Alexander Archipenko

Russian, 1887 - 1964

Artist's website


Alexander Archipenko was born in 1887 in Russia and moved to Paris in 1908 where he associated with avant-garde artists like Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Amedeo Modigliani. After first exhibitions at the Salon d'Automne and with the Indépendants, at the age of twenty-four, he founded his own art school.


His life was determined not only by his incessant creativity as a sculptor but also by a fervent art education. In art history Alexander Archipenko is referred to as the "Picasso of sculpture" as he played a crucial role in introducing Cubism to sculpture. As early as 1910 he produced expressive forms, still figurative, but with a tendency towards abstraction. After 1910 Archipenkos forms show sharp, broken contours and are clearly influenced by Cubism.


Later, Italian Futurism inspired him to kinetic compositions with organic or technical forms. At the same time Archipenko also developed his so-called "sculpture-painting", reliefs made of wood, cardboard, metal and glass.


In 1921 Archipenko moved to Berlin, where he established a school of sculpture. He held a retrospective exhibition at Potsdam and his first individual exhibition in the United States, at the Société Anonyme in New York. Archipenko moved to the United States in 1923. He concentrated on the decorative effects of sculpture during the 1930s and attempted an approach to the immaterial in the middle 1940s. He began "modelling light" and created plastic sculptures illuminated from the inside. Alexander Archipenko died in 1964 in New York.


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