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 Marcel Hermann Janco  (1895 - 1984)

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Lived/Active: Romania/Israel      Known for: painting, collage, illustration, murals, linocut, costume design

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Marcel Janco was a Romanian and Israeli visual artist, architect and art theorist. He was the co-inventor of Dadaism and a leading exponent of Constructivism in Eastern Europe. In the 1910s, he co-edited, with Ion Vinea and Tristan Tzara, the Romanian art magazine Simbolul.

Janco was a practitioner of Art Nouveau, Futurism and Expressionism before contributing his painting and stage design to Tzara's literary Dadaism. He parted with Dada in 1919, when he and painter Hans Arp founded a Constructivist circle, Das Neue Leben.

Reunited with Vinea, he founded Contimporanul, the influential tribune of the Romanian avant-garde, advocating a mix of Constructivism, Futurism and Cubism. At Contimporanul, Janco expounded a "revolutionary" vision of urban planning. He designed some of the most innovative landmarks of downtown Bucharest. He worked in many art forms, including illustration, sculpture and oil painting.

Janco was one of the leading Romanian Jewish intellectuals of his generation. Targeted by antisemitic persecution before and during World War II, he emigrated to British Palestine in 1941. He won the Dizengoff Prize and Israel Prize, and was a founder of Ein Hod, a utopian art colony, controversially built over a deserted Palestinian Arab settlement.

Marcel Janco was the brother Georges and Jules Janco, who were his artistic partners during and after the Dada episode. His brother-in-law and fellow Constructivist promoter was the writer Jacques G. Costin, known as a survivor of 1940s antisemitism.

Marcel Janco died on April 21, 1984 at age 88.

In the realm of visual arts, curators Anca Bocanet and Dana Herbay organized a centennial Marcel Janco exhibit at the Bucharest Museum of Art with additional contributions from writer Magda Cârneci.  In 2000, his work was featured in the "Jewish Art of Romania" retrospective, hosted by Cotroceni Palace. 

Outside Romania, Janco's work has been reviewed in specialized monographs by Harry Seiwert (1993) and Michael Ilk (2001).  His work as painter and sculptor has been dedicated special exhibits in Berlin, Essen (Museum Folkwang) and Budapest, while his architecture was presented abroad with exhibitions at the Technical University Munich and the Bauhaus Center.

Among the events showcasing Janco's art, some focused exclusively on his rediscovered Holocaust paintings and drawings. These shows include On the Edge (Yad Vashem, 1990)[6] and Destine la rascruce ("Destinies at Crossroads", MNAR, 2011).


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Biography from Montefiore Auction House:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Marcel Janco, painter, born 1895, Bucharest, Romania. Immigrated 1941.
1915 Went to Switzerland and joined Hugo Bell, Jean Arp.
1916 -19 An originator of the Dada movement and participated in all its activities. Painted the famous masks in the style of African masks which were exhibited in "Cabaret Voltair". Painted abstract reliefs, combining expressionism and cubism. 1921 After a short time in Paris, returned to Bucharest, worked in architecture and was active in artists groups.
1948 A founder of New Horizons Group.
1953 A founder of the artists villege Ein Hod. 

1915 Studied Architecture, l'Ecole Polytechnique, Zurich, Switzerland

1953 Seminar Ha'Kibbutzim, Oranim

Awards and Prizes
1945, 1946 The Dizengoff Prize for Painting and Sculpture, Municipality of Tel Aviv Jaffa, Tel Aviv
1950, 1951 The Dizengoff Prize for Painting and Sculpture, Municipality of Tel Aviv Jaffa, Tel Aviv
1958 The Histadrut Prize
1967 Israel Prize for Painting
1982 worthy of the City of Tel-Aviv, Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yaffo, Tel Aviv

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