School of Paris painter of landscapes, portraits and still life. Born in Smilovitchi, a village near Minsk in Lithuania, son of a poor Jewish mender. Studied at the School of Fine Arts in Vilno 1910-13, his fellow pupils including Kikoine and Kremegne. In 1913 moved to Paris and studied briefly in Cormon's studio at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Met Modigliani, Laurens, Pascin, Lipchitz and Zadkine. In 1919-22 worked mainly at Ceret, where his work reached its most expressionistic extreme and where he executed a series of wildly distorted landscapes with convulsive rhythms. The purchase by Dr Albert C. Barnes of a number of his pictures in 1923 was his first big success after years of poverty. Afterwards divided his time between Paris and Lèves, the Riviera, the Pyrenees, the Beauce, Touraine and the Indre. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Bing, Paris, 1927. Besides landscapes and portraits, his later work included still lifes of carcasses of beef or dead poultry, studies of valets, choir boys and communicants, and a few pictures inspired by works by Rembrandt and Courbet. Lived in Champigny-sur-Veude in Touraine 1941-3, during the German Occupation; died in Paris after being rushed there for an operation.
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.699-700