"Unhappy is the land that needs a hero."
-- Bertolt Brecht
Friday, December 10, 2010
Felix Nussbaum (December 11, 1904)
Felix Nussbaum began a successful career as a modern painter in the 1920s in Germany. Things did not go well for assimilated Jews like him. I first saw his works in a retrospective at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and was astounded that he's so little known. I think this painting "Self-portrait with Jewish Identity Card" expresses everything that I'm unable to say.
Nussbaum escaped from one concentration camp, and used his modernist vision to express much about what was happening. He died in Auschwitz around a year after he painted this work -- unfortunately he didn't escape a second time.