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Dictionary of World Biography
Noguchi, Isamu (1904–1988). Japanese-American
sculptor. Son of Japanese and American writers, he
studied in Paris with *Brancusi and was a prolific
abstract artist who also designed furniture and
stage sets.
Nolan, Sir Sidney Robert (1917–1992). Australian
painter and lithographer, born in Melbourne. He
studied at the Prahran Technical College and the
National Gallery of Victoria Art School, and his early
work, e.g. Ocean Grove (1938), reveals an individual
style remote from mainstream Australian art. He
became a voracious reader and, having deserted
from the Australian Army, came to see himself as
an outsider. From 1942 he was associated with the
‘Angry Penguins’ group of Australian modernists and
enjoyed the patronage of John and Sunday Reed, at
Heide, in Bulleen, near Melbourne. In 1946–47, at
Heide, he painted 27 oils on the life of Ned *Kelly,
iconic works in which the outlaw stares at the world
through a helmet. His art attracted the interest of
Kenneth *Clark. Later paintings develop themes
from Australian history, e.g. the explorers *Burke
and Wills, Mrs Fraser, the Eureka Stockade, and
Gallipoli (a sequence of 252, from 1955, partly
influenced by his reading of *Homer), as well as
the Australian outback, flora, fauna, China, Africa,
Antarctica, mythology, e.g. Leda and the Swan, and
scenic designs for ballet (notably The Display, 1964,
music by Malcolm Williamson, choreographed by
Robert *Helpmann) and opera. He lived in England
from 1951. Snake (1970–72), mixed media on 1620
panels, 46 m x 9 m, is displayed in a purpose-built
gallery at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA),
Hobart. He engaged in a memorable feud with his
former friend Patrick *White, received the OM in
1983, an AC in 1988 and became Australia’s first,
and only, RA (1991). He was extraordinarily prolific,
experimenting with a diversity of techniques.
Clark, K., MacInnes, C., and Robertson, B., Sidney
Nolan. 1961; Adams, B., Sidney Nolan: Such Is Life.
1987; Underhill, N., Sidney Nolan: A Life. 2015.
Nolde, Emil (1867–1956). German painter and
graphic artist. Originally a woodcarver, he joined
the Brücke (‘Bridge’) group in Munich, became an
Expressionist, travelled extensively and lived as a
hermit. He is remembered for his landscape, flower
and primitive paintings. Despite his brief enthusiasm
for *Hitler, the Nazis denounced him as a degenerate
artist. His First-Class Marksman (1946) sold for
$AU5.4 million in 2010.
Nollekens, Joseph (1737–1823). English sculptor.
Of Dutch descent, he worked (1760–70) in Rome,
where he made busts of *Garrick and *Sterne. On
his return to London he quickly achieved success
and became ARA (1771) and RA (1772). Though
commissioned to execute many public monuments,
often adorned with mythological figures, his most
memorable works were busts of *George III, Samuel
*Johnson, *Fox and *Pitt.
Nollet, Jean Antoine (1700–1770). French abbé
and physicist. Professor of physics in the University
of Paris, he was the first clearly to describe (1748)
osmosis (the passage of a solvent through a semipermeable membrane separating a weaker from a
stronger solution).
Nono, Luigi (1924–1990). Italian composer, born in
Venice. He married *Schoenberg’s daughter, joined
the Communist Party, was deeply committed to the
music of ‘struggle and ideas’ and wrote extensively
on music theory. He composed concert music with
and without electronics and stage works, including
Intolleranza (1960).
Nora, Simon (1921–2006). French public
servant. L’informatisation de la société (with Alain
Minc, 5 volumes, 1978) was a seminal text on the
information age.
Norman, Jessye (1945– ). American soprano, born
in Georgia. Trained in the US, she developed a voice
of extraordinary range and opulence, with excellent
diction and command of languages. She made her
operatic debut in Berlin, toured widely, appeared in
many operas and recorded works by *Mozart, *Verdi,
*Mahler, Richard *Strauss and *Berg.
Norman, Montagu Collet Norman, 1st Baron
(1871–1950). British banker. His policies as
Governor of the Bank of England 1920–44 were
deeply controversial, especially during the interwar period and the most vital years of World War
II have been the subject of continuous controversy,
especially the deflationary return to the gold standard
(1925) and the devaluation of the pound (1931).
Norman had much influence with the governments
of the period. His reputation as an éminence grise was
enhanced by his habit of crossing the Atlantic under
the easily penetrable disguise of an assumed name.
Clay, H., Lord Norman. 1957.
Norodom Sihanouk (1922–2012). Cambodian
prince and politician. Educated in Saigon and
Paris, he succeeded his grandfather as King of
Cambodia 1941–55, abdicating in favour of his
father Norodom Suramarit to found the Popular
Socialist Community Party. He was Prime Minister
and Foreign Minister 1955–60 and, after his father’s
death, Chief of State 1960–70 until deposed by a
military coup led by Lon Nol. He lived in Beijing
1970–75, returned briefly and had 16 more years
in exile. He returned to Cambodia in November
1991, was elected President again but proved unable
to exercise authority over a country bitterly divided
between Chinese, Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge
forces. Elections were held in July 1993. He became
King of Cambodia again 1993–2004, this time as (in