Tuesday, January 29, 2013

London's Ben Uri Museum to Add George Grosz's The Lecture (also known as Anti - Semite) to Its Growing Collection

 George Grosz, The Lecture (also known as Anti - Semite). Photo courtesy of Ben Uri Collection

London's Ben Uri Museum to Add George Grosz's The Lecture (also known as Anti - Semite) to Its Growing Collection 
by Samuel D. Gruber

(ISJM) The Board of Trustees of the Ben Uri Museum in London has announced the acquisition of George Grosz's (1893-1959) ink and watercolor satiric sketch The Lecture (also known as Anti - Semite), an important work that depicts the radical Jewish writer Erich Mühsam, a friend of Grocz's who was murdered in the Oranienburg concentration camp in 1934. Mühsam is shown as one of two heads on a poster a which a Nazi lecturer gesticulates.  

The work has been donated to the Museum by Sally, Richard and Andrew Kalman from their family collection in honor of their late father Andras Kalman (1919 - 2007).  Kalman  came to study in England in 1939. When war broke out, he was cut off from his parents and brothers in Hungary, who late perished in the Holocaust.

The Museum acquired Grosz’s Nazi Interrogation, from the same period, in 2010.  Grosz was one of the most prominent artists of the Weimar periodIn Berlin, Grosz was a fierce critic of war and capitalism, and one of the most biting artistic opponents of the Nazis before their seizing power, and after he left Germany for America in 1932Grosz was among the first Germans to be stripped of his citizenship by the Nazi regime.  

Today, Grosz's son, who lives in Philadelphia, is still trying to regain some of the many Grosz paintings confiscated after his father left Germany.  Many of these were sold by the Nazi's or surfaced after the war are are now in major museum collectionsYou can read more here and from the New York Times here.

 George Grosz, The Interrogation. Photo courtesy of Ben Uri Collection

Ben Uri will  mark the acquisition of the new Grosz work by launching its 'Holocaust Education Through the Ben Uri Collection' website, a learning resource for teachers and GCSE students created in partnership with the London Grid for Learning.  For a preview of the website please go to:  www.benuriholocaust.lgfl.net 

The Ben Uri was founded in London's Jewish East End nearly a century ago, in 1915 (read history here), as ‘The Jewish National Decorative Art Association (London), “Ben Ouri”. The museum, in its present orgniazaiton, was founded in 2001 and recent years under the leadership of David Glasser has been greatly expanding its collection of works by artists of Jewish origin, and has mounted many important exhibits.  In 2010 the museum acquired an important Chagall crucifixion, which then led to the mounting of an ambitious exhibition of modern crucifixions - many by Jewish artist.  The collection is limited, however, by its small current space and continues to plan for a new and permanent home somewhere in Central London.  Perhaps we will see that happen - or at least announced - in time for the centennial.

For now, you can see around 400 selected works from the Ben Uri Collection (of over 1300) in the Museum's online gallery.

1 comment:

Hels said...

I love George Grosz's works and am full of admiration for a non-Jewish artist who was prepared to risk his own career and life with his anti-Nazi stance. Of all his paintings based on city life, the most powerful were from WW1 and the years just after the war.