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Boris Taslitzky (1911-2005): Art in touch with its time

19 March —29 May 2022

After the retrospective devoted to André Fougeron in 2014, La Piscine is paying homage to Boris Taslitzky (1911-2005), showcasing his exemplary contribution to the narrative of the 20th century. Both witness and protagonist in the greatest upheavals of his time, Taslitzky would say that his whole life had been marked by war. Aware of his responsibilities as both a man and an artist, Taslitzky aligned himself with the great tradition of historic painters and espoused a ‘realism with a social content’ which he was duty-bound to narrate.

Comprising around fifty paintings, often monumental in size, and numerous drawings, along with a tapestry, this first major exhibition devoted exclusively to his work is above all a snapshot of a ‘committed’ or ‘concerned’ artist, through the lens not only of his huge compositions devoted to the political causes of his generation, in the tradition of Davidian history painting, but also portraits and self-portraits, landscapes and still lifes. The focus is on his works between 1930 and 1970 and is structured around a few key themed and chronological sequences, such as the drawings produced in Buchenwald in 1944-1945, the huge paintings inspired at Liberation by the hardships of war (especially La Pesée à Riom or Le Petit Camp), the representations of industrial labour and trade union struggles in the late 1940s (based around the famous portrait of the Les Délégués group), reactions to the Vietnam War in 1951, the reportage carried out in Algeria in 1952 or the series of 63 ink drawings depicting the radical change experienced in the working-class suburbs of north-east Paris between 1965 and 1972.

In the historical contextualisation room, based on an idea from Pierre Buraglio and with the approval of Claude Viallat, a contemporary counterpoint will bring together a number of works by artists that have some aesthetic or idealogical affinity with Boris Taslitzky.

Committee made up of Alice Massé
Catalogue published for the exhibition.

The design was made possible thanks to generous support from the Flanders Colours range of paints distributed by Tollens.

Key: Boris Taslitzky, Autoportrait au chevalet, 1925, oil on canvas, private collection.
Photo: Jean-François Cornuet for Évelyne Taslitzky

See also