Charlotte Salomon

Charlotte Salomon in close-up

13 March - 24 August

This summer, the Jewish Historical Museum will be transformed temporarily into a cinema from the 1920s and ’30s. The exhibition Charlotte in close-up explores the influence of film on Charlotte Salomon’s gesamtkunstwerk Life? or Theatre? A Singspiel.

Charlotte Salomon (1917- 1943) was born into a Jewish family in Berlin, where she studied art. She created her ‘multi-media’ masterpiece, which comprises hundreds of gouache drawings, in the South of France after fleeing Nazi Germany. She was arrested in 1943 and deported to Auschwitz, where she was murdered soon after her arrival. Her parents found Life? or Theatre? in the South of France in 1947. It was later published and adapted for cinema and has since become world famous, delighting and moving generations of readers ever since. 

Berlin and Film
Salomon grew up in a cultured environment, filled with art and music. Her native Berlin was a centre of artistic creativity and exploration of the relatively new medium of film. Directors and set designers experimented with new forms of storytelling, providing the public with unprecedented visual experiences. Charlotte Salomon loved to go to the cinema, and its influence resonates in Life? or Theatre? in many ways. 

New Light on Life? or Theatre? 
Through this exhibition, the Jewish Historical Museum hopes to shed new light on Life? or Theatre? Combining film footage from the period with a selection of Salomon’s gouaches in an associative manner affords visitors an insight into the influence that pre-war cinema in Berlin had on her unique artwork.

Salomon’s father, Dr Albert Salomon, and stepmother, the singer Paula Salomon-Lindberg gifted Life? or Theatre? A Singspiel to the Jewish Historical Museum in 1971. 


The exhibition is in the Jewish Historical Museum (JHM), Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1, 1011PL, Amsterdam. The JHM is housed in the centuries-old former synagogue complex of the Ashkenazi Jewish community. 


Your ticket provides admission to all exhibitions in all locations in the Jewish Cultural Quarter. You may also attend all events without any additional charge (unless otherwise indicated). Museumkaart holders do not need a ticket.



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