Artist biography

Léon Zack born 1892

School of Paris painter, sculptor, illustrator and designer. Born at Nijni-Novgorod in Russia. Studied literature at Moscow University and painting under Rerberg and Nachkoff. Left Russia in 1920 and spent two years in Florence and one in Berlin, where he designed sets and costumes for the Ballets Romantiques Russes. Settled in Paris 1923. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie d'Art Contemporain, Paris, 1926. Painted in representational styles for many years: faces of restless, dreamy youths, pictures of harlequins, vagabonds and gypsies. Became a French citizen in 1938. Took refuge at Villefranche-sur-Mer and a village in the Isère 1940-5, then returned to Paris. Designed sets and costumes for the ballet Concerto for the Opéra-Comique 1947. Gradually developed towards abstraction, his paintings becoming completely non-figurative in 1947. Also active since 1950 in the field of religious art: made crucifixes and other sculptures for various churches, and designed stained glass for the chapel of Notre Dame des Pauvres at Issy-les-Moulineaux (Seine) and elsewhere. Lives at Vanves, on the outskirts of Paris.

Published in:
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.767-8