Professor of Art History and author of Sculpting a Life, the first book -length biography of the artist Chana Orloff, Paula Birnbaum explores the fiercely determined and ambitious woman who fled antisemitism in Ukraine, emigrated to Palestine with her family, then travelled to Paris to work in haute couture before becoming an internationally recognized artist. Celebrated within the artistic world of Montparnasse, she exhibited with Henri Matisse, Georges Rouault, and Kees Van Dongen, among others, and became the unofficial portraitist of the Parisian elite.
Created against the backdrop of revolution, world wars, a global pandemic and forced migrations, Orloff’s sculptures illuminate themes of gender, displacement, exile, and belonging. Her story is one that also reflects a more broad perspective of the Jewish art world in the pre-state period of 1930s. Birnbaum will speak to these works and share stories from Orloff’s unpublished memoir, taking us through the aftermath of the Holocaust when Orloff lived between Paris and Tel Aviv, and illuminating the boldness of this artist, both in her extraordinary artistic accomplishments and in her own perseverance.
This is a live, virtual course hosted by Roundtable, which includes interactive opportunities and post-course recordings available for all course participants.