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Biographical/Historical Information

Jakob Wassermann (March 10, 1873 - January 1, 1934) was a Jewish-German writer and novelist. Wassermann's work includes poetry, essays, novels, and short stories. His most important works are considered to be the novel ‘Der Fall Maurizius’ (1928) and his autobiography, ‘Mein Weg als Deutscher und Jude’ (My Life as a German and a Jew; 1921).

Suzanne Carvallo-Schülein was born in Paris into a distinguished family of Portuguese-Jewish descent. As an art student at the private school “La Palette” in Paris, she met and later married Julius Schülein. The couple worked and exhibited in Paris and then settled in Munich for twenty years, where Carvallo-Schülein was in great demand as a portrait painter and became one of the first women to belong to the Munich Secession. The Schüleins belonged to a circle of prominent artists and intellectuals in Munich. Among their friends were Heinrich and Thomas Mann, Lion Feuchtwanger, Paul Klee and Vassily Kandinsky. In 1930 the couple moved to Berlin, attracted by the city’s growing significance as a cultural center. After the Nazis came to power, the Schüleins, constantly plagued by the political turmoil facing German Jews, went from Germany to France, with the intervention of the French ambassador to Germany, François Poncet. After the outbreak of the war, Julius was separated from his wife and interned as an enemy alien at Montauban, near Bordeaux, and other internment camps in the South of France. In 1940 Suzanne Carvallo-Schülein fled from Paris to the South of France, where she was finally reunited with her husband in 1941, and they emigrated to the US. In 1945, Carvallo-Schülein exhibited her still lifes and portraits at the Knoedler and the Caroll Carstairs Galleries in New York, and in 1973 at the Goethe House. She is best known for her portraits of prominent German intellectuals. Her portrait of the conductor Bruno Walter hangs in the Munich Opera House; the likeness of her grandfather Jules Carvallo can still be found at the Alliance Israelite Universelle in Paris, which he co-founded.

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Carvallo-Schülein, Susanne: Portrait of Jakob Wassermann, Leo Baeck Institute, 78.611.