Louis Marcoussis was born Ludwig Casimir Ladislas Markus in Warsaw, on November 14, 1878. In 1901 he entered the Academy of Fine Arts of Cracow to study painting with Jan Crzegorz Stanislawski. In 1903 Markus moved to Paris, where he worked briefly under Jules Lefebvre at the Académie Julian* and became a friend of La Fresnaye and Robert Lotiron. He exhibited for the first time at the Salon d’Automne* in 1905 and at the Salon des Indépendants* in 1906, and was often represented in both salons in subsequent years.
In Paris he made his living by selling caricatures* to satirical periodicals, including La Vie Parisienne and Le Journal. He frequented the cafés, such as the Rotonde, Cirque Médrano and the Ermitage, where he met Edgar Degas about 1906 and Braque, Picasso and Apollinaire in 1910. In 1907 Markus abandoned painting; when he began to paint again in 1910, he discarded his earlier Impressionist* style to adopt the new Cubist* idiom. About 1911, at the suggestion of Apollinaire, be began calling himself Marcoussis, the name of a village near Monthéry. In 1912 the artist participated in the Salon de la Section d’Or at the Galerie de la Boétie in Paris. By this time his circle included Gris, Léger, Picabia, Metzinger and Max Jacob. He served in the army from 1914 to 1919, returning to Poland for a visit after his demobilization.
Marcoussis exhibited in 1921 at the gallery of Der Sturm in Berlin with Gleizes, Villon and others. He was given his first one-man show at Galerie Pierre, Paris, in 1925. This was followed by solo exhibitions in 1928 at the Galerie Le Centaure in Brussels, a city he visited on that occasion, and at the Galerie Georges Bernheim in Paris in 1929. In 1930 the artist made the first of many trips to England and ma Helena Rubinstein, who became his supporter.
In 1934-35 be stayed for several months in the United States, where one-man shows of his prints opened a The Arts Club of Chicago in 1934 and Knoedler Gallery* and Co. in New York in 1935.
Marcoussis worked almost exclusively in graphics from 1930 to 1937; a retrospective of his prints took place at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 1936. The artist traveled in England and Italy in 1938, and during the following year was given a solo exhibition at the London Gallery in London. In 1940, as the German army advanced, Marcoussis left Paris for Cusset, near Vichy, where he died on October 22, 1941.