Pont Saint-Michel is a bridge linking the Place Saint-Michel on the left bank of the river Seine to the Île de la Cité. It was named after the nearby chapel of Saint-Michel. It is near Sainte Chapelle and the Palais de Justice. The present 62-metre-long bridge was first constructed in 1378, it has been rebuilt several times, most recently in 1857.. More on Pont Saint-MichelArbit Blatas was born in Lithuania in 1908. Blatas showed great skill and artistic talent from a very early age. He moved to Paris when he turned twenty-one, and quickly ingratiated himself in the Parisian art community becoming the youngest member of the “School of Paris”.
Paris offered a milieu of cultural richness, least of which included his fellow artists Pablo Picasso, Pierre Bonnard, Maurice de Vlaminck, and Maruice Utrillo. These talented peers provided immense inspiration for the young Blatas helping to nurture his distinct style.
Blatas was also influenced by the modest Jewish art community in Paris. This group helped foster the national aspirations as well as a continual experimentation with expressionism, many of whom would become members of the “School of Paris”.
During this period Blatas traveled back and forth between Paris and his native Lithuania, putting on exhibitions as well as opening a gallery in Lithuania. His profile grew immensely in 1933 after exhibiting in Paris, coupled with his relationship with the art dealer Pierre Matisse who organized the artist’s first exhibition in New York. Like many other artist’s living in Europe at the time, Blatas was forced to flee France and emigrated to the United States. He wouldn’t return until after the end of World War II.
Blatas was a multitalented artist, often working with painting, sculpture and theater design over the course of his career. His paintings often depicted portraits and landscapes, but also showed an adept understanding of many influential styles such as post-impressionism, fauvism, and expressionism. He never adhered to one “ism” but rather relied on his unique sense of color as a driving force.
Many honors and prizes were bestowed upon Arbit Blatas during his career. He received the prestigious Chevalier de la Legion d’Honeur from the French government in 1978. Only two years later Blatas received a medal from the mayor of Venice in honor of his sculpture. More on Arbit Blatas
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