Michel Sima

Michel Sima (actually Michał Smajewski born May 20, 1912 in Slonim, Poland, now Belarus, † April 1987 in Tauriers, Ardèche ) was a French photographer and sculptor.

Life and work

Even as a child began to Sima with drawings and managed first small sculptures. In 1929 he traveled to Paris with the intention to become a sculptor. He studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumiere. In 1933 he joined the group of the painter Francis Gruber, belonged to the Moise Kisling and Pierre Tal Coat.

From 1934 to 1935, Sima student of Ossip Zadkine. He learned about him Jean Cocteau know. This in turn led him to Paul Éluard and Francis Picabia. Now he was one of the friends who attended the Sunday meeting at Picabia literature. This was the time when he began to work with press agencies and made photo essays about Paris and political events. He met Max Ernst and Constantin Brancusi got to know.

In 1936 he met Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein. In 1931, he worked briefly at Brâncuşi.

In 1940 he drove in the Pyrenees to Pierre Petitjean in Aulus- les- Bains during the German invasion of France. In October he went to Picabia for Golf Juan. He remained until his arrest in the free zone and prepared with Picabia before a joint exhibition.

In 1942 he was arrested in Golf Juan and deported to a prison stay in Nice to the concentration camp sheet metal hammer. In 1945, he was seriously ill back to France and sought accommodation with his friend Dor de la Souchère in Cannes, who was curator of the castle in Antibes.

In 1946, he met in Golf Juan Pablo Picasso again, which made ​​immediate psychological and material assistance to him. At a sculptural activity was no longer to think. He asked Sima to draw for him the Greco- Phoenician phallic stone which is on display in the castle of Antibes. This was the first artistic work, which took Sima again in attack. By Simas mediation Picasso got a hall of the castle provided as a studio available. On the advice of Picasso Sima began to photograph. He photographed Picasso for his " work in progress" and documented its continued run. Sima accompanied in particular the creation process of Picasso's " La joie de vivre" and documented not only - as originally intended - the various stages of artistic execution, but knew from the beginning his work as a holistic, personal presentation by artist and his work. It was the beginning of a unique photographic documentary about artists and their work.

Appeared in 1947 in the newspaper " Aux écoutes " article " Dernière evolution of Picasso", in which he said about Sima that he would be the only one who was able to photograph the last resulting images of Pablo Picasso and sold at any price.

1948 held a solo exhibition at the Galerie Lambert Simas in Cannes with engraved stones from the beach. In the same year Simas first book appeared in René Draoulin " Picassi in Atibes ". In 1949 he took part in the group exhibition of " Palissy to Picasso " in Vallauris. In 1950, a joint exhibition with Picabia in the gallery Allendy Colette in Paris, and in 1952 a solo exhibition at the Galerie H. Niepce in Paris with new ceramic works and small enameled sculptures.

From 1951 to 1961 he devoted himself to the photographic portrait artist. He portrayed almost all artists of the Ecole de Paris, such as Henri Matisse, Francis Picabia, Ossip Zadkine, Alberto Giacometti, Jean Cocteau, Tal Coat, Jean Arp, Marie Laurencin, Fernand Léger, Max Ernst, Iliazd, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, André Derain, Kees van Dongen, Le Corbusier, Marc Chagall, Joan Miro, Alexander Calder. Not just in the photographs of Pablo Picasso, but in all these portraits of artists always shines through the underlying bond of friendship Simas with those portrayed. It expresses itself in an extremely sensitive detection of the personality and work of the respective artists, the relationship established with both the work and the studio as part of his sent to the portrayed artist to express himself. The result is an idiosyncratic style of the photographic ( Artist ) portraits and a unique documentation of the artists of the Ecole de Paris, as she left no other photographer in their cohesiveness and sensitivity.

1959 published the publisher Fernand Nathan 21 of the portrayed artists in " 21 visages d'artistes ". The pressure corresponded but not in any way the ideas of quality Simas. He decided to never release more photos.

1967 Sima discovered the Ardèche in France. Together with his wife Odette and his son Pierre (born 1962 ), he moved to Tauriers. He went back to the sculpture.

Michel Sima died in April 1987 at the age of 74 years.