Boris Taslitzky

  • Born 1911 in Paris, France
  • Died 2000 in Paris, France

Boris Taslitzky was a Socialist Realist painter who depicted scenes of suffering and death in war and revolution. His family had fled Russia to France in 1905, where Taslitzky studied at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (National School of Fine Arts) in the 1930s. He joined the Association of Revolutionary Writers and Artists in 1933, and two years later joined the Communist Party. His father had died in World War I and his mother died at Auschwitz during World War II; thus his paintings often reference the two wars. Taslitzky first supported the French Front populaire (People’s Front), making placards for political demonstrations. In 1940, while fighting against the Germans, he was arrested but later escaped. In late 1941 he was recaptured and served two years imprisonment. In 1944 Taslitzky was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp, where he secretly made drawings of the atrocities and inhuman conditions there. After the war he returned to Paris, where his drawings were published as 111 dessins faits à Buchenwald (111 Drawings Made at Buchenwald; 1946). Continuing the heroic and figurative traditions of nineteenth-century painting, he painted politically charged scenes (Riposte, 1949), genre scenes, and landscapes. Taslitzky taught at the École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (National School of Decorative Arts) and worked as an illustrator for the Communist press.

Artworks by Boris Taslitzky in the exhibition