Michel Sima

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Henri Matisse Information requestRenseignements

Gelatin silver print, 30 x 40 cm

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Gelatin silver print, 30 x 40 cm

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Gelatin silver print, 40 x 30 cm

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Gelatin silver print, 40 x 30 cm

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Gelatin silver print, 40 x 30 cm

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Gelatin silver print, 30 x 40 cm

Ossip Zadkine Information requestRenseignements

Gelatin silver print, 40 x 30 cm

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Gelatin silver print, 40 x 30 cm

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Gelatin silver print, 30 x 40 cm

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Gelatin silver print, 40 x 30 cm

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Gelatin silver print, 40 x 30 cm

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Gelatin silver print, 40 x 30 cm

biography

Born in 1912 in Poland, Michel Smajewski, known as Michel Sima, was a photographer and sculptor.

In 1929, at the age of 17, he moved to Paris to become a sculptor and was admitted to the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, where he took drawing classes and studied sculpture. A student of Ossip Zadkine, he met Jean Cocteau, Paul Eluard, and Francis Picabia. The latter invited him to the literary gatherings he held at his home. Meanwhile, Michel Sima began working for press agencies, creating photographic essays and portraits, such as that of Antonin Artaud. During this same period, he frequented Gertrude Stein’s literary circle and became friends with Robert and Youki Desnos, through whom he met Pablo Picasso.

Dividing his time between Paris and Vallauris, Michel Sima participated in group exhibitions and exhibited in 1942 with his friend Picabia at the La Lounge Library in Cannes. This exhibition earned him considerable critical success. That same year, he was arrested and deported to Auschwitz. He remained there until 1945 and was one of the few survivors.

After his liberation, he took refuge with his friend, Professor Romuald Dor de la Souchère, in Cannes. A year later, in 1946, Sima reunited with Picasso in Golfe-Juan. Picasso encouraged him to resume photography. This marked the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration between the two artists, during which Sima documented the painter’s work. From this work came his first book, “Picasso à Antibes,” published in 1948 by René Drouin.

Starting in the 1950s, Michel Sima dedicated himself to his portraits of artists, which have since earned him his fame.

In 1967, he settled in Ardèche with his family, where he resumed sculpting with olive wood. Michel Sima passed away in 1987.

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