Théo Tobiasse (French, 1927-2012) was born in Jaffa, Palestine in 1927. He was raised in his parents’ native Lithuania and settled in Paris in 1931 with his family. Living in Paris during the German occupation, Tobiasse and his family narrowly escaped deportation during the Vélodrome d'Hiver (the largest French deportation of Jews during the Holocaust) in July 1942 and managed to hide in a small apartment for two years until Paris’s liberation. Before the war, Tobiasse briefly studied commercial art. In 1944 he became a graphic designer and set designer for businesses including the fashion house Hermès. He relocated to Nice in 1950 and became a full-time painter in 1960, largely self-taught in oil and gouache painting. He established his primary lithography workshop in Saint-Paul-de-Vence in 1976 with Pierre Chave. Throughout the 1970, 80s and 90s ,Tobiasse traveled and exhibited frequently throughout France and to Jerusalem and New York. He passed away in 2012 in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France.
"A survivor of the Nazi occupation of Paris, Tobiasse frequently addressed the Jewish experience and the resulting duality of alienation and celebration. Themes of exile and isolation coexist with depictions of ceremony and performance. Significant locations in the artist’s life such as Paris, Lithuania, and Jerusalem are referenced in imagery and by name. Often compared to Marc Chagall for his use of religious iconography and Biblical allusions, Tobiasse delved further into a personal exploration of tragedy from his own memory of travel and searching."
- Davidson Galleries
Read more from Théo Tobiasse's Artist Feature here.