Meyer-Miron Kodkine was the son of an ink maker. He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Vilnius and later in Moscow, where he exhibited his work. He met his wife in Vilnius and divorced her shortly after the birth of their son, who remained with his mother. Kodkine moved to Paris in 1924. He had a passion for history and went to the Sainte-Genevieve Library, where he studied the lives of the characters that he wished to paint. He was a cultivated man and led a simple and studious life. When the Nazis arrived in France, he did not consider fleeing. However, on his friends’ advice, he joined the exodus from Paris. As the German army bombed the roads, Kodkine was shot in the temple and died on June 10, 1940. He was buried in Chamarande, twenty kilometers from Paris.
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.