Galerie des Modernes

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Louis Marcoussis

Groupe de Puteaux, Section d'Or, Cubism

(Warsaw, 1878 - Cusset, 1941)

Louis Marcoussis, whose real name was Ludwig Casimir Ladislas Markus - until 1912 - was born in Warsaw (Poland) in 1878.

He started studying painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. When he came to Paris in 1903, he continued his art studies at the Académie Julian in the studio of Jules Lefebvre and among his classmates were Roger de la Fresnaye and Robert Lotiron.

The artist exhibited for the first time at the Salon d'Automne in 1905. He made his living by making drawings for satirical newspapers ("La Vie Parisienne", "L'Assiette au beurre"). Markus will very quickly be part of the artistic bohemian community of Montmartre and Montparnasse by joining Jean Moréas, Alfred Jarry and Edgar Degas. He frequents cafes where he meets Braque, Picasso, Apollinaire; it is the latter who will make him Frenchify his name: he becomes Louis Marcoussis. The artist will naturally be part of the avant-garde trend of the Paris School (G. Apollinaire, Picasso, Juan Gris, Max Jacob, Metzinger, etc.).

Initially, his paintings are impressionist, but he adopts the cubist movement around 1910 of which he is the first recognized engraver and participates in the cubist exhibition of the "Section d'Or". He married in 1913 Alice Halicka (1891-1974), a compatriot, also a painter.

In 1920, with Georges Braque, Serge Férat and Fernand Léger, he is part of the executive committee of the association La Section d'Or, founded by Léopold Survage, Albert Gleizes and Archipenko, who are responsible for organizing exhibitions in France and abroad.

In 1925, he was able to present  his first solo exhibition. His career will continue with travels and exhibitions in Britain, Italy, Belgium, the United States, etc. Then, the 1930s will see him devote himself mainly to engraving.
In addition to many paintings, we will remember him, as an engraver, illustrations for Apollinaire's books: Alcools, Gérard de Nerval and Tzara. It is estimated that there are two hundred and ten etchings, dry points, chisels, linocuts and wood engraved by Marcoussis.

In 1940, when the German troops arrived, Louis Marcoussis left for Cusset, near Vichy, where he died a year later.

A posthumous exhibition of the artist's works will be organized in 1964 at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. In 1985 works by Louis Marcoussis will be part of the exhibition "The Circle of Jewish Montparnasse artists in Paris" in New York. His art is present in all of the largest museums in the world.



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