Jacques Chapiro Biography – Jacob Samuel

Jacques Chapiro. He was born in Dvinsk, Belarus. As a son of a wood sculptor, he began his artistic education at the early age of ten. In 1915, he entered the Krakow academy of fine art and in 1918 he moved Kiev to study in the Academy of Fine Arts. 
During the Russian Civil War, while pursuing his studies, he contributed to the revolution efforts by painting posters. In 1921, he studied art in Petrograd, and during this period he worked as a decorator in the Meyerhold Theater. He worked for Stanislavski and Vachtangov, both notorious in the field of theater.

In 1925, he left Russia in favor of Paris, and settled down in Montparnasse. He had exhibited his works in Les Independents Salon (the Independents’ Salon), the Tuileries, and other places as well since 1926. In 1939, he became a refugee, escaping to Carpentras and later on to Hautes-Alpes. When the war ended, he traveled to Italy before returning to Paris. When he returned to Paris, he set down to write his book of anecdotal stories taken from the life of the artists from La Rouch. He opposed the demolition of La Rouch in 1967 and he founded, along with Marc Chagall and Raymond Cogniat, a committee that fought against this move.

The committee succeeded in its cause. Chapiro’s works can be found in museums in the United States (Chicago), Russia (Moscow) and France (Jeu de Paume, Paris). As to his artistic style, it seems that Chapiro was fond of experiments. His many paintings are much different from one another; some are definitely Cubistic in style, some are Impressionist, while others are Fauvist.

We cannot say the same about his sketching. Throughout his artistic career, Chapiro sketches bore his unique signature, with a light and talented hand. It is his realistic sketching, which is somewhat casual, that one can be truly impressed by his talent.

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