Leon Weissberg

1894 1943
 (Галичина) (Pologne) 1894 /   (Pologne) 1943

Born into a wealthy and cultivated family, he studied first with Kokoschka at the Graphic Art Academy in Vienna then for three years at the Fine Art Academy.  After the Armistice, he sojourned in Berlin and in Munich where he studied at the Fine Art Academy. 

He visited Italy and Holland before moving to Paris in 1923, where he occupied
Rousseau's former atelier in Montparnasse. Weissberg frequented the Rotonde and Dome cafes and was a member of the Francois Villon circle. Spiritual, cordial and humanistic, he quickly became a symbol of Montparnasse.  He painted with a fine use of colour, hinting at post-expressionism.

In 1924 he began exhibiting in the Salons and at the Sacre du Printemps gallery with Menkès, Aberdam and Weingart, in the Bonaparte and Zak galleris with Epstein, Hayden, Mané-Katz, Soutine, Kikoïne, not to mention Derain and Despiau.  His work was supported by the dealers Leopold Zborowski and Wladimir Raykis.

In 1933 Weissberg moved to Saint-Paul de Vence at the invitation of Paul Roux, the owner of the Colombe d'Or where he received visits from Maurice Mendjizki and Kramsztyk. 

Until 1935 the sunlight inspired his work and this was reflected in his female figures and luminous landscapes. 

In 1940 he took refuge in Aveyron and his style moved towards expressionism. He produced a remarkable series of miniature works representing women, clowns and circus scenes and landscapes.

His Paris atelier was plundered and on February 18th, 1943 Weissberg was arrested in his Entraygues hotel, where he had been confined,  by the French gendarmes. He was first nterned in Gurs, then in Drancy. Two days after the Freundlich on,March 6, 1943, he was placed  in the convoy 51 for Maïdanek and was assassinated upon on his arrival on March 11, 1943.