Born in Moscow, to a count, André Lanskoy was first a student at the School of Pages in St. Petersburg Russia. At the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, Lanskoy joined the Czarist forces. After his military duties he lived in Kiev where he began to paint under the tutelage of Soudeikine, an artist who painted theatrical sets and used music as a major inspiration in his paintings. Lanskoy then moved to Paris in 1921 where he enrolled as a student at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiére and was influenced by the works of Van Gogh and Matisse. He became a close friend of Chaim Soutine whose influence on Lanskoy is clear in his characters and the expressionist nature of his paintings during this period.
In the early part of Lanskoy’s career his works were Expressionist in nature, depicting figures and still lifes. It was not until the late 1930s when his works began to move towards the abstract. Yet even then these works showed some semblance of reality in form. In the second half of the 20th century, Lanskoy’s fame began to increase internationally as a result of his exhibitions at the Fine Art Associates in New York in 1956. During this period he came to be regarded as one of the most important participants in the Lyrical Abstraction movement associated with the École de Paris. Lyrical Abstraction or Abstraction Lyrique was the European counterpart to the American Abstract movement, characterized by an intuitive and loose handling of paint, a truly spontaneous expression, illusionist space, acrylic staining process, occasional imagery and other painterly and newer technological techniques.