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As he recounted on the occasion of his exhibition “Photographic and Imaginary Portraits” at the contemporary art center L’Entrepôt in Uzès, in 2001, it was when his brother died in 1944 that Felix Rozen found “a different perspective on life and death.” He inherited Karl’s camera (a Leica knock-off) and enrolled at the age of 12 in the photo workshop of his school.

He was 24 when he shot this vision of Poland during the early 1960s.


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Wishes, Mirrors, Rest — such are the titles that Felix Rozen gave to the admirable photos he brought back highlighting a Japan singularly present in the heat, the chromatic energy and the generosity of a pictorial inspiration. Recall, too, the large abstract gouaches that pull us into a contemporary and legendary Japan to understand what unites the objective of the photographer and that of the painter: a passionate warmth towards beings, things and the being of things.

Marcelin Pleynet on the occasion of the exhibition “Windows on Japan” at Central Color, in 1985.

New York

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In 1982, Felix Rozen drew, from these photographs, 18 silkscreens which constitute the publication, at the Borgen workshop in Copenhagen, of “New York New York (Impressions From the City That Never Sleeps),” an edition of 300 copies and 35 prints signed and numbered by the artist. This portfolio is accompanied by a text by Uffe Harder whom André Laude, in 1975, in Le Monde, described as a Danish poet “essential to his generation.”


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These souvenir documents, this “Random Gallery,” are the results of ongoing research linked to memory, that very memory so important in the eyes of the artist for future generations. Through his tragic, tender, ironic, sometimes jester-like vision of life in general, Rozen offers us a series of photographic portraits that we will not readily forget: André Masson’s gaze toward infinity at the end of his life, Antonio Saura’s facial expressions, Jean Messagier, the vision of a Francis Bacon seeming to burst out of one of his own paintings, the deep suffering in the beautiful look of Nancy Spero… In this chronicle of the passing of time, in this milieu which is his, Rozen appears as a portraitist very different from any others, because he does not flatter his subject, he grasps, often hastily, the look, a moment of joy, a fleeting gesture, without using artifice, without any aesthetic research. In complete freedom, he uses black and white or color. Like all artists, Rozen is above all attentive to life and we can feel, looking at his photographs, his happiness, his joy at having managed to capture all these, his… precious moments.

Hélène Véret, editorial coordinator/picture editor for LIFE magazine, Paris. Excerpt from a text accompanying the exhibition “Rossini Exposes Rozen,” 2001.

The Rozen Collection of the Kandinsky Library holds more than 200 of these photographic portraits of artists.