Louis LILLE (born Ludwik or Ludwig Lille)

PODWOLOCZYSKA (POLAND) 1897 – PARIS 1957

Louis Lille was very young when he found his vocation. He painted his first painting at the age of fifteen. Between 1920 and 1923, he joined the Formists group in Krakow, which was marked by both Cubism and Surrealist trends. He was also interested, since its creation in 1929, by the interwar Polish artistic circle, Artes. In 1928, he wrote the preface of the Hahn and Henrdyk Wlodarski exhibition in Lwow, in which he explained the principles of Cubism to Polish visitors. He participated in Artes’ exhibitions, notably its first exhibition in 1930. A few months later, he became the president of this association, taking part in events organized by Artes from 1930 to 1932 in Lwow, Warsaw, Krakow, Lodz, Stanislavov, and all over Poland. Like most Artes members, who were attracted by the French capital, Louis Lille arrived in Paris in the beginning of 1937. He then considered that his Cubist phase was over and joined the group of Polish artists in Paris. He became particularly close to Zygmund Schreter. He also spent time with Arpad Szenes, Vieira da Silva, and Bruno Schultz (who visited Paris before the war). While he continued to paint, he also engraved, notably using the drypoint technique. He later produced sculptures too.

During the war, he managed to stay in Paris and dedicated himself to saving Jewish religious objects. This activity created the basis of the Lille collection, which is today divided between the Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaisme in Paris and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. After the war, he continued to paint. He also made engravings, notably an illustration of the Polish translation of the Songs of Songs published in Lwow in 1922.