Contemporary Art Gallery Madrid


November 8 – December 9, 2017

Maryan view

Pinchas Burstein, alias 'MARYAN'.
Born in Polonia, in 1927 and died in USA, in 1977.

From November 8 to December 9, Michel Soskine Inc. gallery in Madrid presents a masterpieces selection of Maryan (Nowy Sącz 1927, New York 1977) on the 40th anniversary of the death of the artist, barely fifty years old. This selection of 10 works condense the fundamental elements to understand the transcendence of an artist with artistic and existential passion.

The psychological aspects that involves the work of Maryan is contained in works like the personages from the Napoleon Series 1974, where the humorous aspect is preceded by the black mood that owns its images: Internment in a concentration camp during the nazism when he was 12 years old, he was orphaned and miraculously he survived two fatal episodes. His prowess to overcome adversity is reflected in his artistic career through his life, a proof of his truth.

In his paintings, the figures called 'Personnages' show the 'angst' and the lonely sorrow. Often, the faces that he presents shows a grimaces, crying in a prolonged facial expressions of the human tragedy.

Maryan is faithful to his story with references to Kafka's literature 'The Metamorphosis' or traditional tales like 'The Legend of the Golem' both with internal mutation concept: irreversible and relentless. After to a previous period in Paris, the practice of a freer painting, without aesthetic or conceptual ties, will open its way in New York (1962-1977). It is precisely in this city where it is achieved or he achieves success and recognition in Europe and the United States. 

From this time belongs Personnage 1962. The grotesque and theatrical aspect of the character enclose a relation victim-executioner, whose role is not clearly defined. This ambiguity reveals a manifest guilty feeling in burlesque and extravagant forms, where ass ears grow from a head with a body of deformed proportions. The military suit, unequivocally, represents a convulsive time of the XX century, and is in a mysterious place that denotes his narrative capacity.

From the same year, Personnage, 1962, has a more authoritarian and sinister seem, the projection of his shadow accentuates the staging. Caricature and enigmatic characters, surrounded by a carnival atmosphere, composing a special wording of Maryan's visuals influenced by his own life, and a personality contrary to what was expected, extraordinarily vital.

In his last stage in New York, Maryan was able to develop his career and to be free himself from the avant-garde and post-vanguard styles still actives by the Europe. His work, without receding in the use of figuration, is reaffirmed in his particular vision of images and characters that hung in galleries such as Allan FrumkinGallery or André Emmerich Gallery, as well as institutions such as the Whitney Museum or Solomon Guggenheim in New York. There were also exhibitions in Europe such as La Galerie de France and Claude Bernard of Paris. His first exhibition in Madrid was organized by the gallery Juana Mordó in 1964 and later in 1970 and 1976 at the Galería Sen. Between these dates he would make a stay in the capital where he worked with the collective Grupo Quinze.

Maryan would obtain American nationality in the late sixties and will be renamed Maryan S. Maryan, taking the 'S' from his second birth name, Simsons. In the last years of the artist's life, suffering from different physical and mental difficulties, in 1975 he made a 90 'film of artistic character but with a strong autobiographical load. The black and white film and a dictated autobiography, later appeared in La Cinémathèque française, and was named in 1976 Knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters. Recently, the Center Pompidou of Paris in 2012 acquired ten characters from the series 'Les Napoleon' and eight notebooks of drawings 'Ecce Homo'.

He was found dead in his room at the famous Chelsea Hotel in New York on June 14, 1977. He is buried in the cemetery of Montparnasse, Paris.


Art Institute of Chicago (USA).
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (USA).
The David and Alfred Smart Gallery, University of Chicago (USA).
MoMA Museum of Modern Art New York, New York (USA).
Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris (France).
Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh (USA).
Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC (USA).
Staatliches Museum, Berlín (Germany).
Musée de Peinture et de Sculpture, (France).
Municipal Museum, The Hague (Netherlands).
Musée de Beaux Arts André Malraux, Le Havre (France).
Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris (Francia).
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris (France).
The Tel-Aviv Museum, Tel-Aviv (Israel).
Musée de Beaux Arts, Tourcoing (France).
Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna (Austria).
Nordjyllands Kunstmuseum, Aalborg (Denmark).