Joseph Bronstein’s parents wanted their son to become a lawyer. However, Joseph was more interested in art than in law. He left for Odessa where he studied at the School of Fine Arts, and took part actively in the Russian Revolution. Later, he went to Romania where he took drama classes. He left for Germany shortly afterwards where he studied painting.
He arrived in Paris in 1924 and immediately enrolled in the Ecole de Beaux-Arts. Joseph Bronstein mainly painted landscapes and portraits. He often had his artist friends pose for him, and notably painted a portrait of Ephraim Mandelbaum. He collected the work of Ephraim Mandelbaum, Isaac Dobrinsky, Henri Epstein, Pinchus Krémegne, and took an interest in Léon Indenbaum’s sculptures. During the war, he enlisted in the French army but quickly left it.
In 1940, he tried to get to the Zone libre (free zone) but was arrested by French police officers in Châteauroux. Joseph Bronstein was deported on March 3, 1943 on convoy number 51. He was murdered in Auschwitz.
Capitale des arts, le Paris des années 1905-1939 attire les artistes du monde entier. De cette période de foisonnement, un terme est resté, celui d'Ecole de Paris, qui recouvre une grande diversité d'expression artistique. Dans ce brassage dont Montparnasse est le creuset, un groupe se distingue : celui des artistes juifs venus de Russie, de Pologne et d'Europe centrale. Si leurs styles sont variés, un destin commun les rassemble : ils fuient l'antisémitisme de leur pays d'origine. Certains ont connu la célébrité dès les années 1920, tels Soutine, Lipchitz ou Chagall. D'autres n'ont pas eu le temps ou la chance d'y accéder. Près de la moitié a péri dans les camps de concentration nazis.
From 1905 to 1939, Paris attracted artists from all over the globe as the capital of the art world. This period of artistic proliferation became known as the School of Paris, and includes a great diversity of artistic expression. Within the teeming art world centred on Montparnasse, one group set itself apart: Jewish artists from Russia, Poland, and Central Europe. Although their styles were diverse, they shared the common fate of fleeing anti-Semitic persecutions in their home countries. Some became famous in the 1920s, such as Soutine, Lipchitz, and Chagall, while others did not have the time or the luck to gain renown. Nearly half of these artists died in Nazi concentration camps.