Art of the 20th Century

A Revolution in the Arts


Art Styles in 20th century Art Map


The Great Avant-garde Movements





- 1924


Surrealist Art

Joos de Momper   
Giovanni Battista Braccelli
Rodolphe Bresdin

Augustin Lesage
Adolf Wolfli

Hans Richter (Dadaism)
Sophie Taeuber-Arp

Conquest of the marvellous (Pittura Metafisica)
Andre Breton - Manifeste du surrealisme
Pierre Roy

Surrealism and painting

Rene Magritte "Thought rendered visible"
Max Ernst
Max Ernst "A Week of Kindness" (A surrealistic novel in collage)
Andre Masson
Joan Miro
Yves Tanguy

Georges Malkine

Man Ray
Georges Hugnet
E.L.T. Mesens

Towards a revolutionary art

Salvador Dali
Alberto Giacometti
Oscar Dominguez
Wolfgang Paalen
Victor Brauner
Hans Bellmer

Across the world
Rene Magritte
Paul Delvaux
Raoul Ubac
Wilhelm Freddie
Jindrich Styrsky
Roland Penrose
Paul Nash
Eileen Agar
Edward Burra
Stellan Morner
Erik Olson
Esaias Thoren
Sven Jonson
Waldemar Lorentzon
Axel Olson
Rita Kernn-Larsen
Taro Okamoto

The object
Meret Oppenheim
Joseph Cornell 
Jacques Doucet
Jean Benoit
Elsa Schiaparelli

Festivals of the imagination
Kurt Seligmann
Leonora Carrington
Richard Oelze
Dora Maar
Esteban Frances
Gordon Onslow-Ford
Kay Sage
Valentine Hugo
Jean Hugo
Jacqueline Lamba

In the United State
Dorothea Tanning
Wifredo Lam
Alexander Calder
Morris Hirshfield

Surrealist architecture
Ferdinand Cheval
Simon Rodia
Bruno Taut
Hermann Finsterlin
Frank Lloyd Wright

Bruce Alonzo Goff
Frederick Kiesler

The post-war period
Enrico Donati 
Jacques Herold
Clovis Trouille
Leonor Fini
Felix Labisse

Isamu Noguchi
Emile Malespine
Maria Martins

Pierre Molinier
Enrico Baj
Alberto Gironella
Max Walter Svanberg
Friedrich Schroder-Sonnenstern
Jean-Claude Silbermann
Jorge Camacho
Agustin Cardenas
Ugo Sterpini
Fabio de Sanctis


Surrealism  "The Dream of Revolution"

Sophie Taeuber
Morton Livingston Schamberg
Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
Johannes Baader
Johannes Baargeld

Frida Kahlo
Lee Miller
Andre Kertesz
Raoul Ubac


Artists Groups - 1924-1929
Devetsil. Czech avant-garde group-1924
Blue Four. Group of German painters - 1924
Block group. Polish avant-garde group - 1924
Kapists. Polish group of painters - 1924
Fellowship of St Luke. Polish group of painters - 1925
Association of Revolutionary Art of Ukraine. - 1925
Gresham group. Association of Hungarian artists - 1925
Gruppe Progressiver Kunstler. German group of artists - 1925
OSA. Soviet architectural group - 1925
Circle of Artists. Russian group of painters and sculptors - 1926
Gruppo 7.
Italian group of architects - 1926
Scuola Romano.
Group of artists active in Rome - 1927
Szentendre colony. Hungarian artists’ colony - 1928
Der Block. German association of architects - 1928
CIAM. International organization of modern architects - 1928
CIRPAC. Elected executive organ of CIAM, Switzerland -  1928
Halmstad group.
Swedish group of six painters - 1929
Artes. Group of Polish avant-garde artists - 1929
Aeropittura. Italian movement - 1929
Cercle et Carre. Movement founded in Paris - 1929
Union des Artistes Modernes. French group of architects - 1929
Vopra. Russian architectural group - 1929

Addition: From Surrealism to Fantastic Art

Dream art, Visionary art, Neo-surrealism, Magic realism, Psychedelic art, Visual art, Fantastic realism)



Surrealist Painting

Although the Metaphysical movement had declined by the 1920s, the advent of Surrealism rekindled interest in this type of painting. The Metaphysical School has been described as the precursor of Surrealism. However, the rational control that governed Metaphysical invention is absent from Surrealism, which sought to convey its message to the subconscious, exploiting involuntary psychic connections of ideas for self-expression. The immediate predecessor to Surrealism in art was, in fact, Dada. Developing from this movement. Surrealism absorbed certain Dadaist principles: in particular, its concepts of complete freedom and of the total interdependence of art and life. However, Surrealism put a positive and constructive emphasis on these motivations, in contrast with Dadaism's nihilistic attitude. Surrealism became politically involved with Marxism and, in 1930, the name of its official mouthpiece was changed from La revolution surrealiste to Le surrealisme ait service de la revolution. The movement's official date of birth was in 1924, when Andre Breton's literary manifesto appeared, in which he explained the theory of "automatism" - acts of spontaneous creation, on which the Surrealist theories were based. Two years later, Breton wrote another article devoted mainly to Surrealist painting. When the German Max Ernst (1891-1976), the Frenchman Andre Masson, and the Spaniard Joan Miro met at Kahnweiler's gallery in Paris in 1923, a certain common direction was agreed upon, although it is difficult to identify a specific Surrealist style since each artist developed his own interpretation of Surrealism. The influence of Freud's psychoanalytical theories is discernible in all Surrealist painters' work. His theories identified the psychological processes of the unconscious, stressed the significance of dreams, and gave meaning to apparently incongruous thought-associations and seemingly illogical free associative ideas. Max Ernst's famous definition of beauty echoes this Freudian influence: "As beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine with an umbrella on a dissection table", suggesting that by matching incompatible realities, new and intriguing aesthetic meanings would be revealed.

Ernst was a highly imaginative painter, endowing dreams and tricks of the mind with a convincing and coherent figurative appearance. His Elephant Celebes (1921) and Oedipus Rex (1922) are considered a Surrealist masterpieces even though they were painted before the movement was founded. From 1929 onwards, the eccentric artist Salvador Dali (1904-89) employed a visionary and hallucinatory technique in his paranoiac and psychopathological paintings, seeking to call reality into question and to be rid of any rational foundation. The Belgian artist Rene Magritte (1898-1967) was the extraordinary creator of paintings with strong conceptual tensions, which emphasized contradictions and double meanings, confounding the observer's expectations and challenging perceptions. Surrealism occupied centre stage in the panorama of interwar European culture, partly due to the high quality of Surrealist paintings, and partly because of its ability to encompass artistic, social, and political issues. Although Paris remained the hub of their activity, talented Surrealist artists such as Arshile Gorky, Roberto Matta, and Wifredo Lam were also based in the US.





(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Movement in visual art and literature, flourishing in Europe between World Wars I and II. Surrealism grew principally out of the earlier
Dada movement, which before World War I produced works of anti-art that deliberately defied reason; but Surrealism's emphasis was not on negation but on positive expression. The movement represented a reaction against what its members saw as the destruction wrought by the “rationalism” that had guided European culture and politics in the past and that had culminated in the horrors of World War I. According to the major spokesman of the movement, the poet and critic André Breton, who published “The Surrealist Manifesto” in 1924, Surrealism was a means of reuniting conscious and unconscious realms of experience so completely that the world of dream and fantasy would be joined to the everyday rational world in “an absolute reality, a surreality.” Drawing heavily on theories adapted from Sigmund Freud, Breton saw the unconscious as the wellspring of the imagination. He defined genius in terms of accessibility to this normally untapped realm, which, he believed, could be attained by poets and painters alike.

In the poetry of
Breton, Paul Éluard, Pierre Reverdy, and others, Surrealism manifested itself in a juxtaposition of words that was startling because it was determined not by logical but by psychological—that is, unconscious—thought processes. Its major achievements, however, were in the field of painting. Surrealist painting was influenced not only by
Dadaism but also by the fantastic and grotesque images of such earlier painters as Hieronymus Bosch and Francisco de Goya and of closer contemporaries such as Odilon Redon, Giorgio de Chirico, and Marc Chagall. The practice of Surrealist art strongly emphasized methodological research and experimentation, stressing the work of art as a means for prompting personal psychic investigation and revelation. Breton, however, demanded firm doctrinal allegiance. Thus, although the Surrealists held a group show in Paris in 1925, the history of the movement is full of expulsions, defections, and personal attacks.

The major Surrealist painters were
Jean Arp, Max Ernst, Andre Masson, Rene Magritte, Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dali, Pierre Roy, Paul Delvaux, and Joan Miro. The work of these artists is too diverse to be summarized categorically as the Surrealist approach in the visual arts. Each artist sought his own means of self-exploration. Some single-mindedly pursued a spontaneous revelation of the unconscious, freed from the controls of the conscious mind; others, notably Miro, used Surrealism as a liberating starting point for an exploration of personal fantasies, conscious or unconscious, often through formal means of great beauty. A range of possibilities falling between the two extremes can be distinguished. At one pole, exemplified at its purest by the works of Arp, the viewer is confronted with images, usually biomorphic, that are suggestive but indefinite. As the viewer's mind works with the provocative image, unconscious associations are liberated, and the creative imagination asserts itself in a totally open-ended investigative process. To a greater or lesser extent, Ernst, Masson, and Miro also followed this approach, variously called organic, emblematic, or absolute Surrealism. At the other pole the viewer is confronted by a world that is completely defined and minutely depicted but that makes no rational sense: fully recognizable, realistically painted images are removed from their normal contexts and reassembled within an ambiguous, paradoxical, or shocking framework. The work aims to provoke a sympathetic response in the viewer, forcing him to acknowledge the inherent “sense” of the irrational and
logically inexplicable. The most direct form of this approach was taken by Magritte in simple but powerful paintings such as that portraying a normal table setting that includes a plate holding a slice of ham, from the centre of which stares a human eye. Dali, Roy, and Delvaux rendered similar but more complex alien worlds that resemble compelling dreamlike scenes.

A number of specific techniques were devised by the Surrealists to evoke psychic responses. Among these were frottage (rubbing with graphite over wood or other grained substances) and grattage (scraping the canvas)—both developed by
Ernst to produce partial images, which were to be completed in the mind of the viewer; automatic drawing, a spontaneous, uncensored recording of chaotic images that “erupt” into the consciousness of the artist; and found objects.

With its emphasis on content and free form, Surrealism provided a major alternative to the contemporary, highly formalistic
Cubist movement and was largely responsible for perpetuating in modern painting the traditional emphasis on content.




Surrealist Art


Anti-art (Dadaism)
Conquest of the marvellous (Pittura Metafisica)
Surrealism and painting
Towards a revolutionary art
Across the world
The object
Festivals of the imagination
In the United States
Surrealist architecture
The post-war period




Surrealism "The Dream of Revolution"












(Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Technique first used by Surrealist painters and poets to express the creative force of the unconscious in art.

In the 1920s the Surrealist poets
André Breton, Paul Éluard, Robert Desnos, Louis Aragon, and Philippe Soupault tried writing in a hypnotic or trance like state, recording their train of mental associations without censorship or attempts at formal exposition. These poets were influenced by Freudian psychoanalytic theory and believed that the symbols and images thus produced, though appearing strange or incongruous to the conscious mind, actually constituted a record of a person's unconscious psychic forces and hence possessed an innate artistic significance. Little of lasting value remains from the Surrealists' attempts at “automatic” writing, however.

Automatism was a more productive vehicle for the Surrealist painters.
Andre Masson, Arshile Gorky, and Max Ernst, in particular, experimented with fantastic or erotic images that were spontaneously recorded in a kind of visual free association, without the artist's conscious censorship; the images were then either left as originally conceived or were consciously elaborated upon by the artist. Related to automatic drawing are the techniques Ernst devised to involve chance in the creation of a picture. Among them were “frottage,” placing canvas or paper over different materials such as wood and rubbing it with graphite to make an impression of the grain; “grattage,” scratching the painted surface of the canvas with pointed tools to make it more tactile; and “decalcomania,” pressing liquid paint between two canvases and then pulling the canvases apart to produce ridges and bubbles of pigment. The chance forms created by these techniques were then allowed to stand as incomplete, suggestive images, or they were completed by the artist according to his instinctive response to them.

Between 1946 and 1951 a group of Canadian painters—including Paul-Emile Borduas, Albert Dumouchel, Jean Paul Mousseau, and Jean-Paul Riopelle—known as Les Automatistes, practiced automatism. From about 1950 a group of artists in the United States called Action painters adopted automatic methods, some under the direct influence of
Masson, Gorky, and Ernst, all of whom had moved to the United States to escape World War II. Seeking abstract pictorial equivalents for states of mind, painters Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Jack Tworkov, and Bradley Walker Tomlin variously experimented with chance drippings of paint on the canvas and free, spontaneous brushstrokes. This approach was seen as a means to strip away artifice and unlock basic creative instincts deep within the artist's personality. Automatism has since become a part of the technical repertoire of modern painting, though its prominence declined with that of Action painting itself.


Paul-Emile Borduas

Nature's Parachutes

The Climb




Frottage [from Fr. frotter: ‘to rub’].

Technique of reproducing a texture or relief design by laying paper over it and rubbing it with some drawing medium, for example pencil or crayon. Max Ernst and other Surrealist artists incorporated such rubbings into their paintings by means of collage. It is also a popular method of making rubbings of medieval church brasses and other ancient monuments and inscriptions.





 Veristic Surrealism

The second tendency of Surrealist painting, sometimes called Veristic Surrealism, was to depict with meticulous clarity and often in great detail a world analogous to the dream world. Before responding to the Metaphysical painting of
de Chirico and being brought into the Surrealist Movement in 1929, Salvador Dali had admired the command of detail in artists such as Ernest Meissonier (1815-1891) and the Pre-Raphaelites; his physical technique continued to reflect this admiration. Dali's importance for Surrealism was that he invented his own 'psycho technique', a method he called 'critical paranoia'. He deliberately cultivated delusions similar to those of paranoiacs in the cause of wresting hallucinatory images from his conscious mind. Dali's images - his bent watches, his figures, half human, half chest of drawers - have made him the most famous of all Surrealist painters. But when he changed to a more academic style in 1937 Breton expelled him from the Movement.
The Surrealist paintings of
Rene Magritte combine convincing descriptions of people and objects in bizarre juxtapositions with a competent but pedestrian physical painting technique. The results question everyday reality, stand it on its head and present a new surreality. These odd juxtapositions were explored by the English painter Edward Wadsworth, who used tempera to achieve a dreamlike clarity in his work. Surrealists approved of desire in its attack on reason and the Veristic Surrealism of Paul Delvaux , in which women appear in the cool surroundings of noble architecture and exude an hallucinatory eroticism.

Veristic Surrealism subdivides into a second main type in the work of Yves Tanguy. The dreamlike visions that Tanguy produced from the unconscious layers of the mind contain meticulously described yet imaginary objects. There are no bizarre juxtapositions. His is a self consistent world that convinces on its own terms as in a dream. In the work of the Veristic Surrealists, the surface of the painting tends to be flat and glossy: the viewer is reminded as little as possible that the illusion is composed of paint and the hallucinatory effect is thereby enhanced.


Term applied to the process by which one shape is transformed into another, especially in Surrealism and other tendencies in 20th-century art. The concept of metamorphosis, encompassing literary sources from Ovid through Dante Alighieri to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, was revived in the early 19th century. For the ancient Greeks, as outlined by Ovid, it concerned the miraculous process of the transformation from the world of nature to another sphere of existence; in Goethe’s reformulation of metamorphosis in terms of the evolution of organic life (1790), however, it means a law of formation. Being based on the principles of ‘polarity’ and ‘enhancement’, it rules the transformation of nature and defines art as an enhanced ‘second nature’.



Technique for generating images used, for example, by the Surrealist artist Oscar Dominguez: paint is applied to a piece of paper that is then either folded, creating a mirrored pattern, or pressed against another sheet . The resulting image can then be elaborated, as in a blot drawing. It is a popular technique with young school children.


Oscar Dominguez





Czech avant-garde group of architects, painters, sculptors, collagists, photographers, film makers, designers and writers, active 1920s–30s. Its name is a composite of the words ‘nine’ and ‘forces’. The group’s leader, KAREL TEIGE, advocated a reconciliation between utilitarianism and lyrical subjectivity: ‘Constructivism and Poetism’. Devetsil’s architects, including JAROMÍR KREJCAR and KAREL HONZÍK, invested the geometry of architecture with an element of poetry, while painters and photographers such as Toyen and Jindrich Styrsky moved towards Surrealism, and when the group dissolved many of its members, including Teige, joined the Czech Surrealist group.




(1902 - 1980)

The Shooting Gallery


Jindrich Styrsky


Dream of the Marten




Blue Four
[Blauen Vier].

Name applied to a group of German painters, founded at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany, on 31 March 1924. The group consisted of Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Alexei Jawlensky and Lyonel Feininger, who were formerly associated with the BLAUE REITER group. The idea for founding the Blue Four came from Galka Scheyer, a former pupil of Jawlensky, who sought to make the work and ideas of these artists better known in the USA through exhibitions, lectures and sales. While the Blue Four was not an official association, its name was chosen to give American audiences an idea about the type of artists involved and also to allude to the artists’ previous association with the Blaue Reiter group. In May 1924 Scheyer travelled to New York, where the first Blue Four exhibition took place at the Charles Daniel Gallery (Feb–March 1925). Scheyer then moved to California, where the first of many Blue Four exhibitions in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas took place at the Oakland Museum in autumn 1925. Further exhibitions, often with lectures by Scheyer, were held in Portland, OR (1927), Seattle, WA (1926, 1936), Spokane, WA (1927), Mexico City (1931) and in Chicago, IL (1932), as well as at the Ferdinand Möller Gallery in Berlin (1929).




Block group
[Pol. Blok].

Polish avant-garde group active in Warsaw between 1924 and 1926. Group members included Henryk Berlewi, J. Golus, W. Kajruksztis, Katarzyna Kobro, K. Krynski, Maria Nicz-Borowiak (1896–1944), Aleksander Rafalowski (1894–1981), Henryk Stazewski, Wladyslaw Strzeminski, Mieczyslaw Szczuka, M. Szulc, Teresa Zarnower (d after 1945). Most members of the group had already exhibited together in some of the numerous exhibitions of the avant-garde in Poland in the early 1920s. They shared an enthusiasm for Soviet Constructivism, but there were already significant divisions within the group when it was formally founded in early 1924, holding its first official exhibition in the showroom of the car manufacturer Laurent-Clément in Warsaw in March of that year. The first issue of the group’s own magazine, Blok, appeared at the same time.



Henryk Berlewi


Chonon i Lea, 1921

Szklarz, 1921



[Capists; Pol. Kapisci, from ‘Komitet Paryski’: Parisian Committee].

Polish group of painters. In 1924 a number of students of Józef Pankiewicz at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków formed a committee, whose aim was to organize a study trip to Paris. Jan Cybis (1897–1972), Hanna Rudzka-Cybisowa (1897–1988), Zygmunt Waliszewski, Artur Nacht-Samborski, Piotr Potworowski and Józef Czapski were among the painters who therefore founded the Paris branch of the Kraków Academy from 1924 to 1930. They gained fame after two successful exhibitions at the Galerie Zak in Paris (1930) and the Galerie Moos in Geneva (1931). Most of the artists returned to Poland in 1931, where they were still known as the Kapists. They were a loose association, and, although they had no clearly defined programme, they were principally influenced by the work of Pierre Bonnard. The members were Post-Impressionist painters representing the trend known as Polish Colourism, and they stressed the importance of good craftsmanship in painting. Generally their work is associated with a particular sensitivity to colour, its harmony and contrasts. Forms were built with colour, and the use of perspective and chiaroscuro was limited, as in Rudzka-Cybisowa’s Still-life with Armchair (c. 1956; Poznan, N. Mus.). They painted from nature but did not imitate it, and their compositions were sometimes close to abstraction (e.g. Shells by Jan Cybis, 1953–4; Poznan, N. Mus.). Zygmunt Waliszewski was the only member of the group who did not reject literary subject-matter (e.g. the Toilet of Venus, 1933; Warsaw, N. Mus.). Kapists were well-represented on the staff of the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, opened in 1945. Along with Constructivism, the Polish Colourism introduced by the Kapists became one of the most popular trends in Polish painting in the first half of the 20th century.



Jan Cybis

Still Life

Zygmunt Waliszewski


Portrait of a Woman



Fellowship of St Luke
[Brotherhood of St Luke; Pol. Bractwo Swietego Lukasza].

Polish group of painters that flourished in 1925–39. It emerged from the studio of Tadeusz Pruszkowski (1888–1942) at the School of Fine Arts (Sekola Sztuk Pieknych), Warsaw, and was the first post-war group in Warsaw’s largest art school. The fellowship’s 14 members, all pupils of Pruszkowski, included Boleslaw Cybis (1895–1957), Jan Gotard (1898–1943), Antoni Michalak (1902–75) and Jan Zamojski (1901–85). The fellowship modelled itself on the medieval guilds, and the ‘Master’ Pruszkowski ceremoniously emancipated his pupils. The leadership of the group rested with the ‘Chapter’ (Kapitula). The members of the fellowship received special diplomas of emancipation. The group’s artistic programme was also based on former models, primarily on 16th- and 17th-century Dutch painting, although the group was essentially held together by ties of friendship. The artistic character of the fellowship was largely influenced by the personality of Pruszkowski, an admirer of Frans Hals and Diego Velázquez and a colourful character in the Warsaw art world.



Boleslaw Cybis






Kompozycja architektoniczna z fryzjerem

Kompozycja architektoniczna ze złotym lwem






Association of Revolutionary Art of Ukraine
[Ukrain. Asotsiatsiya Revolyutsiynoho Mystetstva Ukrainy].

Ukrainian group of artists active from 1925 to 1930. The association was founded by statute on 25 August 1925 in Kiev, with branches formed subsequently in other Ukrainian cities such as Kharokov (Kharkiv), Odessa, Dnepropetrovs’k (Dnipropetrivs’k) and Uman’. Members also lived in Moscow, Leningrad (now St Petersburg) and Paris. Artists of various artistic backgrounds and different training belonged to the association, but it was best represented by the avant-garde artists Oleksandr Bogomazov(1880-1930),

Oleksandr Bogomazov

Armenian Woman


Nina Genke-Meller (1893–1954), Vasyl’ Yermilov (1894–1967), Oleksandr Khvostov (1895–1968), Vadym Meller (1884–1962), Viktor Pal’mov (1888–1929) and Vladimir Tatlin. Its theoretical platform, formulated by Ivan Vrona (1887–1970), rector of the progressive Kiev State Art Institute, was based on Marxist principles, recognizing the era as a transitional stage towards a more cohesive national proletarian reality. The association’s objective was to develop the strengths of Ukrainian artists and to be flexible enough to be able to consolidate a variety of formalist leanings without sacrificing high technical quality. Together with the Association of Artists of Red Ukraine (AKhChU: Asotsiatsiya Khudozhnykiv Chervonoi Ukrainy), it succeeded in organizing one of the first exhibitions devoted to Ukrainian art of the 1920s. By 1927 ARMU was the single most influential body of artists in the country. It came to be dominated by painters who were attracted to the monumental art of MYKHAYLO BOYCHUK, which was inspired by the Byzantine period. Among those who followed Boychuk’s style were Sofiya A. Nalepins’ka-Boychuk (1884–1939), Ivan I. Padalka (1897–1938), Oksana Pavlenko (1895–1991), Mykola Rokyts’ky (1901–44), and Vasyl’ F. Sedlyar (1889–1937). In debating the means whereby ARMU’s aim to revitalize the artistic culture of Ukraine could be realized, Sedlyar (1926) laid equal emphasis on the importance of concepts such as artistic industry and material culture, as well as on the visual arts. He defended the association against its rival, the ASSOCIATION OF ARTISTS OF REVOLUTIONARY RUSSIA (AKhRR), a group that turned to 19th-century Realism and by doing so stood in opposition to the left wing and to Productivist art as a whole. By June 1930, internal differences with ARMU had caused its leaders to dissolve it and to organize the group October (Ukrain. Zhovten’) in its place.




Gresham group

Association of Hungarian artists who met regularly at the Gresham Café in Budapest from the mid-1920s to 1944. A loose and friendly association free from institutional constraints, they were united merely by the approximate similarity of their aesthetic thinking, rather than any particular style. Such leading members of the Hungarian avant-garde as Róbert Berény and Aurél Bernáth were, especially in their youth, among the artists at the Gresham. In the 1920s the group contained such representatives of the nascent Hungarian Expressionist movement as József Egry, István Szonyi, Béni Ferenczy and Pál Pátzay (1896–1979). They are also often referred to as the ‘post-Nagybánya school’, which refers to the principles of the NAGYBÁNYA COLONY, active in the 1910s, and to their desire to uphold the artistic tradition and stance of the group represented primarily by Károly Ferenczy.


Robert Bereny

Woman Playing a Cello

Aurel Bernath


Marili before blue background, birthday



Progressiver Kunstler [Gruppe der Progressiven]

German group of artists. It was founded in Cologne in 1925 by Franz Seiwert (1894–1933) and Heinrich Hoerle (1895–1936), with Otto Freundlich, Gerd Arntz (b 1900), Hans Schmitz (1896–1977), Augustin Tschinkel (b 1905) and the photographer August Sander. The group extended the programme of a ‘proletarian’ art that had characterized Seiwert and Hoerle’s STUPID GROUP and their intervening work to include artists from other centres in the Rhineland and throughout Germany. They supported the revolutionary opposition to the ineffectual Weimar Republic, which they saw as a tool of repressive right-wing elements in the establishment. Following collaborations with the idealist and pacifist Berlin periodical Die Aktion, Seiwert and Hoerle started their own artistic publication, A bis Z, in October 1929, beginning the group’s most fertile period. While the periodical attracted contributions from a broad cross-section of artists (including Raoul Haussmann, Jean Hélion and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy), the group favoured a stripped-down figurative style, whose schematized forms and abstract elements drew attention to the mechanization of contemporary existence. With echoes of Oskar Schlemmer’s work and of Parisian Purism, some compositions also tended towards the coldness of Neue Sachlichkeit. Their critical political stance made them an immediate target for Nazi opposition. The group and periodical were ended in 1933, Seiwert died the same year, and Hoerle and Freundlich’s work was subsequently designated as entartete Kunst.



Heinrich Hoerle
(1895 - 1936)

Self-Portrait in Front of Trees and Chimneys, 1931

Denkmal der unbekannten Prothesen, 1930



Arbeiter, 1923

Drei Invaliden


Paar, 1931



[Ob’edineniye Sovremennikh Arkhitektorov; Rus.: Union of Contemporary Architects].

Soviet architectural group, active in Moscow from 1925 to 1930. It was founded by MOISEY GINZBURG and Aleksandr Vesnin and it attracted many of Moscow’s Modernist architects by arguing for architecture’s pivotal role in creating the new Soviet society. OSA’s activities passed through several distinct phases in response to changing political circumstances and engaged the public on several fronts: these included an exhibition of contemporary architecture in 1927; architectural conferences in 1928 and 1929; and the bi-monthly journal Sovremennaya arkhitektura, which appeared from 1926 to 1930. Disavowing aesthetic and formal considerations, OSA made functional and technical matters pre-eminent. Starting with general reflections about the USSR, OSA architects then analysed the State’s building requirements in terms of cost, user profile and building types. The group endorsed a view of architecture as an integral part of the State apparatus, with a role in transforming society, for example by evolving new building types, such as the Workers’ Club, and with responsibilities, for example in containing costs by adopting prefabrication methods. Their approach to design was disciplined, with the design process itself being reduced to four distinct phases: the building programme’s spatial organization and technical requirements; the volumetric implications of these factors; their physical implementation; and the consolidation of the previous three steps into architectural coherence and unity. This rigorous design method helped OSA to forge its own identity and to create a legacy of designs challenging the best work of other European and Soviet avant-garde groups. The most characteristic designs by architects associated with the group include: the Vesnin brothers’ unexecuted projects for the Palace of Labour (1922–3), Moscow, and the Leningrad Pravda Building (1924), Moscow; Grigory Barkhin’s Izvestiya Building (1925–7), Moscow; Ginzburg’s unexecuted project for the Orgametals Headquarters (1926–7); Il’ya Golosov’s Zuyev Club (1927–9), Moscow; and Ivan Leonidov’s unexecuted projects for the Lenin Institute (1927) and the Ministry of Heavy Industry (1933–4), both Moscow. All of these designs, however, owed as much to the talents of their respective authors as to OSA’s design method.



Circle of Artists
[Rus. Krug Khudozhnikov].

Russian group of painters and sculptors, active from 1926 to 1932. It was founded in 1926 by graduates in painting from the Higher (State) Artistic and Technical Institute (Vkhutein) in Leningrad (now St Petersburg); most of them had been students of Aleksey Karev (1879–1942), Kuz’ma Petrov-Vodkin and Aleksandr Savinov (1881–1942). The group’s goal, similar to that of the SOCIETY OF EASEL PAINTERS and the FOUR ARTS SOCIETY OF ARTISTS, was to promote the professional role of painters and sculptors and to play an intermediary role between conservative artists and those who were avant-garde extremists. Seeking a modern art that actively drew on the painterly achievements of the past and yet was an expression of contemporary life, the group declared its rejection of literary content and ‘agitprop’ intention. Instead, it concentrated on easel painting and sculpture in the round while at the same time encouraging formal experimentation.





Italian group of architects. It was formed in 1926 by seven students from the Scuola Superiore di Architettura del Politecnico, Milan: GIUSEPPE TERRAGNI, Guido Frette, Ubaldo Castagnoli, Sebastiano Larco, Carlo Enrico Rava, Luigi Figini and Gino Pollini . Castagnoli was replaced in 1927 by Adalberto Libera.




[Ecole de Rome; Roman school].

A loosely associated group of artists active in Rome between 1927 and 1940. It originated in 1927 with the painters Mario Mafai, Antonietta Raphael, Gino Bonichi Scipione and the sculptor Marino Mazzacurati (1907–69). They met as students at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Rome and gathered at Mafai’s studio in Via Cavour. In 1929 the art critic Roberto Longhi first termed them the ‘Scuola di Via Cavour’ in his review of the Prima Mostra del Sindicato Laziale Fascista. The painter Fausto Pirandello was also associated with the group. Apart from Scipione, who painted fantasy subjects tinged with surrealism, members of the group painted in a lyrical, expressionist manner inspired to a large extent by the Ecole de Paris. By the early 1930s their intimate still-lifes, nudes and interiors provided an alternative to the monumental classicism of the Novecento Italiano group and prepared the ground for the artistic rebellion of the Milanese Corrente.


Mario Mafai

Fantasia o Corteo

Studente innamorato

Antonietta Raphael



Le tre sorelle

Marino Mazzacurati

Obeso con bambino in braccio

La madre





Hungarian artists’ colony founded in 1928 in Szentendre on the Danube Bend near Budapest. Its founder-members had all been pupils of István Réti, a member of the Nagybánya colony and, though designed as a centre for the creation of a national art, it soon incorporated an eclectic variety of styles, from Neo-classicism to Surrealism. Its more interesting developments came from the influence of such international movements as Constructivism and Surrealism, although in both cases these received a peculiarly Hungarian interpretation. Jeno Barcsay joined soon after the foundation of the colony and later arrivals included Antal Deli (1886–1960), Miklós Gollner (b 1902), Pal Milhaltz (b 1899), Janos Kmetty and Vilmos Pelrott-Csara (1880–1955). In addition to the artists in the colony itself, there was an equally significant number who worked in the town either permanently or in the summer, such as Béla Czóbel, Lajos Vajda and Imre Amos.





German association of architects formed in Saaleck early in 1928, in reaction to the avant-garde group Der Ring and to the emerging Modern Movement in general. The most prominent members were Paul Schultze-Naumburg, Paul Schmitthenner, German Bestelmeyer and Paul Bonatz. Bonatz and Schmitthenner were both supposed to take part in the exhibition of the Deutscher Werkbund in Stuttgart in 1927, and even prepared a layout plan for the Weissenhofsiedlung, the showpiece of the exhibition. Their design was, however, rejected in favour of the modernist design by Mies van der Rohe. Schultze-Naumburg from the early years of the century had propagated a return to organic and traditional forms of architecture, for example in his series of books Kulturarbeiten (1902–17). He was the leading theorist of the Heimatschutz movement, which advocated the preservation and continuation of German traditions and values. Bestelmeyer, Schmitthenner and Bonatz were among the most prominent architects of southern Germany, all holding influential teaching posts in Munich and Stuttgart. Der Block wanted to retain traditional skills and lifestyles and rejected functional, modern architecture with its emphasis on internationalism. Their ‘Manifesto’ appeared in Baukunst 4 (v (1928; its polemic, enriched with an emphasis on ‘German-ness’, was eventually to evolve into the fierce opposition and persecution by the Third Reich of the ‘cultural bolshevism’ of the architecture and architects of the Modern Movement. As a group, however, Der Block was shortlived, active only into 1929.




[Congrčs Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne].

International organization of modern architects founded in June 1928 at the château of La Sarraz, Switzerland. It was instigated by Hélčne de Mandrot (who had offered her château as a venue for a meeting of architects interested in discussing developments in modern architecture), Le Corbusier and Sigfried Giedion. Its foundation was stimulated by the campaign in defence of Le Corbusier’s unexecuted competition entry (1927) for the League of Nations Building, Geneva, as well as the success of the Weissenhofsiedlung (1927) in Stuttgart—a permanent, model exhibition of social housing in which several noted European Modernists had participated (for further discussion and illustration see DEUTSCHER WERKBUND). The creation of CIAM established the MODERN MOVEMENT in architecture as an organized body, with a manifesto, statutes, a committee and an address in Zurich: that of Giedion, who became its first secretary-general. Karl Moser was its first president, followed by Cornelis van Eesteren (1930–47) and Josep Lluís Sert (1947–56).




[Comité International pour la Résolution des Problčmes de l’Architecture Contemporaine].

Elected executive organ of CIAM (Congrčs Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne), which was founded in 1928 at La Sarraz, Switzerland, on the initiative and leadership of Le Corbusier and Sigfried Giedion to coordinate the international forces of modern architecture. CIRPAC was formally constituted as the executive organ by statutes adopted at CIAM II (1929), held in Frankfurt am Main. The congress of CIAM members elected their delegates and their deputies by a two-thirds majority; these delegates then became members of CIRPAC. The election was held with a view to providing representation for each national CIAM group on the executive board. The President and Deputy President of CIAM (and concurrently of CIRPAC) were also elected by the congress with a two-thirds majority. The President could select a Secretary. The mandate was carried over from one congress to another, and the officers could be re-elected. CIRPAC was involved in the organization of congresses; its President determined the time and place of the next convention, and it operated an office during congresses and executed the resolutions passed at them. Every national group could delegate a further member with an advisory status only to meetings of CIRPAC, and more members could be drafted into work in progress on the suggestion of the President. In practice it fell to the members of CIRPAC to organize and administer the CIAM group of their country while keeping in contact with the leaders of CIAM. It was the task of CIRPAC members to publicize the aims of CIAM in their own countries by organizing exhibitions and drawing on the press; they were also required to recruit new supporters, to carry through the resolutions passed by previous congresses and to prepare subsequent ones. CIRPAC organized ten congresses between 1929 and 1959, when CIAM was formally disbanded.




Halmstad group [Swed. Halmstadgruppen]

Swedish group of six painters active from 1929. It disbanded only with the death of the various members. The artists were the brothers Axel Olson (1899–1986) and Erik Olson (1901–86), their cousin (Anders) Waldemar Lorentzon (1899–1984), Sven Jonson (1902–83), Stellan Morner (1896–1979) and Theodor Esaias Thorén (1901–81). All had connections with Halmstad, a town on the west coast of Sweden. In 1919 Egon Östlund, a mechanical engineer working in Halmstad, established contact with the Olsons and Lorentzon. Through Östlund, they became familiar with the work of Gösta Adrian-Nilsson, and over the years Östlund supported the Halmstad group. Adrian-Nilsson’s paintings were important early mutual influences for the group, as were Cubism and Neo-plasticism. In the early 1930s the group began to paint in a Surrealist style, as in, for example, Erik Olson’s the Day through the Night (1935; Stockholm, Mod. Mus.); they were influenced by such artists as Salvador Dalí and Yves Tanguy. Gradually the painters developed in different directions, but the group remained active, exhibiting together. They were the most significant exponents of Surrealism in Sweden and took part in various Surrealist exhibitions in Europe in the 1930s. Axel Olson became very involved in local art life, while Erik Olson had close contacts with Danish Surrealists and participated in the resistance to the German occupation of Denmark during World War II. In 1950 he converted to Catholicism and had connections with the art sacré movement in France. He also painted many religious works. In 1963 he was awarded the Order of Gregory the Great by Pope John XXIII (reg 1958–63). Lorentzon joined the Oxford Movement in 1938 and from that time executed mainly religious decorations. Mörner was very versatile, designing sets for various theatres, mostly in Stockholm and Göteborg. He wrote articles on art and several books, including his autobiography Spegel mot mitt liv (‘Mirror to my life’; Stockholm, 1969) and Det varma kvällsljuset (‘The warm evening light’; Stockholm, 1976).




Group of Polish avant-garde artists active in Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine) between 1929 and 1935, from 1933 known as ‘Neoartes’. Among its members were painters who studied in Lwów, Kraków and Paris: Otto Hahn (1904–42), Jerzy Janisch (1901–62), Henryk Streng (who after 1939 used the pseudonym Marek Wlodarski), Margit Sielski (b 1903), Roman Sielski (b 1903), Mieczyslaw Wysocki (1899–1930), the self-taught painter Ludwik Lille (1897–1957) and the architect Aleksander Krzywoblocki (1901–79). Between 1930 and 1932 they held 11 exhibitions in Lwów, Warsaw and other cities. They searched for new, modern art, but they never defined it or formed any programme. Their art was heterogenous and covered various disciplines: painting, drawing, graphic art, collage and photomontage. Some of them were students of Léger and followed his style, but most of them moved towards Surrealism, for example Wysocki in his Fantasy of a Fight (1930) and Hahn in his lithograph Composition with Leaves (1930; both Wroclaw, N. Mus.). They explored subjects popular among Surrealists, such as the journey, sea and dreams, as in Roman Sielski’s Seascape (1931; Warsaw, N. Mus.). But they also made use of everyday subjects and depicted simple objects. Finally they broke with the timelessness and unreality of Surrealist visions and called for involvement in socio-political art. In 1933 Streng organized an opinion poll on new realism in art, and in 1936 he published in the monthly magazine Sygnaly an article entitled ‘Fighting for Live Art’. The move to realism was characteristic of the majority of Artes members. After the break-up of the group only Jerzy Janisch remained faithful to Surrealism; the others, for example Roman Sielski and Tadeusz Wojciechowski (1902–82), turned to Polish Colourism or, in the case of Streng, to abstraction.


Jerzy Janisch


Mona Liza w sleepingu




Italian movement that emerged in the late 1920s from the second wave of Futurism, which it eventually supplanted. It was announced by the publication on 22 September 1929 of the Manifesto dell’Aeropittura, signed by Giacomo Balla, Benedetta (Marinetti’s wife, the painter and writer Benedetta Cappa, 1897–1977), Fortunato Depero, Gerardo Dottori, Fillia, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Enrico Prampolini, the painter and sculptor Mino Somenzi (1899–1948) and the painter Tato (pseud. of Guglielmo Sansoni, 1896–1974). This text became the key document for the new adherents of Futurism in the 1930s. Although Marinetti had written the first Futurist manifestos, and Balla, Depero and Prampolini were senior figures within the movement, it was Dottori and younger painters who developed the new form most impressively. Building on earlier concerns with the speeding automobile, both Marinetti and the Fascist government gave particular importance to aeronautics in the 1920s, extolling the pilot as a type of Nietzschean ‘Superman’.


Fortunato Depero
(1892 - 1960)

I bevitori

Coppa del deserto

Robot. Composición mecánica, 1920



Cercle et Carre

Movement founded in Paris in late 1929 during a meeting between the writer Michel Seuphor (born 1901) and the Uruguayan painter Joaquín Torres García, which became public in 1930. Though having no official manifesto, it is best characterized as broadly Constructivist in outlook. It comprised mainly abstract artists from Constructivism, Futurism, Purism, Neo-plasticism, Dada and Bauhaus, whose common motivation was to create an artistic opposition to the dominant Surrealists. The movement comprised both a periodical, which ran for three issues in 1930, and a single exhibition held at Galerie 23, Rue la Boetie, Paris, from 18 to 30 April 1930. There were 130 exhibits, covering painting, sculpture, architecture and stage design, by 46 artists, including Hans Arp, Vasily Kandinsky, Le Corbusier, Fernand Léger, Piet Mondrian, Amédée Ozenfant, Antoine Pevsner, Luigi Russolo and Georges Vantongerloo. Notably, Theo van Doesburg refused to join, instead forming a rival group, Art concret. The exhibition closed with a lecture by Seuphor on ‘Art poétique’, with musical accompaniment from Russolo, but it was a commercial and critical failure.




Union des Artistes Modernes

French group of architects and designers founded in Paris in 1929 and active until 1958. Its founder-members included Charlotte Perriand, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Francis Jourdain, René Herbst (1891–1982) and Jean Puiforcat. During the group’s existence membership varied widely. The activities of the U.A.M. may be divided into two periods. Between 1929 and 1939 the group represented a centre of activity for a broad range of tendencies within the French avant-garde, from advanced technology to fine craftsmanship. Although spokespersons for the group at times claimed to be creating a ‘movement’, in reality the U.A.M. was not doctrinaire; it was essentially devoted to the idea of the unity of the arts common to the ideology of applied arts reform from the mid-19th century. Le Corbusier was a member of the U.A.M., and his Pavillon de L’Esprit Nouveau for the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (Paris, 1925), intended as a mass-produced dwelling, was in keeping with the U.A.M.’s aim to design prototypes for mass production.




[Vsesoyuznoye Ob’yedineniye Assotsiatsii Proletarskikh Arkhitektorov; Rus.: All-Union Alliance of Associations of Proletarian Architects].

Russian architectural group, active from 1929 to 1932. It was one of several ‘proletarian’ cultural organizations that came into being in every branch of art in the late 1920s and served to criticize Constructivism and the avant-garde from the viewpoint of proletarian class ideology. Organizations particularly attacked by Vopra were OSA (Association of contemporary architects) for its Constructivism, ASNOVA (Association of new architects) for its rationalist formalism, and MAO (Moscow architectural society) for its eclecticism and stylizations. Vopra’s chairman was the art historian Ivan Matsa (1893–1974), while other prominent members included the architects Karo Alabyan (1897–1959), Vasily Simbirtsev, Arkady Mordvinov (1896–1964), Aleksandr Vlasov, Gevork Kochar (1901–73), Abram Zaslavsky (1899–1962) and Viktor Baburov (1903–77), many of whom were recent graduates from Vkhutein (Higher (state) artistic technical institute), Moscow. In its Declaration published in Stroitel’stvo Moskvy in 1929, Vopra denounced the Constructivists for their ‘mechanical approach’ and proclaimed that ‘the new proletarian architecture must develop its theory and practice on the basis of an application of the method of dialectical materialism’, which was to be combined with critical use of historical experience and the latest technological achievements. Disseminating its ideas through the unofficial organ Sovetskaya arkhitektura (‘Soviet architecture’), it also sought to consolidate young Communist Party members who were architects on the grounds of Marxist–Leninist theory and the ‘Party general line’. By 1930 Vopra had 49 members in its Moscow section and had also organized branches in the Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Leningrad (now St Petersburg) and Tomsk. Teams of architects from the organization took part in many open competitions in 1930 and 1931, for example that for the Palace of Soviets, Moscow. Although its members were able to realize very little during the Vopra period, not least because this was abruptly curtailed in 1932 with the dissolution of the group and the foundation of the all-embracing Union of Soviet Architects, many went on to assume dominant positions in the latter and as a result became successful Soviet architects.



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