Saturday, May 2, 2009

Exhibition: London's Ben Uri Gallery Hosts Major Jacques Lipchitz Drawing Exhibition

Exhibition: London's Ben Uri Gallery Hosts Major Jacques Lipchitz Drawing Exhibition
by Samuel D. Gruber

(ISJM) The Ben Uri Gallery in London will open a major exhibition of over 150 drawings by famed Lithuania-born Paris School artist Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973). Jacques Lipchitz, Master Drawings: The Anatomy of a Sculptor will open on Wednesday 6th May, 2009.

The exhibition spans 60 years of the career of Lipchitz, known as a 'life long cubist," but whose work - as is well demonstrated in his drawings - was as much expressive as analytic. According to the Ben Uri announcement, the exhibition of this works (from an American collection) is the first British museum survey of Lipchitz since the 1986 exhibition The Lipchitz Gift, Models for Sculpture at the Tate Gallery. Lipchitz's preparatory work was featured in the traveling exhibition Selected Master Drawings in 1974-75. This present exhibition will expose a new generation to Lipchitz's energetic style that in subject matter combined, myth, dream, symbol and memory into a unique graphic and sculptural language.

This year is the 100th anniversary of Lipchitz's arrival in Paris, where he became a leading figure in what came to be called the Paris School, where he was also a leader among the many East European immigrant artists. Born Chaim Jacob Lipchitz in Druskieniki, Lithuania in 1891, the artist was just 18 when he came to Paris. Two years later, in 1911, he moved to the Paris studio and apartment at 54, Rue du Montparnasse where lived his friend and fellow Litvak, Lazar Berson. Berson later moved on to London, and in July 1915 founded the Ben Uri.

Lipchitz left Paris in 1940, fleeing to Toulouse after the German occupation of the city. In 1941 Amercian diplomat Varian Fry helped smuggle the artist to New York. While Lipchitz is much celebrated in Israel, where his monumental sculpture Our Tree of Life (1962-72) adorns the grounds of Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus, he did not travel to Israel until 1963. Though he died in Capri (Italy) in 1973, he is buried in Jerusalem.

At Ben Uri Gallery, 108A Boundary Road, London NW8 0RH until 26 July.

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