Si Lewen, Parade (détail)
Si Lewen, The Parade
Until May 8th, 2022
The mahJ is showing The Parade, the series of drawings created by Si Lewen (1918–2016) in 1950. Although this Polish-born American artist was a prominent figure in American post-war art, he is still little known in Europe. The recurrent theme in his work is the inexpressible horror of the Holocaust.
Si Lewen was born in Lublin, Poland. His family fled the pogroms in the early 1920s and he spent his childhood in Germany, where he witnessed the rise of National Socialism. In 1935, after a brief stay in France, he and his family emigrated to New York. He enlisted in the American army in 1942, joined the Military Intelligence Service, and discovered the Buchenwald concentration camp shortly after its liberation in 1945.
This experience was one of the sources of The Parade, the striking series of sixty-three both realist and allegorical black and white drawings narrating the rise of Nazism, the war, the Holocaust and the reconciliation of peoples.
Albert Einstein wrote to Si Lewen in 1951: “I find your work The Parade very impressive from a purely artistic standpoint. Furthermore, I find it a real merit to counteract the tendencies towards war through the medium of art. Nothing can equal the psychological effect of real art — neither factual descriptions nor intellectual discussion. It has often been said that art should not be used to serve any political or otherwise practical goals. But I could never agree with this point of view.”
Published in a limited edition in 1957, The Parade became a very rare work until the new edition in 2016 edited by Art Spiegelman, author of the graphic novel Maus and admirer of Si Lewen’s graphic and narrative talents.
In conjunction with the exhibition, The Parade is being published for the first time in French by Flammarion on 3 November 2021, augmented by An Artist’s Odyssey, a biography and contribution by Art Spiegelman. On 10 November, Art Spiegelman will be present at the mahJ for a “big discussion”, with a film show, guided visits and an etching workshop programmed around the exhibition (in French).
Pascale Samuel, curator of the mahJ’s modern and contemporary collection, with Virginie Michel, mahJ
MahJ ticket to permanent collection and exhibitions:
> Full rate: 10 €
> Reduced rate: 7 € (18-25 year non European Union residents)
> Exhibition-Reduced rate for 18-25 year European Union residents: 5 €
Online booking is recommended, including for free ticket holders and Friends of the mahJ.
> Online ticketing*
> On site, at mahJ’s ticketdesk (from Tuesday to Saturday, from 11 am to 5 pm)
> By phone, (33)1 53 01 86 57 (Tuesday and Wednesday from 10h30 am to 1h pm)
* Secured payment by crebit card