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Leon Kossoff Portrait Leon Kossoff was born in East London, where his father, a Ukrainian Jewish immigrant, had a bakery.

It was during the years of the Second World War, when Kossoff was evacuated as a child to King’s Lynn, that he was given a taste for art by the family looking after him. After military service at the end of the War, during which he served in the Jewish Brigade, Kossoff returned to London and enrolled at St. Martin’s School of Art, subsequently also studying at the Royal College of Art. Kossoff also attended evening classes run by David Bomberg; these were vital both for him and for his great friend and fellow artist, Frank Auerbach. Both artists developed methods of utilising impasto in order to create highly expressive paint surfaces that had a haptic quality.

In addition to the many landscapes he painted, Kossoff has painted the human figure, not least in a string of portraits usually depicting those people of his immediate circle. This allows him to concentrate on his subjects, lending the works a visceral intimacy. At the same time, many of his figure paintings reveal the constant influence of the Old Masters on his work.
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