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Cubist lithograph of a female head created by a Jewish Polish refugee

Object | Accession Number: 2013.280.1

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    Brief Narrative
    Green ink lithograph, 38/50, a Cubist study of a woman's head created by Morice Lipsi, an artist known for his sculptures, at an unknown date, but probably postwar. The print was given to Micheline Weinstein, a psychoanalyst, in the 1970s by a patient who had kept it hidden under his floor for years. Morice, who was Jewish and originally from Poland, had lived in France since 1912. When Germany invaded France in 1940, he, his wife Hildegard, and daughters Verna and Jeanine left their farm near Paris and fled to the Free French zone in the south. Hildegard then took the girls to her native Switzerland. Morice settled in Abzac and resumed his career as a sculptor. In November 1942, Germany invaded Vichy France. Morice, as a Jew, was no longer safe and decided to cross illegally into Switzerland. A priest for whose church he had made a sculpture made Morice take a booklet documenting the commission. When his identification papers were questioned on the train east, he showed the agents the booklet and they apologized, assuming that he was Catholic. He rejoined his family in Zurich. After the war ended in May 1945, the family returned to France. He learned that his brother Samuel, also a sculptor and French citizen, had been deported to Auschwitz and killed.
    Artwork Title
    Woman's Portrait in Green
    received:  1992-1993
    received: Paris (France)
    creation: France
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Micheline Weinstein
    front, on right below image, pencil : m. Lipsi / 38/50
    Artist: Morice Lipsi
    Subject: Morice Lipsi
    Subject: Micheline Weinstein
    Moryce Lipszyc was born on April 29, 1898, in Pabianice, Russia (Pabianice, Poland), near Łódź, the youngest child in a large Jewish family. In 1912, at age 14, he travelled to Paris, France, during the school holidays to visit his oldest brother Samuel, an ivory sculptor living in an artists’ community in Montparnasse called La Ruche. Moryce stayed in Paris and Samuel taught him how to sculpt different materials. In 1916, he enrolled in the National School of Fine Arts in Paris. In 1929, Moryce changed his name to Morice Lipsi to avoid being confused with Jacques Lipchitz, another artist in the La Ruche community. In 1930, Morice married Hildegard Weber (1901 - 2000), a young painter from Zurich, Switzerland. The couple settled on a farm in Chevilly-Larue near Paris and had two daughters, Verna in 1930 and Jeanine in 1932. In 1933, Morice became a French citizen.

    On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded France. In early June, as German forces advanced on Paris, Morice took his family to Paris, hoping to get them on a train leaving from Gare de Lyon. He wanted them away from the heavy shelling, but was not yet willing to leave himself. On June 14, German troops occupied Paris. Morice joined the crowds fleeing from the capital. He then left from Chevilly-Larue with three neighbors, driving south. In a few days, it became difficult to find gasoline. They ran out of gas in Abzac, just south of the agreed upon demarcation line between German occupied France and the French free zone, administered by the newly established French government in Vichy. Morice decided to stay in Abzac and was soon joined by his family which had escaped Paris and were staying with their housekeeper’s family in a nearby town. In November, Hildegard took Verna and Jeanine to Switzerland. Morice stayed behind and resumed making sculptures. He preferred using natural materials, primarily stone. He completed several commissioned works, one for the town and several for local churches. In 1941, Hildegard gave birth to their third daughter, Gabrielle.

    On November 11, 1942, Germany invaded Vichy France, and as a Jew, Morice was no longer safe. Hildegard made arrangements to smuggle Morice into Switzerland. As he was leaving Abzac, the priest who commissioned a statue for the church in the nearby town of Brillac made him take a booklet verifying the commission. Morice left for Limoges and, in February 1943, boarded an eastbound train. His identity papers were questioned during a train inspection. When he showed the men the paperwork about the commissioned statue, they apologized, believing him to be Catholic. He arrived near Annemasse, on the French-Swiss border, where he had arranged to meet a smuggler. The guide took him to the border, told Morice which road to follow, and left. Morice crossed into Switzerland and continued to Geneva. Swiss officials checked his papers and sent him to a station where he was reunited with Hildegard. He had a small workshop and sculpted things such as snails and masks. It was during this time that his work became more abstract in style.

    In May 1945, after the war ended, Morice and his family returned to Chevilly-Larue. He later learned that in 1943, his brother Samuel was deported from France to Auschwitz concentration camp, where he was killed. Any family that Morice had in Poland perished during the war. Morice and Hildegard continued creating art, and exhibited their work all over the world. In the 1950s, Morice's work became purely abstract. In the 1960s, he became known for his monumental sculptures. Morice, age 88, died in 1986, in Kusnacht, Switzerland. In 1990, the Musee Morice Lipsi was opened in Rosey, France, to honor his artistic achievements.
    Micheline Weinstein was born on November 15, 1941, in German occupied Paris, France, at the Rothschild Hospital. Someone reported her birth, the birth of a Jewish infant, to the authorities. She was placed in hiding near Paris and then moved to western France, where she was hidden in Vendee and Nievre, before being sent to Jura in eastern France. Micheline was hidden in a variety of places, including a convent, a Catholic school, and with a group of French communists. She was kept hidden until May 1945, when the war ended. Micheline was returned to Paris. She later learned that her parents had been murdereed in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in German occupied Poland and her grandparents were killed during pogroms in eastern Romania and the Soviet Union. Michelne became a psychoanalyst and is the director of a journal of psychoanalysis, La Revue Psi-Le Temps Du Non.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Lithographs (aat)
    Physical Description
    Lithograph in green ink on paper depicting a Cubist style face and neck of a woman in left profile. Her face is dominated by a single, large eye and a sharply pointed nose, with a small, angular mouth. The hair curves over the forehead and extends to a point on the right. The outer areas of the image are darkly inked, while the inside resembles the uneven shading of a stone rubbing. The artist’s signature and the print edition number are below the image.
    overall: Height: 15.000 inches (38.1 cm) | Width: 19.625 inches (49.848 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, graphite, pressure-sensitive tape

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    Restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Personal Name
    Lipsi, Morice, 1898-

    Administrative Notes

    The lithograph was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013 by Micheline Weinstein.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-09-15 10:15:19
    This page:

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