Holz Goes to Moscow Colloquium

Keith Holz, Associate Professor of Art History

Keith Holz, Associate Professor of Art History

Keith Holz has been invited to take part in and to present new research at the Moscow Colloquium on German Artistic Exiles in Paris (1933-1940) and their relation to Moscow archival holdings. The coloquium takes place at the German Historical Institute in Moscow from June 23-24, 2011. The other two U.S. or U.S. based scholars are from the Smithsonian and Harvard U.

Colloquium expenses are covered by the organizers, the German Forum for Art History–Paris, and the German Historical Institute–Moscow, who have received generous funding from two major German cultural foundations.

Moscow Colloquium program

Moscow Colloquium program

From the program:

How the second exile [of documents to Russia] causes the first [exile from NS Germany] to speak: Moscow archives and the arts in Paris, 1933-1945

Paris may from 1933 be considered the capital of the German artistic exile. In exile-research, the art historical study of this time remains incomplete. Presently, however, it is again of great interest—especially thanks to the international debates over looted art and provenance research.

Unknown source material, which since the end of the war has been stored in the Moscow Special Archive / Russian State Military Archive, allows new glimpses into the activities of the German-speaking emigration during the thirties in Paris. After being confiscated by the German Army at the time of the occupation of the French capital in 1940, these holdings were brought toward the end of the war to Russia by the Red Army, where – until Perestroika – they were only accessible to KGB members. Numerous archives of artists, art writers, but also editorial offices of German-speaking exile press-organs, which engaged against the National Socialist regime, are found to this day in this archive.

Extensive data, but also many artworks, which in National Socialist Germany were censored and removed from public life, circulated in Paris, Prague, London or Moscow. Among the documents of academic interest stored in Moscow, belong above all artist- and collector correspondence, unpublished manuscripts, press articles, which were often only published in isolation and strewn in exile periodicals, just as materials about realized and not realized exhibition projects. For example, National Socialist art-politics’ widespread repression of the fate of exiles from the outset are further clarified: collections of Jewish owners were one after another confiscated, their owners attempted under massive difficulties to rescue their works from Germany or to auction them. The exiles followed the National Socialist cultural-politics with the utmost attention and endeavored to enlighten the international public through appropriate exile publications.

The Moscow colloquium is organized as a cooperation project between the German Historical Institute Moscow and the German Forum for Art History Paris, and would like to present new research perspectives, which in part have emerged from the evaluation of the Moscow archive materials, for an international, extra-institutional discussion, and thereby provide impulses for foundational-research into the period 1933—1945. The interdisciplinary implications of the archival holdings demand an international academic dialogue among art historians, historians, museum curators, and provenance researchers, who come together for this occasion from Russia, France, Germany and the United States.

With generous support from the Zeit-Foundation and the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach-Foundation.

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