Philippe Hosiasson

1898 1978
(Ukraine) 1898 /   (France) 1978

Philippe Hosiasson grew up in Odessa,in a family of storekeepers, and was related to the Russian writer Boris Pasternak. Between 1910 and 1912, Hosiasson travelled to Berlin with his parents and got in touch with the western avant-garde. He started drawing at a young age. He briefly attended the School of Fine Arts in Odessa, and studied law and art history at the Odessa University in 1912. In 1917, he published a text on El Greco and married Olga Bilinski in 1918. In 1920, his university sent him to Rome where he met André Derain who worked for the Diaghilev’s ballets. He was fascinated by the Roman palaces and drew everything around him, such as crowds or streets. In 1922, Hosiasson and designed Russian ballets for Boris Romanov in Berlin.

Hosiasson arrived in Paris in 1924 and acquired French nationality in 1928. He and Léon Zack were members of the Neo-humanist group, which was founded in 1930 by Waldemar George and the young painters of the Académie Ranson.In 1937, he participated in the international exhibition in Paris and decorated the Pavillon de la Martinique.

Philippe Hosiasson was mobilized to join the army in 1939 and was seriously wounded near Dunkirk. He spent the years under Occupation in Toulouse, Marseille and in the region of Nice. He came back to Paris in 1948 following a long illness, which resulted from his wound. Philippe Hosiasson painted his first abstract work for the Front national (national front) in Marseilles in 1945. During the years 1947-1948, he started to paint his first “informal” paintings, which Michel Tapié and Michel Seuphor associated with abstract expressionism. Supported by Clément Greenberg, he exhibited his work with Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko and Kenneth Noland at the Kootz Gallery in New York. According to the artist, abstraction does not consist merely of the strict application of the Bible, according to which the representation of human beings is forbidden. It constitutes a “way to express his conception of the world and his Judaism”.