As Nazi aggression escalated, the
Berlin-born Jewish artist Charlotte
Salomon sensed the end was near. She
wrapped over 800 of her paintings in
brown paper and handed them to a
friend with the words -Take good care of
it, its my whole life-. Charlotte died in
Auschwitz at 26.
Life Or Theatre is the name that Charlotte Salomon gave to a
sequence of nearly 800 gouaches she produced between 1940 and
1942. She was born in Berlin in 1917 into a cultured middle-class
Jewish family, and died in Auschwitz in 1943 at the age of 26. This
exhibition will feature 400 of her gouaches as well as texts and
musical references that recreate a life scarred by both family tragedy
and Nazi persecution, yet interspersed with moments of intense
happiness and love.
Executed in three primary colours, the gouaches read like a series of
story boards for a film, following the events of Salomons life. The
works have been likened to a diary, but her account is fictionalized,
with the main characters in Solomons life acting as the dramatis
personnae. The gouaches speak to the drama of relationships and
what it means to be human.
Life Or Theatre is Salomons death-defying response to learning
of the suicides of her grandmother, her mother and her aunt. Before
her deportation to Auschwitz, she handed the work to a local
physician. Miraculously, the gouaches survived.
Special rates apply for groups of 20 or more. For information and
bookings, please call (416) 979-6660 ext 461 All the works are on
loan from the Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam
© Charlotte Salomon Foundation
This exhibition was first organized by the Royal Academy of Arts,