Simon Segal

1898 1969
(Pologne) 1898 /   (France) 1969

Simon Segal comes from a well-off family of the Bialystok bourgeoisie. He begins an engineer career in Russia before taking an interest in the fine arts.

In 1918, Segal gives up his engineer studies, he leaves Russia for Berlin where he lives until 1924, often seeing some writers or artists rallied round the poets Maïakowsky, Essenine and the avant-garde journal “Spolokhi”.

In 1925, Segal settles in Paris and does anything but painting. He subsists thanks to various small jobs : librarian, workman at Citroën and stylist for Paul Poiret who asks him to make a series of dolls.

In 1926 he stays in Toulon and rediscovers the pleasure of painting. He meets Bruno Bassano, a socialist activist exiled by Mussolini and founder of the “Trident”. Segal finds in Bassano a faithful defender and his art dealer.

Back to Paris in 1933, Segal often goes to the terraces of the Dôme, the Rotonde and the Coupole and, in 1935, he exhibits thirty gouaches at the Billet-Worms gallery. The very day the exhibition is launched, all of his works are purchased by the American collector Frank Altschul.

When World War II breaks out, he enlists. Rejected, he goes to unoccupied France, in Aubusson where he gets married and meets Jean Lurçat. Shortly after that, he takes refuge in a farm and gets forged identity papers.

When war is over, he settles in Jobourg, near the cape of the Hague.

From 1946 to 1953, he is happy working a lot and meets the sponsor Henri Bernardi who becomes his friend. At that time, he makes boxes for eighteen tapestries manufactured in Aubusson and at the Gobelins tapestry workshop.

In 1953, he goes back to Paris and takes part in several individual exhibitions. He illustrates the Bible for the Labergerie editions in 1956.

In 1958, he creates a series of mosaics made by the Brazilian mosaicist Antonio Carelli.

From the sixties, he settles in a small atelier in Montmartre.

In 1968, he finishes to illustrate the Apocalypse published by the Kieffer book editor in Paris and dies on August 2nd , 1969. His friend doctor Osenat makes him buried at the Arcachon cemetery.