Benn Rabinowicz Biography- Jacob Samuel

Benn Rabinowicz Born in Bialystok, Poland. His full name is Bension Rabinowicz. His grandfather was a Rabbi and his father was an architect. In 1917, he spent two years in Diatvolo at his father’s sister house, where he studied painting. As he returned to Bialystok, he set- up a workshop, where he worked between the years 1922-1924, during this time he decided to found a painting academy in his family house. Between the years 1926-1930 he worked as a theater decorator.

In 1927, he exhibited his first solo exhibition in his hometown. In 1928, he presented his work in the Salon in Warsaw. In the same year he participated in organizing the winter exhibition in Bialystok. In 1929, his hometown granted him a scholarship to study in Paris for three years. His future wife, Geurra, the one he will marry in 1938, was against this move. But eventually she joined him to Paris. In 1930, he attended the Fernand Leger modern Academy in Paris. He fell in love with Paris and decided to accept the French Nationality.

Benn was never a part of any specific artistic style. Based on geometric figures, his work always remained loyal to reality. During this time he managed to establish his reputation as one of the great modern painters of his time. In 1939, in the beginning of the Second World War, he became a refugee, moving from place to place. In spite of this difficult situation, he continued sending his works to the Fall Exhibitions in Paris. In 1941, Benn and his wife were sent to the transition camp (a concentration camp) in Beaune-La-Roland.

They managed to be released thanks to the intervention of the professors Marcel Brule and De Lo Duce. Under the protection of Jean Paulhen, they hide for twenty- six monthes, in Paulhen cellar. During this difficult time, they lived in fear of deportation. Back home, in Poland, Benn’s parents were massacred in a death camp. After the war ended, they came back to Paris and settled down for good. During the period after the war, Benn dealt with biblical themes, mostly in small formats.

This interest in biblical themes was very common among Jewish artists that survived the war and the holocaust. The holocaust caused many Jewish people question the existence of god, some became atheists, and some became stronger believers. One of his most notable works in this theme is the 126 illustrations of psalms that were presented in the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, Museum of Lyon and many other places.

 

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