Arbit Blatas, Lithuanian (1908 - 1999)

Arbit Blatas and his works have been part of the art scene for most of the 20th Century. As a boy of 15 he was showing in his native Lithuania. Arriving in Paris at age 18, he soon became the youngest artist of the famous School of Paris group. His art - in painting, sculpture and lithography - remained true to his completely individual Expressionist style throughout his entire career, countless examples of which are found in the world's most prestigious museums, private art collections and public places. Among his most important works are the Holocaust Monuments in Venice, Paris and New York and the unique collection of forty-nine portraits and bronzes of his School of Paris colleagues is now permanently installed in the Museum of the Thirties in Paris. He was named Officier of the Legion of Honor and received numerous honors all over the world.

1908: Arbit Blatas is born on November 19th, 1908 in Kaunas, Lithuania to Russian parents.
1922: At the age of fifteen he is already exhibiting in his native country.
1928: En route to Paris, in Berlin, Germany, he sees world première of the Kurt Weill-Berthold Brecht masterpiece "The Threepenny Opera".
1929: Exhibits at Salon D'Automne and the Salon des Tuileries in Paris, France regularly until 1939.
1929: At the age of twenty-one, he becomes the youngest member of the "School of Paris" and friend and colleague of many of the great figures of Paris art life: Vlaminck, Soutine, Picasso, Utrillo, Braque, Matisse, to name just a few. He eventually paints and sculpts them all.
1934: Comes to the United States. First show at Pierre Matisse gallery.
1936: The Jeu de Paume museum in Paris and the Musée de Grenoble buy the first paintings.
1936-9: Shows regularly in major galleries in Paris.
1941: Fleeing from Europe, he arrives in the United States where he becomes a highly respected member of the art community, eventually becoming an American citizen.
1946: With the war over, he begins to divide his time between Paris and New York, exhibiting regularly in the USA and abroad.
1960: First exhibitions of "The Threepenny Opera" in Paris, France, and Lausanne, Switzerland.
1967: His life-size bronze of colleague Chaim Soutine is purchased by André Malraux for the Orangerie in Paris.
1971-84: Designs and executes his first operas - "Carmen" in Hamburg, Germany and "Elektra" in Venice, Italy - with Regina Resnik as Director.
1980: On April 25th, the National Holiday of Liberation from the Nazis, his Monument of the Holocaust (seven bronze bas-reliefs) is consecrated in the Historic Ghetto of Venice in the Campo del Ghetto Nuovo.
1981: On April 23rd, a second edition of the Monument of the Holocaust is dedicated in Paris at the Shrine of the Unknown Jewish Martyrs.
1982: On April 25th, a third edition of the Monument of the Holocaust is placed in New York City by the Anti-Defamation League in the Dag Hammerskjold Plaza facing the United Nations.
1982: In Venice, Italy - a major exhibition of Blatas' "School of Paris" portraits at the Church of San Samuele under the auspices of the Mayors of Paris and Venice (Jacques Chirac and Mario Rigo, respectively).
1984: In Venice, at the Teatro Goldoni, "Threepenny Opera" exhibition: Paintings, Lithographs, Sculpture.
1986: "Threepenny Opera" exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York and the Goethe Institute in Toronto, Canada.
1986: The Musée Bourdelle in Paris, France offers the first major exhibition of the "School of Paris" portraits.
1988: Life-size statue of Chaim Soutine by Blatas is installed in the Square Gaston Baty in Montparnasse-Paris.
1988: Exhibition "Arbit Blatas and his World of Music and Theatre" at the Museum of the City of New York
1990: Musée Municipal in Boulogne-Billancourt acquires the entire collection of the portraits, drawings and bronzes of the "School of Paris" artists.
1991: Bronze statue of artist, Jacques Lipchitz, is installed in the garden of the Hotel de Ville in Boulogne-Billancourt.
1994: Paris presentation in Montparnasse of the "School of Paris" under the title "Memories of Paris".
1994: In May, the Grosvenor Gallery in London presents the exhibition called "Arbit Blatas and his World of Music and Theatre".
1994: On September 19th, Arbit Blatas is honored by the President of Italy who personally dedicates the sculpture called "The Last Train" in the Historic Ghetto of Venice. The monument honors the fiftieth anniversary of the Deportation of the Holocaust.
1994: Eastlake Gallery in New York presents an entire exhibition dedicated to Arbit Blatas' paintings of Venice.
1997: March and April - Beacon Hill Gallery in New York City shows paintings, drawings and sculpture in Arbit Blatas' last gallery exhibition.
1998: The Museum of the Thirties of Boulogne-Billancourt opens officially in December with Arbit Blatas' "School of Paris" portrait collection permanently installed in rooms dedicated to the artist.
1999: Arbit Blatas passes away on April 27th.
2000: Regina Resnik-Blatas officially dedicates collection in Paris Museum of the Thirties.


MUSEUMS

UNITED STATES: Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh; Newark Museum; Montclair Museum; Wichita Art Museum; Rochester Museum; Virginia Museum; Delgado Museum, New Orleans; Palm Springs Desert Museum; Museum of the City of New York; National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
FRANCE: Jeu de Paume; Musée de l'Orangerie; Musée Georges Pompidou; Musée de Grenoble; Musée de Céret; Musée Bourdelle; Musée de Boulogne-Billancourt
ISRAEL: Jerusalem Museum; Tel-Aviv Museum
ITALY: Museo d'Arte Moderna; Ca' Pesaro, Venice
REUNION: Musée de la Reunion
SWITZERLAND: Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne
WALES: National Museum, Cardiff


GALLERIES

LAUSANNE: Galerie Vallotton
LONDON: Wildenstein Gallery; Grosvenor Gallery; Archer Gallery; Fine Arts Society; Redfern Gallery
MONTREAL: Gallery Moos
NEW YORK: Pierre Matisse Gallery; Associated American Artists; French Art Gallery; Bignou Gallery; Fine Arts Associates; Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc.; Eastlake Gallery; Beacon Hill Gallery
PARIS: Galerie Zborowski; Salon D'Automne; Salon des Tuileries; Galerie Mouradian-Van Leer; Galerie Mouradian-Vallotton; Salon Populiste; Galerie de l'Elysée; Galerie André Weil; Galerie Bernheim-Jeune; Galerie René Drouet
SYDNEY: Holdsworth Gallery
TORONTO: Goethe Institute
VENICE: Gritti Palace; Chiesa di San Samuele; Teatro Goldoni; Galleria Graziussi; Chiesa San Stae


OPERA  PRODUCTIONS

CARMEN (Bizet) Hamburg Stage Opera (Germany)
ELEKTRA (R. Strauss) Teatro La Fenice (Venice, Italy);  Teatro Sao Carlos (Lisbon, Portugal);  Opera du Rhin (Strasbourg, France)
FALSTAFF (Verdi) Teatr Wielki (Warsaw, Poland); Festival of Madrid (Spain); Teatro Sao Carlos (Lisbon, Portugal); Teatro La Fenice (Venice, Italy)
PIQUE DAME (Tchaikowsky) Sydney Opera House (Australia);  Vancouver Opera Association (Canada)
SALOMÉ (R. Strauss) Teatro Sao Carlos (Lisbon, Portugal)
THE BEAR (Walton) Teatro Sao Carlos (Lisbon, Portugal)
THE MEDIUM (Menotti) Teatro Sao Carlos (Lisbon, Portugal)


FILMS

CARMEN - The Dream and the Destiny
THE HISTORIC GHETTO OF VENICE
A PAINTER'S HOMAGE TO "THREEPENNY OPERA" (in preparation)






LITHOGRAPHIC EDITIONS

HOMAGE A L'ECOLE DE PARIS by BLATAS Editions Marcel Sautier, Paris & Graphophile, New York; Preface by Emily Genauer (lithographs of the painters of the School of Paris)
MARCEL MARCEAU by BLATAS Preface by Marcel Marceau; Editions Marcel Sautier, Paris, 1959; (eleven black and white lithographs)
L'OPERA DES GUEUX by BLATAS Editions Marcel Sautier, Paris; prefaces by Jean Bouret and Lotte Lenya; (lithographs in color)
RESNIK by BLATAS Editeur Archée, Auver-sur-Oise; Introduction by Winthrop Sargeant; Preface by Jean Bouret; (ten black and white lithographs)
THE WORLD'S MOST BELOVED OPERAS by BLATAS Editions Jean Lavigne, Paris; (six lithographs in color)

PUBLICATIONS

BLATAS Monographs by André Farcy, director, Musée de Grenoble; Editions Quatre Chemins
LES ARTS ET LES ARTISTES by BLATAS By Waldemar George
BLATAS, PORTRAITS DE L'ECOLE DE PARIS Editions de l'Albaron, France
AN ARTIST'S VENICE Vendome Press, New York
BLATAS: ASPETTI DI VENEZIA Edizioni Canova, Italy
BLATAS: PORTRAITS DE MONTPARNASSE Edition Somogy, Paris
THE HISTORIC GHETTO OF VENICE Edizioni Canova, Italy


HONORS
* Elected life member of the Salon D'Automne
* Chevalier de la Legion D'Honneur (France)
* Officier de la Legion D'Honneur (France)
* Gold Medal of Honor City of Venice (Italy)
* Commandeur - Medaille de Vermeil (City of Paris)
* Medal of Masada (Israel)
* Special Honor of the City of New York
* Presidential Medal of Italy
* Commander Cross of the Order of Merit of Lithuania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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