What’s On: Jules Pascin – From Vidin to Paris exhibition at Sofia City Art Gallery

An exhibition entitled Jules Pascin – From Vidin to Paris is opening at Sofia City Art Gallery on the evening of September 17 and will continue until November 21 2013.

After a 38-year hiatus, owing to the extraordinary efforts of the embassy of France in Sofia, Bulgaria is hosting a retrospective exhibition of work by world famous artist Jules Pascin.

The exhibition features 115 artworks – paintings, watercolours, drawings, graphic arts, collage, contributed by private collectors and art galleries in Paris, Luxemburg, Oslo, London and Tel Aviv.


Julius Mordecai Pincas, known as Jules Pascin, was born on March 31 1885 in Bulgaria’s Danubian city of Vidin. In 1892, his family moved to Bucharest. Pascin graduated from high school in Vienna. Between 1902 and 1905 he received training at the art academies in Vienna, Budapest, Munich and Berlin.



He contributed to the “Simplicissimus “ magazine published in Munich. In 1905, he moved to Paris, where he met his future wife, Hermine David. In 1907, he organized his first solo exhibition at Paul Cassirer’s gallery in Berlin. In 1914 he left for New York, where he lived until 1920. He travelled to the Southern states and Cuba. Then he went back to Paris, where he lived until his death in 1930.


In his relatively short life, Pascin spent time in some of the world’s most vibrant cultural centres, namely Vienna, Munich, Berlin, Paris and New York. His art was far from being an isolated fact, it was rather part and parcel of what was going on in the first half of the 20th century. Having had a taste of the global changes in the ways art was viewed at the very turn of the century and having lived in one of the centres of artistic innovation, Vienna, he seemed to always find himself where things happened.

Jules Pascin in his studio, 1930.
Jules Pascin in his studio, 1930.

As an active participant in the Munich and Berlin art scenes, Pascin reflected in his paintings the influence of Art Noveau, and later – of expressionism. Recognised as a genuine part of the School of Paris, the artist has invariably been associated with the Paris art scene. Having lived in the US for seven years, where he was granted citizenship, he was the source of influence for a certain circle of American artists.

The Jules Pascin – From Vidin to Paris exhibition allows insight into the artist’s rich and versatile legacy. It features plenty of drawings, a genre to which the artist attached great importance. The exhibition includes early works created in 1905, when he started contributing to “Simplicissimus “ magazine; works created up to 1914 during his first Parisian period; 1914 –1920 works from his American period; as well as works belonging to his second Parisian period, which lasted until his death in 1930.

Pascin’s art can understood only when viewed as a whole, considering all the influences and changes internalised by him through the years. His participation in the Vienna, Munich and Berlin art scenes played an important role in the development of

his style. That is why it was essential to include drawings from this period in the exhibition. This highlights the importance of the early years, which are frequently overlooked. The inclusion of artworks from Pascin’s American period is another serious contribution of the exhibition. Besides the sketches of New York streets, there are drawings made by Pascin during his travels around the American South and Cuba, which are of particular interest as they reflect a somewhat unknown part of his legacy as an artist. They convey the immediacy and freshness of the very first impression, of drawing on the go. Yet, it is this type of artworks that clearly reveal the artist’s ability to “draw first sight portraits”, to elicit ready compositional solutions from chaotic reality, to bring the line’s dynamics and the stroke’s liveliness in tune with the rhythm of the journey. These drawings add to Pascin’s image as an artist who was hungry for the impressions created by reality, who could be inspired by a plain object, who sought for this type of inspiration, surrendered to the latter and willingly let himself be guided by it. The exhibition also features drawings made in Tunisia – another favourite destination of the artist, where he went on several occasions.

The exhibition includes artworks belonging to all major themes and genres, namely nude body, portrait, compositions based on Biblical and mythological themes, erotic drawings, illustrations, travel sketches, etc. The exhibition reveals Pascin’s legacy, duly presenting each distinct period of his artistic development. This creates a more dynamic image of the artist, and a sense of the latter’s restless and impulsive spirit and character, which drove his artistic moods in various directions and subjected the artist to different influences and tests.

The exhibition provides the opportunity to view all aspects of Pascin’s artistic persona, namely the draftsman, the illustrator, the cartoonist and the painter; the master nude body, portrait, figure composition and landscape painter, the lyrical bard and the master of satire. Missing any of these aspects would make his image incomplete.

“Lively and dynamic as a person, he did not linger at the same place for a long time as an artist either – he was bound to search, change and alternate themes and genres. This is Jules Pascin – a restless genius, one of the most intriguing representatives of his time,” a media statement by Sofia City Art Gallery said.


There is an exhibition catalogue in Bulgarian and French, including all artworks featured in the exhibition.






The Sofia Globe staff

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