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Art and Artists

Never has class consciousness been so sharply stressed and as clearly defined as in these days of strife, depression and race hatred. Even the artist, that little brother of the rich, has been subjecting himself of late to a critical self-analysis. “Where do I come in?” he asks himself. “Of what social value is my work? Do not all artistic creations of lasting fame mirror the events and the characteristics of the age in which they were produced?”

“Yes,” he decides, “witness the works of Courbet and Daumier in the past—the painters of the humble and disinherited, of revolutions and barricades.” He is tremendously impressed by the militant, contemporary work of Rivera, Orozco, and their comrades, by the John Reed Club, an organization of revolutionary artists, which is attaining national importance.

Among those artists who have seen the light is Georges Schreiber, whose water-colors may now be seen at the New School of Social Research.

A disciple of that savage German satirist, George Grosz, Schreiber possesses in no small degree his master’s hatred of the present social structure, its greedy ruling class, and the pitifully helpless, cruel, suffering Homo Sapiens in general.

His “Lynching is a fierce indictment of mob rule—a group of wild men and women in drunken rage strangling and tearing apart their victim.

His “Expectation” could as well be called “Hopelessness”, so devoid of hope are the three women in this picture. In his portrayals of Jewish life, Schreiber is softer, warmer, reminiscent. Perhaps they are memories of his own childhood. Pale Jewish children with large heads, bent over ancient scrolls; their grotesque elders painfully twisted in devout prayer.

One of his most sensitive pictures is “Mother and Child” in which an emaciated, large-boned woman tenderly presses a child to her shrunken breast.

Schreiber is a fine draftsman with a natural bent for the grotesque. His compositions are well organized, and his technique is peculiarly suited to his point of view.

This is not an exhibition for individuals of a squeamish nature, who believe that a work of art is merely a harmless wall decoration. It will horrify and repel them. Those, however, who hold that Art can be Art and at the same time a powerful weapon of propaganda for the betterment of the human race will set high the work of Schreiber and acclaim him.

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