The Inhabitants of the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan in 1939

Christian Boltanski (Paris, 1944)

Paris, 1998

Printing on paper. 80 posters, 40 x 60 cm each

Gift of the artist

Christian Boltanski (Paris, 1944), The Inhabitants of the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan in 1939, Paris, 1998

Christian Boltanski (Paris, 1944), The Inhabitants of the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan in 1939, Paris, 1998

This installation in one of the museum’s courtyards reminds us of the history that the restoration of the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan effaced. Artisans (hat-makers, tailors, furriers, etc.) lived and worked in the building until 1939, when German occupation enabled the organisation of the Jewish genocide. Christian Boltanski, whose work confronts the fragility of individual destinies with the violence of history, chose to preserve this memory by stating the names of the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan’s inhabitants in 1939. The eighty small posters are arranged randomly, like the death announcements once posted on the walls of the cities of Eastern Europe. They recall the names of each inhabitant, their place of birth, profession and sometimes the date of the convoy that took them to the death camps.

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