Jan Lebenstein


Born in 1930. Died in 1999. One of the most famous contemporary Polish painters, printmakers, and illustrators. From 1948 to 1954 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. He emigrated to France in 1959 in the wake of the Grand Prix awarded to him at the first Biennale of the Young in Paris. Lebenstein's works were soon put on display at two exhibit in Paris in Galerie Lacloche and Lambert, in Sweden and Holland, at the Documenta 2 in Kassel and the Biennial in Venice and Sao Paulo. There is hardly a capital in the world in which he has not had an individual exhibition. With the series "Abominable Creatures","Bestiaria" and "Carnet Intime" he entered the archetypal, existential, and profoundly meaningful world of animal and human images. Half-human, half-bestial monsters were usually executed in dark colors quietly threatened each other and performed gloomy and secret rituals. Since 1958 when his "Small Figure in Blue Frame" was presented to Guggenheim International Award Lebenstein's works were shown at almost twenty collective exhibitions in the United States, e.g., in Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1961 and 1966, National Gallery in Washington,DC in 1963, Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh in 1961,1964, and 1967, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1962, Spertus Museum of Judaica in Chicago in 1975, Frye Art Museum in Seattle in 1993. His works were included into collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Spertus Museum of Art of the Notre Dame University,Indiana, and in the Hirshhom Museum in Washington,DC. Hundreds of works from the late 1950' and 1960' could be found now in the most prestigious and discriminating private collections in the United States, Europe, and Japan. His works had found their way into the collections of famous politicians as vice-president Nelson Rockefeller, philanthropists as John D. Rockefeller III, businessmen's as David G. Thompson, Joseph H. Hirshhorn, Jan Mitchell, writers as Joseph Alsop, Mary McCarthy, John Canaday and many others.

1956, gouache on graph-paper,
15" x 23"
Al Fresco
1966, oil on canvas, 41.5" x 51"
Axial Figure
1961, gouache on paper, 9" x 9.25"
Galerie Chalette, New York


1959, pen, ink, watercolor on graph paper, 17.75" x 8.5", Exh. Emerson Gallery, Hamilton Coll., NY, 1995




1961, ball-point pen on graph paper 


1965, pen, ink, gouache, 9.75" x 13.5"



Double-headed Beast

1965, gouache on paper

Double Plongee

1965, pen, ink, gouache


Beast crushing Man

1964, pen, ink, gouache, 9.25" x 12.5"



Figures on the Bridge

1979, pastel, ink, gouache

17.25" x 25.25"

Bar Disco

1980, pastel, ink, gouache

17.25" x 25.25"

Two Women in the Window

1981, pastel, ink, gouache

25.5" x 18.75"



1965, pen, ink, watercolor

9.5" x 12.75"

Study for Dark Animal
1965, signed
watercolor and gouache on paper, 12,5" x 9"
Contemporary European Watercolors - exh. org. by Museum of Modern Art, NY
Woman and the Bull
1966, signed
gouache and watercolor on paper,
10" x 14,5"
1966, signed
lithography, a. p.
14,5" x 9,5"
1973, signed
lithography, copy 36/100
20" x 28"
Scene du Salon
1973, signed
lithography, copy 98/100
20" x 28
Two Axial Figures
1961, signed
ballpoint pen on paper, 12,5" x 17,5"











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