ATLAN, Jean-Michel
Born in Constantinople January 23, 1913. His parents, who had a small business, sent him to Paris where he received his degree in philosophy. During the war he had to feign madness to escape deportation and was interned at the Sainte-Anne Hospital. Tempted by painting in 1941, it was not till the Liberation, in 1944, that he could devote himself to it entirely. Already in the Expressionist paintings of his beginnings one can recognize Atlan's African ancestry. Towards 1947 he turns to abstraction but soon finds his actual form of expression in the different sorts of fantastic animals which leave a choice of interpretation in the spectator's imagination. Of a very rich surface, these forms are made from a mixture of oil, pastel and chalk, and they are often encircled by a strong black outline which divides the canvas into a suggestive rhythm. Atlan's harsh style asserted itself rather slowly. His first exhibition took place at the Galerie Maeght in 1947, and afterwards at the Galerie Bing in 1956. In 1957 the Palais des Beaux-Arts of Brussels and the Museum of Antibes devoted their rooms to him. Atlan sends work regularly to the Salon de Mai, and also takes part in international exhibitions ( Liège, Tokio). He has published a collection of poems, Le Sang Profond ( 1944) and has illustrated the Description of a Fight by Kafka ( 1947).
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