Sonia LEWITSKA Софія Пилипівна Левицька 1874-1937

Née dans une famille russo-polonaise, Sonia Lewitska commence ses études artistiques en 1894 auprès de Kazanovsky dans un cours privé, puis de Sergey Svetoslavsky dans son atelier. Elle rencontre pendant ses études Alexander Archipenko, un sculpteur ukrainien.

En 1905, l’artiste Sonia Lewitska déménage pour Paris afin d’étudier à l’Ecole des Beaux Arts. Sonia Lewitska y découvre le fauvisme grâce au peintre Raoul Dufy, qui lui apprend la technique de la peinture sur soie. Elle passe du temps à l’Ecole de Paris et dans différents lieux artistiques de Montparnasse, puis ses peintures commencent a être exposées régulièrement dans les années 10, aux Salons de l’automne, des indépendants, à la Section d’Or… Plus tard, les galeries accueillent son travail jusqu’à sa mort.

1912 est une date importante pour l’évolution de la carrière de Lewitska car elle expose à Moscou auprès d’Henri Matisse, Robert Delaunay…

Son style évolue mais s’accroche toujours aux arts populaires ukrainien. Il est empreint d’une féerie et d’une poésie représentant des paysages qui attirent les plus grands critiques comme Guillaume Apollinaire. 

LEWITSKA Sonia, la fontaine au paon, aquarelle, watercolor, signée, signed , 37 x 27 cm, expose à la galerie agnes thiebault
LEWITSKA Sonia, la fontaine au paon, aquarelle, watercolor, signée, signed , 37 x 27 cm

Sonia Lewitska was a Post-Impressionist painter, printmaker and illustrator of Ukrainian origin, sister of Ukrainian writer and diplomat Modest Pylypovych Levytskyi (1866, Vilkhivtsi (Вільхівці Чемеровецького району), Podillia, Ukraine - Lutsk, Ukraine). Her father was an inspector of the public schools of the Podillya province. He was a friend of Volodymyr Antonovych and Tadej Rylskyj, he was actively interested in social and cultural work. Her childhood was in Kyiv and Vilkhivtsi. Her mother Modesta Byshovska (Biszowska) came from the Leszczyńskis (Leshchinskys). Her family was a highly educated and democratic, they spoke Ukrainian, well-fluent in German, French, Polish. Sonia graduated from Art School in Zhytomyr. In that town, at the age of 19, she got married Yustyn Manylovskyi, a local doctor, but he abused alcohol. After Art School she ran away from her husband, went to her parents in Vilkhivtsi, left her daughter Olga who born with mental problems, and began to study Art with Serhiy Svetoslavsky in Kyiv. S.Svetoslavsky advised her to go to Paris and Sofia moved to Paris in 1905 to study painting.

Sonia Lewitska engaged in a refined art without losing what a poet called the gift of childhood. Independent, she eschewed all art theory and only investigated the best means of translating her own interior vision into art. Often inspired by Slavic folklore. Lewitska was another early member of the Parisian group. In 1905 she settles in Paris and continued her studies at a Jean Marchand, who later became her husband. Beginning as a cubist and fauvist, she moved into a Post-Impressionist style and became known for her illustrations of limited edition books.

She exhibited at the Salon d'Automne (1910–1913, 1919–1925, 1927–1934), the Salon des Indépendants (1910–1914, 1920–1922),[3] the Section d'Or,[4] the Salon des Tuileries (1929, 1932, 1933), the Paris galleries and at the International exhibitions.

In 1933 she took part in Salon de Echanges. At the same time, in accompany with her friend Henriette Tirman, she helps André Fau and Francis Thieck[5] in room decoration suggesting services of painters from her closest circle: Raoul Dufy, André Lhote, André Hellé (1871–1945) and Jean Marchand. Thereby she supported her friends in tough times of economic crisis in the country.[6]

In 1937, Henriette Tirman with friends creates in her house the Society of Friends Sonia Lewitska, which organized in 1938 two retrospective exhibitions of the artist in the Gallery Sagot – Le Garrec.

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