Leon Kossoff was born in Islington in 1926 to Russian Jewish parents who were refugees of persecution in the Ukraine, around 1906-1907. With the exception of three years spent as an evacuee during the war, and three years in military service, he has spent his whole life living and working in London. On the occasion of his Tate retrospective in 1996, Nicholas Serota described his work as, ‘revealing an unexpected vision of the metropolis’.3 Kossoff grew up in Shoreditch, Bethnal Green and Hackney. At around the age of ten he started to draw and found his own way to the National Gallery. This was his first visit to a museum and there he saw Rembrandt’s ‘Woman Bathing in a Stream’ (1654), which affected him greatly for many years. When he was evacuated to King’s Lynn in 1939, he stayed with a family who encouraged his art. He drew and saw East Anglian paintings. He also drew from newspaper photographs, which showed London ablaze around St Paul’s cathedral. When he returned to London he stayed with his family until he was conscripted. Their house had been bombed, so they had to move close to Christchurch, Spitalfields, which later became a favourite subject. Kossoff by chance discovered a life drawing class, which fuelled his interest in working from the figure. For a short time during 1943-1944, he also attended a drawing class at St Martin’s School of Art. His passion for art was well established before military service; when he returned at the end of the war, he found London to be a damaged place, suffering from the physical damage of bombings, and with it economic depression and food rationing. These were the circumstances against which Kossoff’s attitude to art and life, were forged.

Duration 28 October 2010 - 28 November 2010
Cost Free
Venue Annely Juda
Address 4th Flr, 23 Dering St London W1S 1AW, ,
Contact / / www.annelyjudafineart.co.uk

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