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Oil on Canvas, “In Ceret”, by Arbit Blatas


“In Ceret”, by Arbit Blatas, oil on canvas, c. 1948.

Arbit Blatas (1908-1999) was a Lithuanian born artist who, at age 21,  became the youngest member of “The School of Paris” in 1929 and by the age of 24, sold several of his works to the Galerie Nationale du Jue de Paume.  Over the next several years, he painted and cast in bronze all of the members of the School of Paris, which now reside in the Nationale Galerie du Jue de Paume.

In 1941, he emigrated to the United States where he became a citizen.  After WWII, he spent most of his life between the United States and France.  In 1948, he returned to France where he stayed and painted for two years before retuning to the United States.  While in France, he spent time and painted in the town of Ceret, in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains, where this piece was created.

He later met and married Regina Reznik, the Metropolitan Opera star, and spend the last several decades of his life  working with her and designing sets for the opera.  Among his accomplishments and awards were:

  • 1947 – Elected life member of the Salon D’Automne (France)
  • 1978 – Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur ( France )
  • 1980 – Gold Medal “Venezia Riconoscente” – presented by Mayor Mario Rigo
  • 1982 – Medal of Masada (Israel)
  • 1982 – Special Honor of the City of New York
  • 1987 – Commandeur – Médaille de Vermeil (City of Paris)
  • 1993 – Gold Medal of Honor, City of Venice ( Italy ) – presented by the President of Italy
  • 1993 – Presidential Medal of Italy
  • 1994 – Officier de la Légion d’honneur (France)
  • 2008 – Commander Cross of the Order of Merit of Lithuania (Posthumous)

In the painting, which appears to mix the work of Vincent van Gogh and Edvard Munch, a woman wearing a bonnet stands in the middle of a shadowed,  narrow, tree lined street, with a bright blue sky visible above the branches.  One large tree behind her cuts diagonally across the image from the lower left to the upper right.  Simple flat buildings, three and four stories high, line the dark street behind her, diminishing in perspective, until sunlight hits a building in the distance and bright yellow, like a light at the end of a tunnel, is framed behind her.  Villagers are going about their daily business, walking across the street or sitting outside buildings along the walkways.

The time shortly after WWII, was a period of rebuilding and hope in Europe and that is what this image seems to project, with the gloomy shadows leading to the light at the end of the street.  What is not visible until closely examined under brighter light, are two figures standing next to the woman that have been removed by the artist, leaving only a faint shadow of their former image, one of a soldier standing with a rifle and the other a youth.  Is the woman lamenting her losses from the war as others go about rebuilding their daily lives?  Only Blatas knew for sure.

This painting was exhibited in a multiple artist showing at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York in 1951 and was the featured painting by Blatas.  It was exhibited again in 1961 in San Francisco at The Maxwell Gallery and once again, was the featured painting by Blatas.

Another painting, slightly smaller, but of the same street, was painted by Blatas and now resides in the Musee d’Art Moderne de Ceret.

37 x 25 inches

94 x 63.5 cm

Price Upon Request

His work is held in the following museums:

United States:

Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh; Newark Museum; Montclair Museum; Wichita Art Museum; Rochester Museum; Virginia Museum; Delgado Museum, New Orleans; Palm Springs Desert Museum; Museum of the City of New York; National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.


Jeu de Paume; Musée de l’Orangerie; Musée Georges Pompidou; Musée de Grenoble; Musée de Céret; Musée Bourdelle; Musée de Boulogne-Billancourt


Jerusalem Museum; Tel-Aviv Museum


Museo d’Arte Moderna; Ca’ Pesaro, Venice


Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne


National Museum, Cardiff

Artists by Name


Appel, Karl

Aust, Carol

Bale, Charles Thomas

Bassano, Francesco

Beihong, Xu

Berchem, Nicholaes

Blatas, Arbit

Braque, Georges

Buffet, Guy

Calder, Alexander

Cezanne, Paul

Chagall, Marc

Chikubosai II

Cocteau, Jean

Col, David

Culter, Richard Vincent

Dali, Salvador

de Goya, Francisco

Denny, Gideon J.

Duboy, Paul

Eder, Gyula


Estivalet, Elizabeth

Fisher, HM


Hall, Robin

Huffington, Anita


Jenkins, George Washington

Kalf, Willem

Kleitsch, Joseph

Kuang, Ting Shao

Kusakabe, Kimbei


Loates, Bernard

Matisse, Henri

Miro, Joan

Motonobu, Kano


Patri, Giacomo

Picasso, Pablo

Renoir, Auguste

Rivera, Diego

Rouault, Georges

Shaoyou, Bao

Shinn, Everett


Storr, Paul

Ting, Walasse

Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de

Tobey, Mark

von Schneidau, Christian

Whistler, James

Wilms, Joseph


Yoshida, Hiroshi

Yuichi, Monden

Zuniga, Francisco

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