Book Review | Charlotte Salomon: Leben? oder Theater?Drawing inspiration from a traumatic life
By Ruby Fischer
“SHE was like an overcast day in November,” recalls a school friend. “She lived in her own world of light, air and colours.”
Charlotte Salomon, whose birth centenary was celebrated last year, is one of the most prolific and enigmatic artists of the modern era. Born in Berlin, Salomon was 22 on the morning after Kristallnacht — the 1938 pogrom against Jews in nazi Germany — when her father Dr Albert Salomon was arrested.
She and her grandparents sought refuge in the home of Ottilie Moore, a US heiress who provided safe haven for young Jewish children at her Villa l’Ermitage in the French town of Villefranche-sur-Mer.
It was here that Salomon fell into a deep existential depression, out of which she saw just two possibilities — either succumb to the thoughts of suicide, whose promise of eternal quietude ultimately claimed all the women in her family, or defy the...
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