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Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita (6 June 1868 – c. 11 Feb. 1944); Dutch graphic artist active in the years before the Second World War. His pupils included graphic artist M.C. Escher. After the war, de Mesquita was largely forgotten.
Born into a Jewish family in Amsterdam. Though a member of a tightly knit Sephardic community, a minority among Dutch Jews, de Mesquita, like most of his contemporaries, was not religiously observant. His father... died when Sam or Sampie, as he was called, was 5.
At 14, the young de Mesquita applied to the Rijksakademie in pursuit of his artistic interests, only to be rejected. Deeply disappointed, he apprenticed himself to an acting city architect, for whom he worked for two years before entering a technical school with the intention of becoming an architect himself. He soon turned, however, to the pedagogy and, in 1889, received a teacher's certificate, which would later enable him to support his family.
Over the next years, de Mesquita principally devoted himself to art, experimenting with various techniques and mediums. Though known primarily for his wood engravings, he also produced etchings, lithographs, watercolors and drawings; his applied art consisted mostly of material designs.... Among de Mesquita's most beautiful works are his portraits, particularly his self portraits.
With Nazi Germany's invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940, de Mesquita, already in poor health, was forced to lead a secluded life, limiting his work largely to sketches.
In the winter of 1944, on either 31 Jan. or 1 Feb., the occupying German forces entered the de Mesquita home in Watergraafsmeer, now part of Amsterdam, and apprehended him, his wife Elisabeth, and their onlyson Jaap. Transported to Auschwitz, Samuel Jessurun and Elisabeth were sent to the gas chambers within days of their arrival on 11 Feb.; Jaap perished in the concentration camp at Theresienstadt on 20 March. Escher and...