21 rue de la Boetie : Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Leger…
21 Rue de la Boétie is a Parisian address, the title of a book and today an exhibition. The address is that of the gallery run by Paul Rosenberg, the famous art dealer of the inter-war period. The book is a tribute to the latter, which Anne Sinclair, well-known journalist and grand-daughter of Paul Rosenberg, wrote about her grandfather's life, which is both particular and exemplary of the fate of many Jews like him, forced to exile at the time of the Second World War.
The exhibition retraces, from the book, the adventure of a man, witness and actor of his time while being the victim of a history that goes beyond the individual from 1940. He is thus the art dealer and often the friend of Braque, Matisse, Leger who were to become the great artists of the first half of the twentieth century, and above all Picasso, for whom he organized an exhibition in New York in 1939. However, the declaration of war with Germany led Paul Rosenberg to leave for the United States; he is then deprived of his French nationality, his Parisian gallery is, ironically, requisitioned to become the Institute of Studies of Jewish Questions and he is despoiled of the works he bought, as being Jewish property. He does not fear to re-open a gallery in New York in 1941 and to become a link between the Europe of modernity and American collecting.
Many of the works featured in the exhibition are directly related to Paul Rosenberg, for having belonged to him and having transited through his mythical gallery, while others refer to the historical context of the time such as the exhibition of “degenerate art” in Munich in 1937 or the spoliation followed by the request after the war for restitution of the stolen works. We have found this exhibition which combines the history of a man, "a transmitter of modern art", with the history of art of his time as well as with political history, exciting for all these reasons. Do not miss Le Grand Déjeuner, an outstanding work by Fernand Léger on loan from the MoMa of New York and we recommend a break in the cosy space of the museum tea room.