Flying Fishes – Canada
by Soshana Afroyim

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Artist biography

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Painter, sculptor, draughtswoman. Figures, portraits, landscapes with figures.
Afroyim Soshana left Austria in 1938 and lived in England between 1938 and 1940, where she commenced her art studies. She moved to the USA in 1941 but returned to Europe in 1949, settling in 1951 in Paris where she met, among others, the sculptors Brancusi, Zadkine and César. In 1956, she travelled extensively in India, Japan and China, and in 1958 she visited Africa. On her return to Paris, she met Pinto Gallizio, and the two artists decided to work together. 1965-1966 saw further travels, this time to South Africa, followed by an extended voyage from Tahiti via Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and Laos before finally arriving in India, where she remained for some time before returning to Europe via Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran and Israel. She arrived back in Paris in 1969.

During her visit to the USA in 1941, Soshana painted a series of portraits of figures in the public eye. In Paris in 1952, she was influenced by the precepts of the Paris School and, in particular, by Constantin Brancusi. In China, she was initiated into the conventions of Chinese painting, which was to exert a major influence on her own subsequent work. Then, in 1969 in Paris, she began producing monumental pieces in Plexiglas (of which the English artist Richard Young would later make a series of multiples in plastic).

Soshana's facility with pen or charcoal betrays the influence of oriental calligraphy. She demonstrates a similar virtuosity in her elliptical and abstract lyrical painting style, reminiscent of the work of Zao-Wou-Ki not long after he arrived in France. With a few strokes of her brush, she can capture and evoke natural features and human figures, rendering sharply contrasting chiaroscuro effects and dazzling flashes of light or pinpointing figures silhouetted on a road or reflected in the mirror-like surface of a pond.

Soshana's work has featured in solo exhibitions since 1948, when she made her debut in Havana in Cuba. She has also held exhibitions at the Galerie André Weil in Paris (1953, 1955); the Henry Lidchi Gallery in Johannesburg and the Galerie Edouard Loeb in Paris (1958); Zurich (1958, 1960, 1967, 1969); the Museu de Arte in São Paulo and the Barsinski gallery in Rio de Janeiro (1960); the Museo Nacional de Arte in Mexico City (1966); and in Toronto (1970).

Museum and Gallery Holdings

Antibes (Mus. Picasso)
Harare (National Art Gallery)
Jerusalem (Israel Mus.)
Mexico City (MMA)
New York (City Hospital)
New York (Jewish Mus.)
Paris (MNAM-CCI)
Rome (Gal. Nazionale d'Arte Moderna)
São Paulo (MAM)
Teaneck (Fairleigh-Dickinson University Mus.)