The look of the girl who poses with her father, attentive, vivacious, is maintained in later images of youth. The girl is Charlotte Salomon (Berlin, 1917-Auschwitz, 1943), and her father, the renowned surgeon and researcher Albert Salomon. He is part of a family of the upper middle class in Berlin, who live in the elegant Charlottenburg and, at the time when that photo was taken, he only had one father. Charlotte lost her mother when she was nine years old.
But life goes on and Albert meets a beautiful woman, the lyrical singer Paulina Lindberg, who will give her the opportunity of a long marriage. And that’s how you see both older people in the sixties, in an interview. At that moment, when Paulina arrives at the house, it seems that it is transmitted to her, to the children and adolescents, while it is transmitted to Charlotte. The horror. That Weimar Republic that goes from startle to startle, economic, political and moral. In 1933, when Charlotte is sixteen years old, Adolf Hitler is named chancellor.
But life and art are immense, also for Jews like them. There is a prominent place in the place, the theater, the music and the town. At the National School of Fine Arts Charlotte is a prominent student; The only Jewish woman admitted there. In Charlotte’s house, in addition to Paulina, reigns a capital figure: the singing professor Alfred Wolfsohn, former soldier of the First World War and who, through his experience in the future of post-traumatic stress, would help emerge numerous artists. His techniques are therapeutic.
There are many prominent who got, on the part of the Nazi authorities, which have been a space of art, theater, music for and for their people.
This work that we see in the monastery of Pedralbes, and that arrives at the Jewish Museum of Amsterdam, is a careful edition of more than two hundred paintings. The original work consists of more than a thousand years and was painted by Charlotte in her confinement of almost two years, between 1940 and 1942. The school of Fine Arts and the city of Berlin, and was a refugee (dubious refuge, in truth) in a small town on the Cote d’Azur, in the south of France. Paulina will be called Paulinka, Alfred will be Amadeus, and she will be called Charlotte Kann. And so the burden of his real life and his desires-Freud had died two years ago-is made of his unconscious, his fantasy and his truth.
There was something, and someone, who unleashed this work. In the photographs, a venerable old man with a white beard. In these paintings, the grandfather is the figure that will end up realizing us. In exile in France, Charlotte has just seen her grandmother throwing herself out the window. And that’s when the man, then, aims and shoots: all the women in the family committed suicide, all of them, also their mother. And you, you have just dictated it, you will have to continue with the tradition. Do it.
But Charlotte, in the case of the grandmother, had abused her daughters and, also, of her – she did not listen to him. Instead, she locked herself to go to light and joy in the shade with an elemental palette that she explored beyond the possible. She was choreographer, record keeper and author of her soundtrack. Split your scenes in storyboard mode. It tells us, when we see a painting, that it is the music that accompanies it. He was far from his most beloved ones-his stepmother, his father-whom he would never see again. Out there the Nazis were approaching.
The day that the work ended, as well as the account. David Foenkinos in Charlotte (“The history of the doctor.” This is my whole life).
Here it is: familiar scenes are charming, with humor too. The elegant table presided by the severe grandparents, when it was published in the future and in the future father of Charlotte, can also be read in other words, such as the delicate, the dreamer and the sad. Sometimes one thinks of Marc Chagall, later on of Modigliani figures.
The love story that is told here, with Amadeus, was not true. But how to refute the love that Charlotte feels for him, or the infinite story of the singer Paulinka. The woman – in the middle of the series can verse – facing the Nazi authorities to free her husband. In the interview of the sixties, Paulina admits that she feels fully recognized in the work of Charlotte.
The brushstroke becomes extreme, sometimes desperate. “I’m sick of this life, I’m sick of this time,” exclaimed Charlotte. But at last he triumphs in his escape from the insane. She fell in love, became pregnant at twenty-six and, no doubt, the compass of this training novel (which is also, and decisive), has the master Amadeus: “I hope you never forget that I believe in you.”
Charlotte, if they had let her live, if she had not been deported to Auschwitz in 1943, she would not have forgotten.
Lifetime? or theater? Charlotte Salomon, Berlin 1917-Auschwitz 1943)
curated by Ricard Bru in collaboration
Royal Monastery of Santa María de Pedralbes.
Until February 17, 2019
Charlotte Salomon. Life or theater?
Taschen editorial, 600 pages, 30 euros.