Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973)
Born August 22, 1891 in Druskininkai, Lithuania, Chaim Jacob Lipchitz went to Paris in 1909. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and at the Académie Julian until 1913. During this time he met the artists of the French avant-garde: Juan Gris, Pablo Picasso, and Amadeo Modigliani. In 1916 it was Modigliani who painted the famous portrait of Jacques et Berthe Lipchitz.
In 1912, he exhibited his works at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and at the Salon d’Automne. In 1913 he realised his well-known sculptures La Femme au Serpent (‘Woman with Snake’) and La Danseuse (‘The Dancer’), both of which drew their inspiration from Cubism and made use of geometric forms. Soon thereafter in 1915 his career took a new turn when he signed a contract with the art dealer Léonce Rosenberg. At his gallery L’Effort Moderne he organised Lipchitz’s first exhibition in 1920. There he exhibited, in particular, a portrait of Gertrude Stein and a series of Baigneurs (‘Bathers’). In 1922, the Barnes Foundation in Pennsylvania commissioned him to make five reliefs sculptures.
Jacques Lipchitz attached great importance to his artistic liberty, which is why he terminated his contract with Rosenberg so that he could create the works he wanted without time constraints. This decision ended up causing the artist financial difficulties.
In the mid-1920s, Lipchitz distanced himself from Cubism and realised ‘transparent’ sculptures for which he used the lost-wax technique. The forms of his works are henceforth less geometric, less angular, and more natural.
In 1930 the artist exhibited one hundred of his works at Jeanne Bucher gallery. It was in fact to protect the artist that Bucher opened the gallery in 1925. Lipchitz thereafter began to gain trans-Atlantic attention. In 1935, his works were exhibited in New York. The French government commissioned a Prométhée étranglant le vautour (‘Prometheus Strangling the Vulture’) for the Science Pavilion at the Universal Exhibition in 1937. ‘In a way, it’s a political sculpture, propaganda for democracy’, he said of the work.
Jewish Lipchitz fled France at the beginning of the German occupation, moving to the United States. In 1949, he was one of 250 sculptors whose work was exhibited at a major exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum. He returned to France briefly before moving to Hastings on Hudson in the United States. In 1952, his New York studio burned down, destroying a portion of his recent work. He received commissions for monumental works regularly, in particular, the bronze sculpture Peace on Earth, unveiled in Los Angeles in 1969. He died in Capri, Italy in 1973.
(Pauline Le Gall)read more >>
read more >>
Art works from Jacques Lipchitz
You may also be interested in…
work is available
in the works are available