Chagall, Soutine and the School of Paris
20 June – 24 November 2013
Featuring some of the most famous Jewish artists in history, the display includes works by Marc Chagall, Chaim Soutine, Lazar Berson and Sonia Delaunay.
The School of Paris was the name given to an association of émigré artists working in the French capital in the early 20th century.
It included members of the Jewish community who had fled poverty and persecution in Russia to settle in Paris, where they had the freedom to pursue their artistic careers.
Highlights of the exhibition include Marc Chagall's Apocalypse en Lilas, Capriccio, a crucifixion scene he painted in response to horror stories about concentration camps that were being broadcast in the American press.
It is thought that it was these reports that forced the artist to finally come out of mourning for his late wife Bella – who had died suddenly the year before – as he felt compelled to begin work on the piece.
This is the first exhibition of major Jewish artists ever staged in Manchester, the city with the second largest Jewish population in the UK.
Chaim Soutine's La Soubrette is one of the significant loans in the display, acquired by the Ben Uri Gallery through Sotheby's Tax and Heritage Department last year.
Its purchase was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Art Fund, the V&A Purchase Grant Fund and philanthropic donations from private collectors.
Interestingly, when the piece was first sold at auction in Paris in October 1937 it was titled 'Jeune servant' and this will be the first time it has been exhibited outside London.