Max Jacob

Born in Quimper (Brittany), France (1876 - 1944)

Poet, writer, art critic, and painter, Max Jacob passed through a religious crisis and converted to Catholicism in 1915. At his baptism, Picasso served as his godfather. In 1917, he published a collection of poems, and in 1921 retired to the Benedictine Abbey at St. Benoit sur L'Oise. In the following years, and particularly from 1926 well into the 1930s, Jacob's creative output in the visual arts was at its peak. He exhibited regularly at the Percier and the Georges Petit Galleries.

Despite his conversion and entry into a monastery, Jacob was arrested and interned in Drancy, where he died on March 5, 1944. In her Ph.D. thesis, Picasso and His Art during the German Occupation, M.M. Goggin states that the candles and skulls that Picasso painted at that time were a memento mori to his friends, Chaim Soutine and Max Jacob.*

** Ziva Amishai-Maisels, Depiction and Interpretation (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1993), p. 3

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Max Jacob
Max Jacob
View of Pont-Aven
gouache, 28x36 cm.