Jerome Klein


Jerome Klein

Jerome Klein was an American art historian and art critic.

Klein began his career as an instruction in art history at Columbia University in the late 1920’s , the only member of the department interested in modern art. In 1933 Klein signed a letter protesting the decision of the university to invite Hans Luther, the Ambassador from Nazi Germany, to speak at Columbia. Although other professors also signed the letter, Klein’s return address left on one of the letters by a careless student opponent of fascism identified Klein as the ringleader. According to Stephen H. Norwood, Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler, an admirer of Italian and German fascism, fired Klein for signing the letter. [ Norwood, Stephen H., “Complicity and Conflict: Columbia University’s Response to Fascism, 1933-37, Modern Judaism, Sept. 1, 2007, http://mj.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/kjm013v1 ]

Klein became the art critic for the New York Post, writing also for other publications. [ Gerald M. Monroe Archives of American Art Journal, Vol. 13, No. 3. (1973), pp. 13-19. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-9853%281973%2913%3A3%3C13%3AAF%3E2.0.CO%3B2-9 ] [ The New Deal Art Projects: An Anthology of Memoirs , by Francis V. O'Connor, 1972, p. 204 ] He was a champion of the socialist artists of the 1930’s, [ Art and Life in America , by Oliver W. Larkin - Art United States History – 1960, p. 410 ] calling for a “broad, unified social-artistic engineering which would transform man’s environment for the benefit of man.” [ Henry Goddard Leach, The Forum and Century, v.101 1939 Jan-Jun ]

In 1935 Klein was a founding member of the American Artist’s Congress, organized in response to the call of the Popular Front and the American Communist Party for formations of literary and artistic groups against the spread of Fascism. [ [http://www.gis.net/~scatt/heller/artists_congress.html Congress of American Artists, 1941 ] ] His image can be seen in the wonderful drawing of the congress organizers by Peppino Mangravite [ American Magazine of Art, Vol. 29 #4 April 1936, Aesthetic Freedom and the Artist' Congress, by Peppino Mangravite ] [ The American Artists Congress and The Invasion of Finland , Gerald M. Monroe , Archives of American Art Journal, Vol. 15, No. 1. (1975), pp. 14-20. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-9853%281975%2915%3A1%3C14%3ATAACAT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-7 ]

Books

Modern Masters, from Manet to Gauguin, 1938

References


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