A major exhibition of German-Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon, who was murdered at Auschwitz, opens this week and features 50 works that have never previously been seen in the UK.
Charlotte Salomon: Life? or Theatre? opens at Jewish Museum London last Friday and includes 230 colourful gouaches produced by the artist while in hiding during the early 1940s, in the south of France.
Together they form a vivid self-portrait charting her complicated family life, marked by the suicides of nearly all her female relatives, as well as growing up in Berlin, her close relationship with her singing teacher, Alfred Wolfsohn, the rise of the Nazis and her subsequent exile to France.
Born in Berlin in 1917, Salomon trained in illustration at the art academy in her home city, being only one of a tiny number of Jewish students admitted there.
In 1938, she fled Germany alone and joined her grandparents in exile in the south of France. She later married a fellow refugee, before being arrested and deported to Auschwitz in 1943, where she was murdered, five months pregnant and aged just 26.
Dominik Czechowski, head of exhibitions at Jewish Museum London, says: “The themes of Salomon’s work remain compelling and resonant with urgent contemporary issues of oppression, mental health, Jewish identity, and unstable political environments.”
- Charlotte Salomon: Life? or Theatre? runs at Jewish Museum London until 1 March 2020. www.jewishmuseum.org.uk
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