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Belonging and Betrayal: How Jews Made the Art World Modern

Belonging and Betrayal: How Jews Made the Art World Modern

By Charles Dellheim

"This is a magisterial book. Wide-ranging yet closely focused, detailed yet suspenseful, it should be required reading for all who make art or collect it. Gracefully written and sumptuously illustrated throughout, Belonging and Betrayal is an important—even indispensable—contribution to the field."—Nicholas Delbanco, author of Why Writing Matters

"A major contribution to understanding a profound Jewish goal to belong and succeed, only to be betrayed by willful acts by Nazis and their collaborators. This impressive book will engage you, surprise you, anger you, and above all, enrich you."—Richard I. Cohen, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, author of Jewish Icons

"Brilliantly evocative and deeply researched, Charles Dellheim’s Belonging and Betrayal is a superb addition to the ongoing discussion on art ownership, theft, and restoration."—David H. Lynn, editor emeritus of The Kenyon Review

Since the late 1990s, the fate of Nazi stolen art has become a cause célèbre. In Belonging and Betrayal, Charles Dellheim turns this story on its head by revealing how certain Jewish outsiders came to acquire so many old and modern masterpieces in the first place—and what this reveals about Jews, art, and modernity. This book tells the epic story of the fortunes and misfortunes of a small number of eminent art dealers and collectors who, against the odds, played a pivotal role in the migration of works of art from Europe to the United States and in the triumph of modern art. Beautifully written and compellingly told, this story takes place on both sides of the Atlantic from the late nineteenth century to the present. It is set against the backdrop of critical transformations, among them the gradual opening of European high culture, the ambiguities of Jewish acculturation, the massive sell-off of aristocratic family art collections, the emergence of different schools of modern art, the cultural impact of World War I, and the Nazi war against the Jews.

Hardcover
688 pages
7 x 10 inches
Brandeis University Press, 2021
ISBN 9781684580569
Modernism, Jewish Studies, History

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