The Human Touch

###n you find separate na###ions, possessing different ### characteristics (and sometimes boasting of them) reacting, at wide intervals of time, in the same manner to the same general set of stimuli, you begin wondering whether there is not a so-called “science of his### as Henry Adams claimed a book of the same title, and #ether it is not at all impossible predict the tides and waves of future on the basis of the ###ts and graphs of the past, as ###ld Spengler, for example, attempted to do in “The Decline of ###e West.”

I find my text for this Sunday a book of art, of all places. #owing what we know about the #ritual drive for compensation the German drive against the #ws today, the following passages from Thomas Craven’s Modern Art”—passages in which is attempting to summarize the ###is and the France of the be##ing of this century—hit us ### the force of a French re###sal on a modest and #isor###ized scale, of the organized ###tonic fury against the Jews. I ###te:

The anti-Semitic feeling raged ### medieval plague. The cause this malignant hatred of the ###vs has not been satisfactorily #lained. French doctors fight### the #evil attribute the madness 1900 to wounded pride—the re###ion of France from external hu###liations… “Mutilated and in###ted by Germany; a butt for ###spi’s hostility beyond the Alps; ###bed and despised by her ally ###sia and slapped in the face by ###e English at Fashoda; she was, #a#refore, obliged to work off her #itation on something within ###ch, on whatever most re###bled the foreigner, on the old### of all foreigners, the Jew.” ### root of the evil, I think, is to ###ound in the aggressive xeno###a which has always charac###ed France. Her prestige de###nds upon the inviolability of ###r little ideals. She welcomes foreigners, but the basis of her #spitality is economic. You are ###pected to pay your money, en### yourself—and get out….

THE UNPARDONABLE SIN

{SPAN}###he{/SPAN} Jew remained, but {SPAN}com###ed{/SPAN} the unpardonable crime of {SPAN}###ing{/SPAN} a citizen, a thoroughly {SPAN}###ilated{/SPAN}, exemplary citizen. He {SPAN}###{/SPAN} to pay. On the contrary, {SPAN}ac###ing{/SPAN} the tripartite guarantee of {SPAN}###e{/SPAN} French republic at its face {SPAN}###ue{/SPAN}, he opened shops and banks, {SPAN}#nd{/SPAN} made money. More than a {SPAN}###zen{/SPAN}, he was the best of {SPAN}patri###{/SPAN} He even became an {SPAN}artist—###{/SPAN} last insult to French vanity. {SPAN}###{/SPAN} wrote profitable plays; he was {SPAN}###t-owner{/SPAN} of Proust and {SPAN}Bern###t{/SPAN}; he became, later on, the {SPAN}###thiest{/SPAN} and most influential {SPAN}###{/SPAN} of the modern Ecole de {SPAN}###{/SPAN}The revision of the Dreyfus {SPAN}###e{/SPAN} hurried the {SPAN}phobi#{/SPAN} into a {SPAN}###sis{/SPAN}. France was divided into {SPAN}###{/SPAN} camps; the enlightened Left, {SPAN}###forced{/SPAN} by literary notables {SPAN}###h{/SPAN} as Zola and Anatole France, {SPAN}###anded{/SPAN} justice; the Nationalists, {SPAN}###{/SPAN}{SPAN}##ported{/SPAN} by gilded bigots like {SPAN}###es{/SPAN} and Gyp, clamored for the {SPAN}###{/SPAN} of an innocent officer… He {SPAN}###es{/SPAN}), calmly considered {SPAN}ex###ation{/SPAN}. When Gyp was asked {SPAN}###ofession{/SPAN} by the Court of {SPAN}###{/SPAN} she answered {SPAN}’Anti-Sem###{/SPAN} his Montmartre studio, {SPAN}###lerant{/SPAN} of outsiders, {SPAN}###ations{/SPAN} upon the Jews {SPAN}###{/SPAN} his unwashed {SPAN}mod###{/SPAN}{SPAN}###{/SPAN} worse than Amerating talent to illustrations for a popular anti-Jewish song called ‘The March of the Yids,’ and to dastardly caricature in which he pictured the Republic as ‘a fat Jewish Baron, wearing a Phrygian bonnet or a Dreyfus cap, who was responsible for the failure of banks, for schools without God, and a subsidized Parliament.’

“With the acquittal of Dreyfus, Jew-baiting, on a grand scale, went out of fashion. But the anti-Semitic fever breaks out from time to time, in politics, society and letters. In art circles there is a strong under-current of hostility against the Jews. When Cubism was successfully floated by Apollinaire, Salmon and Max Jacob, the more conservative Frenchmen, fluttering on the verge of spiritual bankruptcy and protecting the old boudoir tradition of nudes and daring Impressionist landscapes for gullible Americans, denounced the whole Modernist movement as a premeditated outrage, the invention of shifty Israelites seeking pecuniary rewards. When they were convinced of Picasso’s Jewish blood, their suspicion hardened into confirmed and eternal enmity.”

AN ARTIST’S RANT

Mr. Craven brings to a close his summary and observation on anti-Semitism in French life and in French art with a personal memoir. He had praised the work of a certain well-known French painter who thereupon wrote him a letter reams long, the burden of which was a frothing diatribe against the Jews. “The excoriation consumed eleven pages. The Semitic element had ruined French painting, destroyed the French tradition, {SPAN}besmir##ed{/SPAN} art with vulgarity. That the Jews should try to paint was another proof of trivial insolence. It was impossible for them to create anything; they had no imagination and no culture. They were all bad, but the Central-Europeans were beneath contempt. He insulted Modigliani, Pascin, Kisling, Soutine, Epstein, and twenty puny Cubists not worth mentioning. Picasso was a Jew—he forgot his own debt to the Spaniard—and therefore not an artist. Picasso was backed by Jews: the dealers and the critics were Jews. He made a pogrom of Modernism. The Jews had too much of mediocrity—they were worse than Americans. Was I an American? He could not bring himself to believe it.”

I have heard that a Western critic of art has launched an attack on Mr. Craven on many grounds, one of the minor ones being anti-Semitism. I consider that charge ill-founded. If slighting remarks are made against certain individuals, they are made against them as persons and not as Jews. He makes a slighting remark about Matisse looking like a Polish Jew, and he doesn’t seem to like Zborowski, the Polish Jew who discovered and fought for Modigliani, very much and he makes a little fun of the rebel movement in American art around the time of the Armory show—in 1913—because of the predominance of non-Americans in it, but it is in fun rather than malice. If Mr. Craven were really and truly anti-Semitic, he could not have written in such terms of high laudation as he has of Jacob Epstein, whom he calls one of the world’s greatest living sculptors. If Mr. Craven is anti anything, he is anti-French and if he is for anything, he is for the honest artist. At the present writing he is neither pro#or anti-Semitic.

Children of the Jacob Schiff Center, the Bronx, ended the spring semester with an operetta, “The Royal Playmate,” under the direction of the Misses Celia Kan-

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