Boris Taslizky produced a multitude of sketchbooks. They were made one after the other until early 2005, the year of his death. These books accompanied him throughout his career. Their quick succession narrates his visual enquiries as well as his general interests and concerns. Boris himself stated in the course of an interview, « The sketchbook is a diary ».
Goethe had once pointed out with regards to one of his travel sketchbooks in Italy : « What I did not draw, I did not see it ». Drawing has always been for Boris, the principal means to analyse, record and understand the world around him. He drew anywhere, ceaselessly. His studies took place either in an atelier or outdoors, created on pages of different sizes and with varying mediums. However, the best material for him remained the sketchbook page and the best tool, the pencil. The artist always carried a small sketchbook in a pocket of his jacket.
The only period during when Boris was forced to abandon his sketchbook was during the years of imprisonment in the French jails of Vichy and then in the Buchenwald Concentration camp in Germany. However, that didn't stop him from drawing. This was facilitated by fellow prisoners who enabled him to find provisional means for drawing, even if it was on found fragments of paper. Bringing together a suite of these precious pages in an album, as early as 1946, Aragon published « 111 drawings by Boris Taslitzky made in Buchenwald », perhaps in an attempt to compensate for the physical impossibility of obtaining a proper notebook during those dark years. After a re-edition in 1978 by the French Association Buchenwald-Dora, the very enriched whole is recently published by Biro editor.
The numerous notebooks of Boris were stored in the studio. They show the acuteness of his insight, his exceptional visual talent and the representation of daily scenes in the artist's life. The drawings, always painted from life, show the succession of various events, genre scenes, portraits, landscapes, and still lifes... Occasionally they serve the purpose of preparatory sketches for paintings executed in the studio. In this manner, through the discovery of Boris's notebooks, we can follow the artist as tireless chronicler, devoted painter and defender of liberty, peace and equality. Through his sketchbooks, we meet famous figures and we follow Boris during his journeys on holidays and even through intimate daily routines. Boris' sketchbooks remain an invaluable insight into the life he lived and his memory..
Today, following the classification of his work, we can admire the entirety of his sketchbooks, which are even more striking now that they have all been collected. Some of them are reproduced here, others will be reproduced later on.
By clicking on the thumbnails, you can access the various sketchbooks