Eugen Spiro was born in Breslau, Germany (Wroclaw, Poland) in 1874, the son of a synagogue cantor. He studied art in Breslau (under Albrecht Bräuer), Munich (under Franz von Stuck), and in Italy. In 1924, he was briefly married to the actress Tilla Durieux. After an extended stay in Berlin from 1906 to 1914, Spiro settled in Paris, where he belonged to a group of artists that met at the Café du Dôme. He received a professorship at the Académie Moderne, was elected to the Académie Des Beaux-Arts and co-founded the Salon d'Automne. The outbreak of WW I forced him to return to Germany, where he soon became a popular portrait painter. From 1915 to 1933 Spiro was on the executive board of the Berlin Secession and a professor at the Staatliche Kunstschule. The Nazi takeover forced Spiro into emigration. The sixty-one-year old went to Paris in 1935, where he founded the Union Des Artistes Libres in 1936. During this time, he met his wife Lily Jacoby at a French internment camp in Gurs. After the German occupation of France in 1940, Spiro and his wife emigrated to America, settling in New York in 1941. Spiro worked as a teacher at the Wayman Adams School in Elizabethtown, New York and at Dartmouth College. He participated in exhibits in the United States for the rest of his life. Eugen Sporo died in New York in 1972.
Eugene Spiro is well remembered for his landscapes, life sketches, and portraits, particularly of famous conductors and musicians.
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Spiro, Eugen: Self-Portrait, Leo Baeck Institute, 78.697.