Segal, Arthur (1875–1944) By Kessler, Erwin
Arthur Segal was a Romanian artist born as Aron Sigalu to Jewish parents. He shifted his attention away from post-impressionist modernism around 1900 to focus on the radical avant-garde in the early 1920s, and then back to classicizing modernism in the 1940s. His work moved from traditional art-craft (painting, engraving) to modern and avant-garde practices (political engagement, teaching, curatorship, manifestos, theoretical writings, art-therapy). From 1892 to 1900 he studied in Berlin, Paris, and Munich. Segal was a student of Adolf Hölzel (founder of the art colony Neues Dachau), and much of his work was shaped by Hölzel’s color theory, where landscapes were formally structured as decorative grids rather than as phenomenal transcripts of ocular perception. In 1902–1903 he visited Italy and France, where he was influenced by the work of Vincent Van Gogh and Giovanni Segantini, whose naturalism and light-seeking divisionism he sought to appropriate in his own work. He exhibited with the Berliner Secession from 1909 onward, and co-founded the Neue Secession in 1910. Segal remained connected to the Romanian art scene, exhibiting with the Tinerimea Artistica group in 1910–1913. His 1910 Bucharest exhibition was heralded as ‘‘the first exhibition of modern art’’ in Romania (Segal 1974: 133). In 1914 Segal moved to Ascona, Switzerland, where he met Hans Arp, Hugo Ball, and Alexei Jawlensky, who were linked with the Monte Verita community. In 1916 Segal exhibited at Cabaret Voltaire alongside fellow Romanian Dadaists Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco. In 1919 he joined the Novembergruppe, becoming one of its leaders.