The Two George Groszes

George Grosz’s autobiography is now appearing in English for the third time—a sign of the continuing interest in his life and work. When the book was first published in 1946, the German text was edited down somewhat and translated by Nola Sachs Dorin. It was decked out with a somewhat …

Berlin in the Light

In October 1928, with The Threepenny Opera playing to full houses at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm and the Wall Street crash still a year away, Berlin’s public utility companies organized a week’s festivities to establish their city as the new ville lumière. Five composers, one of them Kurt Weill, were …

Breaking Away

The secessionist art movements that took place throughout Europe during the 1890s were less a breakthrough in painting than a regrouping of existing art organizations to meet practical needs. In many European cities of that time the old academies with their enormous annual mixed exhibitions were ceasing to work satisfactorily.

Art of a Nasty Time

It has been common in surveys of the arts to treat the twelve years of Hitler’s Thousand-Year Reich as an insignificant break in the story of the modern movement—something too contemptible for serious consideration. Historians, critics, and exhibition organizers, on coming to the 1930s, have concentrated on those parts of …

Looking for the Exit

This winter the Royal Academy in London has been holding a large, beautiful, and instructive exhibition, under the loose title “Post-Impressionism,” whose impact seems likely to change many people’s map of the arts. It is an exhibition which suggests the European background Carl Schorske only touches on in his essays …

The Quest for East Germany

Like it or not—and doubtless not many do—East Germany is arguably the most interesting and important country in Europe at present, and it doesn’t say much for the inquisitiveness of our cultural middlemen that the state of the arts there should have been so little explored. Brecht’s theater, yes, and …

Revolutionary Aesthetics

Literature and Revolution is hardly an unfamiliar combination of words. Half a century ago Trotsky wrote an important book under that title, followed in 1932 by Victor Serge’s Littérature et Révolution and soon after by a speech on the same theme by Gide. For all of these, but particularly for …