American abstract artist and theorist born in Cleveland, of Czech parents. Worked as apprentice in a commercial art studio in Cleveland 1922-6, then studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago School 1926-9. Continued to live in Chicago until 1934. His early paintings influenced by the Post-Impressionists, especially Cézanne. Moved to New York in 1934 and was influenced by the late Cubist styles of Picasso, Braque and Léger, but eliminated subject matter. Lived 1936-7 in Paris, where he met Mondrian, Léger, Pevsner, Domela and others. First one-man exhibition of paintings, collages and reliefs at the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, 1936. Abandoned painting in 1937 and concentrated thenceforth on painted reliefs. Left New York in 1940 and, after two years in Chicago, settled in 1942 at Red Wing, Minnesota, working in isolation. Developed by 1949-50 a type of relief with small planes attached to the background or to each other, and painted in a limited number of brilliant colours. Published two books on his theories: Art as the Evolution of Visual Knowledge 1948 (which had considerable influence on Pasmore and the English Constructivists) and The New Cézanne: From Monet to Mondrian 1958. For some years applied the term Structurist to his work. Lives in Red Wing.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.52-3