Monday, June 05, 2006

Those who do not learn history are forced to repeat it.

"In these troubled times, when political and economic misunderstandings are erecting barriers between nations, as effectively preventing the interpenetration of ideas as if war had closed the frontiers, it is more than ever important that nations should think of each other in terms of some enduring aspect of the spirit which remains constant and free from the transitory confusion of current problems."

Thus begins the foreword of the exhibit catalog for "German Art From the Fifteenth to the Twentieth Century, an Exhibition of Paintings, Water Colors and Drawings Held Under the auspices of the Oberlaender Trust (and) the Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation, 1936-1937." which I recently aquired. Though I haven't found definitive information, I strongly suspect that at least one of the works in that show had been aquired by one of the participating German museums through a forced "Jew auction" (where the Nazis forced Jewish citizens to sell off their art and antiques at bargain prices).

I would love to find out that this exhibit was 'lilly white and pure' but given the history of that time, I have my doubts.

Even with the growing evidence of Nazi excesses, ill treatment of the Jews, agression and violation of treaties, inflammitory rhetoric from Hitler, the exodus of Jewish people and intellectuals, and the Nazi envolvement in '36 and '37 in the Spanish Civil War, there was still a great portion of the West that wanted only to "think of each other in terms of some enduring aspect of the spirit."

The result of that wilful blindness was over fifty million dead across Europe and the Pacific.

Will my grandchildren look back at some of the things written now about the need to 'understand and cross cultural barriers' and wonder how we could ignore the religious facism of Radical Islam?

Yes, Germany in 1936 had a long and glorious art history which had contributed greatly to the culture of the world. That art did not save the millions who died as a result of Hitler's madness.

Yes, Islam and muslims have done many beautiful and meaningful things in the arts, in mathematics, and many other areas. Dwelling on such things will not defend us from a Nuclear Iran or from 'home grown' Wahhabist terrorists.

I hope that there will be grandchildren to look back and wonder at how foolish we were.

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2 Comments:

Blogger maharal said...

Fine Art?

What's about my "Amadeo Mogdilini"?
It's to sell.

thanks,

1:05 AM  
Blogger maharal said...

Modigliani...

Your blog is a fine one...

1:06 AM  

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