Max Weber, Raphael Soyer, and the Politics of Style in Jewish Art between World War I and World War II
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“Max Weber, Raphael Soyer, and the Politics of Style in Jewish Art between World War I and World War II” asks why Max Weber and Raphael Soyer advanced diametrically opposed aesthetic strategies in the first half of the twentieth century and analyzes the political implications of their choices with regard to the process of Americanization, leftist organizing, and gender politics. It argues that Max Weber traversed modernist styles and eventually applied them to traditional Jewish subjects in order to assert a distance between himself and a socially-shattered, increasingly antisemitic world. Conversely, Raphael Soyer viewed America as a new beginning and committed himself to a realist style in the hopes of integrating himself into life in the United States. Analysis of these two artists trajectories adds crucial texture to art historical studies of Jewish art made in the United States which tend to privilege the narrative of Americanization.