Leon Kossoff was born in London to Russian and Jewish parents. He studied at the Borough Polytechnic, attended the artist David Bomberg’s evening class, and later went to the Royal College of Art in London. Since the age of twelve he painted London obsessively: "The strange, ever-changing light, the endless streets, and the shuddering feel of the sprawling city linger in my mind like a faintly glimmering memory of a long-forgotten, perhaps never experienced childhood". Kossoff’s paintings are characterised by rich surfaces of heavy impasto. Thick paint and sombre colours gave way to a lighter palette in the 1990s. His work has affinities with European expressionism, but also has particular English qualities: reminiscent of Sickert and the Camden Town Group of painters with an attachment to the everyday and least picturesque aspects of urban life. His work was shown in the British Pavilion at the 1995 Venice Biennale (www.britishcouncil.org/venicebiennale)

Further reading:
Leon Kossoff, Tate Gallery 1996
Richard Kendall, Drawn to Painting: Leon Kossoff Drawings and Prints after Nicolas Poussin, Merrell Publishers Limited 2000