Szafran (b. 1934, Paris, France), the son of Polish Jewish immigrants, spent his early years hiding from persecution in Switzerland and Australia, before returning to Paris in 1951. Largely self-taught, in 1953 Szafran began studying under Henri Goetz at the Atelier de la Grande Chaumière. Early experiments with abstraction gradually gave way to a life-long commitment to figuration. Szafran’s discovery of the Roché sisters’ handmade pastels in the early 1960s was significant. The use of pastel, together with charcoal and watercolour, has defined his method ever since. Among Szafran’s subjects, three stand out: the studio interior, vertiginous stairwells and greenhouses filled with exotic plants. Through these intense, existential subjects, he has obsessively refined his mastery of pastel.

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