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.
Nieszawer & Princ
"Artistes juifs de l’Ecole de Paris 1905-1939"
Editons Somogy 2015
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.