Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Happy Birthday Léon Indenbaum (10 December 1890 - 29 September 1981)!

Léon Indenbaum in his studio.
Léon Indenbaum, Head of young ephebe, 1913.
Leon Indenbaum. Musiciens et Antilopes, 1914.

Leon Indenbaum. Head of Chana Orloff, 1925.
Happy Birthday Léon Indenbaum (10 December 1890 -  29 September 1981!
by Samuel D.Gruber

Léon Indenbaum was a Jewish sculptor from Chavusy/Tcherikover in eastern Belarus who trained as a boy as wood carver, and then found a place in the School of Fine Arts in Odessa, and then later at the Antonolski School of Applied Arts Antonolski in Vilnius (Lithuania), after which he made his way to Paris in 1911 as part of the first wave of Jewish artist who would become known as a the Paris School. He settled in Montparnasse as part the large circle of Yiddish-speaking immigrant artists at  "La Ruche".  From 1911 to 1919,  Indenbaum trained with and assisted famed sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, and by 1912 the protege was already showing his stone sculpture in the Salon des Indépendants.

Indenbaum stayed in France, was naturalized a French citizen, and died in Opio, France in 1981. 

Indenbaum was a close associate of many Paris-based artists who are today better known. He sculpted portraits of several of his contemporaries including Chana Orloff and Chaim Soutine, and his portrait was painted by Amedeo Modigliani and Diego Rivera.  Modigliani lived for a time with Indenbaum, and the two later shared a studio.

Leon Indenbaum. Head of Chaim Soutine?

Diego Rivera, Portrait of Leon Indenbaum, 1913.
Amadeo Modigliani, Portrait of Leon Indenbaum, 1916. The Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation on long term loan to the Princeton University Art Museum
The fashion designer and collector Jacques Doucet was Indenbaum's first patron, for whom he carved many decorative panels.  Paul Poiret was another patron. He continued to exhibit  through the 1920s. 

Subsequently Indenbaum seems to shun publicity, and rejects many more commercial commissions.

He survived the Second World War, but less is known of his later career, when he continued to sculpt bronze humane and animal figures. In recent decades as interest in the School of Paris has continued to grow, Indenbaum's work - especially his early work - has been highly prized, In 2004 his marble relief Musiciens et Antilopes of 1914 set a record price of over $4.5 million at auction for 20th-century "decorative art". 

Léon Indenbaum, Femme nue à l'enfant, 1917. This relief is said to represent Indenbaum's wife and child.
Léon Indenbaum, Femme nue à l'enfant, 1917, detail.
Léon Indenbaum, Head of a Child, bronze.
Léon Indenbaum, Céline and Dinah, 1917, bronze.

Léon Indenbaum, Woman doing her hair, 1926.

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