Jechezkiel David Kirszenbaum (1900-1954) represents a generation of artists who, faced with an increasingly hostile and repressive political environment and a dearth of institutions capable of stimulating their artistic development, were compelled to leave their native Eastern Europe.

 

After a traditional childhood in a shtetl in Staszow, Poland, Kirszenbaum began official artistic study at the Bauhaus in Weimar, in the mid 1920s, under Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Lyonel Feininger.


In the early 1930s he moved to Berlin where he worked as a caricaturist for the local press (under the pseudonym Duvdivani) and became part of the local artistic avant-garde, exhibiting at local galleries including Der Sturm. In 1933, fleeing growing Nazi oppression, he relocated to Paris with his wife Helma. There, inspired by the School of Paris, he further developed his Expressionistic style and began to exhibit works in various Parisian locales. In 1940 he was relocated to Southern France where he was imprisoned in various work camps for the duration of the war.

 

Following the war Kirszenbaum returned to Paris where he discovered that his wife, who had been deported to Auschwitz, had perished and that his studio, and its contents, had been pillaged and destroyed. The years immediately following the war were a period of recovery and healing for Kirszenbaum. He resumed painting and traveled to far-off countries, including Brazil and Morocco, where he exhibited locally. In the early 1950s he returned to Paris, where his work was featured in his first major solo exhibition as well as at several other significant venues, before succumbing to cancer in 1954.