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"Charlotte Salomon: Life or Theatre"
2000-04-14 until 2000-07-09
Art Gallery of Ontario
Toronto, , CA Canada

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, London


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