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Amédée J. Ozenfant was born on April 15, 1886, in Saint-Quentin, France. At age fourteen he began painting, and in 1904 he attended the Ecole Municipale de Dessin Quentin-La Tour in Saint-Quentin. The following year he moved to Paris, where he entered an architecture studio. At this time he also studied painting with Charles Cottet at the Académie de la Palette, where he became a friend of Roger de La Fresnaye and André Dunoyer de Segonzac.
Ozenfant’s first solo exhibition was held in 1908 at the Salon de la Nationale in Paris. In 1910 he contributed works to the Salon d’Automne and in 1911 he participated in the Salon des Indépendants. From about 1909 to 1913 he made trips to Russia, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands and attended lectures at the Collège de France in Paris. In 1915 Ozenfant founded the magazine L’Elan, which he edited until 1917, and began to formulate his theories of Purism. In 1917 the artist met the Swiss architect and painter Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier); together they articulated the doctrines of Purism in their book Après le Cubisme. Its publication coincided with the first Purist exhibition, held at the Galerie Thomas in Paris in 1917, in which Ozenfant was represented. Ozenfant and Le Corbusier collaborated on the journal L’Esprit nouveau, which appeared from 1920 to 1925.
Ozenfant participated in the second Purist exhibition at the Galerie Druet, Paris, in 1921. In 1924 he and Fernand Léger opened a free studio in Paris, where they taught with Alexandra Exter and Marie Laurencin. Ozenfant and Le Corbusier wrote La Peinture moderne in 1925. During that year Ozenfant exhibited at the controversial Pavillon de l’Esprit Nouveau at the Exposition des arts décoratifs in Paris. The artist was given a solo show at Galerie L. C. Hodebert, Paris, in 1928. His book Art was published in French in 1928; an English edition appeared as The Foundations of Modern Art in 1931. Ozenfant taught at the Académie Moderne in 1929 and founded the Académie Ozenfant in 1932. From 1935 to 1938 he operated the Ozenfant Academy in London. From 1939 to 1955 he taught at the Ozenfant School of Fine Arts in New York. His solo show at the Arts Club of Chicago was held in 1940. Ozenfant taught and lectured widely in the United States until 1955, when he returned to France. He remained there the rest of his life and died in Cannes on May 4, 1966.