Biography


Zuka
(1924, Los Angeles, USA - 2016, Paris, France)

Zuka was born in Los Angeles in 1924 from Russian parents fleeing the revolution. After being exhibited by Estella Katzenellenbogen and graduated from the first faculty of Fine Arts in the United States, Zuka, 27 extremely gifted representative of the new post-war American scene, made friends, among others, with Joan Mitchell. She went to France in the late 1940ies, “to acquire culture” and to study at The Grande Chaumière Academy, in Paris. She married the illustrator Tim, moved in France and was exhibited from 1970 at the gallery Darthea Speyer until its closure.

Her works is in the wake of Braque, Picasso or Matisse using in turn oil paints and collage. She draws with scissors and collage with no prep work, like Matisse at the end of his life. Reminiscent of Fauvism, through her use of glaring colours and simplified shapes, her paintings are above all full of life, movement and joy.

Audacious colours, decorative exuberance, expressivity of the characters are the characteristics of the Zuka’s work. At the École des filles, she declines her originality, her imagination, in her series : Amerindians collages, portraits of the French Revolution. Her series on the French Revolution, presented in 1988 at the Mona Bismarck Foundation, brings a new light and a new festive and merry representation to this Epinal style images too often pompous and solemn. Zuka thinks that : “Anyone who lived May 68 in Paris understands the excitement, joys and extreme angers of the Revolution and knows that the Revolution must have been, among other things, without any doubt, quite fun”. A selection of this series will be exhibited at the Musée de Rochefort in 2017. 

In her series on American Indians, Zuka creates from glued papers and pieces of ordinary, print or plain tapestries. She is interested in the rites and practices of these tribes through decorative by their colours and exuberant by their whirling rhythms works. Thus, just like her, her work is shared between a far American past and a bucolic French life, between a history of Revolution and an American history as well as a revolution of techniques.

Zuka dedicated her whole recent work to one theme : the cow. They are of our time, colour-cows, pictorial form-cows. The colour and the form are both used with the greatest originality. Composition, rhythm, bring to life with gaiety this theme studied since the time of Cretan frescos and of friezes of the Parthenon.


Exhibitions selected


Solo exhibitions

2016 - Amazones de la Révolution, Gallery Penthièvre Françoise Livinec, Paris
2015 - Restrospective Zuka, Gallery Penthièvre Françoise Livinec, Paris
2015 - Colorful Cows, Gallery Matignon Françoise Livinec, Paris
2008 - Les Oiseaux de Zuka, Charlieu Museum
2007 - Rétrospective, Les anciens Abattoirs, Avallon
1989 - University Gallery, Birmingham
1989 - Baruch College Gallery , New York
1989 - La Femme et la Révolution, Banque Lambert, Bruxelles
1989 - Foundation Mona Bismarck, Paris
1989 - National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.
1976 - Santa Barbara Museum, Santa Barbara
1970-2007 - Gallery Darthea Speyer, Paris
1966-1964 - Gallery Lambert, Paris
1966-1964 - University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Group exhibitions

2016 - Amazones de la Révolution, Musée Lambinet, Versailles
2016 - L'attrape-Feu, l'art réenchante le monde, École des filles, Huelgoat
2016 - Art Paris Art Fair, Gallery Françoise Livinec, Paris
2015 - Briser le toit de la maison - Le sacré dans l'art, École des filles, Huelgoat
2014 - Art Paris Art Fair 2014, Gallery Françoise Livinec, Paris
2014 - Ramène ta fraise, Gallery Françoise Livinec, avenue Matignon, Paris
2013 - Colorfull Cows, Gallery Françoise Livinec, avenue Matignon, Paris. 2013
2012 - Quel temps fait-il ? - Un climat de tableaux modernes et contemporains, Ecole des filles-Espace d'art, Huelgoat
2012 - Pierre qui roule...-Les figures du paysages, Ecole des filles-Espace d'art, Huelgoat
2010 - 100 ans de couleurs, Ecole des filles-Espace d'art, Huelgoat
2008 - 40e anniversaire de la Galerie Darthea Speyer, Gallery Darthea Speyer, Paris
2006 - Hommage à Kimber Smith, Gallery Jean Fournier, Paris
2004 - Liberté et Révolution, Trouville
2004 - Performing Art Center Thousand Oaks, California
1999 - Animal, Tremblay Art Centre, Yonne
1997 - Artistes américains à Paris, Foundation Mona Bismarck, Paris
1997 - Animal, Médiathèque François-Mitterand, Oise
1994 - Les créateurs font un carton, La Poste Museum, Paris
1984 - La part des femmes dans l'art contemporain, Municipal gallery, Vitry-sur-Seine
1981 - West 81 , Minnesota Museum of Art, Saint Paul
1975 - L'Année de la femme, Contemporary Art Museum, Paris
1967 - U.S.A Groupe 67, Musée des Augustins, Toulouse
1966 - Ten americans in Paris, American Cultural center, Berlin
1951 - American Cultural Center

Collections :

Banque Lambert, Bruxelles
Bernard Baruch Library, New York
National Collection of Contemporary Art, Paris
Israël Museum, Jérusalem
Contemporary Art Museum, Paris
Twentieth Century Fund, New York