Julius Mordecai Pincus

Julius Mordecai Pincus
Julius Mordecai Pincus, known in Paris as Jules Pascin, arrived in Paris from Vidin(in Bulgaria), Eastern Europe in 1905 when he befriended Marc Chagall, Modigliani, Moise Kisling, and others. He was popular among the art community and the musicians. He had come to Paris because of the city’s reputation as an art colony. His beginnings in art included drawings for satirical magazines like Simplicissimus in Germany, for which he had already achieved some notoriety throughout Europe. But his style changed and he began painting female nudes and erotic studies. He was compared to Lautrec and Degas but with his own personal style. Pascin could often be seen in the Montparnasse bistros where he would sit for hours doing quick sketches. He was often recognized by the bowler hat which was the trademark of this much-traveled “wandering Jew”. The fact that he had done cartoons or sketches for a magazine gave him a style that was like a drawing and quite unique but Pascin worked on his many styles and came up with wonderful pastel-like paintings with a drawing quality, especially of women. He never painted nude models but worked with clothed models instead. He may have learned his craft from copying paintings at the Louvre. He befriended some of the great artists in Paris including Modigliani, Foujita, and Kissling. He also befriended many of the Scandanavian artists who turned up in Paris about that time. For a time the painters Modigliani, Kisling, and Pascin lived in the same building at 3, rue Joseph Bara in Montparnasse. He had also lived at 36 boulevard de Clichy at one time. He would throw parties then make the rounds of the ‘boites’ in Montmartre, his favorite being Chez Princess Marfa. Then he would frequent the brothels, especially La Belle Poule on rue Blondel. He became a heavy drinker and somewhat of a womanizer. Even though he had married Hermine Cartan, he had an affair with his friend and Norwegian painter, Per Krohg’s wife Lucy, who became pregnant. She arranged to have an abortion which was performed at her apartment on the rue Val de Grace. Her relationship with Per was destroyed. In 1918 he married Hermine David and in 1920 he became an American citizen. He tried to stop drinking but could not. He lived in a chaotic, sexually-charged environment. A trip to New York and later to Cuba only made him more restless. He traveled to Algeria and Italy, Spain and Portugal. But he returned to Paris, a despondent man who had lost the belief in himself.  He returned to Paris but was not satisfied with his work.  Yet, he was quite generous and would often attend a friend’s dinner party with an armful of wine bottles. More and more, he kept to himself, drinking heavily and suffering from depression and then on June 2, 1930, he committed suicide. He had slit his wrists and hung himself. The world of art lost one of its great contributors. While the art world was saddened, the disappointment fell heavily on the shoulders of his close friend Moise Kisling. Kisling came to Paris via Krakow where he had studied at the Art Academy. He had started drawing as a child. He arrived in Paris in 1910, bent on delving into the world of Impressionism. He was a popular figure and friendly with most of the art community including Picasso, Braque, and Chaim Soutine. At one time, Kisling lived in the Bateau Lavoire in Montmartre and was part of ‘the Picasso Gang’. He had gone with them to Ceret near the Spanish border and created an art community that became famous. Today there is a museum in that city dedicated to those painters who were there with Kisling in 1911-12. Kisling, Pasci, and Modigliani were among the chosen few purchased by the American collector Dr. Albert Barnes in 1922. Kisling was wounded while serving with the French Foreign Legion at the Somme in 1915 and was rewarded with French citizenship. In Paris, he painted, mostly flowers, portraits and nudes who posed for him, often in pairs. He had a deep love for color which he seems to have acquired from Andre Derain. He was a devoted friend of both Pascin and Modigliani. He married a young art student and three days of post nuptial partying found Modigliani in a drunken stupor, nude in the street.  Kisling loved partying and once attended a ball wearing a large, red wig with hairpins sticking out, reminding one of a Marseilles prostitute. Once, Kisling got into an argument with his friend Gottlieb who challenged him to a duel. The effect was that Kisling was slightly wounded but took the event to be a success. Guillaume Apollinaire is said to have covered the event for the papers. Kisling said his epee wound was like ‘the division of Poland’. Eventually, Kisling and Rene Gros, his wife and the daughter of a career military officer, left France and moved to the United States where he had numerous successful exhibitions in New York and Washington. The Kislings lived in California until 1946 when he returned to France and lived on the Mediterranean coast at Sanary-sur-Mer until his death in August 1953. He had a love for fancy American cars until the end of his life. He is remembered for his bright colors and lively style and his sometimes melancholy tones….
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