Kisling, Moise

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KISLING, MOISE (1891–1953), French painter. Kisling was born in Cracow, where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1910 he went to Paris and lived there in poverty until an anonymous benefactor, on the recommendation of the novelist Sholem *Asch, offered him a year's allowance. Influenced by Cézanne, Kisling painted sober, chromatically restrained landscapes of Britanny and the Pyrenees, and by 1914 was selling well. On the outbreak of World War i he enlisted in the French Legion, but after being wounded in action resumed his career in Paris. He became a close friend of *Modigliani, with whom he shared his studio. From 1941 to 1946 Kisling found refuge from the Nazis in the U.S., where he painted many portraits, including one of the pianist Artur Rubinstein. Kisling's serene and calm paintings reveal his character. Their hint of melancholy is a characteristic shared with nearly all the artists of Jewish origin who worked in Paris between the two world wars. Strongly outlined and painted carefully in cool, restrained colors, his figures have much in common with those of Picasso's early "Blue Period," but his work has perhaps a closer affinity to certain works of the New Objectivity school that flourished in the Weimar Republic. Kisling was fully immersed in the centuries-old belle peinture of classical France. His paintings, mostly landscapes, flower still lifes, and nudes, are characterized by his particular sensitivity.


G. Charensol, Moïse Kisling (Fr., 1948); A. Salmon, Kisling (1928).

[Alfred Werner]