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Article

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

Peter Webb

(b Kattowitz, Germany [now Katowice, Poland], March 13, 1902; d Paris, Feb 24, 1975).

German photographer, sculptor, printmaker, painter, and writer. As a child he developed fear and hatred for his tyrannical father, who totally dominated his gentle and affectionate mother. He and his younger brother Fritz found refuge from this oppressive family atmosphere in a secret garden decorated with toys and souvenirs and visited by young girls who joined in sexual games. In 1923 Bellmer was sent by his father to study engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin, but he became interested in politics, reading the works of Marx and Lenin and joining in discussions with artists of the Dada. He was especially close to George Grosz, who taught him drawing and perspective in 1924 and whose advice to be a savage critic of society led him to abandon his engineering studies in that year. Having shown artistic talent at an early age, he began designing advertisements as a commercial artist and illustrated various Dada novels, such as ...

Article

Rigmor Lovring

(b Copenhagen, Dec 24, 1909; d Halmstad, Sept 13, 1957).

Danish painter and writer. He was the son of the art historian and museum director Carl V. Petersen (1868–1938), who introduced him to the visual arts at an early age. His extensive knowledge of art history had a considerable influence on the development of his paintings and artistic theories. He had private painting lessons before beginning studies at the Kunstakademi in Oslo in 1929. In 1930–31 he studied with Paul Klee, Vasily Kandinsky and Oskar Schlemmer at the Bauhaus in Dessau, after which he returned to Denmark inspired by new conceptions of a completely abstract art. He became a central figure in Danish artistic life in the 1930s. He was a founder-member of the Danish artists’ group Linien (The Line) in 1933, at that time an association of abstract and Surrealist artists, and he edited the group’s journal of the same name.

Bjerke-Petersen was an active artistic experimenter. He favoured Constructivist abstraction at the beginning of the 1930s. His ideas, based on first-hand knowledge of the newest international developments in the art of the time, as for example in the Bauhaus-influenced ...

Article

Vanina Costa

(b Nantes, Sept 17, 1907; d Paris, May 8, 1977).

French painter, sculptor, draughtsman and poet. He moved in 1926 to Paris, where he became involved with Surrealism, soon afterwards publishing his first collection of poems, Opoponax (Paris, 1927). In 1934 he exhibited a series of automatic drawings, which were followed by images produced with the assistance of objets trouvés: in Street Object (1936; Paris, Pompidou), for instance, he placed a sheet of paper on the road and then drove a car over it so as to leave the imprint of the tyre tracks. Another work of this period consisted of a bus sign bearing the same letters as his initials, so that it could be read as his signature. He also produced assemblages in a Surrealist spirit, such as Morphology of Desire (wood, plaster, metal, candle and torch, 1934–7; Paris, Pompidou). After World War II Bryen turned increasingly towards painting, through which he became a leading exponent of ...

Article

Jorge Alberto Manrique

(b Clayten Green, nr Chorley, Lancashire, April 6, 1917; d Mexico City, May 25, 2011).

Mexican painter, sculptor and writer of English birth. In 1936 she travelled to London, where she studied under Amédée Ozenfant and in 1937 met Max(imilian) Ernst, with whom she became involved artistically and romantically, leading to her association with Surrealism. They moved to Paris together in 1937. At the outbreak of World War II, Ernst was interned as an enemy alien, and Carrington escaped to Spain, where she was admitted to a private clinic after having a nervous breakdown; she later recounted the experience in her book En bas (1943). After marrying the Mexican poet Renato Leduc in 1941 (a marriage of convenience), she spent time in New York before settling in Mexico in 1942, devoting herself to painting. There she and Remedios Varo developed an illusionistic Surrealism combining autobiographical and occult symbolism. Having divorced Leduc in 1942, in 1946 she married the Hungarian photographer Imre Weisz.

Carrington remained committed to Surrealism throughout her career, filling her pictures with strange or fantastic creatures in surprising situations, notably horses, which appear in ...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Lisbon, Aug 9, 1923).

Portuguese painter and poet. He studied fine art and music and in 1942 took part in the meetings at the Café Herminius of a group of students, including Cruzeiro Seixas and Fernando de Azevedo, engaged in Dada activities. His writings for Júlio Pomar’s art page in the newspaper Tarde in 1945 called for the politicization of art. In 1947 he was one of the founder-members of the Lisbon Surrealist Group but left, forming a dissident group called The Surrealists in 1948. Although this group was disbanded after two exhibitions (1949 and 1950), both Cesariny and Cruzeiro Seixas retained a surrealizing tendency in their work.

Although better known as a poet, Cesariny continued to be involved with the visual arts. Psychic automatism and the use of varied materials including found objects played an important part in the genesis of his images. His poem-objects are quirky and humorous, if somewhat derivative of French Surrealism....

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Angra do Heroísmo, Azores, Jan 13, 1914; d Lisbon, December 4, 1990).

Portuguese painter, illustrator and poet. In 1935 he moved to Lisbon where his exhibition in 1940 with António Pedro and the English sculptress Pamela Bowden was considered the first national manifestation of Surrealism. In his melancholy and menacing works of the late 1930s and early 1940s, the dream-like spaces are crowded with people and animals in attitudes of violence or alarm, for example Antithesis of Calm (1940; Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian). The Brazilian painter Cícero Dias, who was in Portugal in the early 1940s, was an important influence on him then. During the 1940s his painting became less crowded, and the overt violence gave way to gestures of greater ambiguity. In 1944 a fire in the studio he shared with António Pedro destroyed many of their paintings.

Until 1947, when he emigrated to Paris, Dacosta participated in various group shows, winning the important Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso Award in 1942. He also wrote poetry and illustrated a number of books, such as ...

Article

Fiona Bradley

(Felip Jacint )

(b Figueres, May 11, 1904; d Figueres, Jan 23, 1989).

Spanish Catalan painter, draughtsman, illustrator, sculptor, writer and film maker. One of the most prolific artists of the 20th century, his fantastic imagery and flamboyant personality also made him one of the best known. His most significant artistic contribution, however, was through his association with Surrealism.

Dalí was born into the happy, if ideologically confusing, family of a respected notary. His father was a Republican and atheist, his mother a Roman Catholic. He was named Salvador in memory of a recently dead brother. This had a profound effect: his subsequent experimentation with identity and with the projection of his own persona may have developed out of an early understanding of himself as ‘a reply, a double, an absence’ (Dalí, 1970, p. 92). His childhood provided him with the fertile memories, both true and false, that fill his autobiography and resound in his art. Catalonia remained important to Dalí, but for its landscape rather than its separatist politics. He painted for much of his life in a house he bought in Port Lligat, near the family holiday home in Cadaqués, but the radical political beliefs that his father had taught him were to be replaced by a self-conscious monarchism and Catholicism. Dalí’s first contact with painting was through Ramon Pichot (...

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Vólos, Greece, July 10, 1888; d Rome, Nov 20, 1978).

Italian painter, writer, theatre designer, sculptor and printmaker. De Chirico was one of the originators of Pittura Metafisica. His paintings are characterized by a visionary, poetic use of imagery, in which themes such as nostalgia, enigma and myth are explored. He was an important source of inspiration for artists throughout Europe in the inter-war years and again for a new generation of painters in the 1980s. His abrupt stylistic changes, however, have obscured the continuity of his approach, which was rooted in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, and this has often led to controversy.

His parents came from the Italian diaspora within the Ottoman empire. He was very close to his brother, Andrea (who later adopted the pseudonym Alberto Savinio). As children they identified themselves with the heavenly twins, Castor and Pollux, while their closest associates became the Argonauts (a reference to Giorgio’s birthplace, Vólos, from which, in Greek legend, the Argonauts departed to retrieve the Golden Fleece). The brothers’ inherited Greek culture was a consistently rich source of inspiration. Their father, Evaristo de Chirico, was an engineer engaged in supervising the construction of the railway in Thessaly. He encouraged his sons’ artistic talents, engaging drawing tutors for Giorgio and sending him to study with the Swiss painter ...

Article

Willemijn Stokvis

(b Tervuren, Dec 12, 1922; d Buizingen, nr Halle, 1979).

Belgian writer and painter. During World War II he contributed regularly to La Main à plume, the publication of the Parisian Surrealist group. Immediately after the War he published half-literary, half-theoretical texts in politically oriented Belgian periodicals. He was a fervent supporter of the alliance of Surrealism and Communism; in April 1947, in opposition to André Breton, he founded the movement Surréalisme Révolutionnaire in Brussels. In November 1948, when it became clear that further cooperation between the Belgian and French wings of this movement had become impossible, Dotremont, with Asger Jorn, Karel Appel, Constant and Corneille founded the Cobra movement (1948–51).

Dotremont became the prime spokesperson in the movement. In the Cobra periodical, of which he became the chief editor, he explained his ideas. He also produced numerous texts about the work of his fellow members. His most important artistic contribution to the Cobra movement was his cooperation as a poet with the artists of Cobra in, for example, the ...

Article

Francis M. Naumann

(b Blainville, Normandy, July 28, 1887; d Neuilly-sur-Seine, Oct 2, 1968).

French painter, sculptor and writer, active also in the USA. The art and ideas of Duchamp, perhaps more than those of any other 20th-century artist, have served to exemplify the range of possibilities inherent in a more conceptual approach to the art-making process. Not only is his work of historical importance—from his early experiments with Cubism to his association with Dada and Surrealism—but his conception of the ready-made decisively altered our understanding of what constitutes an object of art. Duchamp refused to accept the standards and practices of an established art system, conventions that were considered essential to attain fame and financial success: he refused to repeat himself, to develop a recognizable style or to show his work regularly. It is the more theoretical aspects implicit to both his art and life that have had the most profound impact on artists later in the century, allowing us to identify Duchamp as one of the most influential artists of the modern era....

Article

Fani-Maria Tsigakou

(b Athens, Oct 21, 1910; d Athens, Oct 31, 1985).

Greek painter, stage designer and poet. He spent his school years in Constantinople (now Istanbul) and Paris. Between 1932 and 1938 he studied at the Higher School of Fine Arts in Athens under Konstantinos Parthenis and Yannis Kefallinos (1893–1957). At the same time he worked with Fotis Kontoglou. The publication in 1938 of his first collection of surrealistic poems, and the first exhibition of his paintings the following year, were enthusiastically received by the most authoritative members of the Greek literary and artistic avant-garde, such as Andreas Embirikos (1901–75) and Odysseas Elytis (b 1911). From 1941 to 1972 he held the post of professor of painting at the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens. He was one of the first exponents of Surrealism in Greece, combining the universal principles of the movement with the Greek artistic and cultural tradition. Deeply influenced by de Chirico’s metaphysical painting, he attempted to create an imagery of unexpected combinations, based upon poetic imagination and colour. His paintings are characterized by the presence of mannequins placed in Neo-classical houses overlooking the Parthenon or within strange Greek interiors. The female figure is almost always present in his works, as in ...

Article

Juan Pérez de Ayala

(b Malaga, Feb 16, 1887; d Mexico, April 25, 1955).

Spanish painter, poet, critic and art historian. He studied history of art at the university of Madrid and worked as a medievalist at the Centro de Estudios Históricos (1910–16). He was an archivist at the Instituto Jovellanos in Gijón (1921–2) and head of archives at the Palacio Real (1931–6); concurrently he was a tutor at the Residencia de Estudiantes (1917–36) and director of the journal Arquitectura (1927–33). Having been exiled from Madrid to Valencia with other artists and intellectuals in November 1936, he was sent in 1937 to the USA as part of a cultural propaganda visit. While there, he was invited by the Mexican government to base himself in Mexico, where he remained until 1955; he catalogued the works of art deposited in the Bienes Nacionales and worked for both Casa de España en México and the Colegio de México....

Article

Andreas Neufert

(b Vienna, 1905; d Taxco/Mexico, 1959).

Austrian painter, writer, and theorist active in Mexico. After a short commitment to the Abstraction-Création group, he joined the French Surrealists in 1935. He was soon noted for his fumage paintings, by which he drew on the canvas with the random and evanescent patterns of smoke from candles (e.g. Pays interdit, oil and smoke on canvas, 1936–1937; Berlin, priv. col.; see Neufert 2015, pl. I). With this invention he had unexpectedly succeeded in fusing Surrealist and Cubist image-making. With his fumages and portentous analogical objects (e.g. Nuage articulé, an umbrella covered with natural sponges, 1937; Stockholm, Mod. Mus.) he was one of the main artists responsible for the design of the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme that opened in January 1938 in Georges Wildenstein’s Galerie Beaux-Arts in Paris. Following Breton’s idea to transform the exhibition’s space into an artwork of its own, Paalen installed a real pond in the main hall, titled ...

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

Marianne Heinz

[François] (Marie Martínez)

(b Paris, Jan 22, 1879; d Paris, Nov 30, 1953).

French painter and writer. He was one of the major figures of the Dada movement in France and in the USA but remained as stubbornly uncategorizable as he was influential. In his rejection of consistency and of an identifiable manner, he called into question attitudes to the artistic process that had been regarded as sacrosanct and in so doing guaranteed the intellectual force of his ideas for subsequent generations of artists.

After attending the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in Paris on an irregular basis from 1895 to 1897, he was able to begin his career as a painter thanks to a substantial inheritance from his mother. He gained early recognition with Impressionist-influenced landscapes and townscapes depicting resorts near Paris such as Villeneuve-sur-Yonne and Moret-sur-Loing, for example Banks of the Loing (1905; Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.). These paintings, which he exhibited in Paris at the official salons and in commercial galleries, were particularly close to the work of Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley; in spite of their sometimes mediocre quality they sold easily because of the ready market for this kind of work....

Article

Melissa McQuillan

(b Málaga, Oct 25, 1881; d Mougins, France, April 8, 1973).

Spanish painter, sculptor, draughtsman, printmaker, decorative artist and writer, active in France. He dominated 20th-century European art and was central in the development of the image of the modern artist. Episodes of his life were recounted in intimate detail, his comments on art were published and his working methods recorded on film. Painting was his principal medium, but his sculptures, prints, theatre designs and ceramics all had an impact on their respective disciplines. Even artists not influenced by the style or appearance of his work had to come to terms with its implications.

With Georges Braque Picasso was responsible for Cubism, one of the most radical re-structurings of the way that a work of art constructs its meaning. During his extremely long life Picasso instigated or responded to most of the artistic dialogues taking place in Europe and North America, registering and transforming the developments that he found most fertile. His marketability as a unique and enormously productive artistic personality, together with the distinctiveness of his work and practice, have made him the most extensively exhibited and discussed artist of the 20th century....

Article

Andrea García Rodríguez

[Philippot, Alice Marie Yvonne]

(b Chenecey-Buillon, Quingey, Jun 8, 1904; d Mexico City, Oct 3, 1987).

Mexican painter and poet of French birth. In the early stage of her career, she dedicated herself to writing poetry, encouraged by André Breton and the Surrealist group. She published three books of poems, which encompass her considerations on time, the mystical forces of nature, and the universe. Some years later, when she moved to Mexico, she began painting, motivated by the new scenery. Her paintings portray natural landscapes, popular festivities, imaginary cities, and zoomorphic characters.

She grew up in Paris and in 1931 she met the Austrian artist Wolfgang Paalen, who would become her husband three years later. Together, they traveled to Spain to visit the caves of Altamira, a place that caused a huge impact on them and was continually evocated in her work, as in Tempète de sable (1948) and Happy Hunting Grounds (1946). Once settled in Paris, in 1935, Rahon and Paalen met Paul Eluard. From then on, they started frequenting the Surrealist group, where Paalen showed his Surrealist objects and Rahon read her free verse poems. Her first book entitled ...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(Artur Manuel Rodrigues do)

(b Lisbon, Dec 3, 1920).

Portuguese painter, draughtsman, illustrator and poet. After a Neo-Realist phase, he joined the dissident group The Surrealists, founded in Lisbon in 1948 by Mário Cesariny. Cruzeiro Seixas participated in the two exhibitions held by this group in 1949 and 1950, with works inspired by the poetry of Lautréamont.

In his paintings and, more especially, drawings, for example La Variété en dehors d’elle-même (1947; Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian), he aimed to create a personal and often erotic imagery in the metamorphosis of human, plant and animal forms. These works seldom transcend the commonplace or contrived. His collages, such as The Basis of Language (1960; artist’s col., see Wohl, 1978 exh. cat., p. 83), resemble those of Max Ernst.

Between 1952 and 1964 he lived in Luanda, where he was a curator in the Museum of Angola. In 1965 he lived in Paris and returned to Portugal in 1966, where he illustrated several books that year: ...