Moscow 1879 - Paris 1968

Born in Moscow in 1879, Léopold Survage began his career in the piano factory of his father, and became an apprentice piano maker.
In 1901, attracted by painting and drawing, he entered the School of Fine Arts in Moscow. He painted his first work Moscow, in 1903 and began to participate in exhibitions.
In 1908, he left Russia for Paris, where he was introduced as a piano tuner at the Maison Pleyel and followed, in parallel the courses of the Matisse and Colarossi Academies. He had his first exhibitions in 1911 and 1914, period during which he met Apollinaire, André Salmon, Picasso?
In 1912, Survage achieved his work The Colorful Rhythm, first painting produced under the principles of « colored rhythm », analogy between colorful visual form and music.
The outbreak of the First World War, however, prevented him from continuing in this direction. Survage then left for Nice, where he discovered the Mediterranean light that deeply marked him.
The artist reinvented his palette there and achieved a dreamlike painting wich would open the way to Surrealism painting.
Back in Paris in 1919, Survage abandoned the happy sensuality of color to muted tones that emphasized the linear rigor of the construction.
From 1922, he worked for the Russian Ballets of Sergei Diaghilev. Thereafter, he created tissues designs for Chanel and panels for the Railways Palace at the Exhibition of Arts and Techniques in Paris.
In 1925, Léopold Survage discovered the city and the port of Collioure. Thereafter each year he would stay a few months, marking an important milestone in the evolution of his art. The intense light determined the volumes but mostly reappraised the human presence in his compositions. Following Picasso and Derain, Survage felt the duty to revive the tradition of painting and then came back to academic subject and classical figures.

Learn more