1891 – 1973
Harlequin à la Mandoline, c. 1945, bronze with dark patina, cast 1/7 H: 64.5 cm
Chaim Jakob Lipchitz was born on August 22, 1891 as son of French-American parents in Druskieniki, Lithuania. In 1909 he went to Paris, where he started calling himself Jacques and enrolled at the "École des Beaux-Arts" and the "Académie Julian". His contacts with Archipenko, Picasso and the Cubist circles had considerable influence on his work.
In 1913 he produced his first Cubist sculptures. In 1920 he had his first solo exhibition at the Paris gallery "Léonce Rosenberg". Two years later Jacques Lipchitz joined the group "Esprit Nouveau".
Between 1915 and 1925 the artist created Cubist sculptures, worked in stone, whose figures and heads are reduced to block-like forms and are partly colored. In 1925 the artist began a series of "transparent" scupltures permeated by space created in cire-perdu process, with which he moved away from the Cubist formal language.
Angular structures gave way to an unconstrained sculptural style, which expressed itself in the free use of natural forms that became increasingly organic. In 1930 the first retrospective takes place at the "Galerie de la Renaissance" in Paris, followed by the first major exhibition at the "Brummer Gallery" in New York in 1935.
Lipchitz completed his "Prometheus" for the 1937 Paris World Exposition and was awarded a gold medel for the sculpture. When German troops occupied Paris in 1940, Lipchitz fled to Toulouse, from where he soon left France for good and went to the US, where he settled in New York.
In New York his work was soon regularly shown at the "Buchholz Gallery", which later became "Curt Valentin Gallery". In 1947 Lipchitz moved to Hastings-on-Hudson in New York state.
From the 1950s on, Lipchitz's work was honored with numerous exhibitions and awards such as retrospectives in New York and Minneapolis in 1954. Lipchitz took part at "documenta" in Kassel twice (in 1959 and 1964). From 1962 Lipchitz received numerous important public commissions both in the US and Israel, including "Peace on Earth", a nearly 15 meter high bronze sculpture that was unveiled in Los Angeles in 1969.
Jacques Lipchitz died on Capri on May 16, 1973. He was buried in Jerusalem. His second wife, the Berlin sculptor Y. Halberstadt, completed the colossal sculpture "Our Tree of Life", which had been commissioned for Mount Scopus in Israel, and set it up on Jerusalem's highest hill.