Moïse Kisling

Portrait d’homme SOLD


1915
oil on canvas
24 x 19.75 (61 x 50 cm)
signed lower left

Provenance:
Leopold Zborowski
Dominion Gallery, Montreal, by 1947

This work has been authenticated by Marc Ottavi and will be included in the catalogue raisonné for the artist

Kisling settled in Montparnasse in 1911. He rented a studio at 3 Rue Joseph Bara, where he lived for 27 years. Jules Pascin and Amedeo Modigliani, who had moved from Le Bateau Lavoir, lived nearby. Montparnasse had no residence of the type of La Ruche or Le Bateau Lavoir, and artists rented studios in different houses on different streets. That was why artistic life seethed in cafés and on the boulevards.

According to a contemporary, Kisling was “the axis around which everything rotated at Montmartre”. His artistry manifested itself in everything. Kisling’s duel with his comrade, Polish artist Gottlieb, of course, over a matter of honor, on June 12, 1914, is widely known. The Mexican artist Diego Rivera was Gottlieb’s second. The duel took place on the outskirts of Paris in the presence of a crowd of people, including reporters. It did not stop until first blood had been drawn: both duelists were lightly wounded. Many newspapers and magazines published photographs and reports of the duel.

Moise Kisling enrolled in the Foreign Legion in the first days of the war and volunteered for the front. On May 11, 1915, he was seriously wounded in the Battle of the Somme. The war was over for him, and he was granted French citizenship for bravery on the battlefield. He passed briefly through Paris before convalescing in Spain. By 1916 he was again in Paris, and photographs by Jean Cocteau show him back with the Montparnasse group of Picasso, Modigliani and others.

Kisling became a leading figure among his peers and even, according to many historians, the “king of the Montparnassians.” His studio was a meeting place for artists, writers and poets.