Poet, Artist. He was an important link between the Symbolist and Surrealist movements of French Literature. Born into a Jewish family from Brittany, he moved to Paris in 1897 and became a fixture of the Montmartre and Montparnasse artistic communities. His friends included Pablo Picasso, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Amedeo Modigliani (who painted his portrait). As a painter he was briefly associated with the Futurists but it was with his poetry and prose works that he won notoriety: "The Dice Box" (1906), "Saint Matorel" (1911), "The Siege of Jerusalem" (1914), "The Defense of Tartuffe" (1919), and "Laboratory Central" (1921). In 1915, claiming to have seen two visions of Christ, Jacob converted from Judaism to Catholicism; he vainly hoped that his new faith, along with a liberal consumption of alcohol, would rid him of what he called his "involuntary" homosexuality. He finally decided to leave the temptations of Paris and in 1921 Jacob settled in the small village of Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire, near a Benedictine church. On February 24, 1944, during the Nazi occupation of France, Jacob was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the concentration camp at Drancy; he died there of pneumonia at age 67. Originally buried at Ivry Cemetery in Paris, Jacob's remains were transferred to Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire in 1949, on the fifth anniversary of his death.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards