Ben Uri collection

Tristesse (Grief)

Series: Visages du Ghetto

Artist information

Name Paul Jeffay (1898-1957)

Other name Saül Yaffie, Saül Yafie, Paul Lebeau, Solomon Yaffie

Born Glasgow, Scotland

Died Paris, France

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The painter-engraver Paul Jeffay was born Saul Yaffie in Glasgow, Scotland in 1898 to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, fleeing pogroms, who had been among the first generation of 20th century Jews to settle in the Gorbals, which became the heart of the Glasgow Jewish community.

Jeffay studied at The Glasgow School of Art between 1912 and 1919 (one of only three other Jewish students who attended The Glasgow School of Art at that time), winning numerous prizes. His tutors included the Estonian-born sculptor Benno Schotz, who recalled that upon the outbreak of the First World War, Yaffie won a poster competition to be displayed in Glasgow tramcars depicting a woman and child fleeing from a fire. Jeffay’s studies were interrupted by his voluntary war service (1916-17), and after briefly being stationed in the same Jewish battalion as sculptor Jacob Epstein, he served in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

Following the Armistice, Saul returned briefly to Glasgow, before moving to Paris and settling in Montmartre around 1919. He participated in various ‘Salon des Independants’ exhibitions in the 1920s and 1930s, adopting the pseudonym ‘Paul Jeffay’, and also working under the names Paul Lebeau, and Solomon/Saül Yaffie/Yafie. In 1930, he founded his own studio in ‘Fontenay-aux-Roses’, where he remained (with the exception of the Second World War years) until his death in 1957.

Between 1933 and 1939, Jeffay made three prolonged visits to Poland, studying and sketching the Jewish community in the Warsaw Ghetto; the resulting album, ‘Visages du Ghetto’, comprises a series of fourteen etchings. Jeffay’s studio was looted by the German Army during the Second World War and only a small portion of his work has survived.

Object Details

Date 1935

Object type print

Medium etching on paper

Materials and techniques etching (technique) paper (support)

Unframed 38.5 x 28.5 cm

Signed (lower left): 'Paul Jeffay' and dated '1935'

Acquisition presented by the grandson of Paul Jeffay 1994

Accession number 1994-18i

Display status not on display

Between 1933 and 1939, Jeffay made three prolonged visits to Poland, studying and sketching the Jewish community in the Warsaw Ghetto. This is no. 1 in the album of fourteen etchings, known as Visages du Ghetto.