An exhibition of work by Vidin-born Bulgarian Jewish artist Eliezer Alcheh, held to mark the 110th anniversary of his birth, opens at Sofia City Art Gallery on September 21 and continues until November 18 2018.
A relative of another famous Bulgarian Vidin-born artist, Jules Pascin, Alcheh studied painting at the Fine Arts Academy in Munich, taught by professors such as Schinnerer in drawing and Caspar in painting. Afterwards he lived and worked for a year in Belgium. The canvas Anvers (1934), painted in this year, is exhibited now in Sofia’s National Gallery.
In 1934 Alcheh returned to Bulgaria where his first exhibition was held, causing a big impression in Bulgarian culture. He became part of a group of young Bulgarian painters that made a profound impression on the development of Bulgarian painting. His work was part of several collective exhibitions in Prague, Munich and Berlin in 1935 and 1936.
In 1936, he travelled to British mandate Palestine. The paintings he produced there were exhibited in Belgrade with great success. Alcheh then moved to Paris, showing his work in the Automne, Petit Palais y Tuillerie salons. From Paris he moved to Venice. Paintings dating from this time include Canale Grande and many others on show in Sofia’s National Gallery.
In 1938, he moved back to Bulgaria. After the pro-Nazi government of the time joined Hitler’s axis and enacted the antisemitic Defence of the Nation Act, Alcheh – like thousands of other Bulgarian Jewish men – was sent to a forced labour camp.
He had his second solo exhibition in Bulgaria in 1946. Alcheh moved to Buenos Aires in 1951, living there until his death in 1983.
His first major return to his homeland took place in 1975 when the author was invited to hold a solo exhibition in the halls of the National Gallery in Sofia.
The exhibition, which will include works from the collections of the Sofia City Art Gallery, National Gallery in Sofia, galleries in Rousse, Veliko Turnovo, Pleven, Kazanluk, Sliven and Stara Zagora, is under the patronage of the ambassador of Argentina and with the co-operation of the artist’s daughter, architect Deyana Alcheh.
The exhibition is accompanied by a printed edition covering not only the works on display but also previously unpublished and published document about the artist. To illustrate the historical context of the artist’s life, texts have been prepared by prominent researchers such as Professor Evgenia Kalinova, Associate Professor Rumyana Marinova-Christidi and Associate Professor Alexander Sivilov.
(Photo: Detail of work ‘Pazar’ (market) by Alcheh)