Chaim Jacob Lipchitz was born on August 22, 1891 in Druskininkai, Lithuania. At age eighteen he moved to Paris, where he attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julian and soon met Picasso, Gris and Braque. In 1912 he began exhibiting at the Salon National des Beaux-Arts and the Salon d’Automne. Lipchitz’s first one-man show was held at Léonce Rosenberg’s Galerie L’Effort Moderne in Paris in 1920. Two years later he executed five bas-reliefs for The Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania. In 1924 the artist became a French citizen and the following year moved to Boulogne-sur-Seine. He received a commission from the Vicomte Charles de Noailles in 1927 for the sculpture Joy of Life.
Lipchitz’s first important retrospective took place at Jeanne Bucher’s Galerie de la Renaissance in Paris in 1930. The Brummer Gallery in New York hosted his first large show in the United States in 1935. In 1941 Lipchitz fled Paris for New York, where he began exhibiting regularly at the Buchholz Gallery (later the Curt Valentin Gallery). He settled in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, in 1947. In 1954 a Lipchitz retrospective traveled from The Museum of Modem Art in New York to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and The Cleveland Museum of Art. In 1958 Lipchitz collaborated with the architect Philip Johnson on the Roofless Church in New Harmony, Indiana. This same year he became a United States citizen. His series of small bronzes To the Limit of the Possible was shown at Fine Arts Associates in New York in 1959. In 1963 he visited Israel for the first time, and began to spend several months of each year casting in Pietrasanta, Italy. From 1964 to 1966 Lipchitz showed annually at the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery in New York.
From 1970 until 1973 be worked on large-scale commissions for the Municipal Plaza in Philadelphia, Columbia University in New York and the Hadassah Medical Center near Jerusalem. These projects were completed after Lipchitz’s death by his wife Yulla. In 1972 the artist’s autobiography was published on the occasion of an exhibition of his sculpture at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Lipchitz died on May 26, 1973, on Capri, and was buried in Jerusalem.