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 Pascin at the Cigogne, Paris 1930

Julius Mordecaï PINCAS was born the 31st of March 1885, in Vidin, Bulgaria, and died the 2d of June 1930 in Paris.

He was one of the leaders of “l’Ecole de Paris”.

He was the seventh child of Marcus Pincas, wealthy grains-merchant, and Sophie Russo.

In 1992 the Pincas family settles down in Bucharest, Romania.

Julius Mordecaï PINCAS leaves at the age of seventeen to attend artistic studies in Vienna.

In 1904 he reaches Munich, where he attends the Moritz Heymann Art School and contributes to the satirical “Simplicissimus” review, set up by Albert Langen who proposes to him a contract of 400 marks per month.

This contract will allow him to live comfortably during many years as he will continue to send drawings until 1921.

On request of his father, who did not agree with his artistic vocation, he will sign in the future as “Pascin”, an anagram of Pincas.

After a short stay in Berlin, he arrives in Paris on the 24th of December 1905 where he is already well known by painters regularly visiting the “Dome” café, named “the Domiers”. They welcome him very warmly. Among them, William Howard, Rudolf Grossmann, Emil Orlik, Walter Bondy…

He settles down in Montparnasse, rents studios, visits cafés and forms a friendship with artists and writers.

In 1907 he makes an acquaintance with Hermine David, a painter and miniaturist. She will become his companion, and he will marry her in 1918 in the U.S.A..

He shows his first personal exhibition at Paul Cassirer in Berlin, another at Berthe Weil. He exposes regularly at the Autumn and Independents art shows.

He always works “on life”, draws in cafés and brothels he frequently visit. He is mainly interested by people, their expressions, their gestures. He watches and draws a quick outline, without any second thought.

He does not follow any fashion, or school. His art is entirely personal.

He meets Lucy, sitting for the Matisse Academy, who will become his mistress and for whom he will feel a passion which will lead him to suicide.

In 1909, he will exhibit at the Berlin Secession, where he will be presented among the expressionist painters.

In 1913, he exposes at the New York Armory Show and achieves great success. The lawyer and patron of art, John Quinn, will buy several of his works.

To avoid being enlisted in the Bulgarian army, he leaves Paris for America in 1914, via London, and he will not be back to France until 1920, at the end of the war.

He settles in New York, visits regularly the Penguin Club set up by Walt Kuhn where he, once again, meets Max Weber and Maurice Stern, former “Domiers”.

Hermine David joins him in New York in 1915, every winter they will reside in the south of the United States and mainly in Cuba.

During his travels, especially in the south of the United States, his palette changes, he drops his cold and dark tints, the black circled drawings, for violent colours, vivid, warm… his environment is not the same, he feels interested in landscapes, nature, he lives among the more humble peasants and shares their daily life.

It is there that he makes a few “cubistes” trials but he is not interested in “deconstruction” and he will rapidly renounce.

In 1918 he marries Hermine David and in 1920 obtains the American nationality.

Back to Paris, he settles in Monmartre, but every night he meets his friends in Montparnasse.

After the hardships and war years, everyone wants to have a good time, these are the famous “années folles”.


He sees Lucy again who married a Norwegian painter, Per Krohg, from whom she had a son, Guy. Their stormy and hopeless liaison starts again.


In 1921 he goes back to Tunisia with Hermine, invited by the Tunisian painter Abdul Wahab,

whom he met in Montparnasse. He had already been there in 1908, and will be back in 1924, without Hermine, with whom he was still near, and instead with Lucy, who had taken her place in his heart.

In 1922, Doctor Barnes comes to Paris to buy some of his works.

Pascin regularly participates in exhibitions of La Licorne, organized by Berthe Weil.

In 1923 he set up at the 36, Bd de Clichy in Paris where he will stay until his death.

After years of research, Pascin ends his painting technics with “ESSENCE ???” layed very lightly on a thin canvas. The tints, close to pastel, produce aerial and misty feeling, where flesh have pearly colours, which gives a very sensual aspect to the painting. Critics will call it “the pearly period”.

The Pierre gallery opens in 1924 and Pascin shows his works for his first private view.

He meets André Warnod in 1925 and they become very close.

He organizes great parties every Saturday night in his studio, where all of his models, writers  and artists are invited to amuse themselves and to share gigantic buffets… his generosity was legendary…

Pascin travels very often to the south of France, Marseilles, Cassis, St Tropez, Sanary and to Algeria and Tunisia too.

He exposes at the Flechtheim gallery in Dusseldorf.

He wishes to stay in Palestine but leaves the boat in Alexandria, in Egypt. He visits Cairo then goes back to Paris after a short stay in Tunisia.

In August 1927 he returns to the U.S.A. to preserve his American nationality. He participates in joint exhibitions on American painters at the Brooklin museum and at the New York Modern Art  Museum.

Lucy joins him in New York in January 1928 for a few weeks.

In June, Pascin returns to Paris with Lucy.

They travel together in Portugal and Spain.

He signs a contract with the Bernheim-Jeune gallery, which he will feel deeply as a hindrance to his artist freedom.

He takes his own life on the 2d of June 1930.

He is buried the 7th of June. All the Paris galleries will be closed this day as a token of mourning.

Exhibition at the Georges Petit gallery in Paris.

In 1931, two retrospective exhibitions at the Downtown Gallery in New York and at the Bernheim-Jeune gallery in Paris were very successful.