LOUIS MARCOUSSIS (1878 - 1941)
Born in Poland as Ludwig Casimir Ladislas Markus, Louis Marcoussis lived and worked for most of his life in Paris. After studying law briefly in Warsaw he went to the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts, where his teachers included Jan Stanislawski and Jozev Mehoffer. Moving to Paris in 1903, he spent a short time at the Académie Julian under Jules Lefebvre and first exhibited one of his paintings at Salon d'Automne in 1905. Over the next twenty five years his work was included in numerous important exhibitions, most notably at the Salon des Indépendants and the Tuileries. When he settled in Paris he earned his living by taking on drawing and illustration work and frequented the cafés of Montmartre and Montparnasse where he met Apollinaire, Braque, Degas, Picasso along with many more artists and writers. It was Guillaume Apollinaire who suggested Markus' French name, Marcoussis, after a village not far from Paris. Impressionism was an early influence on his work, but from about 1910 he was part of the Cubist movement alongside other avant-garde painters like Picasso, Braque and Juan Gris. In 1925 he Marcoussis held his first solo exhibition in Paris and as well as painting still-lifes and musical instruments in the Cubist manner, he also produced portraits, views of Paris, and images from the Breton seaside. From 1930 onwards, he concentrated on printmaking and illustration, including work inspired by Apollinaire's Alcool, Tzara's Indicateur des chemins de c?ur, and Éluard's Lingères légères and Aurélia. In the late 1930s Marcoussis collaborated with Spanish surrealist Joan Mirò and taught him etching techniques. He also taught at the Académie Schlaefer. In 1913 he had married Alice Halicka, a painter who came from Kraków. Their daughter Malène was born in 1922. Marcoussis served in a Polish company of the French Foreign Legion from 1914-1919. He became a French citizen, while also staying in touch with Poland, both personally and professionally. He did not generally talk about his Jewish ancestry, and his family had converted to Catholicism, but today Marcoussis is often described as a Jewish artist. In 1940 Marcoussis and Alice moved to Cusset near Vichy. He died there on 22 October 1941.
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