Charlotte Salomon. Work in Progress  15 June 2007

From 15 June until 16 September 2007 the Print Room in the Jewish Historical Museum Amsterdam will be showing work by the painter Charlotte Salomon. The exhibition consists of independent sketches as well as painted preliminary studies for gouaches that Charlotte made for her large work titled Life? or Theatre? Much of the work in this exhibition has never been shown or published before.

Between 1940 and 1942 Charlotte Salomon made a series of paintings on at least 1,325 sheets. She numbered almost eight hundred of these and provided them with a short piece of text and often a musical fragment. This forms the work Life? or Theatre? There are thus several hundred unnumbered sheets not belonging to the official series and indeed virtually unknown. Some of these take the form of carefully- executed paintings and it is not clear whether or not Charlotte intended ultimately to include them in her series. But in other cases there can be no doubt that she rejected them: she has pasted strips of paper across the mouth, the hands or the eyes of the figures in the paintings.

The exhibition Work in Progress, held this summer in the Jewish Historical Museum Amsterdam, shows around one hundred paintings not included in the 'canon' of Life? or Theatre? This hitherto unknown work offers us a glimpse backstage into the artist's workroom. By comparing these sheets with the numbered pieces we gain considerable insight into Charlotte's style and method of working. We see how she experiments with colour and composition, for instance in her positioning of figures in the paintings and adding of textual passages to the picture.

Also on show in the exhibition is an exceptional acquisition: the drawing by Charlotte Salomon of her grandmother, titled Grossmama, which she made when living in the south of France. This portrait, which has long been missing, shows Charlotte's grandmother asleep in her chair, and was last exhibited in the first presentation of Charlotte's work in the Fodor Museum Amsterdam, in 1961.

Running simultaneously with the exhibition of Charlotte's work in the Jewish Historical Museum, is the exhibition Sarah Bernhardt: the Art of High Drama, which explores the life of the great French actress (1844-1923) and first international superstar.

For visuals and/or further information kindly contact the Communications Department of the Museum
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