A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art

By Ian Chilvers | Go to book overview
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Ubac, Raoul (1910-85) . Belgian painter, sculptor, graphic artist, photographer, and designer, active mainly in France. Between 1928 and 1934 he travelled extensively in Europe and his artistic training was irregular and varied. From about 1934 to 1942 he concentrated on photography, joining the *Surrealist group in Paris and contributing Surrealist photographs to the journal * Minotaure. In 1942 he abandoned both Surrealism and photography, returning to painting, and in 1946 he began to make double-sided reliefs in slate. His early work had been abstract, but after the Second World War it became more figurative. Apart from paintings and sculpture, he did a large amount of graphic work, including woodcuts and book illustrations, and also made designs for tapestry (notably a series for the Nouveau Palais de Justice, Lille, 1969) and for stained glass (including work done in collaboration with Georges *Braque for a church at Varengeville). In 1957 he settled in L'Oise. See also HARE.

Uecker, Günther (1930- ). German painter, sculptor, designer, and experimental artist, born at Wendorf, Mecklenberg. He studied at the Academies of Berlin-Weisensee, 1949-53, and Düsseldorf, 1955-8. In 1957 he began using nails in his work and most of his subsequent work has included them. At first they were driven into panels--usually painted white--and then into various spatial constructions or existing objects such as chairs or a television set. 'The interplay of light and shade is an integral part of these constructions and is realized either through the movement of the viewer or the proper movement of the objects' (catalogue of the exhibition 'German Art in the 20th Century', Royal Academy, London, 1985). In 1961 he joined the * Zero Group and in the 1960s he experimented much with *Kinetic art and light sculptures. His other work has included set and costume designs for opera. In 1974 he became a professor at the Düsseldorf Academy.

Uglow, Euan (1932- ). British painter. He was born in London of English and Welsh parents and studied at Camberwell School of Art, 1948-51, and the * Slade School, 1951-4 (in 1952-3 he spent much of his time travelling on scholarships, mainly in Italy and Spain). Since 1961 he has taught part-time at Camberwell and the Slade. Uglow has painted landscapes, portraits, and still-lifes, but he is best known for his carefully composed nudes, in which the naturalistic tradition stemming from the * Euston Road School (* Coldstream was one of his teachers at Camberwell) is combined with geometrical precision of composition. Sir John *Rothenstein writes that 'He is probably the slowest of professional painters; it sometimes takes him three-quarters of an hour even to pose the model in the precise position he requires . . . His output is therefore exceptionally small, sometimes amounting to no more than three or four canvases a year.' In spite of this and his aversion to publicity, he has built up a strong reputation among contemporary figurative painters, especially among his fellow artists. In 1972 he won first prize at the *John Moores Liverpool Exhibition. He has his detractors, however; Peter * Fuller dismissed his work as 'mannerist and without merit'.

Ugly Realism. A term applied to the work of a group of German painters, active in Berlin in the 1970s, whose pictures typically convey feelings of revulsion at the alienation, brutality, and shallowness of modern industrial society. Their work represents a revival of the spirit of * Neue Sachlichkeit; some members used sharp detail in the manner of *Superrealism, whilst others were more *Expressionist. Johannes Grützke ( 1937- ) was perhaps the best-known figure in the group.


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