Posts Tagged ‘Nazis’
January 30, 2015 | by Sarah Cowan
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.
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 »
May 6, 2014 | by Sadie Stein
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.”
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.
February 6, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
- Teens of Toronto: Are you fed up with Valentine’s Day and the crass commercialization of love—thorny, ineffable love? Then head to the library, where you can vandalize the covers of romance novels.
- With the Burroughs centenary came a welcome glut of Burroughs miscellany, including these photos of the man hanging out with Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, and Sting.
- Today in ethically compromised vacation sites: Prora, a Nazi beach resort built just before the World War II. (Nowadays, part of it is a youth hostel: “You can hear the sound of the sea and meet like-minded people from around the world.”)
- “Defined simply, literary Darwinism is the practice of using the theory of evolution to understand books.” I think I need it defined complexly.
- St. Mark’s Bookshop is “gathering its forces for a big move.” You can help—not by lugging boxes but by shopping there, right now, this instant. Begone!
April 9, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
- Welcome, Digital Public Library of America!
- Neruda, as promised, has been exhumed. Watch this space for toxicology reports.
- The Kindle publication of a Cornish-English children’s book marks a victory for minority languages.
- Books stolen by the Nazis, like other precious objects, are still being returned.
- “Speaking of Grindr, who knew it would prove to be such an effective marketing tool for an author who is trying to make his mark in the LGBT community?” On unconventional marketing.