School of Paris sculptor and painter, born in Orel, Russia, an older brother of Naum Gabo. Studied at the School of Fine Arts in Kiev 1902-9, then briefly at the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg. Painted landscapes from nature in the tradition of Levitan. Visited Paris in 1912 and again 1913-14, when he met Archipenko and Modigliani. In 1914-15 was painting figures and still life inspired by the pictures in Shchukin's collection in Moscow, especially Matisse. Joined Gabo in Oslo 1915-17 and was greatly impressed by his sculpture and ideas. Returned to Moscow in 1917 and was appointed professor of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts. Co-signatory of Gabo's Realistic Manifesto 1920. Continued to work as a painter, but developed an abstract style. Left Russia in January 1923, spent several months in Berlin, then settled in October in Paris. Apparently began to make sculpture c.1923-4, encouraged by Gabo and modelling his first experiments on some of his brother's earlier works. First one-man at exhibition (with Gabo) of paintings and sculpture at the Galerie Percier, Paris, 1924. His first sculptures were mostly in plastic, but he soon began to build constructions out of welded metal. Took French nationality in 1930. Member of Abstraction-Création 1931; an active member of the committee of the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles 1946-52. Died in Paris.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.585-6