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New Exhibition at Yad Vashem: Montparnasse Déporté: The End of L’Ecole de Paris

Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Opening to take place in presence of Diplomatic Corps

24 January 2006

Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, this Thursday, January 26, Yad Vashem will open a new exhibition, Montparnasse Déporté: The End of L’Ecole de Paris. The opening event will take place in Yad Vashem’s Exhibitions Pavilion at 12:00 noon, in the presence of French Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Gerard Araud, Minister of Education Meir Sheetrit, and dozens of Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps.

From the beginning of the 20th century until the outbreak of the WWII, Paris was a vital cultural center, attracting many artists who converged from all corners of Europe. Seeking the equal civil rights and liberal atmosphere in France denied them in their home countries, many of these artists headed for Paris, the arts capital. They settled in the Montparnasse Quarter, a lively center of activity for artists from all over the world, including Picasso, Chagall, Brancusi, Modigliani, Fujita, and Diego Rivera. Thus, more than a style or a movement, l’Ecole de Paris refers to the meeting of artists from different origins, in the same place, at the same time, with one common objective: creating art.

With the Nazi occupation of France in 1940, the persecution of Jewish artists began in earnest. Some artists managed to emigrate or go into hiding, but most were sent to concentration and death camps. As a result, the fascinating cultural phenomenon that was l’École de Paris came to an abrupt end. This exhibition provides a rare glimpse into the vibrant and pulsating world of Jewish artists on the precipice of the Holocaust, and its display at Yad Vashem is another link in the museum’s persistent efforts to honor the memory of artists murdered in the Holocaust.

The exhibition opened last May at the Montparnasse Museum, Paris, in the presence of French President Jacques Chirac. It was brought to Yad Vashem in cooperation with the Montparnasse Museum, under the auspices of the French Embassy in Israel, and was made possible by the generous contribution of: Groupe Segula Technologies, France; Sylvia and Boris Samujlovic z”l, Brazil and Israel; Le Comité Francais pour Yad Vashem; Leumi, Israel; El Al Cargo and Buchman Foundation representative Rosine Bron, France.

The original exhibition has been augmented by works in the Yad Vashem archives and art collection, and is now comprised of some 170 works of art accompanied by photographs, original documents and biographies. These pay tribute to the personal annals of more than 60 artists on display, among them Chaim Soutine, Rudolf Levy, Adolphe Feder, Otto Freundlich, Max Jacob and Leon Weissberg.

The event is open to the press, in coordination with the Media Relation Department: 02 644 3410.