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Belgium, 1922 – USA, 1977
Jan Yoors was a writer, painter, photographer, filmmaker, sculptor, and master of tapestry. His work was inspired by a life rich with experiences – from his youth with a gypsy kumpania, his imprisonment by the Nazis, to his years writing about and photographing the diverse people of New York City.
While in school in London after the war he was introduced to tapestry and weaving and studied traditions from Aubusson to Samarkand. Early work was largely figurative, then became increasingly abstract. Marianne and Annabert and others weaved under his supervision. In 1959 Art in America nominated him as one of the new talents .
In the 1960s Yoors deepened his interest in photography. To research Only One New York, his 1963 feature-length documentary film about the city's ethnic diversity, he shot photographs that were collected in a book of the same name, published in 1965. He also returned to Europe to reestablish contact with those gypsies who had survived the Holocaust. The pictures he took on this journey became an exhibition at the National Museum of Science in New York City and now illustrate the paperback edition of The Gypsies.
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