Rosine Cahen, Hôpital Rollin, salle Magenta, octobre 1918, collection Jean-Yves Martel
Rosine Cahen (1857-1933) was born in Delme, a small town in Lorraine that had been home to a Jewish community since the end of the 17th century. She arrived in Paris in 1871, when her family opted for French nationality, as did 25% of the Jews in the territories annexed at the time by Germany.
She studied arts at the Julian Academy – the only institution accepting women at the time – which was a remarkable promotion for a young girl from such a modest background. Her father was a baker, then a butcher, and the family had six other children. From 1884 onwards, she regularly exhibited at the Salon des artistes français and received several awards, including a gold medal in 1921. A professor of drawing at the Gustave de Rothschild school, she also earnd her living by making engravings, including lithographs of works by Jules Adler.
Between 1916 and 1919, although she was in her sixties, she regularly visited the seriously wounded, drawing their portraits with charcoal and pastel. Produced in various Parisian hospitals, as well as in Monte-Carlo and in a workshop for the rehabilitation of war cripples in Etain (Meuse), these drawings bear witness to her great modesty and real sensitivity, going beyond the horror of the wounds and medical equipment to capture the peaceful or resigned expression of these men whose lives had been suddenly shattered by the war.
Detached, but all from the same sketchbook, these drawings – the exact number of which is not known – have recently been brought out of oblivion, though some had been disseminated in their time in the form of lithographs. They are presented here for the first time in France, echoing Jules Adler's work during the First World War.
Curator: Claire Decomps
This exhibition would not have been possible without the loans from Jean-Yves Martel, Michel Lanneau and André Ret, as well as the Petit Palais Museum.
With our heartfelt thanks to all