Léon Zack1892 — 1980
(Lev Vasilyevich Zak) was an artist of the Russian emigration, sculptor, scenographer, poet, representative of “School of Paris”.
In 1911 he graduated from the Moscow Gymnasium at the Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages. In 1911-1916 he studied at the Romano-Germanic Department of the Faculty of History and Philology of Moscow University. He took his first painting lessons from the artist Alexander Yakimchenko, and later attended the art studios of Fyodor Rerberg and Ilya Mashkov. In the 1910s he participated in exhibitions of the Moscow Association of Artists and the “World of Art”. At the same time, the period of futurism in Zack’s art starts. He becomes a member of the literary group of egofuturists “Mezzanine of Poetry”. He designs the covers of poetry collections of group members, as well as collective almanacs “Zasahare kry”, “Vernissage”, “Feast during the plague”.
After the revolution, he emigrated to Europe with his wife and daughter via Crimea and Turkey. From 1920 to 1921 he lived in Florence, then from 1922 to 1924 — in Berlin, where he worked as a scenographer, also designed books. In 1924 he moved to Paris, where he participated in the Autumn Salon and the Salon of Independents; exhibited in galleries in Paris, London, Brussels, Prague. At the same time, he continued to illustrate books, created drawings for fabrics, and made figurines out of glass. In the 1930s and 1940s, he constantly returned to work in the theater, designed ballets. In 1938, he received French citizenship.
In the mid-1940s, he began to move away from figurativeness to expressionism, and then to abstractionism. In 1948, at a solo exhibition at the Paris gallery des Garets, he showed abstract geometric compositions for the first time, which were and remain extremely popular with collectors. In the 1950s, he carried out artistic and restoration work in Notre-Dame-de-Povre in Issy-les-Moulineaux, Petit-Frere-de-Povre, in the cathedrals of Sacre Coeur and St. Joan of Arc in Paris and many others. In 1970, he received the prize of the President of France at the Menton Biennale. In 1981, a memorial exhibition was held as part of the Autumn Salon.
Leon Zak’s works are kept in the Museum of Modern Art of Paris, the British Tate Gallery (London), the Royal Museum of Brussels, the Carnegie Institute (Pittsburgh), in museums in Nantes, Antwerp, Venice and many others.