Kars was born in to parents of German origin. He drew in his class notebooks and frequented a certain Lheman painting gallery at the end of his school day. He attended the Salons of Prague and took painting courses before leaving in 1899 for Munich where he studied with Franz von Stuck and became friends with Pascin and Paul Klee.
Between 1905 and 1907, he travelled via Prague to settle in Madrid where he met Juan Gris and absorbed the painting style of Vélasquez and Goya. In 1908, after a stay in Prague, Kars arrived in Paris and settled in Montmartre, meeting Suzanne Valadon and Maurice Utrillo.
He renewed his friendship with Pascin and frequented Chagall, Apollinaire, Max Jacob, the art critic Maurice Raynal and the Greek painter Demetrius Galanis. He spent the First World War in Belgium with Pascin.
Kars spent the summer of 1923 with Suzanne Valadon's family in the Ségalas region of the Bas-Pyrenees. His style evolved towards simplicity of form through his contact with Paris and with Cubism, but he remained deeply attached to realism. He used Indian ink, watercolour and pastel in his work.
In 1933, Kars bought a home in Tossa de Mar in Catalonia where he lived for three years. He returned to Paris and settled in rue Caulaincourt.
In 1939, he took refuge in Lyon and in1942 he moved to the safety of his sister's home in Switzerland.
In 1945, he committed suicide by throwing himself out of a fifth-floor hotel room window. He could no longer stand the appalling tragedy faced by his people.
In 1966, the contents of his atelier were auctioned at the Palais Galleria.
In 1983, Modern Art Museum of Troyes staged a Kars restrospective and exhibited 120 of his works.
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