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Longing And Belonging: French Impressionism And Jewish Patronage

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Chapter Summary

The enthusiasm for French Impressionism resulted in the astonishing fact that of all French modernist art collectors in Wilhelmine Germany, 85% were Germans Jews. This chapter shows that the "Longing" and the wish for "Belonging" of the cosmopolitan German Jewish haute-bourgeoisie, particularly avant-garde art patrons, was created in the space of the "other" - more in tune with contemporary artists, writers and cosmopolitan liberals, rather than the agenda of conservative Wilhelmine citizens or their institutions. One could easily underestimate the historical significance of such a small Jewish elite, but they were indeed pioneers of a cross-national and multi-cultural global project, long before this concept was considered viable and even commendable. More surprising still is the fact that to this day, the size of the Impressionist circle worldwide has not changed since its embrace by a small circle of Jewish patrons in Republican France and, ironically, particularly in Wilhelmine Germany.

Keywords: French impressionism; Jewish patronage; Republican France; Wilhelmine Germany



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