(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. 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 would very quickly become part of the artistic bohemian community of Montmartre and Montparnasse by joining Jean Moréas, Alfred Jarry and Edgar Degas. He frequented cafes where he met Braque, Picasso, Apollinaire; it is the latter who will make him Frenchify his name: becoming Louis Marcoussis. The artist would naturally become part of the avant-garde trend of the Paris School (G. Apollinaire, Picasso, Juan Gris, Max Jacob, Metzinger, etc.).
Initially, his paintings were impressionist, but he adopted the cubist movement around 1910, of which he is the first recognized engraver, later participating in the cubist exhibition of the "Section d'Or". In 1913, he married Alice Halicka (1891-1974), a compatriot, and also a painter.
In 1920, with Georges Braque, Serge Férat and Fernand Léger, he was part of the executive committee of the association La Section d'Or, founded by Léopold Survage, Albert Gleizes and Archipenko, who were responsible for organizing exhibitions in France and abroad.
In 1925, he was able to present his first solo exhibition. His career would continue with travels and exhibitions in Britain, Italy, Belgium, the United States, etc. Then, the 1930s would see him devote himself mainly to engraving.
In addition to many paintings, we will remember him as an engraver, namely for his 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 was organized in 1964 at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. In 1985, works by Louis Marcoussis were 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 to this day.