School of Paris sculptor, painter in watercolour and gouache, lithographer and tapestry designer. Born in Smolensk, Russia. Sent to Sunderland in 1905 to study English, but began instead to attend classes in art; moved to London in 1906, and studied sculpture at Regent Street Polytechnic and the Central School. Settled in Paris 1909. Spent a few months at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, then worked independently. In 1911-12 met Apollinaire, Brancusi, Archipenko, Lipchitz and Picasso. Practised direct carving in wood and stone; made simplified figures partly influenced by Romanesque art and later by Cubism. War service 1915-18, and was gassed. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Le Centaure, Brussels, 1919. From c.1925 often modelled sculpture for casting in bronze and developed compositions of greater complexity, sometimes with several figures and an interplay of convex and concave planes. Refugee in New York 1941-5. Returned to Paris 1945; taught at the Grande Chaumière. Awarded the main sculpture prize at the 1950 Venice Biennale. His later works included a monumental figure commemorating the bombing of Rotterdam and a monument to van Gogh at Auvers-sur-Oise. 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, p.768