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Joann Sfar. Drawn life

from 12th October 2023 to 12th May 2024

The musée d'art et d'histoire du Judaïsme presents the first retrospective in France devoted to Joann Sfar. Featuring almost 250 plates and drawings, most of which have never been shown before, as well as notebooks, photographs and films, the exhibition traces the career of an exceptional artist whose creativity has spanned comics, film and literature for over thirty years.

Born in Nice in 1971, Joann Sfar finds in drawing more than a refuge, a way of living and seeing the world, a veritable "drawn life".A tireless worker, he has explored the themes of childhood, the body, sexuality, friendship, joy and death, making drawing a veritable “human science”, while constantly reflecting on his own practices through his personal notebooks.

The exhibition successively evokes the artist's youth in Nice (recently retraced in La Synagogue), his arrival in Paris and his training at the École des Beaux-Arts, the meeting with his accomplices (David B., Christophe Blain, Émile Bravo, Emmanuel Guibert, Mathieu Sapin, Marjane Satrapi, Riad Sattouf, Lewis Trondheim...), the Nawak workshop and then the Vosges workshop, and his literary masters (Romain Gary, Joseph Kessel, Pierre Dubois...). It explores different facets of the work: fantasy, magic and monsters (Petrus Barbygère, Professor Bell, Grand Vampire), drama (Klezmer, Chagall), music (Serge Gainsbourg, Georges Brassens, etc.). It also draws on children's books (Petit Vampire, Le Petit Prince), the artist's studio and creative method, as well as his inspirations (tools, papers, artists admired), his view of everyday life (collaborations for Paris Match) and his work in progress.

Through Joann Sfar's most emblematic works, the exhibition highlights the coherence of his œuvre: from the countless personal notebooks ("carnets") to those of Klezmer, from stories for children (with a room devoted to young visitors) to erotic sketches about the painter Pascin. With The Rabbi's Cat at its centre, the exhibition is about an artist who puts a cultural rather than religious Jewish voice at the heart of his work, finding many of his sources of inspiration in the history of Judaism and appealing to his readers to be vigilant against the rise of anti-Semitism.

Drawing by Joann Sfar for the exhibition

Joann Sfar. Drawn Life

"Joann Sfar. La vie dessinée" is the fifth exhibition that the mahJ has devoted to comics, following "De Superman au Chat du rabbin" (2007), "Les Mondes de Gotlib" (2014), "Ô vous, frères humains. Luz draws Albert Cohen" (2016) and "René Goscinny. Au-delà du rire" (2018).

Clémentine Deroudille and Thomas Ragon

Supported by

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Media partners

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Rates and reservation

MahJ ticket to permanent collection and exhibitions:

Full rate: 10 €
Reduced rate: 7 € (18-25 year non European Union residents)
Free access : Friends of the mahJ, under 18, 18-25 year European Union residents. See more

Online booking is recommended, including for free ticket holders, Paris Museum Pass holders and Friends of the mahJ.


Purchase your entrance ticket:

Online ticketing*
On site, at the ticketdesk, during museum opening hours
By phone, (33)1 53 01 86 57 (Tuesday and Wednesday from 10.30 am to 1 pm)
* Secured payment by credit card with a surcharge of €0.50 per ticket.
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