Andre BLONDEL (born Chayé/Sasza Blonder)

CZORTKOW (GALICIA) 1909 – PARIS 1949

Andre Blondel, whose real name was Shaye Blonder, known as Sasza (Sasha), grew up in Czortkow, a town southeast of Lwow (currently Lviv, in Ukraine). In 1926, he came for his first stay in Paris. In 1929, obtained a scholarship and settled in Paris where he studied architecture at the École de Beaux-Arts. He returned to Poland in 1931 and began studying painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. He was concurrently an activist in a left-wing political organization. With some friends, he founded the “Zywi” Association (The Living), which contributed to the birth of the group of Artists named “The Krakow Group”. Their first exposition took place in Lwow in 1933.

In 1935, he worked as stage manager at the theater of the Jewish School of Bielsko. During this period, he also directed productions at the Cricot Theater in Krakow. He returned to Paris, settled in the Cité Falguiere, and met numerous artists from Montparnasse. In 1939, Blondel joined the Polish Army in France. Discharged on June 28, 1940 in Toulouse, he went to Aix-en-Provence. There he met Louise Bonfils (Lisou), who helped him make it to Carcassone in November 1942 and to find refuge in Escoussolsin the Black Mountains under the protection of members of the Protestant Resistance.

Using false identity papers, he married Louise in 1943 under the name of André Blondel. The couple were to have two children, Hélene and Marc, and lived in Carcassonne until 1948. After the Liberation of France, Blondel, along with François Desnoyer, Gabriel Couderc and Camille Descossy, which gave birth to the School of Sete. The Blondel family settled in Sceaux during the autumn of 1948, then in Paris. On June 14, 1949, André Blondel died from an accident in the rue de Seine. He was forty years old.