PASCIN Jules (Pseudonym of Julius Pincas)
( 1885-1930), a painter born in Vidin in Bulgaria; died in Paris. Pascin is from his real name Pincas. The son of a SpanishJewish father and a haft-Serbian, half-Italian mother, Pascin did his early work in Vienna, Berlin, and Munich, where he collaborated while still very young on the satirical paper Simplicissimus. At the age of fourteen, in Munich to finish his studies, he is noticed by the writer Gustave Meyrink who makes it possible for him to work as a regular collaborator on the satirical paper Simplicissimus on Judge, and on Lustige Blätter. Pascin was destined to become a sort of contemporary international type. He came to Paris for the first time in 1905. Before the war he took a trip to Algeria and Tunis. He had hardly spent two months in England when the First World War broke out; in September of the same year he sailed for the United States where after many years he was finally awarded American citizenship. He lived in New York, but he took trips to Cuba, Texas, Florida, Louisaina, South Carolina. Adopted very soon by America, he became the perfect example of 'internationalism', as Pierre MacOrlan has written. Having hobnobbed in all cafés of the old and new worlds with painters of every school, he was fond of camping in Paris, in the midst of the greatest disorder, among dusty sofas on which he made his models sit or lie, suggesting to them the least chaste poses. Although success came to him, he was found hanged in his studio on June 20th, 1930, the opening day of his exhibition at the Georges Petit Gallery. Like Toulouse-Lautrec, Pascin asserts himself above all as a great draughtsman even in his paintings, most of which were done after 1920. Colour often enhances only slightly, with exquisite restraint and delicacy, meanings that have already been brought out by the drawing. The life of the various planes is suggested with an authority and a charm that recall the great masters of the eighteenth century, whom he particularly liked. A supernatural atmosphere bathes his prostitutes, with their short legs and vague eyes. Alone or in pairs, they look like prostrate or passive little girls killing time. Sometimes there is a sort of mystical note in this acute and tender eroticism, occasionally mixed with Biblical reminiscences ( The Prodigal Son, Salome, The Judgment of Solomon). From this voluptuous art emanates a kind of irremediable despair.
Pascin drew everywhere, and with passion. A line, at once fine and heavy, often impressed through sheets of carbon paper, nervously accentuates rhythms and contours. Modelling is achieved by shading light greys with a finger as voluptuous as Renoir's. The heightenings in water-colour are hardly felt. Illustrations of books and sketches brought back from Tunisia and Florida reveal Pascin, whose portraits have such subtlety, as one of the best witnesses of life between the two wars.
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