In the second and third decades of the 20th century, Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973) was considered one of the leading practitioners of Cubist sculpture; as his style evolved later on, and until his death, he continued to produce celebrated works. Dovid Margolin writes:
The [sculptor], born Chaim Yaakov Lipchitz in the resort town of Druskininkai, today in Lithuania [and then in Russia], spent the pre-World War II years in Paris, where he was friends with Pablo Picasso, posed for Amedeo Modigliani (whom he introduced to Chaim Soutine), and met Ernest Hemingway at one of the parties he regularly attended at the home of Gertrude Stein (although back then he didn’t know enough English, or Hemingway enough French, to communicate).
He escaped from Paris just before the Germans marched in, eventually making his way to New York. Lipchitz made his first visit to Tuscany in 1962, drawn by the millennia-old marble quarries of Carrara—“Michelangelo’s territory” he called it—and the foundry of Luigi Tommasi in Pietrasanta. He and his wife spent six weeks there, with almost all of the artist’s time consumed by work, going from the place he was staying to the foundry and back. “I didn’t see anything [of] Italy,” he said.
But he was smitten, with the work [and] with the place, and told his wife, Yulla, that they had to return. Unable to find [a workspace he could rent, he purchased what he described as] “a very beautiful house.” The renaissance structure, formally known as Villa Orsucci di Bozzio, sometimes spelled Villa Bosio, stands . . . overlooking the town of Camaiore and offering stunning views of the Tuscan countryside. Lipchitz set up shop there, working on smaller pieces in his indoor studio, and larger ones in the field outside.
Late in life, Lipchitz returned to Jewish religious observance, and in accordance with his wishes, his Tuscan estate is now used as an Orthodox summer camp.
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