The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Nazis’

Another Day, Another Doll Hero

May 7, 2015 | by


H. Schönhauser, Mädchen mit Puppe (Girl with Doll), 1904.

Yesterday, after posting about the Edison Talking Doll, I was wracked with guilt. I could not believe that I, a lifelong defender of dolls, had turned on them so callously, joining the chorus of ignorant fear-mongering that contributes to the current hostile doll work environment! I was ashamed. 

I set about to offer a counterpoint. Surely, I thought, there must be some dolls out there whose good works I can acknowledge. I Googled “Doll saves life.” Read More »

Of Pimps and Pyknics

February 24, 2015 | by

Adventures in dictionaries.


An aurochs from The Wonderful Paleo Art of Heinrich Harder, 1920.


In the novel by Patrick Modiano I’m translating, a bus stops at Cross Road in Bournemouth “devant un cottage pimpant,” and I had a feeling, somehow, that my first try, “in front of a pimpin’ little cottage,” was probably not right.

“Origin obscure,” says the Oxford English Dictionary about pimp. You can hear a titch more donnish vinegar in the etymology than the stolid lexicographers usually let show:

Generally thought to be in some way related to 16th century French pimper, vb., present participle pimpant alluring or seducing in outward appearance or dress…. French pimper is taken as ≈ Provençal pimpar, pipar, to render elegant. But these leave much to be explained in the history of the word before 1600.

Much to be explained indeed. Read More »

All in One: An Interview with Tomi Ungerer

January 30, 2015 | by


Tomi Ungerer. © Luc Bérujeau

At the opening for the Drawing Center’s “All in One,” Tomi Ungerer’s first U.S. retrospective, swarms of visitors obscured the art on the walls. The crowd bent toward the artist, who was holding court and a glass of red wine, though none was being served. Ungerer, who is eighty-three, was in his element. For him, this retrospective is a kind of homecoming. After more than forty years in exile, his career is finding its rightful place in the New York art world.

The Drawing Center exhibition, curated by Claire Gilman, begins with Ungerer’s earliest doodles as a child growing up in Nazi-occupied Alsace, where under the nationalistic duress of war he first learned to be an outlaw. Delicately subversive, they are inscribed with a mature, swaggering humor that takes a subject as terrifying as Hitler and renders him a fool.

In 1956, Ungerer was lured to New York City at the height of print, when publications offered vast opportunities for creative illustrators. Without contacts or even a high school diploma, Ungerer impressed art directors with his idiosyncratic drawing style and witty candor. He became sought after for advertising and editorial work, and most prominently, his unconventional children’s books, which featured society’s most repulsive characters—robbers, snakes, pigs, beggars—as compassionate protagonists.


Untitled, 1966 (drawing for The Party, first published by Paragraphic Books, Grossman Publishers, New York), ink and ink wash on paper, 18" x 18". Collection Musée Tomi Ungerer/Centre international de l’Illustration, Strasbourg. © Tomi Ungerer/Diogenes Verlag AG, Zürich. Photo courtesy Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg/Mathieu Bertola.

While working professionally in these PG-rated circles, he remained a deeply political artist, self-publishing bold posters against the Vietnam War, a book of harsh satire called The Underground Sketchbook, and sadomasochistic erotic drawings. But upon discovering his erotic work, the children’s-book community was scandalized. His books were removed from public libraries and his reputation tarnished. Dejected and unable to find work, he left New York in 1971, moving to Nova Scotia with his wife before finding a permanent home in Cork, Ireland.

This defection cost Ungerer the renown he deserves. It wasn’t until 1998 that he received the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest achievement for children’s-book authors, and a sign of the recent reappraisal of his career. Recent years have seen reissues of his children’s books in English and a large catalogue of his erotic drawings. In Strasbourg, he has a museum dedicated to his work, and in 2012, his life was the subject of a documentary film. Read More »


Degenerate Art

May 6, 2014 | by


Lasar Segall, Eternal Wanderers, 1919, oil on canvas; on display at the Neue Galerie.

Cornelius Gurlitt, identified in obituaries as a “Nazi-era art hoarder,” died this morning in Munich of heart trouble. Gurlitt’s cache of more than 1,400 important modern works, inherited from his art-dealer father—including pieces by Picasso, Matisse, Manet, and Renoir—was discovered in 2012. It was not made public until November 2013. Although classified as “second-degree mixed-race Jewish,” Hildebrand Gurlitt was one of three dealers given official sanction by Hitler to peddle “degenerate art” in other countries, with the profits going to Germany. And although Gurlitt was required to return a number of works to their former owners, the majority of the collection is thought to have been acquired “legally.”

Says Bloomberg,

Isolated from the outside world, Gurlitt stopped watching television in 1963, booked hotel rooms months in advance by post when he had to travel, and never used the Internet, according to Spiegel magazine. His collection was discovered in a raid after authorities became suspicious when he was found carrying 9,000 euros during a random search at the Swiss border in 2010. He was returning from a visit to Bern to sell some artwork there.

It is unclear what will happen to the collection, although art historians will apparently continue to investigate the works’ provenance and post images of them. Read More »

The Official Resort of the Third Reich, and Other News

February 6, 2014 | by

prora nazi beach resort

Photo: m.a.r.c., via Creative Commons


The Digital Public Library, and Other News

April 9, 2013 | by