Dictionary of Art and Artists



 

 


History of

Architecture and Sculpture

 
 

 

 
 

 
 

CONTENTS:

 
 

PART ONE
THE ANCIENT WORLD
PREHISTORIC ART
EGYPTIAN ART

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN ART
AEGEAN ART
GREEK ART
ETRUSCAN ART
ROMAN ART
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE ART

PART TWO
THE MIDDLE AGES
EARLY MEDIEVAL ART
ROMANESQUE ART
GOTHIC ART

PART THREE
THE RENAISSANCE THROUGH THE ROCOCO
LATE GOTHIC
THE EARLY RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
THE HIGH RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
MANNERISM AND OTHER TRENDS
THE RENAISSANCE IN THE NORTH
THE BAROQUE IN ITALY AND SPAIN
THE BAROQUE IN FLANDERS AND HOLLAND
THE BAROQUE
THE ROCOCO

PART FOUR
THE MODERN WORLD
NEOCLASSICISM AND ROMANTICISM
REALISM AND IMPRESSIONISM
POST-IMPRESSIONISM, SYMBOLISM, AND ART NOUVEAU

PART FIVE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY
TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE


INDEX
FIGURES

 

 
 

 
 

CHAPTER TWO
 

TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
 

SCULPTURE BEFORE WORLD WAR I
SCULPTURE BETWEEN THE WARS - Part1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
SCULPTURE SINCE 1945 - Part1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
 
 


SCULPTURE

 


SCULPTURE BETWEEN THE WARS



Russia



CONSTRUCTIVISM.

In Analytic Cubism, concave and convex were postulated as equivalents. All volumes, whether positive or negative, were "pockets of space." The Constructivists, a group of Russian artists led by Vladimir Tatlin
(1895-1956), applied this principle to relief sculpture and arrived at what might be called three-dimensional collage.



Vladimir Tatlin.

Eventually the final step was taken of making the works free-standing. According to Tatlin and his followers, these "constructions" were actually four-dimensional: since they implied motion, they also implied time. S
uprematism and Constructivism were therefore closely related, and in fact overlapped, for both had their origins in Cubo-Futurism. They were nonetheless separated by a fundamental difference in approach. For Tatlin, art was not the Suprematists' spiritual contemplation but an active process of formation that was based on material and technique. He believed that each material dictates specific forms that are inherent in it, and that these must be followed it the work of art was to be valid according to the laws of life itself. In the end, Constructivism won out over Suprematism because it was better suited to the post-Revolution temperament of Russia, when great deeds, not great thoughts, were needed.

Cut off from artistic contact with Europe during World War I, Constructivism developed into a uniquely Russian art that was little affected by the return of some of the country's most important artists, such as Kandinsky and Chagall. The Revolution galvanized the modernists, who celebrated the overthrow of the old regime with a creative outpouring throughout Russia.

Tatlin's model for a Monument to the Third International (fig. 1130) captures the dynamism of the technological Utopia envisioned under Communism. Pure energy is expressed as lines of force that establish new time-space relationships as well. The work also implies a new social structure, for the Constructivists believed in the power of art literally to reshape society. This extraordinary tower revolving at three speeds was conceived on a monumental scale, complete with Communist Party offices. Like other such projects, however, it was wildly impractical in a society still recovering from the ravages of war and revolution and was never built.

Constructivism subsequently proceeded to a Productivist phase, which ignored any contradiction between true artistic creativity and purely utilitarian production. After the movement had been suppressed as "bourgeois formalism," a number of its members emigrated to the West, where they joined forces with the few movements still espousing abstraction.
 


1130. Vladimir Tatlin. Project tor Monument to the Third International.
1919-20.
Wood, iron, and glass, height 6.1 m.



 

 


Vladimir Tatlin

Vladimir Yevgrafovich Tatlin, (born Dec. 16 [Dec. 28, New Style], 1885, Kharkov, Russian Empire [now in Ukraine]—died May 31, 1953, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R.), Ukrainian painter, sculptor, and architect remembered for his visionary “Monument to the Third International” in Moscow, 1920.

Tatlin was educated at the Moscow Academy of Fine Arts, graduating in 1910. Late in 1913 he went to Paris, where he visited Pablo Picasso, whose reliefs in sheet iron, wood, and cardboard made a deep impression on him. Returning to Moscow, Tatlin created constructions that he called “painting reliefs,” which he exhibited at a Futurist exhibition held in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) in February 1915. He became the leader of a group of Moscow artists who tried to apply engineering techniques to the construction of sculpture. This developed into a movement known as Constructivism.

This type of avant-garde art continued for a brief period after the Russian Revolution of 1917, during which time Tatlin created his most famous work—the “Monument to the Third International,” which was one of the first buildings conceived entirely in abstract terms. It was commissioned in 1919 by the department of fine arts and exhibited in the form of a model 22 feet (6.7 m) high at the exhibition of the VIII Congress of the Soviets in December 1920. A striking design, it consisted of a leaning spiral iron framework supporting a glass cylinder, a glass cone, and a glass cube, each of which could be rotated at different speeds. The monument’s interior would have contained halls for lectures, conferences, and other activities. The monument was to be the world’s tallest structure—more than 1,300 feet (396 m) tall—but it was never built owing to the Soviet government’s disapproval of nonfigurative art.

About 1927 Tatlin began experimentation with a glider that resembled a giant insect. The glider, which he called Letatlin, never flew, but it engaged his interest throughout his later life. After 1933 he worked largely as a stage designer.

Encyclopædia Britannica
 

 






Naum Gabo.

The most important of these was Naum Gabo
(1890-1977), who went first to Berlin, then to England, before settling in America after World War TI. His main contribution to modern art came in the early 1940s, when he created a new kind of plastic construction strung with nylon filament (fig. 1131) that comes very close to mathematical models. Although he arrived at it through intuition, the parallels to contemporary scientific theory are astonishing, for his work embodies much the same spatiality as modern physics. Gabo was fascinated by the links between art and science, which, he said, "arise from the same creative source and flow into the same ocean of the common culture. " Like Kandinsky's, his motives were purely spiritual, and he saw Constructivism as a vehicle of change. None of this, however, accounts for the elegance of Gabo's linear constructions, which embody an entirely modern sensibility.
 


1131. Naum Gabo. Linear Construction in Space No. 1. 1943.
Plexiglass and nylon thread on plexiglass base.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Smithsonian Institution, Washington

 

 


Naum Gabo

Naum Gabo, original name Naum Neemia Pevsner (born August 5, 1890, Bryansk, Russia—died August 23, 1977, Waterbury, Connecticut, U.S.), pioneering Constructivist sculptor who used materials such as glass, plastic, and metal and created a sense of spatial movement in his work.

Gabo studied medicine and natural science, then philosophy and art history, at the University of Munich in Germany; he also took engineering classes at the Technical University in Munich. In 1913 he walked from Munich to Florence and Venice, viewing many works of art and architecture along the way. Early in his life he changed his name to Gabo in order to distinguish himself from his brother Antoine Pevsner, a painter.

While visiting Pevsner in Paris in 1913–14, Gabo met the artist Alexander Archipenko and others involved with the avant-garde. During World War I he lived with Pevsner in Oslo, Norway. There, Gabo produced his first Cubist-influenced figurative sculptures, exemplified by Constructed Head No. 2 (1916), which he executed in celluloid and metal. The brothers also began to experiment along the Constructivist lines laid down by their fellow Russian Vladimir Tatlin. Constructivist sculpture as practiced by Tatlin had definite political implications, but Gabo was more interested in its use of modern technology and industrial materials.

Returning to Russia after the Revolution, Gabo and Pevsner saw political forces redirect Russian art from exploration to propaganda. In 1920 the two brothers issued the Realistic Manifesto of Constructivism, which they posted and distributed in the streets of Moscow. In it they asserted that art had a value and function independent of the state, and that geometric principles should be the basis for sculpture. They advocated the use of transparent materials to define volumes of empty space instead of solid mass. In 1920 Gabo produced Kinetic Composition, a motor-driven sculpture that demonstrated his principles by incorporating elements of space and time.

Gabo left Russia in 1922 and lived for 10 years in Berlin, where he worked with László Moholy-Nagy and other artists of the Bauhaus. During the 1920s Gabo continued to create monumental constructions out of glass, metal, and plastic. In 1932 he went to Paris, where he joined the Abstraction-Création group, an association of artists that advocated pure abstraction. He lived in England from 1936 to 1946, promoting Constructivism there by editing the collective manifesto Circle in 1937 with the abstract painter Ben Nicholson. Curves replaced angles in Gabo’s new spatial constructions made of taut wire and plastic thread. He moved to the United States in 1946, and in 1953–54 he taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Architecture. During the 1950s Gabo received several commissions for public sculptures, only some of which he completed, such as the large commemorative monument for the Bijenkorf department store (1954, unveiled in 1957) in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Encyclopædia Britannica
 

 




Naum Gabo. Linear Construction in Space No. 2





Naum Gabo. Torsion (Variation No. 3)





Naum Gabo. Arch No. 2





Naum Gabo. Construction in Space with Crystalline Centre.
1938-40





Naum Gabo. Linear Construction No. 4.
1959





Naum Gabo. Linear Construction No. 2.
1970-71





Naum Gabo. Spheric Theme: Translucent Variation.
1937





Naum Gabo. Column





Naum Gabo. Construction through a Plane.
1937





Naum Gabo. Construction in Space





Naum Gabo. Model for 'Construction in Space 'Two Cones''.
1927





Naum Gabo. Spiral Theme





Naum Gabo. Construction in a Niche.
1930





Naum Gabo. Model for 'Linear Construction No. 3 with Red'
1952

 


Naum Gabo. The De Bijenkorf Construction


Naum Gabo. The De Bijenkorf Construction




Naum Gabo. Constructivist Head No. 1
1915




Naum Gabo. Head of a Woman
1917




Naum Gabo. Head No. 2
1916




Naum Gabo. Model for 'Constructed Torso'
1917





Naum Gabo. Quartz Stone





Naum Gabo. Repose





Naum Gabo. Construction: Stone with a Collar.
1933

 
 

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