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Lanskoy: A Russian painter in Paris exhibition at Lille Métropole Museum
Composition sur fond jaune, 1960 : Courtesy galerie Le Minotaure, Paris Photo: DR (c) Adagp Paris, 2011.

VILLENEUVE D' ASCQ- For the first time in a French museum, the exhibition Lanskoy, un peintre russe à Paris (Lanskoy, a Russian painter in Paris) presents a large-scale retrospective of the work of André Lanskoy. The museum owns a unique and exceptional collection of the artist’s works (some sixty figurative paintings and about ten abstract works), built up by Roger Dutilleul and Jean Masurel, who donated the modern art collection to LaM and who championed Lanskoy from the 1920s onwards.

Through more than 150 works from various public and private collections, the exhibition shows the full diversity of Lanskoy’s work, emphasising the variety of media: paintings, gouaches and collages, as well as books, fabrics, tapestries and mosaics.

Andrei Michailovitch Lanskoy, born in Moscow in 1902, arrived in Paris in 1921. He was self-taught and painted continuously, asking advice from Mikhaïl Larionov, and very soon began to exhibit, mainly in the company of artists from Russia or Central Europe, such as Marc Chagall, Jean Pougny and Chaïm Soutine. At that time he admired the work of Henri Rousseau and painted spontaneous brightly coloured scenes from everyday life. From 1937, inspired in particular by the works of Wassily Kandinsky, he moved into colourful, abstract painting which met with considerable success. A leading artist in the Louis Carré Gallery in the 1950s and 1960s, he exhibited in the United States, while the French State began to buy some of his works.

His work is close to lyrical or informal abstraction, at the time more common in France, and first found echoes in the pursuits of his contemporaries Léon Zack, Sonia Terk-Delaunay and Serge Charchoune. His undeniable interest in colour and his total commitment to painting later played an important role in influencing younger painters, particularly Nicolas de Staël, with whom he was very close, as well as Serge Poliakoff, Youla Chapoval, Pierre Dmitrienko and finally his pupil, Catherine Zoubtchenko.

The exhibition explores the two periods in Lanskoy’s work, the figurative and then the abstract periods. Particular attention is given to the transitional phase, in the late 1930s when Lanskoy gradually moved towards abstraction. A hitherto unknown series of small gouaches gives a very clear illustration of this period of intense experimenting.

To reproduce Lanskoy’s evolution in his artistic and historic context, his works are regularly placed in comparison with those of other Russian painters in the School of Paris. These comparative works are presented according to historic or artistic criteria: preference is given to those artists who worked or exhibited with Lanskoy.

Paintings exhibited next to those of André Lanskoy: Alexandra Exter (1882-1949); Chaïm Soutine (1893- 1943); Marc Chagall (1887-1985); Jean Pougny (1892- 1956); Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944); Léon Zack (1892-1980); Nicolas de Staël (1914-1955); Serge Charchoune (1888-1975); Serge Poliakoff (1906-1969); Pierre Dmitrienko (1925-1974); Philippe Hosiasson (1898-1978); Sonia Terk-Delaunay (1885-1979); Catherine Zoubtchenko (born 1937).

A catalogue, placing Lanskoy’s works among those of his contemporaries in the context of the revival of postwar abstraction accompanies the exhibition. It presents a biography full of new sources and it also highlights the cultural environment of the Russian artists in Paris, who are seen here in a new light after recent studies were conducted.

Lanskoy | Lille Métropole Museum |

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