Jewish Identity in 19th-20th Centuries Europe

The Felix Nussbaum Haus in Osnabrück organizes the exhibition “The Hidden Trace: Jewish Paths Through Modernity” deals with the trace that Jewish artists have left in 19th and 20th-century art history. The exhibition starts in the first half of the 20th century with the heyday of art which emerged in particular in metropolises such as Paris and Berlin. Many artists and intellectuals of Jewish origin became protagonists of a dynamic and exciting development. The seizure of power by the National Socialists puts an abrupt end to this culture and defames the avant-garde as being “degenerate.” Fear of persecution and expulsion becomes a subject in the works of many artists and writers.After 1945, in particular the New York School and the London School start to develop new pictorial languages, with many important stimuli coming in particular from the immigrated artists. In the 1940s, for instance, Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko establish abstract expressionism as a counter concept to European painting. The spectrum of subjects which ranges from the burden of memory to global experience in the face of worldwide crises reaches into contemporary art. For art, this situation means that different cultural forms of expression are intensively intertwined. Increasing globalisation forms a contrast to cultural and territorial conflicts.Israel is one of the culminating points of these conflicts. These processes are critically accompanied and examined by artists like Larry Abramson and Yael Bartana.