Jewish Artists of the 19th and 20th Centuries, by Karl Schwartz
Here, in all conscience, is a bad book. It is badly written, it is bad critically, and it is bad historically. Worst of all, it is a book without a subject.
Mr. Schwartz’s survey contains thumbnail sketches of the careers of some fifty painters, sculptors, and graphic artists, with critical comment casually interspersed, plus one illustration per artist. The final chapter adds a brief account of the work of contemporary Israelis. The only common denominator which links this company is the fact that each of them is Jewish. The mere compilation is supposed to demonstrate “with great distinctness the fallacy of the frequently heard assertion that the Jew is actually untalented in art.” This statement may serve to indicate the intellectual level of the audience toward which the book is directed. I did not suppose that it would come as a revelation that Pissarro, Liebermann, Modigliani, Epstein, Lipchitz, Soutine, Chagall, Weber, Sterne, and Shahn happened to be Jewish. The complete list, however, may contain one or two surprises for the reader who pays no more attention to such matters than I do.
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