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(1926 - 2019, London, United Kingdom)

Born in 1926, Leon Kossoff has been described as one of the greatest British artists of his time. For a little over seventy years, the changing face of London’s urban landscape has been a recurring subject of his work, and he would return to familiar sites such as King’s Cross station, Christ Church at Spitalfields and the neighborhoods of Dalston, Kilburn and Willesden, among others.

Apart from capturing the immediate precincts of his home and studio, Kossoff was also known for his portraits. His subjects were mostly members of his own family, close friends and a small number of models of long acquaintance. These works are deeply moving evocations of the human presence. He was an artist who enjoyed working directly with his material and his paintings are known for their thickly layered, almost sculptural surfaces. 

Along with Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach and R.B. Kitaj, Kossoff was part of the group of figurative painters known as the School of London that came to prominence in the 1970s. Kossoff’s work has been included in numerous solo museum exhibitions, including the Museum of Modern Art Oxford (1981); the Tate Gallery, London (1996); the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (2000); the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2000); the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (2001); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2000); the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek (2004); the Museum of Art Lucerne (2004); the National Gallery, London (2007); Annely Juda Fine Art, London (2010); Galerie Lelong, Paris (2014) and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York (2022). In 1995, Kossoff was chosen to represent the British Pavilion at the 46th Venice Biennale. He was recently featured in a two-person exhibition at Hastings Contemporary in the UK until September 2023.

All images © Leon Kossoff Estate.