Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Germany: In reversal, Düsseldorf will hold exhibition about Jewish dealer

Via The New York Times:
After intense criticism, the mayor of Düsseldorf has backtracked on his last-minute cancellation of an exhibition at the city’s Stadtmuseum about Max Stern, a Jewish art gallery owner who fled Nazi Germany in 1938.

The exhibition, originally due to open in February, will now go ahead in a “more complete and revised form” at a later date, the city said in a statement. Organized by the Stadtmuseum with partner museums in Canada and Israel, it was intended to honor the life and legacy of Mr. Stern, who settled in Montreal, where he once again ran a successful art gallery.

But Mayor Thomas Geisel abruptly scrapped the show in November, citing “current demands for information and restitution in German museums in connection with the Galerie Max Stern.”

His decision drew a barrage of criticism from the Jewish community in Düsseldorf, the World Jewish Congress, the partner museums in Israel and Canada, and the German government. Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, wrote to Mr. Geisel asking him to reconsider what he said was a perplexing move with an absurd justification.

The exhibition will now take place in the Stadtmuseum with an additional, yet-to-be-appointed curator and a “scholarly advisory board,” the city said. Mr. Geisel said by telephone that the target date is October 2018. The city also plans an international symposium on Mr. Stern to “offer a forum for research on the subject and to discuss possible forms of communicating and documenting it.” 
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