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Fritz Haber . A mind at war

Illustrations by David Vandermeulen

This exhibition is about the life of Fritz Haber, a German-Jewish chemist who was a paradoxical figure, being both a friend of Einstein and the inventor of mustard gas used militarily during the First World War. The story of this man, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1918, is told and illustrated by the Belgian author and illustrator David Vandermeulen. He won the Château de Cheverny 2008 prize for historical graphic novels, awarded at the Rendez-Vous de l’Histoire literary festival in Blois, for the second volume in his Fritz Haber series, entitled "Les héros" ("Heroes"). Having begun the series more than a decade ago, he published a fourth volume this year. Critics have acclaimed his work for its rigorous approach and impeccable historical methods, together with the academic understanding that is essential for tackling such a controversial subject as this: the responsibility of the German-Jewish scientific and political elite during the First World War.

Producing wash drawing with sepia ink, David Vandermeulen has a very distinctive technique which gives his work real originality. He manages to create an almost photographic realism, together with blurred shadowing in gradations of brown. It's a body of work that makes no concessions and which has been displayed here in an exceptional style by his own team of exhibition designers. This is an exhibition likely to leave its mark on visitors' minds, due to the subject matter, the execution of the work, and the atmosphere of Salle Saint-Georges, a former chapel that has been converted into a gallery.

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