Willi Baumeister

Willi Baumeister (22 January 1889 – 31 August 1955) was a German painter, scenic designer, art professor, and typographer.Baumeister took part in his first exhibition in 1910, showing figurative works inspired by impressionism. His chief interest was even at this time already in cubism and Paul Cézanne, whose work remained important to him throughout his life. These influences of impressionism and cubism that shaped Baumeister’s early paintings played an essential role in his work until the end of the 1920s. On the one hand, his representational painting was increasingly reduced (abstracting and geometric) as it gained form and lost depth. Parallel to the paintings of his friend Oskar Schlemmer, Baumeister’s independent exploration of form and color emerged. Already around 1919, his teacher Adolf Hölzel wrote to him: "Out of all of us, you will be the one who will achieve the most." Also worth noticing is that the idiosyncratic German path into modernism, expressionism, barely resonates at all in Baumeister’s work, even though he had met, for instance, Franz Marc earlier on, and was certainly acquainted with the works of the Brücke (Bridge) artists and those of the Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider).

After his return from the First World War, Baumeister rigorously developed his work further. Although one still finds figurative elements in his paintings, the forms grew increasingly geometric and took on a dynamic of their own, and Baumeister broke the traditional connection between form and color. Various work groups emerged at this time, including the relief-like wall pictures, and paintings with sports theme (as a symbol for modernity). In his painting, the grappling with shapes and material of the painting as well as the relationship between reality and representation became visible. Parallel to this development, nonrepresentational painting began to gain a foothold in works that centered on geometric shapes and their relationships to one another in the picture (e.g. Planar Relation of 1920). Baumeister’s lively exchange with other German and foreign artists must also be seen as vitally important in the consequent development of his work. Indeed, as it was for many of his fellow artists, posing such questions was part of the agenda of the modern age (for example, El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger, Amédée Ozenfant, Le Corbusier, Paul Klee).

Towards the end of the 1920s, the shapes in Baumeister’s pictures grew softer. His paintings moved away from being oriented by the elementary shapes of the circle, triangle, and square towards organic forms. Although this development could also be observed concurrently in the work of other artists of his time, in Baumeister’s case, it was tied to his fascination for the prehistoric and archaic paintings. Baumeister intensely explored artifacts of early paintings and integrated this pictorial experience into his own painting. He identified the symbols, signs, and figures of cave painting as components of a valid archaic pictorial language that he used in his works. These included his increasing number of paintings in "oil on sand on canvas" that, in their materials, also approached the cave painting that Baumeister so admired (beg. ca. 1933). He himself collected examples of prehistoric findings, small sculptures, and tools, and occupied himself with cliff drawings that had been discovered in Rhodesia. This experience was undoubtedly important for Baumeister’s artistic disposition since he, evidently inspired by this rich store of prehistoric works, ultimately used extraordinarily reduced organic shapes for his "ideograms" (beg. ca. 1937). In these works he used a unique world of signs, which he saw as symbols for the laws of nature, their evolution, and human existence.

Baumeister’s artistic development was not interrupted when he lost his professorship at the Städel in Frankfurt in 1933. He continued to paint despite political persecution and economic difficulties. His work and its development are correspondingly diverse, even for the period after 1941, when he was imposed with an exhibition prohibition. While on the one hand his employment at the Dr. Kurt Herberts & Co. varnish factory in Wuppertal to research antique and modern painting techniques protected him politically, it also on the other hand gave him the opportunity to explore the fundamentals of painting, so that he could further his knowledge on the prehistoric cave painting techniques. At the same time, he tuned to Goethe’s theory of plant morphology. Out of this study the "eidos pictures" (eidos: idea) emerged: paintings that, unlike Baumeister’s ideograms, are rich in their variety and coloration. Moreover, the forms are organic, but seem to be less of symbols or signs, than images of simple plantlike and animal life forms. The pictures bear titles such as Rock Garden, Eidos, or Primordial Vegetable.
As an indefatigable researcher and collector, Baumeister also owned examples of African sculpture, in which he, as in the case of the prehistorical artifacts, saw universal images for life, development, and human existence. Correspondingly, their formal language entered Baumeister’s work in the early 1940s—highly abstracted, at first chromatically restrained (African Tale, 1942), and with time, became increasingly colorful and in part very complex in their formal design (Owambo 1944–1948). Both the titles and formal language reveal Baumeister’s preoccupation with other old (Latin American) cultures (Peruvian Wall, 1946, and Aztec Couple, 1948).

Another example of his search for the “foundations of art” is Baumeister’s transposition of the Gilgamesh Epic, one of the oldest surviving literary works. Therefore, Baumeister used his personal pictorial and sign language in his illustration of the narrative (beg. 1943), which resulted in an astonishingly unified cycle, which with his pictorial language came strikingly close to depicting the literary and linguistic effects(impression) of the epic. He also produced illustrations to texts from the Bible—Saul, Esther, Salome—as well as to William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
In this way, Baumeister single-mindedly and successfully developed a very personal and impressive visual language that was and still is unique in the German art immediately after 1945. The national and international recognition that Willi Baumeister received in the postwar period was correspondingly high. But his artistic development did not stop there. On the one hand, he developed his painting further in a virtuosic manner and, what is more, combined the variety of his formation phases in many other pictures—in part into "overalls structures" that nonetheless still possessed a fundamental that was reminiscent of landscape imageries (Blue Movement, 1950). On the other hand, Baumeister also produced densely packed abstractions that, proceeding from a central form, characterized him as an outstanding "nonrepresentationalist." These paintings became quite possibly the most famous of his works, and were immediately associated by a broad public with Baumeister (e.g. ARU 2, 1955). Even so, Baumeister did not limit himself to this late "trademark." Multiform and multicoloured pictures emerged as well in the year of his death.Wikipeia

Artist and photographer Erwin Blumenfeld

Erwin Blumenfeld (1897 – 1969)
"Erwin Blumenfeld was a German artist and photographer, best known for his contributions to the fashion industry between 1940s and 50s. He also employed fine art in photography and was a portraitist  as well. Moreover, he made collages and drawing in Dada style. Blumenfeld has been described as among the most influential and innovative photographers belonging to the 20th century. He was born in Berlin on 26 January 1897 to Jewish parents.Blumenfeld got his first camera in 1908, and with it he began photographing and developing. Although he had no formal education in this field, but he still thought of himself as a photographer.In 1913, he started off his career by doing an apprenticeship with Sclochauer and Moses. During the first world war, he was drafted a driver of ambulance in the army. In 1923, he established his own store specializing in handbags for ladies in Amsterdam. It was called, Fox Leather Company.
In 1932, Erwin Blumenfeld found a darkroom completely equipped, so he began photographing the female clientele of this store. The first exhibition of his work was at a local gallery of Carl van Lier. After three years, Photographie, a French journal published a photo by him in their issue.In 1936, his store went bankrupt and following this he went to Paris. The photographer was commissioned to make portraits of people who came from the art world, such as Henri Matisse and Georges Rouault. He did his first commercial project for Monsavon. During this time, he also took images of Cecil Beaton, Valeska Gert, Leonor Fini, François Mauriac, Yvette Guilbert, and Josephine Baker. Beaton was impressed by Blumenfeld and in 1937 got him into a contract with Vogue of France.

 After his imprisonment in Vézelay, France and his reunion with his family – in 1941, they went to New York and on arrival Harper’s Bazaar hired him on a contract. He worked with Bazaar for three consecutive years and then started working as a freelancer for Vogue, America. For the next 15 years, his work was published on covers of Vogue and was featured in many other magazines like Life, Flair, and Look. At the same time, he did photography for a Minneapolis departmental store, Dayton’s. In addition, he also photographed for ad campaigns for clients belonging to the cosmetics industry, such as Helena Rubinstein, L’Oreal, and Elizabeth Arden.
By the 1950s, it was reported that he was the highest paid photographers around the world. Many models worked with him and among them were Lisa Fonssagrives and Carmen Dell’Orefice. By late 50s, he also ventured in creating films, for commercial use. These motion pictures were usually aimed at his cosmetic clients.The years close to his death were spent on My One Hundred Best Photos, his book that contained only four fashion photos by him and others were on various subjects.

 Blumenfeld’s work was influenced by personalities like Man Ray, George Grosz, and Lucas Cranach. His fashion work was frequently in color while his work on other subjects were in monochrome. He used many different photography techniques, such as double exposure, sandwich printing, solarisation, veils and mirrors.
Erwin Blumenfeld’s work has been exhibited around the world in locations, like New York’s Witkin Gallery, 1978; Paris’s Centre Georges Pompidou, 1982; Jerusalem’s Israel Museum, 1981; New York’s Rachel Adler Gallery, 1988; London’s Barbican Centre, 1996; New York’s James Danziger Gallery, 1999; New York’s Ubu Gallery, 1999; Netherland’s Haque Museum of Photography, 2006; Germany’s Museum Folwang, and London’s Somerset House, 2013; among others. One of his exhibitions is scheduled for 2014 in Moscow’s Multimedia Art Museum."( famousphotographers.net )

Martin Grandval - Digital Art

Buenos Aires - Brazil

Modern Art Giuseppe Ajmone

Giuseppe Ajmone (1923 - 2005) was a modern Italian painter.Ajmone was born in Carpignano Sesia, and moved to Milan to study at the Brera Academy in 1941, under Achille Funi and Carlo Carrà. In 1946, he signed on to a Manifesto del Realismo under the pseudonym of Oltre Guernica. He participated at an exhibition at the Galleria Bergamini of Milan and received an award at the First National Exhibition of Painting at Bellagio. In 1950, he participated at the 25th International exhibition at the Biennale of Venice. In 1951, he was awarded the Premio Senatore Borletti for young Italian painters.
He often exhibited abroad, including at the Biennale di San Paolo del Brasile in 1951 and 1959; in 1959 to the Biennale Internazionale di Tokyo; in 1955 and 1958, he exhibited at the Pittsburgh International Museum of Art; and as well as at Copenhagen, Dortmund, Nuremberg, and Buenos Aires.
He continued to exhibit until the 2004. He painted both landscapes and semi-abstract figures. In 1945, he founded a journal in Novara titled "Numero", which moved to Milan with the name "Numero - Pittura" (later "Pittura").Wikipedia


Rei Kawakubo

Rei Kawakubo  (b. 1942) is a Japanese fashion designer based in Tokyo and Paris. She is the founder of Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market. In recognition of the notable design contributions of Kawakubo, an exhibition of her designs entitled Rei Kawakubo/Commes des Garçons, Art of the In-Between opened on May 5, 2017 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
Rei Kawakubo was born on 11 October 1942 in Tokyo. Her early life in Japan was summarized by Judith Thurman in a New Yorker article from 2005 stating: "She was the oldest of her parents' three children and their only daughter... Their father was an administrator at Keio University, a prestigious institution founded by the great Meiji educator and reformer Fukuzawa Yukichi, a champion of Western culture and, according to Kawakubo, of women's rights."Although not formally trained as a fashion designer, Kawakubo did study fine arts and literature at Keio University. As reported by Thurman, "In 1960, Kawakubo enrolled in her father's university and took a degree in 'the history of aesthetics', a major that included the study of Asian and Western art."After graduation in 1964, Kawakubo worked in the advertising department at the textile company, Ashai Kasei and she went on to work as a freelance stylist in 1967. Two years later, she began to design and make her own clothes under the label Comme des Garçons, French for "like some boys", before incorporating the label in 1973.

n 1973, she established her own company, Comme des Garçons Co. Ltd in Tokyo and opened up her first boutique there in 1975. Starting out with women's clothes, Kawakubo added a men's line in 1978. Three years later, she started presenting her fashion lines in Paris each season, opening up a boutique in Paris in 1982. Comme des Garçons specialises in anti-fashion, austere, sometimes deconstructed garments. Before the end of her first decade with Comme de Garcons in 1982, Kawakubo began to express her dissatisfaction with the early direction of some of her design ideas stating: "Three years ago I became dissatisfied with what I was doing. I felt I should be doing something more directional, more powerful. In fashion we had to get away from the influence of what had been done in the 1920s or the 1930s. We had to get away from the folkloric. I decided to start from zero, from nothing, to do things that have not been done before, things with a strong image."

By 1980, CDG had flourished and according to Thurman, "had a hundred and fifty franchised shops across Japan, eighty employees, and annual revenues of thirty million dollars." During the 1980s, her garments were primarily in black, dark grey or white. The emphasis on black clothing led to the Japanese press describing Kawakubo and her followers as 'The Crows'. The materials were often draped around the body and featured frayed, unfinished edges along with holes and a general asymmetrical shape. Challenging the established notions of beauty she created an uproar at her debut Paris fashion show where journalists labeled her clothes 'Hiroshima chic' amongst other things. Since the late 1980s, her colour palette has grown somewhat.
Kawakubo likes to have input in all the various aspects of her business, rather than just focusing on clothes and accessories. She is greatly involved in graphic design, advertising, and shop interiors believing that all these things are a part of one vision and are inextricably linked. Her Aoyama, Tokyo, store is known for its sloping glass facade decorated with blue dots. This was designed in collaboration between Rei and architect Future Systems and interior designer Takao Kawasaki.Kawakubo published her own bi-annual magazine, 'Six' (standing for 'sixth sense'), in the early 1990s. It featured very little text and consisted mainly of photographs and images that she deemed inspiring.[9] In 1996 Rei was guest editor of the high art publication Visionaire. Kawakubo is known to be quite reclusive and media shy, preferring her innovative creations to speak for themselves. Prior to 2002, Kawakubo has continued support for the use of LGBT references and cultural themes in the photography used in her advertisement and marketing campaigns promoting her clothing and accessories.

Since 2003, Kawakubo has been referenced and cited by other major designers for her originality and contribution to fashion and design marked by a nationally broadcast program of interviews concerning her work by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Company). During the interviews broadcast, Alexander McQueen stated: "When Kawakubo designs a collection, it seems kind of absurd, not just to the general public. But when you watch someone's challenging themselves like she does every season, it makes you understand why you are in fashion in the first place because of people like her." During the same broadcast, Viktor & Rolf added: "The first time we became aware of Comme de Garcons was in the 80s. I think we were 12 or 13. It made a very strong impression because fashion in general was something that we were starting to discover and Rei Kawakubo was part of this ... an enormous outburst of creativity in the beginning of the 80s. So for us she was part of the way we started to think about fashion."Two other early supporters of Kawakubo were Jean-Paul Gaultier and Donna Karan. During the NHK broadcast for Kawakubo, Gaultier stated: "I believe that Kawakubo is a woman with extreme courage. She is a person with exceptional strength. Moreover, she has a poetic spirit. When I see her creations, I feel the spirit of a young girl. A young girl who still has innocence and is a bit romantic. Yet she also has an aspect of a fighting woman, one who fears nothing as she thrusts forward." During the same broadcast of interviews in Japan, Donna Karan added: "Rei Kawakubo is a very interesting designer to me as a woman and a female designer. As a person, she is very quiet and rather withdrawn, yet her clothes make such an enormous statement."Wikipedia