The Dread-Inducing Work of Weimar's Jewish Artists

An exhibit at the Neue Galerie offered a taste of Jewish art from “before the fall,” but the subject cries out for a more ambitious undertaking.

June 14, 2018 | Diane Cole
About the author: Diane Cole is the author of the memoir After Great Pain: A New Life Emerges. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street JournalNPR online, and elsewhere, and she serves as the books columnist for Psychotherapy Networker.

Detail from Felix Nussbaum’s Self-Portrait in the Camp. Wikimedia.

Simply by virtue of its focus on German-Austrian art from 1890 to 1940, the walls of New York’s Neue Galerie, founded by the philanthropist Ronald Lauder, can unnerve a visitor with their uneasy mix of visions of beauty and images of radical disruption. The museum’s most recent show, Before the Fall: German and Austrian Art of the 1930s, which closed on May 28 after a three-month run, made the discomfort of that juxtaposition all the more explicit.

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