Skip to content

Léopold Survage
b. 1879, Lappeenranta, Finland
d. 1968, Paris, France

Léopold Survage grew up in Finland, where his father ran a piano factory and instilled in his son a love of music. Young Léopold dreamed of becoming a professional pianist, but after being struck with a debilitating illness in his twenties, he was forced to abandon that dream. Instead, Survage enrolled in the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture, where he soon became enamored with the Russian avant-garde, exhibiting alongside Alexander Archipenko. In 1908, Survage moved to Paris, where he studied under Henri Matisse. In those early years, Survage subsidized his artistic pursuits by working as a piano tuner. In 1911, he exhibited at the Salon d'Automne alongside many of the other early Cubists. He later shared a studio with Amedeo Modigliani, before moving from Paris to Nice. For eight years, while working on the coast, Survage's works became increasingly less Cubist as he began to incorporate a Neo-Classical lexicon into his compositions.

In 1960, Survage received the Prix National Français de la Solomon Guggenheim Fondation, and in 1963 he received the Légion d’Honneur. His work can be found in public collections worldwide, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Musee National d’Art Moderne, Paris; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Museum, Athens; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg.