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Biography of Raya Sorkine

Raya Sorkine is born in Paris, 20me arrondissement, on June 22th of 1936.

The mutual adoration of mother and son gave the painter Raya SORKINE his pseudonym, for Alain signs his pictures with his mothers given name and surname. 


Raya and his mother (1940)                                                   His mother holding flowers

His childhood was steeped in the stories and customs of his ancestors, and this Central-European Jewish culture resounds trough out his paintings, illuminated as they are by traditional Jewish festivities and music.

Raya and his parents in Jerusalem (1981)                  His parents in Neuilly (1972)

But his work cannot be limited to this influence which, though it is certainly primordial, is not be only one. In his canvases, Raya SORKINE mingles all the elements of the cultural differences he has known since childhood and adolescence. France, the many suns and splendours of his journeys in spite of the horrors of wartime, and the tragic turning points of his century were to enable him while still young to interiorize and mark, with his own personal seal his magnificent fist works, a crossroads, the meeting place of multiple paths.

The tireless traveller was to cross Europe, stopping only to draw inspiration now from the twilit moon skies of Sweden, now from the hot blazing of the suns of Provence, and go on and on, adding to his palette an ever deeper, ever-widening knowledge of the world and of man.


Ten years in this caravane                                       In Kping inside his Torp, with his wife
exchanged for 2 paintings -Sweden (1966)               Franoise - May 1968

Yet he reminds a man, and four women and seven daughters will enable him to draw even more  from the well-springs of his own being they are all his muses. Women, at their weddings, bearing in their arms the eternal bouquet of flowers his mother holds in the photograph that is always present before the eyes of this artist with the art of a child.


His daughters Delhia, Deborah                                       Raya and Manou


His daugthers Rebecca et Olivia                           Raya and his daughters Delhia Deborah

The eyes of his characters express the pain of centurys martyrdom, and it is in the brightness of his violent colours that you can read his hymn to life, even though this life is wounded and broken by the horrors of the Shoa.

But Raya SORKINE can also save us from forgetfulness by his mastery of the art of having his clowns  juggle, his violinists play, by all these Russian Jews  that live forever though their movements, the reds and yellows that they must have longed to embody down the years.


These groups of contrasts and contraries blend in a perfect harmony from which springs an art as lively as it is mystical, bursting with a life that inspires dreams, in quest of all the forgotten, frozen moments of the past, the universal memory of mankind.

These women, men, portraits of Rabbis, all engaged in or escaped from a recent past, are brought back to life by the burst of bright colours, magical yellows, reds, and blues that cannot but point us towards a reflective, serene optimism. 

It is the colour-language of a true Sabra that enthralls us.