Nazi Philistines – Arthur Boyd – The Brians

November 24, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, Modern Music, MUSIC, POLITICS, Ulalume, WW2 |

Pyjamas

The Wall Street Journal reports that the art collection of Cornelius Gurlitt, who died on 6/5/14, has been bequeathed to a museum in Bern.  The collection included works looted by the Nazis and ‘assayed’ under the stewardship of Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrand: Matisse, Franz Marc, Monet and Renoir (which last perhaps suggests the basic philistine nature of the national socialists). German authorities famously carried out a home invasion of Gurlitt’s Augsburg home in 2012 and confiscated the art as, according to the WSJ, “Gurlitt sat shocked in a corner wearing his pyjamas.” This property was never returned to him but the…

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Islamic Arts

(by J Bloom & S Blair) Despite ongoing conventions, Islamic Art (an extremely wide term, used here for convenience and coherence) flourished beyond the merely decorative or doctrinal. This sumptuous Phaidon edition is a good entrée to the flowers of the various Muslim empires in history.    

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A Savage War of Peace

(by Alistair Horne) Terrific, informative, thrilling account of the French being kicked off the Barbary Coast. I don’t know if Algiers is better off, but at least they own it.

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The Life of Thomas More

(by Peter Ackroyd) Highly readable and balanced life (and death) of the contentious, hair-shirted and many faceted ‘man for all seasons’ (omnium horarum). Beatified but no saint, an intolerant believer and a survivor who sacrificed himself on principle, he remains an enigma and a controversial one. This book comes close to doing justice to all sides and all sides of the man and one can’t do much better than that.

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The Embarrassment of Riches

(Simon Schama) There’s the Amsterdam dutch And the Zaandam dutch And the Rotterdam dutch And the God-damn dutch… However, despite their slightly dodgy record in slave driving, tulip speculating, trade finance and robust colonization, this admiring and admirably crammed history of culture in the Dutch Golden Age is a delight. The ‘Burgemeester van Delft’ in Jan Steen’s painting on the cover is a dead ringer for Jeffrey Jones (Mr. Rooney in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off).

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