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Exhibition of German Jewish Artists’ Work: Painting – Sculpture – Architecture

  • [i]The Exhibition of German Jewish Artists’ Work[/i] was organised in 1934 by Carl Braunschweig at the Parsons Galleries in Oxford Street and featured 220 works by German Jewish artists.
  • Name (text):
    Exhibition of German Jewish Artists’ Work: Painting – Sculpture – Architecture

    Word Count: 9

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  • Introduction:

    The Exhibition of German Jewish Artists’ Work was organised in 1934 by Carl Braunschweig at the Parsons Galleries in Oxford Street and featured 220 works by German Jewish artists.

    Word Count: 27

  • Content:

    The Exhibition of German Jewish Artists’ Work: Painting – Sculpture – Architecture was organised in 1934 by Carl Braunschweig (later Charles Brunswick) at the Parsons Galleries in Oxford Street, the exhibition space of the paint manufacturing business Thos. Parsons and Sons (Summers 2019). The exhibition featured works by German Jewish artists whose voices were suppressed in Nazi Germany, their work no longer shown and the artists themselves  persecuted. A review in The Guardian said: “[T]o-day opened in the Parsons Galleries in Oxford Street an unusual art exhibition with tragic associations - an exhibition of the work of German-Jewish artists who are either living in exile or in a Germany where they are not allowed to show their work in public and where press notices of their work are forbidden.” (Private Wire 1934)
    The selection of 220 works by 86 artists was made in cooperation with the Centralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens in Berlin (Aronowitz/Isaac 2019, 130). On display were paintings, graphic art and sculpture, but also interior design sketches by Margot Wittkower. The exhibition featured a relatively large number of works by women artists: 27 of the participating artists were women. This could indicate the high proportion of Jewish women artists in Germany.

    The exhibition catalogue pointed out the difficult situation of the exhibited artists, who were either suffering from restrictions or the complete shutting down of their work in Germany, or who had already emigrated. Among the latter was Erna Auerbach, who had fled to London in October 1933 and was represented in the exhibition by two paintings and two watercolours. Benno Elkan, who showed two sculptures, had also come to London in 1933. One of the participants of the exhibition is the sculptor Heinz Rosenberg-Fleck, who came to London in 1934, and changed his name later to Henry Rox. He became known as a photographer and children’s book author. His book Tommy Apple and His Adventures in Banana-Land (1935), with a text by James Laver, works with photographs of humanised fruit scenes.
    Other exhibited artists, however, were to emigrate in the following years: Lotte Laserstein went to Stockholm, Eugen Spiro fled to New York via Paris, Gretchen Wohlwill emigrated to Lisbon. Some of the artists exhibited, such as Yankel (Jankel) Adler, Martin Bloch, Ludwig Meidner, Adèle Reifenberg and Julius Rosenbaum, emigrated to London only in the 1930s and 1940s and belonged to the circle of artists who exhibited regularly at the Ben Uri Gallery. The double exhibition of Ludwig and Else Meidner in 1949 is worth mentioning here.  

    Carl Braunschweig (1886–1963), actually a banker, ran the Wiesbaden Kunsthaus Aktuaryus from the 1920s, dealing in Flemish and Dutch masters and French landscapes, then expanded his business to include modern art (Summers 2019). After 1933, Braunschweig was expropriated and his Kunsthaus Aktuaryus was forcibly “Aryanised”; in 1934, he emigrated to London, where he quickly began organising the Exhibition of German Jewish Artists’ Work upon his arrival. In this way, Braunschweig drew attention to the exclusion and persecution practices of National Socialism just one year after the party’s assumption of power. At the same time, the Exhibition of German Jewish Artists’ Work offered many artists a presence in the British capital for the first time. The idea behind the sales exhibition was also to bring these works into museums, if possible through purchases and endowments, and thus to help the artists gain visibility. The Guardian says: “All the pictures, which are moderately priced, are for sale, though it is hoped that generous benefactors will be forthcoming to present some of the more important ones to museums in England and Palestine.” (Private Wire 1934)
    After its first stop in London, the exhibition was to be shown in other English cities: “After a short period in London, it was learned to-day, the exhibition will make a tour of the country, beginning with Manchester.” (ibid.)

    Some of the artists in the Exhibition of German Jewish Artists’ Work were represented four years later in the 20th Century German Art exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries, which was organised in reaction to the National Socialist Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition. The catalogue for 20th Century German Art lists works by Max Liebermann and Benno Elkan, both of whom had been in the show organised by Carl Braunschweig in 1934.  Liebermann and Elkin appear in the first section of the 20th Century German Art exhibition catalogue, which features many (mostly male) prominent names such as Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Max Ernst and Franz Marc. In a second section, as an addendum, as it were, further participants are then listed under the heading “Artists now working in England”, including Erna Auerbach, Martin Bloch, Hans Feibusch – in other words, some of the artists from the Exhibition of German Jewish Artists’ Work. It would be worthwhile to read the two exhibitions as snapshots of an art history in motion within a horizon of persecution and exile. Whereas the 1934 show captured a situation in transition – many of the exhibitors were not yet in exile, had not yet perished – defamation and expulsion were already advanced by 1938. In their own way, both exhibitions contributed to the visibility and perception of German (and Austrian) art under pressure in London in the 1930s.

    Word Count: 854

  • Signature Image:
    Advertisement “An Exhibition of Works of Art By German Jewish Artists” in The Observer 10 June 1934, p. 14 (Photo: Private Archive).
  • Media:
    Private Wire. “Our London Correspondence.” The Manchester Guardian, 6 June 1934, p. 10 (Photo: Private Archive).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Aronowitz, Richard, and Shauna Isaac. “Émigré Art Dealers and Collectors.” Insiders Outsiders. Refugees from Nazi Europe and their Contribution to British Visual Culture, edited by Monica Bohm-Duchen, Lund Humphries, 2019, pp. 129–135.

    Exhibition of German-Jewish Artists’ Work: Painting – Sculpture – Architecture, exh. cat. Parsons Galleries, London, 1934.

    Private Wire. “Our London Correspondence.” The Manchester Guardian, 6 June 1934, p. 10.

    Summers, Cherith. “Exhibition of German-Jewish Artists’ Work: Painting – Sculpture – Architecture.” Brave New Visions. The Émigrés who transformed the British Art World, exh. cat. Sotheby’s, St. George’s Gallery, London, 2019, p. 14. issuu, Accessed 14 April 2021.

    Word Count: 96

  • Acknowledgements:

    This article used transcripts from the exhibition catalogue Exhibition of German-Jewish Artists’ Work exhibition catalogue by Karolina Hyzy and received valuable advice from Rachel Dickson and Sarah MacDougall.

    Word Count: 28

  • Author:
    Burcu Dogramaci
  • Participants (selection):

    Yankel Adler, Erna Auerbach, Martin Bloch, Erwin Bossanyi, Benno Elkan, Hans Feibusch, Lore Feldberg-Eber, Erich Isenburger, Charlotte Jonas, Lotte Laserstein, Max Liebermann, Ludwig Meidner, Paula Neufeld, Josef Oppenheimer, Adèle Reifenberg, Julius Rosenbaum, Arthur Segal, Eugen Spiro, Margot Wittkower, Gretchen (Grete) Wohlwill, Julie Wolfthorn.

    Word Count: 44

  • Exhibited Objects:

    Yankel (Jankel) Adler, Purim Play; Erwin Bossanyi, Lillies on the little Barge; Benno Elkan, John D. Rockefeller; Lore Feldberg-Eber, Portrait of an Actress; Erich Isenburger, Lady, sitting; Charlotte Jonas, Jealousy; Lotte Laserstein, Portrait of Herself with a Friend; Max Liebermann, Amsterdam Ghetto; Ludwig Meidner, Jews Praying; Josef Openheimer, Portrait of Dr. Gugenheimer; Adèle Reifenberg, Landscape; Julius Rosenbaum, Gasometer; Arthur Segal, Sunflower; Eugen Spiro, White House in Calvi; Margot Wittkower, Designs for Interior Decoration, Bed-sitting Room; Gretchen (Grete) Wohlwill, Still life.

    Word Count: 81

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    Parsons Galleries, 315 Oxford Street, Mayfair, London W1.

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  • Entry in process:
  • Burcu Dogramaci. "Exhibition of German Jewish Artists’ Work: Painting – Sculpture – Architecture." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 09-05-2021.
  • Tommy Apple and his Adventures in Banana-Land

    The children’s book Tommy Apple and his Adventures in Banana-Land with staged photographs by the émigré Henry Rox shows anthromorphised fruit and vegetables that think, speak and act like humans.

    Word Count: 31

    20th Century German Art

    The 20th Century German Art exhibition of 1938 gave visibility to artists who had been defamed at the Munich exhibition Entartete Kunst and were persecuted by the National Socialist regime.

    Word Count: 29

    Henry Rox
    New York

    Henry Rox was a German émigré sculptor and photographer who, in 1938, arrived in New York with his wife, the journalist and art historian Lotte Rox (née Charlotte Fleck), after an initial exile in London. Besides his work as a sculptor, he began creating humorous anthropomorphised fruit and vegetable photographs.

    Word Count: 50

    Ludwig Meidner, Drawings 1920–1922 and 1935–49, Else Meidner, Paintings and Drawings 1935–1949

    In 1949, a joint exhibition of works by Ludwig and Else Meidner opened at the Ben Uri Art Gallery. It was the first solo exhibition of the artists in London.

    Word Count: 29