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CHIL ARONSON The power of that art, of a rare subtlety of expression! A refined landscape executed in tones of very delicate, silvery grey communicates a feeling of intimate and profound harmony, characteristic of Weissberg. Elsewhere, in contrast, he operates in a masterly manner in frank painting, rich, fluid, full of sap. But always, he expresses himself everywhere as a poet of color. His particular force, it is the science with which he composes and juxtaposes the subtle gamuts of reddish browns and blues, creamy whites with silver-grey. Limiting the colors of his palette, he modulates its effect, occasionally almost monochrome, with a refinement that reveals entirely new nuances. One could say, in truth, that he is playing the violin, the play of a master, an exquisite melody in tonalities chosen with rigor. I stopped for a long moment before a marvelous portrait of a woman. Her beautiful visage is supported by her naked hand, which one feels must be soft, she dreams. I firmly believe that this portrait, so full of finesse and poetry, will accompany me for the rest of my life. I stood for some time too in front of a landscape, a quiet village, and while contemplating the cottages with creamy white walls, the red-brown of the roofs, and the sky that also seems to be dreaming, an unforgettable sky, I felt myself overwhelmed with a feeling of calm solitude. [...] Weissberg made himself famous as a painter of landscapes and as a portraitist, and he has painted very young children with love and the same refinement. I discovered at the Gallery Zak, run by his dealer Raykis, a few of his portraits, carnal and serene, superbly executed in warm and brown tones, in reds and greys. I am familiar with a good number of very beautiful still-lives by Weissberg. I also like his sparse tables and his bunches of flowers that are slightly wilted, composed with much grace in those harmonies of rare colors, made so simple by the elegance of the painter. Everywhere, Weissberg’s painting reveals, by the grandeur and the profundity of his talent, the secret soul that animates this painter-poet. A great painter, who knew how to express his power with the most delicate sensitivity. A great painter, who has been massacred by the monstrous Nazi beast. Excerpts from “Léon Weissberg”, collection of articles.
Scènes et visages de Montparnasse, Abécé éd., Paris 1963. Translated from the Yiddish into French by Batia Baum.
HERSCH FENSTER In painting, Weissberg was an Expressionist, a dreamer and a refined spirit; in every-day life, he was a lively and warm man who beamed a sort of radiance. In truth, he was a poet. Slender as a poplar tree, he had a handsome, delicate visage and an extraordinary look in the eye, luminous with innocence, gentleness and simplicity, like that of a child. Always in good humor, and often in a loving humor, he admired the things of life in spite of his material problems in which he often struggled. Sadness or discouragement had no hold on his personality. Quite convivial, he had an easy contact, told a joke to one person, an anecdote to another, he spread his joy about. Léon could talk about all the topics in the world, except those touching on the conditions of his material life. It was in Montparnasse where he truly lived. He navigated from table to table among the artists, the painters and the writers. And when Leibusz spoke, his voice was remarked and people would listen since he was well loved by the Bohemians without a penny who appreciated that gaiety which emanated from him. He never remained seated at a table for long, because standing up, he had the feeling of being with everyone. He made those around him happier, and he himself felt happy among his friends. When he sat down at the terrace of a café, it was only to skim through the newspapers, which he returned to the stand after reading. Excerpts from “Léon Weissberg”, in Nos Artistes martyrs.
Preface by Marc Chagall, Abécé éd., Paris 1951. Translated from the Yiddish into French by Jacqueline Gluckstein and Thérèse We