Ackerman, Paul – French Artist

Paul Ackerman oil on canvas painting, Personnages Cubistes

p4A ItemID D9749350
Paul Ackerman oil on canvas cubist painting, Seven Figures in a Landscape

p4A ItemID D9749347

Paul Ackerman (French, 1908 to 1981)

Paul Ackerman was an active and prolific Romanian-born artist who forged a successful career as a French modernist during the mid-20th century. He was born in Jassy, Romania, to a well-to-do Jewish family who sought refuge in France four years later. The Ackermans settled in Paris, where young Paul was initially encouraged by his businessman father in his love of art. From a young age he drew and painted and regularly visited the Louvre. However, once he had finished his secondary education, Paul was expected to follow a practical career, and to please his father, he enrolled in law school. Nonetheless, he continued his interest in the arts, taking literature classes on the side, and enrolling in courses given by Fernand Leger on the rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs. Leger was enormously encouraging, and Ackerman, emboldened by the confidence Leger instilled in him, was convinced not to abandon his artistic inclinations.

During the Second World War, Ackerman survived a prison camp and eventually met up with his new wife in St. Tropez. After Hitler invaded the so-called Free Zone, the couple went into hiding in the village of Chindrieux, near Aix-en-Bains where they remained in the house of a friend until France was liberated. Throughout the war, Ackerman made art continuously, painting and drawing on newspaper when he was unable to afford any real artists’ materials. At the time of liberation, Ackerman met the painter Pierre Bonnard, whose evocative work and poetic touch had a lasting impact on his own.

Upon his return to Paris in 1944, Ackerman fell profoundly under the sway of Cubism through his friendship with the artist Jacques Villon, which occupied him for a solid decade. Ackerman’s paintings show an awareness of the color experiments of the Delaunays, and demonstrate the artist’s ability to integrate figure and landscape, which served him well throughout his career, even as his style changed and evolved.

Information courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries, November 2008.


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