By 2021, few in the art world remembered Maryan, a painter born in Poland who during the postwar era became one of the first to explicitly contend with the horrors of the Holocaust. With a retrospective that recently opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Maryan has drawn newfound fascination, and now, the artist’s estate has gotten gallery representation at Kamel Mennour, which has four spaces in Paris and represents Anish Kapoor, Alicja Kwade, Philippe Parreno, Zineb Sedira, and more.
“Radical and provocative, compelling and vibrant, his unclassifiable work unfolds at the crossroads of expressionism and figuration,” the gallery’s eponymous founder wrote on Instagram. “With hope, derision, sarcasm and bite, the artist, whose sensitivity is rooted in traumatic personal experience, became, throughout his career, a singular witness of his time.”
Prior to his death at age 50 in 1977 from a heart attack, Maryan worked in an array of modes, from figurative painting to experimental film. He processed the grief and trauma he experienced as a Jew held in a concentration camp during World War II by way of work that dealt with the violence of fascism.
Curated by Alison Gingeras, the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami show includes a comprehensive array of his works, most notably a selection of his “personnages,” paintings of people who spew blood, vomit, and twist themselves into various contortions. The show is expected to travel to the Tel Aviv Museum in Israel in 2023.
“Maryan is one of those artists that didn’t make it into the first draft of the 20th-century art history, and I think that in many ways is because the trajectory of his work and his life is incredibly complex,” Gingeras told ARTnews last year ahead of the show’s opening.