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Leon Kossoff

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Birth year

Lives in

Works in

Current Exhibitions and Events

Leon Kossoff is one of the most important figurative painters at work today and is commonly assoictaed with a circle of School of London painters that includes Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and R.B. Kitaj.

At the centre of Kossoff's work is the human figure either in isolation or in urban or domestic settings and the subject is always intimately known, whether it be the seated studio subject or people in the streets of the city.


1926 Born in London.

1938-43 Attended Hackney Downs School, London.

1939-43 Evacuated with school to King's Lynn, Norfolk. Lived with Mr. And Mrs. R.C. Bishop who encouraged his interest in art. Made his first paintings.

1943 Returned to London. Attended life drawing classes at Toynbee Hall, Commercial Street and St. Martin's School of Art, London.

1943-45 Commercial art course at St. Martin's School of Art.

1945-48 Military service with Royal Fusiliers, attached to 2nd Battalion Jewish Brigade. Served in Italy, Belgium, Holland and Germany.

1949-53 Studied at St. Martin's School of Art and the Borough Polytechnic, where he and fellow pupil, Frank Auerbach, were taught by David Bomberg.

1953-56 Studied at the Royal College of Art.

1956 Joined Helen Lessore's Beaux Arts Gallery, Bruton Place, London.

1959-69 Taught at Regent Street Polytechnic, Chelsea School of Art, and St. Martin's School of Art.

1966 Moved studio to Willesden Green.

1972-5 Occupied an additional studio in Dalston Lane, north London.

1976 First Kilburn Underground paintings.

1995 Represented Britain at the Venice Biennale.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

Leon Kossoff, Annandale Galleries, Sydney

Kossoff: Drawn to Painting after Poussin, Rubens and Other Related Works, Pillsbury & Peters Fine Art, Dallas, Texas

2000 Leon Kossoff, Annely Juda Gallery, London

1996 Leon Kossoff, Tate Gallery, London

1995 Leon Kossoff, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy

1988; 1993 Leon Kossoff, Anthony D'Offay Gallery, London

1984 Leon Kossoff, Fischer Fine Art, London

1983 Leon Kossoff, Hirschl and Adler Modern, New York

1982 Leon Kossoff, L.A. Louver, Los Angeles

1981 Leon Kossoff, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford

1973;1975;1979 Leon Kossoff, Fischer Fine Art, London

1972 Leon Kossoff, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London

1966 Leon Kossoff, Marlborough Fine Art, London

1979 and 1984 Leon Kossoff, Fischer Fine Art, London

1957-1964 Leon Kossoff, Six exhibitions at the Beaux Arts Gallery, London

Selected Group Exhibitions

2006 Portraits, James Hyman Gallery, London

2005 Fifty Years of British Landscape Painting, James Hyman Gallery, London

2003 From Life: Andrews, Auerbach, Bevan, Bomberg, Coldstream, Kossoff, Sickert, Uglow, James Hyman Gallery, London

2002 Twentieth Century British paintings and drawings, James Hyman Gallery, London

2001 Auerbach, Bacon, Freud, Kossoff, James Hyman Gallery, London

Selected Collections

Tate Collection, London
MoMa Collection, New York
National Galleries of Scotland


Elliott, David, introduction to exhibition catalogue, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, 1981

Gowing, Lawrence, Here Comes the Diesel', introduction to exhibition catalogue, Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London, 1988

Hyman, James The Prints of Leon Kossoff', Print Quarterly, 1993

Hyman, James Leon Kossoff', Modern Painters, Spring 1993

Hyman, James, Leon Kossoff',Tate magazine, Summer 1996

Hyman, James, exhibition catalogue, Auerbach, Bacon, Freud, Kossoff, James Hyman Fine Art, 10 May - 22 July 2000

Hyman, James, The Battle for Realism, Yale University Press, 2001

Hyman, James From Tragedy to Joie de Vivre: Some Thoughts on the Work of Bacon, Freud, Kossoff and Auerbach', exhibition catalogue, Bacon, Freud, Kossoff, Auerbach, Galerie Sander, Berlin, 2003

Hyman, James, Radical Figuration', From Life, exhibition catalogue, James Hyman Fine Art, 10 September - 18 October 2003

Mercer, David, introduction to exhibition catalogue, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1972

Moorhouse, Paul, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London, 1996

Sylvester, David, Rudi Fuchs, exhibition catalogue, Venice Biennale, 1995

Recent Exhibits

Leon Kossoff participated in these exhibits:

Jul, 2015 The British Figure
Flowers | Kingsland Road
Mar, 2014 I Cheer a Dead Man’s Sweetheart
De La Warr Pavilion
Feb, 2014 "London Landscapes" Film Screening
L.A. Louver
Feb, 2014 Leon Kossoff and the Old Masters
L.A. Louver
Jan, 2014 Leon Kossoff: London Landscapes
L.A. Louver
Dec, 2013 London Landscapes Screening
Mitchell-Innes & Nash - 26th St.
Click here to see all exhibits for Leon Kossoff
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