Friday, May 21, 2010

Alfred Flechtheim's Portrait By Rudolph Belling: Image Not Available at MoMA

The MoMA has not made an image of this bronze sculpture of Alfred Flechtheim available on the internet.  The sculpture was a 1950 gift of the Nazi agent Curt Valentin.   Aside from noting that the sculpture was a gift of Curt Valentin, no other provenance is given.

American museums agreed to publish images and provenances in 1998 to help Holocaust victims trace artworks.  Why has MoMA shirked this duty and no one complains?  Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn are on the Board of the MoMA - why have they not insisted on transparency on European works entering the U.S. after 1933 that were created before 1945?   Is there really no political will in this country to follow the Washington Principles?

There is not even an English-language Wikipedia page on Alfred Flechtheim, Germany's most important pre-war dealer in modern art.

Why has Flechtheim's image and history been obliterated?  Why have America's art historians and historians failed to honor Flechtheim's role in 20th Century art?   The artists of his time celebrated him, yet US art historians have not even granted him a footnote in history.

My earlier posts on Alfred Flechtheim here.

Above you see an essay in Italian by Konstantin Akinsha that you can find here called "Alfred Flechtheim's Nose:  Anti-Semitism and images of Nazi propaganda"

Above, from the Akinsha article, you see Alfred Flechtheim pictured with a cigar at the 1937 "Degenerate Art" Exhibition in Nuremberg, surrounded by the modern "degenerate art" that the Nazis hated.

The Nazis knew that Alfred Flechtheim was at the center of everything Jewish, modern and artistic that they hated.

So why has the MoMA and its confreres in the American Association of Museums obliterated Flechtheim's image from MoMA's website and his biography from the history of modern art?  Why do American art historians not discuss and celebrate his life and contributions and discuss the fabulous inventory that he had when his gallery was Aryanized by the Nazi Alexander Voemel in 1933?

Is there not one honest art historian working in an American museum today?  The damage Hitler caused in obliterating Jewish culture and contributions must be fought not by lawyers, but by art lovers and historians of good conscience who come forward and say enough is enough.  Pretending that Alfred Flechtheim did not exist is unacceptable.

Below, a beautiful work by Paul Klee that MoMA acquired in 1945.

Pastorale (Rhythms) (1927)

Paul Klee (German, born Switzerland. 1879-1940)
1927. Tempera on canvas mounted on wood, 27 1/4 x 20 5/8" (69.3 x 52.4 cm). Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund and exchange
Collection work meeting criteria specified in Introduction.


Rudolf Probst (Galerie Neue Kunst Fides; Das Kunsthaus), Dresden/Mannheim. Until 1928

Galerie Alfred Flechtheim, Berlin and Düsseldorf, then in London. 1928 – at least 1930 [likely until Flechthem’s death, in March 1937]

(J. B. Neumann (Jsrael Ber Neumann), New York. 1930. Agent for Flechtheim)

(Alex Vömel, Dusseldorf. Former Flechtheim Gallery, became Alex Vömel Gallery from March 1933. [Likely on consignement from Flechtheim, 1933 – 1934])

James Mayor Gallery, London. [Brought to London by Flechtheim when he started to work for the Mayor Gallery, c. 1934.] 1934 – 1935

For sale during Paul Klee exhibition at Kunsthalle Basel, 1935

(Paul Klee, Bern. Returned to him from above exhibition, unsold, 1935)

[Likely returned by Klee to Flechtheim in London]

Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Paris. [Likely acquired/on consignment from Flechtheim] by 1937 - by 1939

Mrs. Stanley B. Resor, New York. By 1941

Nierendorf Gallery (Karl Nierendorf), New York (New York gallery opened in 1937). Acquired from Stanley B. Resor, by 1945

The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired from Nierendorf through Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund and exchange, 1945

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