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Jacques Lipchitz, born Chaim Jacob Lipchitz on 22 August 1891 in Druskininkai, Lithuania, and died on 26 May 1973 in Capri, was a naturalized French and later American sculptor.

Born into a Lithuanian Jewish family, Chaim Jacob Lipchitz arrived in Paris in 1909 without any artistic training. He attended the École des Beaux-Arts for a while and then went to the Académie Julian in Montparnasse. He was also interested in the Cubist avant-garde.

In 1913, he created La Femme au serpent and La Danseuse, which were his first real works free of 19th century traditions. The Woman with a Snake is a harmonious assembly of abstract elements, in which the breast, for example, is unambiguously evoked by a cone; the whole is a Cubist work at first glance. For The Dancer, Lipchitz uses even fewer curved surfaces, favouring planes that intersect at right angles. These two works place Lipchitz among the great cubist sculptors such as Alexander Archipenko, Juan Gris and Henri Laurens. His relationship with other major sculptors of the time, such as Umberto Boccioni, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Pablo Picasso and Constantin Brâncuşi, is less obvious, although he was familiar with their work and even frequented them.

In 1915, he signed his first contract with the art dealer Léonce Rosenberg. At the age of twenty-four, he exhibited Man with a Guitar, which caused a sensation. This time, Lipchitz produced a very abstract work in which the first glance does not clearly recognise the parts that constitute the man's body.

1920 : first solo exhibition at Rosenberg. At this time Lipchitz produced the portrait of Gertrude Stein and also statues of an abstract cubism such as the series of bathers. He broke his contract with Rosenberg, which assured him a good income, so that he could produce what he wanted and not what was imposed on him. Financial difficulties ensued for several years.

1935: first major exhibition in New York.

1941: He emigrates to New York.

1952: the fire in his New York studio destroys most of his American work.

1954: Major retrospective at the MOMA in New York.

1958: He becomes an American citizen - major exhibition in Amsterdam. That year, he nearly dies of stomach cancer. He miraculously recovers after receiving a blessing from the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Following this episode, he met the Rebbe the following summer. The Rebbe asked him to do two things: first, to resume Jewish practice by wearing tefilin (phylacteries) every day; and second, to religiously divorce his first wife in order to religiously marry his second. Lipchitz put these two recommendations into practice.

1961-62: Moves near Carrara, Italy.

1963: first visit to Israel.

1970-71: Major retrospective exhibition in Berlin and other European cities, as well as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

1972: Major exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Publication of his autobiography, My Life in Sculpture.

26 May 1973: died in Capri. On 29 May, he is buried in Jerusalem.

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