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Moïse Kisling

French-Polish Artist Born 1891 Krakow, Austria-Hungary – Died 1953 Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France

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Moïse Kisling is a Polish-born artist, who was a central member of the School of Paris of the first half of the 20th century. The artist is famous for surreal portraits and post-impressionistic landscapes. His works are fragile and bright. Kisling was a part of the artistic society of Paris of that time. He was a friend of Amedeo Modigliani, both artists had a major influence on each other’s styles.

Early Life

Born to Jewish family in Krakow, Kisling studied at the Academy of Fine Arts there. His departure to France was the merit of his professors, especially, of Józef Pankiewicz.  Pankewicz experimented in various artistic directions (from impressionism to cubism), he advised to the young painter to go to Paris.

In Paris, Kisling settled in Montmartre and did not miss a single more or less significant event in the bohemian environment.  Moreover, often he himself became the initiator of these events. Once, photographs of the bloody face of a young artist were in many Parisian newspapers and magazines. This happened after a duel with his colleague Leopold Gottlieb, whose second was famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera.  None of the duelists, fortunately, was seriously injured, but this story, which went beyond the usual limits even in extravagant Montmartre, received the wide publicity.

With the outbreak of World War I, Kisling enrolled in the Foreign Legion. He was seriously wounded in the Battle of Somme (1916). The artist was granted French citizenship. In 1940, because of the occupation of France, the painter moved to New York, however, only for 6 years.

Over the years,

His artistic style developed, unique shapes and forms appeared. Female portraits, nudes and almost fovistic landscapes made the painter widely known.

The artist lived according to the strict schedule: started his work at exactly 9 am, always broke for lunch, and then painted again until the evening.  However, the schedule did not prevent him from maintaining relationships with friends and colleagues.  Frequent guests of Kisling’s Montparnasse studio were his friends Pablo Picasso and Amedeo Modigliani, whose studio was next door.

The artist simplified and rounded the forms, at the same time showing his heroines in a very “earthly” way.  His landscapes are often compared to the works of Marc Chagall. Blocky figures with wide-set limbs and half-closed eyes give to the works a slightly dollish appearance.


Kisling was the highly passionate artist, one of his main values was family.  Rene, whom he met in 1916, was by his side throughout his life. After coming back to France from the USA, Kisling finally settled with Rene and children in his own house in the town of Sanary-sur-Mer. There the artist lived until his death in 1953. Nowadays the street, on which he lived, is named after him.

You can find a large selection of his artwork in Kings Gallery.

Kings Gallery is a leading fine art gallery established in Jerusalem in 1995 that strives to collect and sell the highest quality historic and contemporary Israeli and International art.


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