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L'Ecole de Paris / Léon Zack (Lev Vasilevich Zak) (Russian/French, 1892-1980) Lady in white

Various Properties
Lot 43
Léon Zack
(Lev Vasilevich Zak) (Russian/French, 1892-1980)
Lady in white
28 June 2022, 14:00 BST
London, New Bond Street

£3,000 - £5,000

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Léon Zack (Lev Vasilevich Zak) (Russian/French, 1892-1980)

Lady in white
signed in Latin and dated '32' (lower right)
oil on canvas
85 x 72cm (33 7/16 x 28 3/8in).


Artcurial, Paris, Art Moderne, Art Contemporain, 25 April 2006, lot 366
Private collection, UK (acquired from the above sale)

Léon Zack studied painting in private academies and literature at the University of Moscow. He then spent time in several studios where he met avant-garde artists like Ivan Rerberg and Ilya Machkov, the founding members of the Jack of Diamonds group which referred to Cézanne's Fauvism and presages of Cubism. In 1913, he published a collection of poems signed under the pseudonym "Chrysanthe" and married, in 1917, Nadia Braudo with whom he had two children: Irene, who became a sculptor, and Florent.

In 1920, Zack and his family left Russia for France via Rome, Florence, and Berlin, where he produced set designs and costumes for the Russian romantic ballets directed by Boris Romanov. Ten years later, Zack joined the neo-humanists movement inspired by the art critic Waldemar George. During this time, Léon Zack also worked for the Monte-Carlo Ballet and illustrated works by Arthur Rimbaud, Verlaine, Mallarmé, and Baudelaire. In 1940, he left Paris and took refuge in Arcachon, Villefranche-sur-Mer, and Grenoble. He returned to Paris in 1945 where he exhibited his first abstract works at Katia Granoff's and at the Garets gallery.

From 1955 onwards, Zack dedicated his career to religious art and specialised in the production of stained-glass windows for Notre-Dame-des-Pauvres at Issy-Les-Moulineaux and for numerous churches in Paris and French provinces.

Dressed in white and with a band of flowers in her hair, the sitter for the present portrait reappears wearing a shawl in another painting by Leon Zack titled Portrait de la Teresina (reproduced in P. Cabanne et al., Léon Zack, catalogue de l'oeuvre peint, Paris, 1993, no. 65, p. 90). The name suggests that the model for both portraits could have been the celebrated Catalan ballet dancer Teresina Boronat.

Born in Spain, Teresa Boronat i Fabra (1904-1983) made a successful career as a dancer, choreographer and dance professor in Spain and France. Equally excelling in classical ballet as well as in the traditional Spanish dance, by 1922 Boronat was a lead performer at The Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona before settling in Paris in 1924. In Paris, she founded the school of Spanish dance and the dance company Les Ballets Espagnols de Teresina Boronat. Leon Zack was among the artists who worked on Boronat company productions, whilst a portrait of Teresina by Zack shown at the 1932 Salon des Surindépendants in Paris found favourable reviews of the critics.

We are grateful to Nadine Nieszawer for their assistance in cataloguing this lot.

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