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mheu, Historical Museum of the Urban Environment

Un soir sur les escalators du métro de Paris

Boris Taslitzky

Un soir sur les escalators du métro de Paris

Date : 1935
Technique : oil on canvas
Size : 96 x 129 cm
Location : musée Pouchkine, Moscou
Photo credit: © Artothek

View this work in the Urban transportation exhibition

The work

Attentive to social reality, Boris Taslitzky here consciously chooses the theme of a workman in overalls going up the escalator of the metro. Reification of a commonplace subject par excellence, the painting shows us what grand proletariat buildings the first stations of the Moscow Metro were at the time.

The artist

Though Boris Taslitzky (1911-2005) is best known for his exceptional drawings of Buchenwald concentration camp, it would be a pity to overlook the rest of his work, now preserved in some of the world's greatest museums. The son of Russian émigrés, Boris Taslitzky devoted himself to painting from an early age. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and frequented the artistic milieu of Montparnasse, exhibiting alongside Picasso, Lurçat and Matisse. He was also an activist: a close friend of Louis Aragon and Elsa Triolet, and a member of the Communist Party from 1935 onwards, he was arrested as a resistance fighter in November 1941 and sent to a concentration camp. It was during his imprisonment that he secretly did some two hundred drawings bearing witness to the hell he was experiencing, and in which his own mother perished. He continued as an artist and activist after the war and died in 2005.