Dmitry LEON 1925 — 1993
Дмитро ЛЕОН • Дмитрий ЛЕОН
Dmitry Leon (Lion) was born in Kaluga in 1925. Graduated from the Moscow Secondary Art School in 1941. From 1943 until 1952, he served in the Soviet Army, engaged in the Eastern front. The artist learned about the Holocaust from witnesses encountered during his demobilization as well as from documentary films and foreign accounts, and it was the impact of the Holocaust that led him to articulate the spiritual beliefs and tragic fate of the Jewish people. From 1953 to 1958, Leon studied at the Moscow Institute of Graphic Arts. When he settled in Moscow as an art student, he posted the figure 6,351,000 (representing the Holocaust death toll) on the wall of his room, and his artwork from the late 1950s and early 1960s manifests apocalyptic visions of dead bodies and gas chambers. In 1963 he created a monumental composition on paper, People of Warsaw Going to the Gas Chamber. Subsequently, his graphic works became more symbolic and metaphorical. From the 1970s he produced several series of figures such as David and Bathsheba. Though Leon participated in some of the unofficial art exhibitions, he saw himself outside any group movement. Nonetheless, in 1977, he was admitted to MOSSKh, and continued working as a graphic artist and illustrator, mostly for the Sovietish Heimland publishing house, where he published in Yiddish. Leon had his first solo exhibition in Moscow in 1990. He died in Moscow in 1993.