Restoring the Legacy of a Lost Jewish Master of the Avant-Garde

Black and white woodcut depicting three crouching female nudes

Restoring the Legacy of a Lost Jewish Master of the Avant-Garde

A Talk for the Limmud Festival of Jewish Life, Learning and Culture 2023


In early 1958, standing in front of his painting, I and the Village, when interviewed for the US press, Marc Chagall started to reminisce about his lost friends from the École de Paris. When it came to Moissey Kogan, his best friend from that time, he declared, ‘His lovely terracotta figurines! But nobody remembers them now. Nobody even remembers his name!’

Sculptor and printmaker, Moissey Kogan (1879-1943) was a highly regarded and frequently exhibited member of the prewar Munich and Parisian avant-gardes. Vilified by the Nazis and killed on arrival at Auschwitz in February 1943, his work was shown at the infamous Degenerate Art Exhibition in Berlin in 1938, and was looted from museums and Jewish art collections across Europe, alongside the work of other Jewish artists, including Chagall. Why was it that, as early as 1958, it could be claimed that his work was already forgotten? Our director, Helen Shiner, will address the reasons for this, and will speak about her near 30-year endeavour to locate Kogan‘s work, map his life and career, and restore his legacy.

This talk will focus in particular on the time Kogan spent in London and his involvement in the British art scene in the late 1930s, where his work was collected by Kenneth Clark, director of the National Gallery, amongst others. He was accorded a solo exhibition at the recently founded Brygos Gallery, New Bond Street, with further shows planned at other prestigious London galleries. His stay in the UK was supported by prominent Jewish businessmen and emigré art dealers and artists, including Hans Tisdall, who offered him studio space in Chelsea. Recalled suddenly to Paris for family reasons, Kogan had to go into hiding as the Nazis occupied the city. What traces remain of the comprehensive collection of work he showed in London?


Moissey Kogan sculpting in his studio
Moissey Kogan sculpting in his studio, De Telegraaf, March 1934


Helen is delighted to have been invited to speak at the Limmud Festival of Jewish Life, Learning and Culture 2023 at Pendigo Lake, Birmingham, UK at 11.10 am on Wednesday 27 December. With special thanks to sculptor, David Hochhauser.

This talk is generously sponsored by the Association for Art History.


Association for Art History logo


Limmud Festival 2023

Limmud Festival logo

The Limmud Festival is a celebration of Jewish life, learning and culture. This highly anticipated event, held between 22 and 27 December 2023, is set to captivate and inspire with its unparalleled lineup of speakers, exhilarating sessions, and vibrant community spirit.

Limmud Festival 2023 is more than just a gathering; it is an immersive journey that promises to ignite minds, spark connections, and foster personal growth. Attendees can create their own journey and curate a Limmud Festival unique to them from hundreds of sessions across five packed days of programming.

Prepare to be enthralled by an impressive roster of speakers, thought leaders, and talented artists hailing from all corners of the Jewish world. From renowned educators to award-winning performers, Limmud Festival 2023 brings together the absolute best in Jewish talent to create an unforgettable experience for all.

Limmud Festival 2023 is not just about the remarkable content, it is also about forging lasting connections and building a sense of community.  Participants will have countless opportunities to engage with like-minded individuals, exchange ideas, and form lifelong friendships. This supportive and inclusive environment creates an atmosphere where everyone’s voice is heard and celebrated.

For more information about the Limmud Festival, or to book to attend, please visit the Limmud website.


Featured image: Moissey Kogan, Drie zittende naakte vrouwen (Three seated female nudes), woodcut, 30.8 x 28.2 cm, date unknown, probably late 1920s/early 1930s, collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, collector’s mark: Lugt 2228.


If you would like to support the Moissey Kogan Catalogue Raisonné Project, please Buy Kogan a Coffee and we’ll put it towards the cost of keeping the Moissey Kogan Catalogue Raisonné of Sculpture & Prints online and our research (international payments accepted via debit card, credit card, or Paypal). Thank you to those of you who have donated so far!