Artist biography

Jean Atlan 1913-1960

School of Paris abstract painter and poet, born in Constantine in Algeria of Jewish parents. Moved to Paris in 1930 and took a degree in philosophy at the Sorbonne. Did not begin to paint until 1941, self-taught. Imprisoned by the Nazis 1942-4, then in 1944 published a volume of poems Le Sang Profond and had his first one-man exhibition at the Galerie de l'Arc-en-Ciel, Paris. His first paintings, though violently expressionist, contained images of figures and landscape, but he soon developed a more or less abstract style with dramatic rhythmical heavy black lines and metamorphic shapes. Made lithographs to illustrate Kafka's Description d'un Combat 1947. After achieving considerable initial success, he passed through a period of neglect and poverty, and had no one-man exhibitions in Paris between 1947 and 1956. His work was widely exhibited again, in France and abroad, from 1956. Died in Paris.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.24