Anne Sinclair weaves a captivating story of great art, loss, oppression and triumph from her grandfather's life.
About the book
On 20 September 1940, Paul Rosenberg disembarked in New York, just one of hundreds of tired Jewish refugees fleeing Vichy France. Leaving behind his celebrated Paris gallery, Paul had managed to save his family; his paintings weren't all so fortunate. Some - the Picassos at MoMA's first retrospective - were already safely abroad. But dozens of works by Cézanne, Monet and Sisley were seized by Nazi forces, destined for Swiss galleries and private collections. Drawing on her grandfather's astonishingly intimate correspondence with Picasso, Matisse, Braque and others, Anne Sinclair takes us on a personal journey through the life of a fêted member of the Parisian art scene and a friend to the greatest artists of the century. But Paul's flight from his beloved gallery to exile in New York also tells a darker story, emblematic of the millions of Jews, rich and poor, who lost everything in the Second World War.
In 1940, the great Paris art dealer Paul Rosenberg-patron of Picasso, Braque, and Matisse-was stripped of his citizenship by Vichy law and forced into exile in New York. Today, his granddaughter, Anne Sinclair, delves deep into family archives to give us an intimate memoir that is also a detective story and a cultural history of war. Sinclair's captivating tale of two cities will change the way we look at modern art.
The incredible story of a visionary
Paul Rosenberg is an essential figure in the story of modern art. His gallery at 21 rue la Boétie in Paris was an enchanted place where you could see the latest Picassos and Matisses and learn about a new movement - modernism. All that changed with the rise of Nazism, which sent Rosenberg and his family fleeing to New York. His granddaughter's book is a moving remembrance of him, and a timely contribution to the still-unfolding story of the Nazi assault on degenerate art.
The plunder of Jewish art collections by the Nazis may not rank with their other crimes but it continues to infuriate, and Anne Sinclair brings us inside the events in a particularly intimate way. She makes us relive that outrageous moment in history when thousands of French people suddenly learned they were not French at all, but Jewish, and had no right to their own property. This is an important story.
Splendid ... Sinclair's narrative presents a complex picture of a sharp-eyed, industrious, and melancholy man