Leon Kossoff

Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings

Andrea Rose

Hardback with slipcase
Publication Date:
30 September 2021
640 pages: 315 x 294 mm
566 colour; 69 black and white

  • A marvellous piece of book production, perfect in every way and – clearly – the result of extreme devotion. It will secure Leon’s place in the canon of English painting. Frank Auerbach

    Leon Kossoff: Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings is the only comprehensive book on the oeuvre of one of the most important British artists of the twentieth century. 

    Having curated exhibitions and written about Kossoff’s work from the 1980s onwards, Andrea Rose, the author, and Andrew Dempsey, who led the research, both knew the artist and his work for many years before embarking on the project in 2013. They were given unprecedented access to him, his archives and his studio, and since his death have had the full support of his family and also his dealers.  

    The catalogue raisonné brings together the whole of Kossoff’s oil paintings for the first time, reproducing almost all of them in high-quality colour images on a grand scale. Accompanying commentary brings new insight into the works, as well as quoting significant published criticism. Beyond these entries, the book comprises an introduction by Andrea Rose, an essay on Kossoff’s relationship with the Old Masters by Dr Barnaby Wright, an extensive chronology, and a further short essay by Rose on Kossoff’s materials, technique and studio practice. The backmatter includes a list of all works in public collections, a comprehensive list of solo and group exhibitions, an extensive selected bibliography, an appendix of destroyed works, an index of titles and a general index. This wealth of factual detail is elegantly presented within a design that, as was Kossoff’s modest wish, has the paintings themselves at its heart.

    The launch of the catalogue raisonné coincides with Leon Kossoff: A Life in Painting, a retrospective exhibition at Annely Juda Fine Art, London, (30 September – 4 December) which Andrea Rose has curated, and which will tour to L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, CA, and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.


  • ‘Kossoff’s catalogue raisonné doesn’t have a whiff of … cold proprietorship. It is massive, bold, beautiful, generous, not only exquisitely illustrated but compendious in its inclusion of reminiscence and reviews, a gorgeously produced labour of love that tells you all you need to know about Kossoff and demonstrates his greatness beyond all dispute.’ Howard Jacobson, The Spectator, 18 December 2021

    ‘During his decades as an artist, the British painter Leon Kossoff (1926-2019) produced 510 known oil paintings. This can be said because they have all been tracked down and published in a catalogue raisonné just out from Modern Art Press (London). A catalogue raisonné is a herculean effort of research, detective work, devotion and perception. This one, assembled over eight years by a small team led by Andrea Rose, an art historian and specialist in British painting, conveys the usual breathtaking accumulation of information: images of each painting, its exhibition history and bibliography and a list of its successive owners (called a provenance). An added benefit is the liveliness of Rose’s annotations of the paintings, which are peppered with striking observations from sundry art historians, curators and critics, artists, the artist himself and others. One of Kossoff’s two small paintings based on Titian’s horrific “Apollo Flaying Marsyas,” for example, comes with an insightful appreciation by David Bowie, who once owned it.

    The great thing about Kossoff’s paintings is the ultimate accuracy of their portrayals, in the psychic and physical sense. All his subjects come across as complex presences, living parts of the living world — whether human, architectural or natural — animated by his thick, quietly vibrating surfaces. It is telling that the only still life in the entire catalogue raisonné is from the early 1950s, when Kossoff was just getting started. Even his paintings based on the old masters are usually multifigure compositions to which he adds his own special sense of tumult. This is exemplified in this superb show by the lunging bodies and brushwork in his copy of a Poussin. He had little interest in stillness.’ Roberta Smith, New York Times, 3 February 2022

    ‘This publication is a landmark study of the work of Leon Kossoff (1926–2019), which brings together the entirety of his oil paintings for the first time. Beautifully produced in grey cloth binding, it includes a commentary that expands on existing criticism and material from the Leon Kossoff Archives. It also draws on conversations between Andrea Rose and the artist, as well as Rose’s discussions with his family, friends and sitters. Kossoff was a figurative painter, known for his life drawing, portraits and cityscapes of London. Most notably, this book allows the reader to discover the artist’s London, its ebb and flow…In her introductory essay Rose writes of Kossoff’s paintings: “In the web and weave of their surfaces they show us that, together with the places we inhabit and the people we know, we are part of a continual process, and that painting still serves as one of the most miraculous ways of defining our particular place and time within it”. With this in mind, her book is not only a vital point of reference for Kossoff’s work, but also one that furthers our understanding of such a process, which is quite an achievement in itself.’ Beth Williamson, The Burlington Magazine, June 2022

  • From 1994–2014 Andrea Rose was Director of Visual Arts and Strategic Programmes at the British Council.  During this period she was responsible for Britain’s representation at Venice Biennale, including Leon Kossoff’s 1995 Biennale exhibition. She has also written widely on British Art.

  • The catalogue raisonné is also available from the following bookshops:

    John Sandoe Books
    10 Blacklands Terrace
    London SW3 2SR

    Thomas Heneage Art Books
    42 Duke Street St James’s
    London SW1Y 6DJ

    Gallery Bookshop
    9 North Pallant
    Chichester PO19 1TJ

    Hatchards Piccadilly
    187 Piccadilly
    London W1J 9LE


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