In articles such as those, the present tense is very common. It also has the particularity of being called présent historique. Basically, it allows for a lighter text and can be mixed with passé simple to emphasize certain events. Wikipedia has a little article on its pros and cons. You will most often find this kind of structure in history books or articles, hence its name.
As for your commented question, dans les années 1910 is correct, as is en l'année 1910, although en 1910 sounds more natural. However, the meanings are not the same. When you say dans les années 1910, it means "in the 1910's", so anywhere between 1910 and 1919. On the other hand, en l'année 1910, or en 1910, means "in 1910". It's specific to that year. So since it's probably difficult to pinpoint when exactly he first started to write, you approximate it.