Markus Mizne was born in Kiev, in 1908, to a family with artistic and musical and leaning. In the early 1920s, his family escaped the pogroms to Warsaw, and sent Markus to boarding school in Germany, where he became acquainted with modern art during visits to workshops and lectures at the Bauhaus; he began painting aged 15.
In 1935, aged 27, he arrived in Paris and studied Political Science and Economy at the Sorbonne. He continued painting, and befriended many artists (including Foujita, van Dongen, Braque, Larionov, Goncharova, Pevsner and Fautrier). In 1939, with the rise of the Nazi terror, he escaped Europe to Brazil.