Jacques Chapiro Biography – Jacob Samuel

Jacques Chapiro. He was born in Dvinsk, Belarus. As a son of a wood sculptor, he began his artistic education at the early age of ten. In 1915, he entered the Krakow academy of fine art and in 1918 he moved Kiev to study in the Academy of Fine Arts. 
During the Russian Civil War, while pursuing his studies, he contributed to the revolution efforts by painting posters. In 1921, he studied art in Petrograd, and during this period he worked as a decorator in the Meyerhold Theater. He worked for Stanislavski and Vachtangov, both notorious in the field of theater.

In 1925, he left Russia in favor of Paris, and settled down in Montparnasse. He had exhibited his works in Les Independents Salon (the Independents’ Salon), the Tuileries, and other places as well since 1926. In 1939, he became a refugee, escaping to Carpentras and later on to Hautes-Alpes. When the war ended, he traveled to Italy before returning to Paris. When he returned to Paris, he set down to write his book of anecdotal stories taken from the life of the artists from La Rouch. He opposed the demolition of La Rouch in 1967 and he founded, along with Marc Chagall and Raymond Cogniat, a committee that fought against this move.

The committee succeeded in its cause. Chapiro’s works can be found in museums in the United States (Chicago), Russia (Moscow) and France (Jeu de Paume, Paris). As to his artistic style, it seems that Chapiro was fond of experiments. His many paintings are much different from one another; some are definitely Cubistic in style, some are Impressionist, while others are Fauvist.

We cannot say the same about his sketching. Throughout his artistic career, Chapiro sketches bore his unique signature, with a light and talented hand. It is his realistic sketching, which is somewhat casual, that one can be truly impressed by his talent.


Jacques Markiel Biography – Jacob Samuel

Jacques Markiel was born on July 20, 1911 in Lodz, Poland. As a young boy, his mother identified his artistic talent, and against his father’s will, she sent young Jacque to drawing lessons with the famous artist Isaac Brauner. 
Markiel, later in his life, graduated from the Fine Art Academy in Cracow. Soon afterwards, he received a merit scholarship and moved to the Belleville district of Paris in 1933. In Paris, Markiel’s talent was quickly identified and he earned his respect in the art field. He obtained third prize in the Ecole des Beaux Arts competition and was invited to study in the atelier of the respected painter Jean Souverbie.
When his Jewish identity was discovered in 1943, Markiel was sent to Drancy. In that same year, on June 23, he was deported on convoy no. 55 to Auschwitz. Markiel was forced to participate in the cruel death march to Gross Rosen, where he suffered much abuse. Luckily, he was one of the few who survived. During the holocaust, he was assigned to work in the coal mines at Jawischowitz, a subcamp of Auschwitz. During the war, Markiel figured out how to use his painting as a means of survival.

He painted a baker’s daughter and in return, she gave him bread when no one was looking. Markiel then smuggled the bread out of the camp and shared it with others. Suddenly aware of the power of his paintings, he drew a ten-year-old Hungarian Jewish boy, who also worked in the coalmine. The boy gave the picture to a Polish woman who, in return, supplied him with the food he needed to live.
After the liberation, Markiel returned to France, and sadly, discovered that his family had been exterminated in the war.
Supported by his wife, Esther, Markiel devoted the rest of his life to painting. After his death, some of his pieces were donated to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Jacques Markiel passed away in Paris in 2008.




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.


Jesekiel Kirszenbaum Biography- Jacob Samuel

Born in Staszow in Poland, to a religious family. It is told that as a child he enjoyed painting and spent many hours doing so. When he was only twelve years old he was already known as a designer in magazines, he signed his works as Jesekiel The Artist, instead of using his real surname. 
In 1920, Kirszenbaum arrives to Berlin. He made a living by giving Hebrew lessons in order to keep painting. Following the reputation of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky in 1923 he went to Weimar in where he stayed for three trimesters. After his studying in Weimar Kirszenbaum returnes to Berlin to study in the Bauhaus School and for this period of time he made his living as a cartoonist in newspaper and signs his works with the pseudonym “Duvtivani”. His dreams where finally realized in 1933 as he arrived to Paris to become a painter. Kirszenbaum painted watercolors (Aquarelle) paintings describing biblical scenes and inspired by the “Shtetl” culture (Eastern European Jews culture). In the Second World War, Kirszenbaum managed to ascape the Nazis but unfortunately his wife was deported to a death camp, where she died.
“Since I’m living in pain and bitterness, I’m not a saint. Moreover I have no confidence in mankind or in my own existence”.
During the war his works were destroyed and none of his early works, prior to the year 1940, survived Child with a Kite. In 1948, he traveled to Brazil to reunite with his sister who escaped a concentration camp and managed to flee out of Europe. He stayed there for an uncertain amount of time and participated in several exhibitions. He was feeling melancholic nostalgic to Paris “To be made like me is to have an especially sensitive mind. There is only Paris to make the symphony of the lonely spirits disappear”.

As he returned to Paris in 1949 Kirszenbaum received his French nationality. In the same year he met the baroness Alix de Rotschild who was gifted with artistic sensitivity, she appreciated his painting and decided to help Kirszenbaum. She ordered from him a triptych painting, describing the prophets Moses, Jeremiah and Elias. This work was called “Ange Bienfaiteur” (Benefactors). Kirszenbaum illustrated the books of I. L. Peretz, an important Yiddish writer, whose stories revealed the essence of the Hassidic movement. Between the years 1950-1952, Kirszenbaum traveled a lot and spent some time in Italy and in Morocco. He died in 1954, when he was only 54 years old due to the cancer disease he suffered from.

Felicia Pacanowska Biography – Jacob Samuel

Felicia Pacanowska was born in 1907. She was raised in Lodz, a large industrial center with a large Jewish population. 
Pacanowska was born into a family of artists. Both her parents recognized her artistic talent and encouraged her to develop her artistic skills. After high school, Pacanowska attended the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw and received a “Beaux-Arts” diploma.
Pacanowska specialized in painting and engraving. She engraved on wood and copper, and her passion for painting accompanied her throughout life.
Pacanowska left Poland in 1932 to join the Jewish painters of the Ecole de Paris. For many months, she studied the engravings in the library of prints and drawings at the Louvre.
In 1935, Pacanowska traveled to Italy and England. She then returned to Poland for a few months to exhibit fifty engravings and monotypes at the Institute of Art. Pacanowska visited her parents during her trip to Poland, and sadly, she was not aware that this visit to her parents would be her last ever, because they were later exterminated by the Nazis before she had a chance to see them again.
Pacanowska returned to Paris in 1937 and perfected her etching technique. At the beginning of the war, she served as a designer in an aviation factory, where she suffered from harassment and oppression. In 1942 she was one of the few who miraculously escaped the notorious raid of the Vel d’Hiv.
Until the end of the war, Pacanowska lived in dangerous conditions and in fear. All her art pieces and work tools were lost. Upon learning about the death of her parents, she fell into a depression, yet nonetheless, she continued creating her artwork, which ended up saving her.
In 1947, Pacanowska returned to Paris to her life of painting and etching, as well as various other media. She participated in many major exhibitions and gained recognition and respect. She participated in the Autumn Salon and the Salon des Independents, as well as many others.
Her work was well represented in many public collections and was sought after by many collectors, and with her recognition, she was able to charge high prices for her engravings and etchings. Felicia Pacanowska died in Rome in 2002.


Isaac Antcher Biography – Jacob Samuel

Isaac Antcher (Ancer) was born to a merchant family in Perececina, Bessarabia, near Kichinev in 1899, He started drawing at a very young age, and his artistic giftedness was visible from his early years. 

In the 1920’s a young and fresh Antcher left Romania for Paris to join his brother in Calais, France. He later began studying under Raban at the Grand Chaumiere. Anchter’s talent was discovered and acknowledged a year later in Paris, at the Beaux Arts, where he studied. His teachers included Cezanne and Pissaro, who were both very fond of him. At one point, he was taught by Abel Pann, Boris Shatz, and Raban at the Bezalel art school, in Jerusalem.

Antcher married Fela Ber in 1926. Soon after, he displayed his art at the Salon De Auntonne and the Salon des Tuileries, where he proved to be a great success. His paintings were always in demand and he showed at all the main salons in Paris. His popularity continued to grow, and in 1927 he was convinced by the admission committee at the Salon d’ Automne to sell the rights to his work to Lepold Zborowski, a respected and famous art dealer in Paris. Antscher was the youngest of the group of artists, including Utrillo, Modigliani, Soutine, and Kisling, who were promoted by Zborowski. At this time, another famous collector, Jonas Netter, who also collected Modigliani, began to collect his works as well.

His style portrayed the sadness of the East European exiled painters of the Ecole de Paris, but his work retained sensitivity to detail and space. He focused on many landscapes and flowers.

He painted consistently and obsessively until he passed away in Paris on April 21, 1992.

Molli Chwat Biography – Jacob Samuel

Born in Bialystok, Poland to a family of bankers. He studied art in his hometown and then entered the Saint Petersburg Academy of Fine Art. With the encouragement of thr notable painter Ilia Repine, he went in 1906 to a brief stay in Paris, were he was a free auditor in an art courses in the Art Academy. 
In 1909, he went to Geneva where met Gattin, a medicine student. The two fell in love and got married in the same year. In 1910, they came back to Saint Petersburg. Not much is known about this period of time in his life, until 1918. Feeling the tense building up in Russia, Chwat managed escaping from Russia before the revolution started. He and his wife went to Paris and during these years he entered the Fine Art Academy and later on the Open University. During the Second World War, Chwat became a refugee in Casablanca. He came back to Paris after the liberation and devoted his time to painting. In 1952, he received the Othon Friesz award.

In 1957, he immigrated to Israel. Until 1945, Chwat dealt with traditional classic subjects such as Portraits, but in 1945 he dedicated his painting to biblical themes, a transition that was very typical for Jewish painters after the Holocaust. Chawt died in 1979 in France. His works can be found in various museums in Israel and in France.“There are artists who attached to the ceremonial religion, others attached to the mysticism of the legends and some who enter the esoteric traditions. Chwat, in his painting, praises enthusiastically the great events that relate to the holly book. By this, he makes a strong and ancient connection to the source of Jewish art. Perhaps it is driven from the fact that Chwat is used to the countryside, were he lived the most.” La Via Juive, November 1955.
“There is a strange seduction in Molli Chwat talent, he is a remarkable colorist and living in alliance is an amazing force and the most subtle preciousness. His paintings combine cold tones that live in harmony with warm and generous tones. It is a silence, almost deaf symphony. In his paintings we can find the daring of the great primitive artists”.
Pierre Mornand La Revue Moderne Jenuar 1953.

Molli Chwat
Molli Chwat