Sunday, 11 March 2012

Research and Analysis Task.

Felix Nussbaum
"Self-Portrait with Jewish Identity Card."
Oil on Canvas.


Felix Nussbaum has a museum dedicated to his work in Osnabr├╝ck, Germany. 
This particular work of Nussbaum's is quite famous and it also features on the front cover of The Art of the Holocaust. 
I came across this image in the book by Julian Spalding called 'The Best Art You've Never Seen: 101 Hidden Treasures from Around the World. 
Throughout the analysis, Spalding talks about the collection at the Felix Nussbaum Museum and how it starts with Nussbaum's earlier artworks, "His self-portrait beams out at you: a fresh-faced...young man, smiling". 
It turns out as you read on that this Self-Portrait with Jewish Identity Card, is in fact, Nussbaum's last self portrait. 
Knowing this, darkens the image for me and all hope I had that the artist survived dies with the "disc of light...in Nussbaum's own eye, a faint grey reflection without a spark of hope."
After reading Julian Spalding's analysis of this work, I am aware that I have just put myself through the same experiment that I directed previously with the image of the 'Liquidation of Dr. Korczak's Orphanage'. 
Spalding goes on to describe Nussbaum's successful career as an artist before the Nazi regime took place allows you to imagine how the images in this gallery must change from smiling faces and summer days, to dark and threatening skies and sunken and worn out faces. In just the tone of these images, you are shown the story of this one man, who like millions others, fell victim of a decent, "a pitiless and unforgettable journey from normality down into hell." 



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