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Article

Andrew Weiner

(b Beirut, 1925).

Lebanese painter and writer active in the USA. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Adnan was educated in Lebanon before going on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and the University of California, Berkeley. For many years she taught aesthetics at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA; she also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities. During the 1970s Adnan regularly contributed editorials, essays, and cultural criticism to the Beirut-based publications Al-Safa and L’Orient-Le Jour. In 1978 she published the novel Sitt Marie Rose, which won considerable acclaim for its critical portrayal of cultural and social politics during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War. Adnan published numerous books of poetry, originating in her opposition to the American war in Vietnam and proceeding to encompass topics as diverse as the landscape of Northern California and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Her poetry served as the basis for numerous works of theater and contemporary classical music....

Article

Christine Mullen Kreamer

(b Jan 25, 1930; d Lomé, Jan 4, 2010).

Togolese painter, sculptor, engraver, stained glass designer, potter and textile designer. Beginning in 1946, he received his secondary education in Dakar, where he also worked in an architecture firm. He travelled to France and received his diplôme supérieur from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris. A versatile artist, Ahyi is best known for his murals and for monumental stone, marble and cement public sculptures. His work reflects the fusion of his Togolese roots, European training and an international outlook, and he counts among his influences Moore, Braque, Modigliani, Tamayo, Siqueiros and Tall. His work combines ancient and modern themes and materials, maternity being a prominent topic. The messages of his larger, public pieces operate on a broad level to appeal to the general populace, while smaller works often reflect his private engagement with challenges confronting the human condition. His compositions are both abstract and figurative and evoke the heroism and hope of the two world wars, Togo's colonial period and the struggle for independence from France, as well as the political efforts of the peoples of Vietnam, South Africa and Palestine. Ahyi has won numerous international prizes, including the prize of the city of Lyon (...

Article

Suzanne Tise

Descriptive term applied to a style of decorative arts that was widely disseminated in Europe and the USA during the 1920s and 1930s. Derived from the style made popular by the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925, the term has been used only since the late 1960s, when there was a revival of interest in the decorative arts of the early 20th century. Since then the term ‘Art Deco’ has been applied to a wide variety of works produced during the inter-war years, and even to those of the German Bauhaus. But Art Deco was essentially of French origin, and the term should, therefore, be applied only to French works and those from countries directly influenced by France.

The development of the Art Deco style, or the Style moderne as it was called at the time, closely paralleled the initiation of the 1925...

Article

Michèle Lavallée

[Fr.: ‘new art’]

Decorative style of the late 19th century and the early 20th that flourished principally in Europe and the USA. Although it influenced painting and sculpture, its chief manifestations were in architecture and the decorative and graphic arts, the aspects on which this survey concentrates. It is characterized by sinuous, asymmetrical lines based on organic forms; in a broader sense it encompasses the geometrical and more abstract patterns and rhythms that were evolved as part of the general reaction to 19th-century historicism. There are wide variations in the style according to where it appeared and the materials that were employed.

Art Nouveau has been held to have had its beginnings in 1894 or 1895. A more appropriate date would be 1884, the year the progressive group Les XX was founded in Belgium, and the term was used in the periodical that supported it, Art Moderne: ‘we are believers in Art Nouveau’. The origin of the name is usually attributed to ...

Article

Alan Crawford

Informal movement in architecture and the decorative arts that championed the unity of the arts, the experience of the individual craftsman, and the qualities of materials and construction in the work itself.

The Arts and Crafts Movement developed in the second half of the 19th century and lasted well into the 20th, drawing its support from progressive artists, architects and designers, philanthropists, amateurs, and middle-class women seeking work in the home. They set up small workshops apart from the world of industry, revived old techniques, and revered the humble household objects of pre-industrial times. The movement was strongest in the industrializing countries of northern Europe and in the USA, and it can best be understood as an unfocused reaction against industrialization. Although quixotic in its anti-industrialism, it was not unique; indeed it was only one among several late 19th-century reform movements, such as the Garden City movement, vegetarianism, and folksong revivals, that set the Romantic values of nature and folk culture against the artificiality of modern life....

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

Valerie Holman

(b Mennecy, Seine-et-Oise, Feb 3, 1895; d Paris, June 6, 1979).

French painter, sculptor, draughtsman, graphic artist, ceramicist and tapestry designer. He attended the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, from 1911, until he joined the army in 1915. After World War I he devoted himself primarily to painting. In 1922 he met Juan Gris with whose encouragement his early Matisse-influenced rhythmical compositions acquired greater stability. In the late 1920s he was promoted by Tériade as a successor to the Cubists, with such works as The Mirror (1929; Paris, Pompidou), in which a highly simplified figure and its mirror-image are defined by patches of flat colour and fragments of linear contrast, and by the 1940s he was seen as one of the major representatives of the Ecole de Paris. In the 1950s his earlier predilection for curvilinear shapes gave way to a more angular and dynamic geometry, as in the First Race (1952; Paris, Pompidou). His subject-matter was taken from daily life, with marked preferences for the nude in movement, as in ...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(António Teixeira Bastos Nunes)

(b Lisbon, Sept 18, 1899; d Lisbon, Aug 18, 1982).

Portuguese painter, printmaker and designer of tapestries and tile panels. Known primarily as a ‘painter of Lisbon’, he began his artistic career as an illustrator and cartoonist as well as writing a weekly satirical page (1928–50) in the newspaper O sempre fixe. He visited Paris in 1929, 1930–1 and again in 1937, when he was impressed by a retrospective exhibition of the work of van Gogh, whose influence is evident in Botelho’s scenes of urban squalor of the late 1930s. He had begun to depict calm, unpopulated views of Lisbon in the early 1930s, for example Side View of the Castle (1935; Lisbon, Mus. Cidade), and from the early 1940s concentrated almost exclusively on this theme. The compositions became increasingly crisp and planar and the piling up of volumes and compression of space increasingly stylized, especially after he began to paint from memory in 1949. The tonalities of Botelho’s paintings remained consistently pale, as in ...

Article

Virginia Miller

Stone sculptures from Mesoamerica representing a supine male figure, approximately life-size, whose backbone is bent in an anatomically impossible position. His feet are flat on the ground, knees drawn up, and head turned sharply toward the viewer. The hands grasp a round or rectangular receptacle resting on the abdomen.

The largest number (eighteen) occurs at Chichen Itza, where the first excavated example was discovered in 1875 by the explorer Augustus Le Plongeon. He dubbed the sculpture “chacmool,” which he believed meant “powerful warrior” in Maya, although it is generally translated as “red” or “great” jaguar paw. The inaccurate term has since been applied to all examples, regardless of culture.

Although difficult to date, chacmools first appear between 800 CE and 1000 CE. They are found contemporaneously at Chichen Itza and Tula, where a dozen examples are known. The sculptures occur in the Tarascan region, and as far afield as Costa Rica and El Salvador. There are several Aztec ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

(b Flensburg, March 6, 1866; d Wiesbaden, Jan 5, 1945).

German designer. After an early career as an interior designer he turned to the design of tapestries (subsequently woven at the Scherbeker Kunstgewerbeschule), porcelain (table wares), drinking glasses (for the Theresienthaler Kristallglasfabrik) and silver cutlery. After 1914 he worked primarily as a painter and writer.

M. Zimmermann-Degen and H. Christiansen...

Article

(b Doesburg, Oct 31, 1841; d Laag-Keppel, May 28, 1930).

Dutch decorative artist. He trained as an architect at the firm of L. H. Eberson in Arnhem. From c. 1867 to 1870 he lived in Paris, where he was involved in the preparations for the Exposition Universelle of 1867. After returning to the Netherlands he concentrated increasingly on the applied arts. From 1884 until 1889 he was the artistic director of the Rozenburg delftware factory in The Hague, which was established by W. W. von Gudenberg in 1883. It was not only Colenbrander’s designs of ornamental china that were revolutionary but also the asymmetric, whimsical, but at the same time elegant, decorative patterns, which were applied in bright, transparent colours. His motifs seemed to indicate an awareness of oriental decorations, which he may have seen at Expositions Universelles, although for the most part they were original. After a disagreement with the management, he left Rozenburg in 1889 and spent several years working in different fields within the applied arts, including interior design and textiles....

Article

Joellen Secondo

(b Peckham Rye, London, Jan 29, 1845; d London, April 18, 1910).

English designer and writer. He was educated in France and Germany, but his interest in design was provided by visits to the South Kensington Museum, London (now the Victoria & Albert Museum). In 1865 he entered the office of Lavers & Barraud, glass painters and designers. Some time later he became keeper of cartoons at Clayton & Bell and by 1870 had joined Heaton, Butler & Bayne, for whom he worked on the decoration of Eaton Hall, Ches. In late 1880 Day started his own business designing textiles, wallpapers, stained glass, embroidery, carpets, tiles, pottery, furniture, silver, jewellery and book covers. He designed tiles for Maw & Co. and Pilkington’s Tile and Pottery Co., stained glass and wallpaper for W. B. Simpson & Co., wallpapers for Jeffrey & Co. and textiles for Turnbull & Stockdale where he was made Art Director in 1881.

Day was a founder-member and Secretary of the ...

Article

Rosamond Allwood

(b Glasgow, July 4, 1834; d Mulhouse, Alsace, Nov 24, 1904).

Scottish designer, Botanist and writer. He trained at the Government School of Design, Somerset House, London, between 1847 and 1854, during which time he was strongly influenced by the design reform efforts of Henry Cole, Richard Redgrave and Owen Jones. In 1854 he began to lecture at the school on botany and in 1856 supplied a plate illustrating the ‘geometrical arrangement of flowers’ for Jones’s Grammar of Ornament. In 1857 he presented a series of lectures at the Royal Institution entitled ‘On the Relationship of Science to Ornamental Art’, which he followed up in a series of 11 articles in the Art Journal (1857–8) on the similar subject of ‘Botany as Adapted to the Arts and Art-Manufacture’. His first three books were on botanical subjects, and in 1860 he was awarded a doctorate by the University of Jena for his research in this area.

Following the International Exhibition of ...

Article

Mark A. Castro

(b Mexico City, Nov 5, 1956)

Mexican painter, draftsman, engraver, and video artist. From 1976 to 1980 Lara studied visual arts at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas (ENAP). Her first exhibition, entitled Scissors, was held at ENAP in 1977 and consisted of ten cartoon drawings and an artist’s book.

Lara’s work during the late 1970s explored the conditions of women in Mexican society, interrogating everyday household objects—irons and ironing boards, refrigerators, baby bottles—and their role as traditional symbols of femininity. Her later paintings further examine female identity via images of flowers, often distorted to convey both beauty and horror.

In addition to painting, Lara is known for her artist’s books and has spoken to the deep relationship in her practice between literature and the visual arts. A series of engravings entitled Alzheimer (2007), exhibited at the Museo de la Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público in Mexico City, explore the construction and unraveling of memory. The series later inspired one of the artist’s video animations, ...

Article

Alan Powers

Stylistic term applied to the revival in the UK in the late 19th century and the 20th of the classical Georgian style of domestic architecture and interior and furniture design from the period 1714–1830. Similar, contemporary revivals of late 18th- and early 19th-century Georgian colonial styles also took place in such countries as the USA and Australia (see Colonial Revival). Neo-Georgian was one of the most popular architectural styles in the UK between 1900 and 1930; it continued to be employed despite the advent of Modernism, and in the 1980s a new phase of popularity began, stimulated by the anti-modernist, eclectic and pluralist trends of Post-modernism.

The origins of the Neo-Georgian style can be found in the 1860s. The house (1860–62; destr.) at 2 Palace Green, Kensington, London, designed for William Makepeace Thackeray by Frederick Hering (1800–69), who drew on Thackeray’s sketches, was an early, isolated example reflecting a literary interest in the 18th century. Another precursor is ...

Article

Lin Barton

English applied arts company based in London. It was founded by Roger Fry in 1913 and lasted until 1919. The company produced ceramics, furniture, carpets, and other textiles, designed and made by Fry, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, Henri Doucet (1883–1915), Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Winifred Gill (1891–1981), and Nina Hamnett. The name Omega Workshops was first mentioned in Fry’s circular letter of 11 December 1912 sent out as a financial appeal. Wyndham Lewis may also have been involved in the founding of the Workshops. Of the various explanations of the name the most common is that it implied the products to be the ‘last word’ in design (Ω being the last letter of the Greek alphabet).

Having raised sufficient capital, Fry leased 33 Fitzroy Square in London as the base for the Omega Workshops in March 1913. It was then registered as a limited company on 14 May 1913...

Article

Anna Bentkowska

(b Łódź, May 3, 1924).

Polish sculptor, draughtsman, painter, ceramicist, printmaker and tapestry designer. He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Łódź, graduating in 1951. His style derives from Constructivism and from the ‘Unism’ of his teacher Władysław Strzemiński. Starczewski’s complex art uses the complementary treatment in combination with different visual disciplines. He was particularly interested in rhythmic, precise arrangements of forms and signs (e.g. MF 7/9, embossed paper, 1972, see D. Wróblewska: Polish Contemporary Graphic Art (Warsaw, 1983), fig.). One of his earliest works was a large-scale ceramic bas-relief entitled Disposition for Two Hands (1959–60), a geometric abstraction made for the University Library in Łódź. In 1963 he produced his first Alphabet of sculptural signs, a series of works that led to his conception of Tables (examples of both in Łódź, Mus. A.), which he started to create in 1973. On a long, rectangular table covered with a white tablecloth, Starczewski arranged alternate rows of identical forms, such as potatoes or bread rolls (ceramic or real), or sequences of three objects (e.g. a wine glass, toothbrush and tube of toothpaste). These arrangements are accompanied by graphic compositions that explore different types of signs (print, braille, handwriting) and examine their relationship (e.g. ...

Article

Aleksandr U. Grekov

Russian estate lying 18 km from Smolensk. It was acquired in 1893 by Prince Vyacheslav Tenishev (1843–1903) and his wife Mariya Tenisheva. In the 19th century and the early 20th Princess Tenisheva, with the help of her husband’s capital (he was a leading industrialist and businessman), turned Talashkino into a unique artistic centre in the forefront of the revival of peasant handicrafts. She founded various workshops for joinery, ceramics, wood-carving, wood painting, metal chasing and fabric dyeing, where local craftsmen and apprentices from the peasantry worked under professional artists. They manufactured different objects for everyday life, including towels, clothes, wooden bowls, plates and toys. This took place in the context of the mutual enrichment of folk crafts and professional Art Nouveau in Russia at that time. Tenisheva formed a large collection of objects from traditional folk life, and of artistic products. Originally they were housed on the estate, where a museum, Russkaya Starina (‘Russian antiquity’), was opened to all in ...

Article

Monica E. Kupfer

(b Horconcitos, Chiriquí, Feb 11, 1927).

Panamanian painter, ceramicist, printmaker, tapestry designer, and landscape architect. He studied both architecture and painting in Panama, holding his first exhibition in 1953; he then continued his studies in Madrid (1954–1958) at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, at the Escuela de Cerámica de la Moncloa, and at the Escuela Superior de Arquitectura. In 1959 he returned to Panama, where he began a long teaching career at the Universidad de Panamá. In the early 1960s Trujillo painted social satires, such as The Commissioners (1964; Panama City, Mus. A. Contemp.) with small monstrous figures in cavernous settings. Later his palette brightened as he turned to new subjects based on nature, including numerous still lifes and semi-abstract paintings with botanical allusions, for example Still Life with Fruit (1975; Washington, DC, A. Mus. Americas).

Always a versatile and prolific artist, in the 1970s and 1980s he based his subjects both on his rich imagination and on his knowledge of Panama’s indigenous cultures. He made recurring reference to the patterns of Pre-Columbian ceramics, natural and biomorphic forms, mythological and primitive figures, and Indian symbols and ceremonies, all treated as elements of an iconography strongly related to his Panamanian origin. Although generally classified as belonging to the return to figuration among Latin American artists, he ranged stylistically from realism to abstraction....