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Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission


Sculpting the Light: Avant-Garde to Auschwitz and Beyond. Moissey Kogan (1879-1943)

Event details
Calendar   Speaking Engagements
Location Zoom
Date Wed, Aug 4, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Duration   1h

Moissey Kogan (1879-1943) was an innovative, influential sculptor-craftsman and printmaker, whose career straddled the European avant-gardes of the first half of the 20th century. A cosmopolitan Russian Jew, whose work was marked by his interest in Jewish mysticism and theosophical beliefs, Kogan looked to non-European cultures and ancient sources, in common with many of his contemporaries in Munich, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Paris, to root his avant-garde experimentations and revivals of ancient techniques, in what were considered more authentic means of expression. On the day Adolf Hitler came to power, Kogan fled Berlin and returned to his home in Paris, forced to leave behind him many of his key works in the care of dealers and museum collections. He would be obliged to watch powerless as his work was seized by the Nazis, only to be vilified in the infamous Entartete Kunst show of 1937, and the related exhibit, Der ewige Jude. In hiding in Paris and associated with the Résistance, the sculptor would finally be arrested by the Vichy police and transported to his death at Auschwitz.

This talk will discuss Kogan’s artistic positioning within the European avant-gardes and his preoccupation with transcendence and light. In stark contrast, it will consider the consequences of the Nazi looting of his work for the task of reconstructing his oeuvre and reclaiming his career from unjustified obscurity.

The event is part of the monthly series Flight or Fight: Stories of Artists under Repression.

Register here.

This Zoom lecture series, hosted by the Fritz Ascher Society for Persecuted, Ostracized, and Banned Art, New York, investigates artists whose life and art were impacted by the German Nazi terror regime 1933-1945.

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