Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow / Moscow House of Photography
curated by Dr. Kuno Fischer & Alisa Labas
Michel Sima (actually Michael Smajewski, *May 20, 1912 in Slonim, Poland, now Belarus, deceased in 1987 in Tauriers, Ardèche, France), was a photographer and sculptor. Already as a child Michel Sima began to draw and create first small sculptures. In 1929 he travels to Paris with intent to become a sculptor, later he begins to work with press agencies and makes photo reportages on Paris and political events.
From 1951 – 1961 he devotes himself to the photographic artist’s portrait. He portrays almost all artists of the Ecole de Paris such as Henri Matisse, François Picabia, Ossip Zadkine, Alberto Giacometti, Jean Cocteau, Tal Coat, Jean Arp, Marie Laurencin, Fernand Léger, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, André Derain, Kees van Dongen, Le Corbusier, Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder. Not only the photos of Pablo Picasso, but all his artists’ portraits radiate Sima’s fundamental amicable relation with the persons portrayed, expressed by the extremely sensitive way the personality and work of each artist have been captured. This relation established with work and studio in the portrayal is skilfully used to make the portrayed artist almost speak about himself. The result is an independent style in the field of photographic (artists’) portraits and a unique documentation of the artists of the Ecole de Paris, consistent in itself and of a sensitivity that no other photographer achieved.