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Jewish Art and Modernist Jeopardy

AT A RECENT SHOW I came upon an exceptionally peculiar and moving early modern painting, by an artist unknown to me. It looked at first like a Juan Gris, a late Cubist still-life in brown, egg nog and lemon yellow, with dark carmine. These hues were zoned in large, flat, overlapping planes showing off against each other decoratively within a diagonal sweep from the left high to the lower right corner of the vertical canvas. My glance took in the up-ended perspective of a table, geometric schemata that rhymed curves and angles, a black collaged cardboard rectangle, and printing, displayed in a trompe l’oeil woodcut and an open book. Evidently the artist was either unaware or didn’t mind being out of chronological phase with Parisian developments. Lettering was associated with Analytic rather than Synthetic Cubism, which, by 1925, the date of this painting, was a rather passé style. Even

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