Press Release, Tue 24 Jan 2023
Beginning on 25 January 2023, the Jewish Museum Berlin (JMB) presents the exhibition Paris Magnétique, 1905–1940. In the first half of the twentieth century, the French capital attracted artists from all over the world. The JMB’s Paris Magnétique is the first large-scale show in Germany dedicated to Jewish artists of the “School of Paris.” In ten chapters and around 120 works, it traces the ways in which migrant, often marginalized, positions within the Parisian avant-garde have shaped present-day ideas of Western modernist art. Visitors will see works by both celebrated and less well-known artists, including Marc Chagall, Amedeo Modigliani, Chana Orloff, Sonia Delaunay, Jacques Lipchitz, and others.
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Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation
As well as numerous paintings, the JMB shows sculptures and drawings. Documents of the era, such as photographs, newspaper cuttings, and film clips, illustrate the historical context. Biographies of the artists, with attention to their networks and gathering places – such as Montparnasse or the studio complex known as “La Ruche” (“The Beehive”) – give a vivid impression of Jewish-European diversity in the French capital.
The phrase “School of Paris” or “École de Paris” does not describe an actual school of art or a particular style, but a cosmopolitan artistic scene that asserted itself in the face of nationalism and xenophobia. The term was coined in 1925 by the journalist and art critic André Warnod to embrace the European avant-garde of Paris that was emerging at the time.
The JMB’s director, Hetty Berg, points out that the École de Paris was considered a model, yardstick, and point of reference or comparison for artistic trends worldwide:
“This Parisian avant-garde broke the stylistic boundaries not only of particular genres, but of whole categories of art, and was a crucial catalyst for European modernism as a whole. Our exhibition draws attention to the fact that the movement included many Jewish artists and many women, who were traveling – or had traveled – between countries, cultures, and milieus.”
The artists of the School of Paris came to France from Germany, Italy, and the former Russian Empire – Poland, Ukraine, Belarus – in search of a new, free environment for their creativity. Dr. Shelley Harten, curator at the JMB, emphasizes that early twentieth-century Paris was a very special place:
“The French metropolis drew artists from all over the world like a magnet. It promised them access to instruction in the various academies, a wealth of exhibitions and museums, a vibrant art market, and – not least – a bohemian community in the city’s many cafés and bars. For some artists, it was a way to escape harsh conditions in their countries of origin, whether marginalization and discrimination or violent pogroms.”
The exhibition Chagall, Modigliani, Soutine… Paris pour école, 1905–1940 was originally conceived by the musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme (mahJ) in Paris, and appeared there from June to November 2021. Many of the works shown come from the collections of the mahJ, the Musée national d’art moderne at the Centre Pompidou, and numerous private lenders.
The exhibition catalog (in German) is published by Wienand Verlag, Cologne. 276 pages, 203 illustrations, price approx. €30.
|Exhibition dates:||25 Jan –1 May 2023|
|Location:||Jewish Museum Berlin, Old Building, Level I|
|Admission:||€8, reduced rate €3|
|Opening hours:||daily, 10 am to 7 pm|
Exhibition Paris Magnétique. 1905–1940: Features & Programs
- Exhibition Webpage
- Paris Magnétique. 1905–1940 – 25 Jan to 1 May 2023
- Paris Magnétique. 1905–1940 – 2023, in German