The Jews Who Helped Vincent van Gogh Get into the Mainstream

Oct. 27 2021

Even after Vincent van Gogh’s death in 1890, his works were considered too avant garde for most of the art market. It was largely thanks to Jewish dealers and connoisseurs that his work reached its current fame. In an interview with Matt Lebovic, Charles Delheim—author of a recent book on Jews and modern art—explains this role:

The process of commercializing van Gogh started 120 years ago, when the German-Jewish art collector Paul Cassirer staged the first showing of the Dutch painter’s works in Berlin. After that exhibition, van Gogh’s legacy — and modern art, in general—became intertwined with the trajectory of European Jews.

Dellheim spoke about the “risk-taking” qualities of Cassirer and other Jews who helped van Gogh achieve posthumous fame. More than a century later, van Gogh paintings that were once owned by Jews still make headlines in connection to having been looted by Nazi Germany.

Among the modernist painters adored by Jewish collectors, van Gogh figured prominently. Within two decades of the artist’s death, a good deal of his paintings and drawings had been purchased by Jewish collectors. . . . For years, Cassirer had been imploring Johanna van Gogh—the widow of Vincent’s brother and sponsor, Theo—to permit him to show some of van Gogh’s paintings. A breakthrough came in 1901, when Cassirer was able to show five of van Gogh’s works in an annual “Berlin Secession” exhibition of modernist artists.

Beginning in the 1920s, [by contrast], racial propaganda branded Jews and modern art as “alien elements” to be eliminated. The post-World War I “stab-in-the-back” myth, for example, included the backstory of Jews “poisoning” Germany’s “racial community” with influences such as “degenerate” art and social movements.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Art, German Jewry, Jewish history

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy