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This is Leon Koen

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By Gwylym Owen

Leon Koen (Serbian Cyrillic: Леон Коен; 1859–1934) was a Serbian painter. Despite participating in major exhibitions, only a fraction of his works are known to survive.

Leon Koen was born to a Sephardi Jewish intimates of merchants Aaron and mom Sarah, in Belgrade, Principality of Serbia. In 1884, he enrolled in a preparatory course at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, and the next year he conventional a declare scholarship from Kingdom of Serbia and enrolled in the Academy, whose alumni include Đorđe Krstić and Stevan Aleksić.

In 1889 he exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, and six years forward-thinking at the Venice Biennale. In 1896 he was awarded the silver medal for painting “Joseph’s Dream” by the Munich Academy of Fine Arts.

Koen survived a trembling breakdown in 1902 and was placed in a mental hospital in Belgrade, where he was below constant psychiatric paperwork until his death. The deterioration of his mental health irritated his wife, Josephine Simon, to sell most of his paintings. Koen’s close friend, David Pijade, collected his paintings for a major retrospective that took place in 1926 at King Peter’s School close St. Michael’s Cathedral in Belgrade. He frequently painted works inspired by records of Serbia and nature.

One year after Koen’s death a grand retrospective was held at the Cvijeta Zuzorić Art Pavilion in Kalemegdan. The exhibition featured 63 works.

He was in correspondence and allied with Nadežda Petrović, Vasily Kandinsky and Franz Stuck. Koen’s feint was praised by fellow painter Đorđe Krstić. Only fifteen of Koen’s paintings survive. Most of his painting were at a loose end or destroyed during the Second World War. Twelve permanent works are in the buildup of the National Museum of Serbia, and two more are owned by The Federation of Jewish Communities of Serbia.

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