Charlotte Salomon in Close up

till September 29

During the spring and summer of 2024, a section of the Jewish Museum will be converted into a cinema theater reminiscent of the 1920s and 1930s. The exhibition Charlotte Salomon in Close-up explores how film influenced Charlotte Salomon's world famous life's work, Life? or Theater?

Life? or Theater?
Charlotte Salomon is a young Jewish woman living in Berlin in the 1930s. She grows up in an environment surrounded by music, art, and culture, and attends art school. In 1939, she flees the Nazis to Southern France where she stays with her grandparents. There, she creates a multimedia artwork, extraordinary for its time, consisting of nearly 800 gouaches. Salomon is murdered in Auschwitz in 1943 at the age of 26. In 1947, her parents discover her artwork, Life? or Theater?, and publish it. The work speaks to the imagination of many and becomes world-famous.

Berlin & Film

Salomon's hometown, Berlin, was a center of artistic excellence where the - then relatively new - medium of film was explored in various ways. Directors and screenwriters crafted stories and images in exceptional and innovative forms. In the movie theaters, the audience experienced a new world, full of visual stimuli and experiences. Charlotte also enjoyed going to the cinema. This influence clearly resonates in her artwork Life? or Theater?. The works strongly resemble a storyboard for a film. She also uses flashbacks and interludes reminiscent of intertitles in silent films from the 1920s & 30s.

New Light

Charlotte Salomon in Close-up
sheds new light on Salomon's work. By combining film footage from that era with gouaches from her artwork, you are invited to observe the influence of pre-war Berlin cinema on Salomon's unique artistic legacy.