OSCAR JESPERS (1887-1970)
Moise Kisling was born in Kracow in 1891 in Poland. He began to draw as a very young child and, though his parents wished him to be an engineer, he entered the Art Academy of Kracow when he was fifteen. He studied under a professor who introduced him to French Impressionist art, and encouraged him to go to Paris. He arrived in 1910, and settled in Montparnasse, where he became popular among the group of artists living and working there, so-called the School of Paris. Kisling joined the Foreign Legion in 1914, at the outbreak of World War I. Though he was seriously wounded during his first year of service, he was rewarded with French citizenship. Kisling continued to live in France and volunteered for army service again in 1940. When the French Army was discharged at the time of the surrender to the Germans, Kisling went to the United States and, after exhibitions in New York and Washington, lived in California until 1946. He then returned to France to live in Sanary-sur-Mer, on the Mediterranean coast until his death.
Kisling's art represents a synthesis of influences often found among members of the School of Paris, whose work combines French characteristics with ideas from non-French painters. Under the influence of Derain, Kisling learned to control his natural exuberance and love of color.
Nevertheless, his close and caring friendship with Modigliani, a friendship that lasted until the latter's death, perhaps, goes some way towards accounting for the faint melancholy tone that inhabits the brilliant colors in some of Kisling's portraits. Throughout his latest works, Kisling's bursting Slavic color and luxurious design are the signature of an individual style that is both lively and exciting. He died in 1953.
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