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Now representing the Estate of Leon Kossoff

Xavier Hufkens is delighted to announce the representation of British artist Leon Kossoff (1926–2019)


Xavier Hufkens is delighted to announce the representation of British artist Leon Kossoff (1926-2019), one of the most acclaimed figurative painters of the twentieth century. Known for his portraits, life drawings and cityscapes of London, Kossoff adopted a radical commitment to figurative painting at a time when conceptualism and minimalism were the dominant forces in the art world. The artist will be included in the gallery’s presentation at Art Basel 2023. In February 2024, Xavier Hufkens will present a solo exhibition of works by Leon Kossoff.

Xavier Hufkens: “Kossoff’s artistic legacy is a testament to the power of raw emotion. His extraordinary practice, which captured a profound human connection, has had a lasting impact that will endure for generations to come. I look forward to contributing to the continued appreciation and understanding of Kossoff’s artistic vision, affirming his rightful place among the greats of our time.”

Andrea Rose: “Kossoff’s paintings are characterised by their charged and energetic surfaces, operating like force fields as the images are drawn from the depths. Whether watching a train passing, or people walking down a street, or children splashing about in a swimming pool, we find ourselves absorbed into the ebb and flow of modern life in these works. They are extraordinary exercises in sustained spontaneity, poised almost miraculously between the exploratory and the celebratory.”

A born and bred Londoner, Kossoff found inspiration in his close environment; from within his studio walls to the city’s streets. Often building layer on layer of paint over long periods of time, Kossoff created expressive, tactile surfaces. Through a use of heavy impasto, his canvases took on a three-dimensional, almost sculptural quality. From early in his career, Kossoff’s focus on the city’s streets led him to capture the post-war bomb-damaged neighbourhoods or historic landmarks like Christ Church Spitalfields and Arnold Circus, which held a deep connection to his family's history as part of the Jewish diaspora that settled in the area during the early 20th century. In the intimacy of his studio, he would create psychologically penetrating portraits and figure studies, often of family members and friends.

Leon Kossoff represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1995 and was the subject of a retrospective at the Tate Gallery in 1996. His work is held in major public and private collections around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, MOMA New York and the Tate Gallery, London.