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Le Blessé

20th century
91.2 cm x 72.1 cm (35 7/8 in. x 28 3/8 in.)

Eugene Berman (St. Petersburg, Russia, 1899 - 1972, Rome, Italy) Primary

Object Type: painting
Artist Nationality: North America, American
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Mari and James A. Michener, 1991
Accession Number: 1991.188

"Le Blessé" is one of several paintings depicting the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan that Eugene Berman produced in 1930. These nocturnal scenes of two figures aiding a third, illuminated by a brightly lit doorway, were likely inspired by a painting on the same theme--then attributed to Rembrandt--on view at the Louvre Museum when Berman was living in Paris.

The Bible story’s message to “love your neighbor as yourself ” apparently resonated strongly with Berman; as a Russian Jew, he was subject to the increased xenophobia and anti-Semitism that the looming economic depression brought to France. Berman immigrated to the United States in the mid-1930s and began a successful career as a theatrical set designer. The architecture in this painting anticipates Berman’s stage designs, as the layered and receding forms of the buildings highlight the dramatic action taking place in the foreground.

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