Crossing French Metropolises


Crossing French Metropolises

Exiled Artists and Intellectuals during the 20th century

International Workshop of the ERC Research Project
Relocating Modernism: Global Metropolises, Modern Art and Exile (METROMOD)

Building on common interests of the German Center for Art History (DFK Paris) and the ERC research project Relocating Modernism: Global Metropolises, Modern Art and Exile (METROMOD)—such as movements of artists, ideas and productions—this workshop will focus on the temporary exile of artists and intellectuals in French cities throughout the twentieth century, which was marked by (e)migration waves. Located at the crossroads of disciplines such as Art History, Exile Studies, History of Sociology, Architecture and Urban Studies, this topic calls for a transdisciplinary approach.

While METROMOD focuses on six cities—Bombay (now Mumbai), Buenos Aires, Istanbul, London, New York and Shanghai—this workshop seeks to explore French cities of arrival, passage, and entanglement. Hubs such as Marseille, Nantes, and Paris, among other transcultural contact zones, have been privileged destinations for thousands of peoples fleeing misery, dictatorial regimes and xenophobia. Exile is understood here on the one hand as an intellectual displacement, and on the other hand as a forced movement, which, in some way, will always be regretted, even if the integration in the adopted country succeeds. While some exiled artists intended to pass through these cities to reach a further destination, others settled for a longer time, trying to make a place for themselves in the local artistic milieus.

Many open questions need to be answered, among them: How did the artists deal with the changing conditions in exile? How did they manage to infiltrate the economic system and to continue making a living from their art? Did they need to adapt their production to the local taste and aesthetics? What kind of work were they asked to produce? Who were the multipliers of their work and ideas—perhaps journals, collectors, critics or galleries? Did they need to build networks or could they integrate into local ones? Or did they use both circuits? How did the networks help them live and work in these cities?

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 724649)  


Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte Paris - Hôtel Lully

45, rue des Petits Champs F-75001 Paris


Convened by METROMOD Team/Institut für Kunstgeschichte, LMU Munich: Burcu Dogramaci, Mareike Hetschold, Laura Karp Lugo, Rachel Lee, Helene Roth, and Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte Paris (DFK Paris): Thomas Kirchner.

Administration and Assistance: Christina Lagao (LMU), Karin Seltmann-Dupuy (DFK Paris).




Participation is free.

Person in charge

Prof. Dr. Thomas Kirchner

Prof. Dr. Thomas Kirchner

Former Director of the DFK Paris (2014-2022)
Phone +33 (0)1 42 60 67 82
Revue municipale bimestrielle, Marseille, Société d’Edition ARS, October 1936, year 1, cover
Revue municipale bimestrielle, Marseille, Société d’Edition ARS, October 1936, year 1, cover
17:15 Uhr
16:00 Uhr
Language of the Event
DFK Paris
45 rue des Petits Champs
Room, floor
Salle Meier Graefe