Yehiel Spoliansky

1899 1942
(Russie) 1899 /   (Pologne) 1942



Yehiel Spoliansky spent his childhood drawing and painting. In 1916, he decided to enroll in the School of Fine Arts in Odessa and completed his studies in Saint Petersburg.

Around 1920, he left for Munich and joined Max Derner’s free academy. He wrote about painting technique, a topic for which he had a passion. In order to earn his living, he restored ancient paintings supplied by antique dealers.

He fled anti-Semitic persecutions in Germany and settled in Paris in 1933. As he spoke Yiddish, he met many other artists from Eastern Europe at the terraces of the cafés in Montparnasse. He also befriended Hersch Fenster who was a vegetarian just like him and invited Spoliansky to eat with him.

On 27 June 1941, he was arrested by French police officers at Le Vésinet. He was interned for a year at the Compiègne camp and was deported and murdered in Auschwitz in 1942.




Manfred Starkhaus’ parents were originally from Poland. They fled the pogroms and immigrated to Germany; however, they could not settle there because of the racial laws in effect. The Starkhause family then found refuge in Saint-Louis near Basel and later in Auch in the Gers region.

Manfred Starkhaus studied at a high school in Auch and graduated with honors. He drew incessantly and painted landscapes of the region. In 1939, his mother, who felt that staying in France would become dangerous, decided to immigrate to the United States. However, she could not do it, as she did not have enough financial means.

Manfred Starhaus was arrested on 24 February 1943 and was imprisoned in Auch. He was interned in Drancy on 2 March 1943, and deported on 4 April. He was murdered by the Nazis.




Marc Sterling was born in Pryluky, a small town in Ukraine, where his father worked as a grain merchant. At the age of twelve, he became the apprentice of an icon painter in a neighboring city. In 1909, as he was fourteen years old, he gave up crafty apprenticeship and left to study painting at the Academy of Odessa, where he also got acquainted with sculpture. In 1916, following his mother’s death, he left for Moscow and enrolled in the School of Fine Arts. The following year, Sterling was involved in the Revolution and in the Russian avant-garde movements. He studied under Vladimir Tatlin at the Vhutemas, a revolutionary school that combined the School of Fine Arts and the School of Decorative Arts. He got in touch with revolutionary artists, including Maïakovski, with whom he spent time at the studios where the propaganda posters were produced. In 1922, Maïakovski led Sterling to go to Berlin. He met Basia, a young Polish student who later became his wife and gave him two children.

The couple arrived in Paris in 1923 and settled at the Hôtel Médical. They spent times at the terraces of cafés in Montparnasse where the artists met up. He signed a three-year contract with the Zak gallery.

During the Second World War, Marc Sterling and his family took refuge at friends’ places. In 1941, Basia died as a consequence of an operation. During the five following years, Sterling totally lost touch with the artistic community in Paris.


Back in Paris in 1947, he acquired French nationality and met his friends in Montparnasse. He exhibited his work in France and abroad. Marc Sterling met Éliane, a Swiss sculptor who was Zadkine’s student. She became his partner in 1953. They settled in Peseux, near Neuchâtel, Switzerland. In 1956, he moved back to Paris and travelled to Holland, Italy, Spain and Israel.