b. Quimper, 1876 - d. Drancy, 1944
Max Jacob, a French Jew, was a painter, a poet, a novelist, a playwright, and a critic, who played an important role in the formative years of Cubism as well as in the new directions of modern poetry during the early 20th century. His poetry was made up of an amalgam of Jewish, Breton, Parisian, and Roman-Catholic elements. The poet Carl Palme vividly remembers how "...red-haired Max Jacob leapt on a table, tilted his bowler hat, put his thumb in his vest, and recited a satirical poem whistling and dancing a jig between verses." For some years, Max Jacob led a bohemian lifestyle, which alternated with periods of contemplation and penitence. In 1915 he converted to Christianity and in 1921, went into semi-monastic seclusion at Saint-Benôit-sur-Loire. There he supported himself by painting different aspects of Paris and its suburbs in oil, gouache, and pastels. During World War II, he was deported to the Drancy concentration camp near Paris, where he died in 1944. Many of his paintings are displayed in the Musée de Quimper, his home town.