917 979-2788 vanigreene@mac.com

Artist: Joseph LaCasse (1894 – 1975)

Oil on canvas, 1951 11” x 9”, identified on back Joseph Lacasse (1894 – 1975) is a Belgian artist who enjoyed a career that spanned some sixty-five years, during which he stood at the helm of Abstraction. Born in Tournai, Belgium in 1894 in a working-class family, Lacasse started his apprenticeship to become a painter-decorator as early as 1905. He was accepted the following year as a free student at the Ecole des Beaux Arts of Tournai where he continued his training until 1921. As a young boy, Lacasse worked alongside his father as a stone-cutter in a local quarry. His abstract pastels, dated 1910, were painted after a day of hard work, where the austere structure of the quarry fired his imagination. These early pastels are completely geometrical, though not symmetrical, and their aggressive shapes are softened by rounded lines. They are dominated by a powerful black construction, traced with great surety. After surviving the horrors of the First World War, Lacasse became a successful painter of figurative scenes illustrating the condition of the working classes, often depicted against a religious background. Following several travels to Italy, Brittany and Spain, Lacasse finally decided to settle in Paris in 1925. Throughout the thirties, Lacasse turned to Abstraction for consolation from the disillusionment over the painting and the forced removal of his frescoes at the Dominican Chapel at Juvisy during 1931-32. In 1933 Lacasse founded the gallery L’Equipe inspired by his socialist ideas that artists of all disciplines should come together to exchange ideas and to fight for the right to be shown. The gallery played an important role on the Parisian art scene with exhibitions showing the works of many including Jacques Lipchitz, Moïse Kisling, Francis Picabia and Pablo Picasso. Until his death in 1975, Lacasse’s work became the subject of countless exhibitions abroad including UK, Germany and the USA.