Isis Kischka

1908 1974
(France) 1908 /   (France) 1974

Kischka spent his childhood in Paris where his parents settled two years before his birth. His father was of Polish origin and worked initially in restaurants before opening a grocery shop in the fifteenth district.

He studied at the local school in rue Vigée-Lebrun, then at Lycée Dreux, at Lycée Mayence and the Commercial School of Paris. When he was nineteen he became interested in painting and literature. His first project was motif design for a medal factory. Through his discussions with Jacques Chip, Michel Saint-Denis, Charles Dullin and George Pitoëff, he planned to create a theatre company, but instead turned radically towards painting in 1927 and attended classes at the Grande Chaumiere Academy. His canvases drew the attention of Parisian art critics, in particular that of Waldemar George.

In 1941, Kischka was arrested by the Gestapo and interned in Romainville, then in Compiegne. He was transferred to Drancy, where he remained for two years until the departure of the German army in August 1944. During his detention he became friends with Jacques Gotko, Savely Schleifer and David Goychman with whom he improvised camp exhibitions of their work. His three comrades died during deportation and Kischka swore that he would only work as a painter if the war finished. He produced an estimated two hundred paintings before 1940. These were destroyed by the Nazis.  In 1945 he returned to Paris to confront financial problems and took over his father’s store. He painted before going to work and carried out both activities concurrently.

In 1946, he participated with Jean Cassou, Yvon Bizardel, Raymond Cognat and George Recio in the creation of the Salon des Peintres Témoins de leur Temps.
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