17.03.1925, Kaluga – 14.09.1993, Moscow Graphic artist, book illustrator, teacher

Lion was born in Kaluga, where his father was a lawyer. He moved with his family to Moscow after the death of his father in 1935. He studied at No. 1 Art School from 1937 to 1941, and entered the Faculty of Graphic Art at the Moscow Architectural Institute in 1942. Called up for active service in 1943, he remained in the army after the war and served in the Far East but he was demobilised in 1952 due to a wound. From 1952 to 1957 he studied under Ivan Chekmazov and Pavel Zakharov at the Moscow Polygraphic Institute. His graduation work, illustrations to the selected works of Sholem-Aleichem, was shown at the 5th Exhibition of Young Moscow Artists and the 7th Moscow Exhibition of Book Graphics. Lion developed the idea of associative illustration in which writing and image are united and of equal value. Apart from his designs for Herman Melville’s Typee (Mysl, 1967) and for a collection of poetry by Catullus (Kniga, 1989), most of the illustrations that he created over more than 30 years were not published. Even so, his works were exhibited a lot and were awarded the First Prize at the International Exhibition of Book Art in Leipzig in 1959, and a First Class Certificate at the All-Union Book Art Competition in 1978.

Lion’s easel art of the 1950s to early 1960s was devoted almost entirely to the tragedies of the time: the Holocaust (while he was studying he wrote on the wall of his room the figure 6,351,000, recalling the number of Jews killed during the Second World War), Stalin’s last anti-Semitic campaign, the so-called ‘Doctors’ Plot’, and the story of Janusz Korczak. In 1967 he painted his room with the frescoes Moses, Rublev, Montaigne and Dante, which were almost destroyed when the building was demolished in 1970. He formulated the concept of the luminescence of white. At the end of the 1960s he began the series 'Procession' in which stories from the Old Testament are united with modern tragedies. In 1981 he created the series 'Visible in the Invisible', in which figures melt more and more actively into the whiteness of the background. He collaborated with the magazines Znaniye–sila and Khimiya i zhizn in which many Non-conformist artists worked. In 1989 he worked in Vienna on the 'Chained and David and Bathsheba' series of drawings. He continued to work on the graphic series 'Procession' until his last days. His first solo exhibition was held in 1990 in Moscow and a solo exhibition also took place in the Pushkin Museum in 1993. F.B.

Lion