Louis Marcoussis Biography

Louis Marcoussis

French

1878-1941

Biography

Louis Marcoussis was born Ludwig Casimir Ladislas Markous in Warsaw, on November 14, 1878. In 1901 he entered the Academy of Fine Arts of Kracow to study painting with Jan Crzegorz Stanislawski. In 1903 Markous moved to Paris, where he worked briefly under Jules Lefebvre at the Académie Julian and became a friend of La Fresnaye and Robert Lotiron. The first time his work was selected for a major exhibition was in 1905 for the Salon d'Automne and in subsequent years he continued to exhibit at the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon des Tuileries.

In Paris he made his living by selling caricatures to satirical periodicals, including La Vie Parisienne and Le Journal. He frequented the cafés, such as the Rotonde, Cirque Médrano and the Ermitage, where he met Edgar Degas about 1906 and Braque, Picasso and Apollinaire in 1910. In 1907 Markous abandoned painting and when he began to paint again in 1910, he discarded his earlier Impressionist style to adopt the new Cubist idiom. About 1911, at the suggestion of Apollinaire, be began calling himself Marcoussis, the name of a village near Monthéry. In 1912 the artist participated in the Salon de la Section d'Or at the Galerie de la Boétie in Paris. By this time his circle included Gris, Léger, Picabia, Metzinger and Max Jacob. He served in the French army from 1914 to 1919, returning to Poland for a visit after his demobilization.

Marcoussis exhibited in 1921 at the gallery of Der Sturm in Berlin with Gleizes, Villon and others. He was given his first one-man show in Paris at Galerie Pierre in 1925. This was followed by solo exhibitions in 1928 at the Galerie Le Centaure in Brussels, a city he visited on that occasion, and at the Galerie Georges Bernheim in Paris in 1929. Between the years 1934 and 1935, he stayed for several months in the United States, where one-man shows of his prints opened at The Arts Club of Chicago in 1934 and M. Knoedler and Co. in New York in 1935. Marcoussis worked almost exclusively in graphics from 1930 to 1937 and he illustrated a number of books including Alcools by Apollinaire and Aurélia by Gerard de Nerval. A retrospective of his prints took place at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 1936. The artist traveled in England and Italy in 1938, and during the following year was given a solo exhibition at the London Gallery. In 1940, as the German army advanced, Marcoussis left Paris for Cusset, near Vichy, where he died on October 22, 1941.