Charlotte Salomon (April 16, 1917 – Oct. 10, 1943); German-Jewish artist born in Berlin. Primarily remembered as the creator of an autobiographical series of paintings Leben? oder Theater?: Ein Singspiel (Life? or Theater?: A Song-play) consisting of 769 individual works painted between 1941 and 1943 in the south of France, while Salomon was in hiding from the Nazis. In Oct. 1943 she was captured and deported to Auschwitz, where she and her unborn child were gassed to death by the Nazis soon after her arrival. In 2015, a stunning 19-page confession by Salomon to the fatal poisoning of her grandfather, kept secret for decades, was released by a Parisian publisher.

Salomon was 22 years old when she fled from Berlin and arrived at her grandparents’ home in the South of France as a refugee in Dec. 1938. When her grandmother committed suicide following the outbreak World War II, Charlotte embarked on a ‘totally wild project’ to ward off mental disintegration....

After the war her father and his wife discovered Life? Or Theatre? in the South of France. They donated it to the Jewish Historical Museum in 1971. In the decades since then, parts of the work have traveled to diverse museums around the world. Salomon’s life’s work unfailingly arouses strong reactions, and it has inspired artists, filmmakers, writers and choreographers to make creations of their own. The Jewish Historical Museum is now displaying the entire work – over 800 gouaches – for the first time.

The complete work is now available online, including the accompanying transparent text sheets, the music and translation of all texts. In this online version the unnumbered, often rejected, gouaches have been added too. Explore the digital Life? or Theatre? -

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Pedro dos Reis


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