later became known as Performance art. Mayakovsky’s family moved to Moscow on the death of his father in 1906, and he soon became involved in left-wing activities, for which he was repeatedly arrested. On passing the entrance examination of the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in August 1911, his political activities shifted their focus to bohemian épatage. In the class for figure painting Mayakovsky met David Burlyuk, who with his brothers Nikolay Burlyuk (1890–1920) and Vladimir Burlyuk (1886–1917) and the ‘aviator poet’ Vasily Kamensky (1864–1961), formed the core of the Russian Futurist movement. Adopting a stance similar to that of Marinetti, whose Futurist manifesto (...

Article

Giuliana Tomasella

(b Florence, Jan 9, 1881; d Florence, July 8, 1956).

Italian writer. He founded the magazine Leonardo in 1903 and, with Ardengo Soffici, Lacerba in 1913. Until late 1914 Lacerba was known as the principal publication of Futurism through its inclusion of polemics and manifestos. Although briefly a member of the Futurist circle, Papini was its constant critic: he particularly denied the value of the group’s search for dynamism in painting and he cast doubts on the legitimacy of their total rejection of artistic tradition. For a brief time he accepted the Futurists as his allies but did not actually adopt their ideas and objectives. He did, however, understand their generic rebellion against academic culture and their adherence to the neo-Idealistic philosophies of Benedetto Croce and Giovanni Gentile. In 1919 he published a collection of his articles in Lacerba entitled L’esperienza futurista, 1913–1914 in which he attempted to clarify his motives for his temporary adhesion to Futurism. His relationship to de Chirico was less well known but no less important. Studies (e.g. by Calvesi) have revealed the importance of ...

Article

Piero Pacini

(b Modena, June 20, 1894; d Rome, June 17, 1956).

Italian painter, decorative artist, stage designer, architect, sculptor and writer. He studied at Lucca, Turin and Rome, where he briefly attended the Accademia di Belle Arti, and his work earned the appreciation of his teacher Duilio Cambellotti (b 1876). In 1912 he joined the studio of Giacomo Balla and belonged to a Futurist art collective through which he met the leaders of the movement. In April and May 1914 he exhibited with other Futurists at the Galleria Sprovieri in Rome and, shortly afterwards, in Prague. Figure+Window (1914; Rome, priv. col.; see Menna, 1967, fig.) exemplifies the experiments he was carrying out at the time. He was particularly interested in the use of combinations of different materials and in theoretical speculation, writing in 1915 the manifestos Scenografia e coreografia futurista, Scultura dei colori e totale and Architettura futurista.

Prampolini met Tristan Tzara in Rome in 1916 and took part in the international ...

Article

Suzanne Tise

(b Turin, Feb 2, 1901; d Lausanne, March 8, 1998).

Italian architect, writer and teacher. He graduated in architecture from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Geneva (1923), and returned to Italy where he worked as an assistant to Raimondo d’Aronco and Annibale Rigotti. He was in private practice in Turin until 1939; he also practised in Switzerland continuously from 1930. Sartoris was a pioneer of Modernism in Italy, participating in several of the principal European avant-garde movements of the 1920s and 1930s. As a friend and admirer of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti he was involved in the Italian Futurist movement, collaborating with the painters Fillia and Felice Casorati. He was also inspired by the Neo-plasticism of De Stijl architects Theo van Doesburg and Cor van Eesteren, and he developed a unique style of axonometric drawing that became a hallmark of his work. His designs tended towards a synthesis of Futurism, Neo-plasticism and Functionalism in their use of colour, form and intersecting planes. He was the Grand Prix winner for his contribution to the Prima Mostra dell’Architettura Futurista (...

Article

Ester Coen

(b Cortona, April 7, 1883; d Paris, Feb 26, 1966).

Italian painter, mosaicist, stage designer and writer. One of the principal exponents of Futurism, he was an important link between French and Italian art. Although his most historically significant works were produced before World War I, he had a long career during which he continued to evolve his style, particularly in abstract schemes.

Severini studied in Cortona until the age of 15 when, because of a prank, he was expelled from all Italian schools. In 1899 he moved with his mother to Rome, where he worked as an accountant for a pipe-maker and later for an export agency. His passion for art led him to attend an evening class in drawing at a school known as ‘Gli incurabili’, and in the morning he studied perspective. Together with a group of friends that included Umberto Boccioni, whom he met in 1901, he was introduced to the writings of Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, the Russian novelists and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and to the general principles of Marxism. With Boccioni he often visited the studio of ...

Article

Piero Pacini

(b Rignano sull’Arno, nr Florence, April 7, 1879; d Forte dei Marmi, Lucca, Aug 18, 1964).

Italian painter, critic and writer. He spent his early childhood in the Florentine countryside and showed a precocious interest in drawing and literature. At school in Florence he deepened his knowledge of the Classics and also developed an interest in the new French poetry (from Laforgue to Rimbaud). At the Accademia in Florence he met Giovanni Fattori and Telemaco Signorini; in 1897, at the Arte e fiori exhibition, he admired paintings by Pierre Bonnard, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Giovanni Segantini.

Interest aroused by the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900 persuaded Soffici to travel to the French capital in November 1900 with his friends the painters Giovanni Costetti (1878–1949) and Umberto Brunelleschi (1879–1949). His living conditions, which included a period in Ruche, La, were difficult. In order to make money he worked on popular satirical magazines such as La Plume, Sans-gêne and Assiette au beurre...