Perahim. From Bucharest to Paris. From avant-garde to accomplishment

Perahim. From Bucharest to Paris. From avant-garde to accomplishment
Perahim 3
13 Jun.
26 Sept.


From Bucharest to Paris. From avant-garde to accomplishment

Alongside Victor Brauner, Jacques Hérold or Marcel Janco, Jules Perahim (1914–2008) was one of the most prominent figures of the Romanian avant-garde of the 1930s. He gained fame as much through his association with the non-conformist, Dada and surrealist magazines Unu (whose main contributor was Victor Brauner) and Alge (whose founders included the poet Gherasim Luca), as through his solo shows and, later, through his vehement drawings published in the social and political protest reviews of that time. In 1938, on his way to Paris, Perahim stopped off in Prague, the city of alchemists. There he became involved with the Czech avant-garde, who arranged for him to put on a solo exhibition, but the Nazi expansion in Central Europe prevented him from resuming his journey.

After World War II, his deep-seated belief in the need for change in Romanian society was eroded over time by a context adverse to artistic liberty. For years, Perahim focussed solely on the decorative arts, on stagecraft and book illustration, while at the same time catering to an “inner need” by pursuing art “destined for the drawer”. At the end of the 1960s, a time marked by the rise of National Communism, Perahim left Romania to begin a new life based in Paris. His artistic work then started to flourish, pursuing once more the dreams he had abandoned. He became the accomplished and prolific artist of a poetical and enigmatic body of work, reflecting a boundless imagination filled with humour and fancy.

This exhibition, featuring mainly the artist’s paintings and drawings, hinges around two key moments in his artistic career: the time of the avant-garde in Bucharest in the 1930s, and the resurgence of his art from the 1960s onwards in the Paris years, which reflect the fullness of his artistic achievement.