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Sonia (Sophia) Lewitska, a painter and graphic artist (of Ukrainian and Polish descent), was born on 9 March 1874 in the village of Vykhilivka (now in Khmelnitsky oblast, Ukraine). Her father was a school inspector and her mother came from a Polish aristocratic family. She took her early lessons of drawing and painting in Kazanovskys School (Zhytomyr, 1894). In 1893 she married Yustin Maniłowsky; in 1895 they had a daughter Olga (Lousia). But rather soon Sophia and Yustin divorced.Then she lived in Kyiv until 1905 studying painting in S.I. Svetoslavsky studio.

In 1905 the young woman (with her daughter) moved to Paris and entered there the School of Fine Arts.

In that city she met a young cubist painter Jean-Hippolytus Marchand (1883–1940) and eventually married him.

In 1900-ies she made some visits to Kyiv. During one of them, in 1906 she met A. V. Gritchenko.

Since 1910 Sonia took part in the exhibitions in salon of Société des Artistes Indépendants, and her works were approved by G. Apollinaire. About that time she met A. P. Arkhipenko. Since 1912 the works of Lewicka were exhibited in Salon d’automne, she was the secretary of the Salon. In 1912 the painter joined the Normandian Association of contemporary painter (Rouen) and took part in its exhibition. In autumn of the same year four of her works were shown on the “Section d’or” group exhibition in La Boétie gallery in Paris.

In the spring of 1913 Sonia Lewicka had her first personal exhibition in B. Weil’s gallery, showing 25 paintings, drawings and aquarelles of 1908– 1913. She was also exhibited in Léon Marseille gallery. In 1914 she made her first xylographic works.

At the beginning of the World War I Sonia made woodcuts for the magazine “l’Elan”. After the war, she still lived in Paris. In 1919–1922 her graphic works were published in avant-garde journal “Le nouveau spectateur” as well as “L’Almanach de Cocagne”.

Sonia Lewistka designed and illustrated French bibliophilic publications of N. V. Gogol “Evening on a Farm near Dikanka” (1921), “Le livre des Saintes paroles et notre Saint roi Louis” (the medieval biography of Saint Louis) by J. de Joinville (1922), “Le Serpent» by P. Valéry (1926; together with J. Marchand), “La Crisopeste” by Jacques Bernard (1932) and others.

Since 1925, the artist spent her summers in Vence with R. Dufy who had helped her to find a job with silk for Lyons factories.

She kept on exhibiting in salon of Société des Artistes Indépendants and Salon d’automne (in 1930 she created a poster for the latter), as well as in Tuileries salon, her works were also present in the galleries of Berthe Weil and Léon Marseille. In 1926 her creations were shown in the retrospective exhibition “20 years of Independent Art” in Grand Palais. В 1925 her personal exhibition was held in B. Weil gallery, in 1930 she held it in A. Sаmbon gallery. In 1928 the French government bought her paintings “Bathing” (1926) and “Orange Road” (1928) for the museum. Lewicka’s woodcuts were shown on Ukrainian Graphic Art Exhibition (Berlin and Prague, 1932), Contemporary Ukrainian Graphic Art (Lviv, 1932), Association of Independent Ukrainian Artists (1933, Lviv), and on the exhibition of a group of Polish painters in Beaux Arts gallery in Paris (1935).

Since 1933 the artist had been suffering a mental disorder. In 1936 she took part in Salon d’automne for the last time, in 1937 she made her last xylography «Flowers Feast».

The artist died on 20 September 1937 in Paris. Her works are present in the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris, in Le Havre museum and in Albertinum in Vienna.

Her daughter Lousia Maniłowska was also a talented artist.

Sonia Lewitska biography

March 9, 1874
Vykhilivka, Ukraine
September 20, 1937
Paris, France

Painter, printmaker


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