Executed in 1987, Leon Kossof’s Head of Chaim is an exquisite charcoal and pastel study of the artist’s brother. Following the death of his father – who had been one of his principle subjects during the previous decade – Chaim came to dominate Kossof’s output of the 1980s. These portraits are defned by a newfound sense of intimacy and ease – in contrast to the frequently fraught, angular depictions of his father – and are widely considered to represent the artist’s greatest works. As Paul Moorhouse has suggested, Kossof found a ‘rapid, almost immediate sympathy with the subject and the resulting fgure studies [being] his most successful’ (P. Moorhouse, quoted in Leon Kossof, exh. cat., Tate Gallery, London, 1996, p. 33). Drawing constitutes an indispensable part of Kossof’s practice, not only forming the basis of his paintings but also representing an independent strand of his oeuvre. Rendered with fluid, intuitive curves, Chaim’s head fills the paper, every idiosyncrasy of his visage captured in intricately worked detail. As one reviewer wrote in response to the first exhibition of these works at Anthony d’Offay gallery in 1993, ‘Their immediacy emphasizes the artist’s attempt to close the gap between himself and his subject by stripping away intercession. With each successive picture, Chaim appears more massive and the drawing more Baroque’ (‘Leon Kossof: Drawings’, Modern Painters, Spring 1993, pp. 95-96).