Aberdam, Alfred

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ABERDAM, ALFRED (1894–1963), painter and graphic artist. Aberdam was born in Krystonopol, East Galicia (now Chervonograd, Ukraine) and received a traditional Jewish education in a ḥeder while studying Hebrew with private teachers. In 1905–12 he lived in Lvov, where he finished high school. He decided to become an artist at the age of 14. At this time he came into contact with young Yiddish writers (Melech *Ravitch, Abraham Moshe *Fuks, and others) and with Zionist youth groups in Lvov. He attended their meetings and their lectures on Jewish artists. In 1913 he entered the Academy of Art in Munich, but unsatisfied with the conservative approach to art education there, he left for Paris and studied in private studios. At the beginning of World War i he was drafted into the Austrian army and was wounded and taken prisoner by the Russians. He was sent to Siberia and lived in Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk, where he became acquainted with David Burliuk and other Russian futurists. In 1917 he was appointed people's commissar for the arts and inspector of the Irkutsk museum and organized an art school there. In 1920 he returned to Lvov. In 1921–22 he visited the Academy of Art in Cracow. In 1922–23 he lived in Berlin and visited the studio of Alexander Archipenko. From the end of 1923 he lived in Paris. In the 1920s and 1930s Aberdam's works were exhibited in salons and in private galleries. In this period he had three one-man shows. He maintained connections with Poland, showed his works in Polish exhibitions, and was a member of the Plastycy Nowocześni ("Contemporary Plastic Artists") group. During the Nazi occupation Aberdam had to live underground and could not continue his artistic work. In 1944 he took part in the organization of the Society of the Jewish Artists of Paris. In 1949 and 1952 he visited Israel and had one-man shows. His personal artistic manner reached its maturity in the late 1920s and with time he became one of the most illustrious representatives of the École de Paris. His favorite modes were still-lifes, landscapes, and genre scenes. He devoted a number of his works to the Holocaust (including Deportation, 1941–42, Ein Harod Art Museum, Israel).


C. Aronson, Scènes et visages de Montparnasse (1963), 440–45; N. Nieszawer, Marie Boyé, and Paul Fogel, Peintres Juifs à Paris, 1905–1939. École de Paris (2000), 39–41.

[Hillel Kozovsky (2nd ed.)]