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Alexander Archipenko

Archipenko, Alexander (ärkhĭpĕnˈkō) [key], 1887–1964, Ukrainian-American sculptor, b. Kiev. He moved to Moscow in 1906 and to Paris in 1908. There he began to adapt cubist technique to sculpture. In 1910 he opened his own art school in Paris, later moved (1921) to Berlin and established a school, and, finally, emigrated (1923) to New York City, where he also founded a school. In 1912, Archipenko introduced sculpto-painting, an attempt to unite form and color via mixed media. However, his major contribution to 20th-century sculpture was his realization of negative form. Archipenko recognized the aesthetic value of the void—the hollowed-out shape or perforation as a complement to the bulging mass—as exemplified by his Madonna in marble and the bronze Woman Combing Her Hair (1915, Mus. of Modern Art, New York City). Archipenko also worked in carved plastic lighted from within. His nearly abstract figures gained him international renown; among them are Torso in Space (Whitney Mus., New York City), Walking Girl (Honolulu Mus.), and White Torso (examples in the Chicago Arts Club and in the Fine Art Association, Phoenix, Arizona). Archipenko was also an engineer, ceramist, and teacher.

See his Archipenko: Fifty Creative Years: 1908–1958 (1960); D. H. Karshan, Archipenko: Schlpture, Drawings and Prints, 1908–1963 (1985); K. J. Michaelsen and N. Guralnik, Alexander Archipenko: A Centennial Tribute (1986).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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