Russian-born painter who took French citizenship in 1962. He went to Paris in 1923 and studied music and first earned his living as a guitar player. From 1929/39 he attended the Académie Frochot and the Grande Chaumière. It is only after he studied at the Slade School of Art in London, in 1937, that be began to formulate a personal style, painting abstracts of contrasting and interlocking colour shapes. Back in Paris he was a friend of Kandinsky, Sonia and Robert Delaunay and Freundlich. He exhibited an abstract painting in Paris in 1938. In 1946 he was awarded the Kandinsky Prize and in 1956 the Lissone Prize.The French critic Michel Ragon in his book Adventure of the Abstract Art (1956) elects as historical names of the non-figuration Poliakoff, together with Atlan, Hartung, Schneider and Soulages. In 1965 he received the International Prize at the Tokyo Biennale.