Alfred Flechtheim and Moissey Kogan. One a ground-breaking art dealer, publisher and art collector, the other an innovative, influential sculptor-craftsman and print-maker, both prominent in their respective fields. Flechtheim and Kogan were cosmopolitan Jews active within the Berlin and Parisian avant-gardes of the first half of the 20th century and allied by ties of friendship and a mutual, wide-ranging European network of dealers, collectors and academics with interests in common in non-European art. They would be hounded, slandered and dispossessed, and ultimately, in the case of Kogan, killed, by the National Socialist regime. Flechtheim, a German, was accused by the virulent Nazi artist and writer, Wolfgang Willrich, of being a ‘Getreidejude aus Odessa‘, whilst Kogan, a Russian, was, ironically, the son of wine and grain merchants from Bessarabia.
As part of this research project, I am investigating the relationship between the two men, from the vibrant arts scene and café society of Paris and Berlin to Flechtheim’s untimely death in exile in London in 1937 and Kogan’s arrest in Paris and murder at Auschwitz in 1943. The project will map their joint vilification in the infamous exhibition, Der ewige Jude, and elsewhere. It will also trace the dispersal to the four winds of Flechtheim’s stock and personal collection, and the removal of Kogan’s works from museums and Jewish ownership, as part of the Nazis’ Degenerate Art campaign.
Current research projects
Featured photo: Alfred Flechtheim, Moissey Kogan and Isa Speyer in Eduard von der Heydt’s garden, Monte Verità, Ascona, Switzerland, 1929 (collection of Museum Rietberg, Zürich, public domain)