Izis Bidermanas

Photographer, Visual Artist

1911 – 1980

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Who was Izis Bidermanas?

Israëlis Bidermanas, who worked under the name of Izis, was a Lithuanian-Jewish photographer who worked in France and is best known for his photographs of French circuses and of Paris.

Born in Marijampolė, present-day Lithuania, Bidermanas arrived in France in 1930 to become a painter. In 1933, he directed a photographic studio in the 13th Arrondissement of Paris. During World War II, being a Jew, he had to leave occupied Paris. He went to Ambazac, in the Limousin, where he adopted the pseudonym Izis and where he was arrested and tortured by the Nazis. He was freed by the French Resistance and became an underground fighter. At that time he photographed his companions, including Colonel Georges Guingouin. The poet and underground fighter Robert Giraud was the first to write about Izis in the weekly magazine Unir, a magazine created by the Resistance.

Upon the liberation of France at the end of World War II, Izis had a series of portraits of maquisards published to considerable acclaim. He returned to Paris where he became friends with French poet Jacques Prévert and other artists. Izis became a major figure in the mid-century French movement of humanist photography — also exemplified by Brassaï, Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau and Ronis — with "work that often displayed a wistfully poetic image of the city and its people."

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Born
Jan 17, 1911
Marijampolė
Nationality
  • France
Profession
Died
May 16, 1980
Paris

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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