Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964) belonged to a wave of East European artists who moved to the West in search of freedom of expression, economic stability and artistic success. Born in Kiev and briefly living in Moscow, Archipenko moved first to Paris in 1909, and later Nice before the outbreak of the First World War. He also spend a short time living in Berlin between 1921 and 1923, after which he moved to and settled in the United States.
Art historian Marek Bartelik argues that this nomadic lifestyle was a major influence on Archipenko's artistic output, which, along with a refusal to produce art with any clear alliance to the prevailing movements of the time, enabled him to develop his own hybrid artistic style.
This essay was written to accompany the exhibition Refashioning the Figure: The Sketchbooks of Archipenko (25 September 2003 - 4 January 2004, the Upper Sculpture Study Gallery, Leeds Art Gallery).
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