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André Lanskoy was born in Moscow in 1902. He died in Paris in 1976.
In 1905 his family moved to St. Petersburg and later, in1918, he moved to Kiev; it was here that he began to paint. After the Russian Revolution he went to the Crimea and then, in 1921, to Paris where he was to remain for the rest of his life. He later said that he began to paint as soon as he arrived in Paris and had never stopped since. He began to study painting seriously at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière.
In Paris he began to haunt the museums and galleries where he fell under the spell of the colors of James Ensor, Van Gogh, Matisse, and Soutine. In 1923 he took part in a group show of Russian painters in the Galerie La Licorne, and also participated in the Salon d’Automne: it was here that he came to the attention of Wilhelm Uhde who was to become a collector of his work and who helped him to arrange his first solo show in 1925. He also became friends with Serge Poliakoff. In this period too he began to exhibit his work together with Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Leopold Survage, Ossip Zadkine, and other Russian expatriate artists in Paris. Slowly his work began to be bought by museums and important collectors.
Until the mid-1930s his painting had been figurative but, partly as a result of his studies of Paul Klee and Vassily Kandinsky above all, he slowly abandoned it in favor of abstraction; by 1942 he was painting only abstract works which inquired into the relationships between form and color and in which, as he said, brushstrokes only revealed their true meaning in the context of the surrounding colors. At the same time he was broadening his choice of media and began to experiment with book illustration, tapestry, mosaic, and collage. In 1944 he exhibited at the Galerie Jeanne Bucher in Paris where he met Nicolas de Stael who was to remain his great friend; in fact, in 1948 they were to exhibit together. He also held shows in the Galerie Louis Carré, 1948, and the Galerie Jacques Dubourg, 1951.
He now began to become known internationally and was to be seen in such galleries as Arthur Tooth and Son, London, 1953; the New York Associates Belle Arti, 1956; Documenta II, Kassel, 1958; and the Loeb Gallery, New York, 1959. His work was included in the show “Les peintres Russes de l’école de Paris”, Musée de Saint Denis, 1960, and he held solo shows in the Musée Galliéra, Paris, 1966, and the Neue Galerie, Zurich, 1969.
His greatest involvement with printing came about in 1962 when he began a large project of original prints and collages to illustrate Gogol’s “Diary of a Madman”. He worked on this for the fourteen years until his death. The resulting 150 collages and 80 lithographs were finally all seen together in a posthumous exhibition in the Galerie Aras in 1989.