Modern Group Portraits in New York Exile

Community and Belonging in the Work of Arthur Kaufmann and Hermann Landshoff

Burcu Dogramaci

In the period 1933–1945 the group portrait was an important genre of art in exile, which has so far received little attention in research.[1] Individual works, such as Max Beckmann’s group portrait Les Artistes mit Gemüse, painted in 1943 in exile in Amsterdam,[2] were indeed in the focus. Until now, however, there has been no systematic investigation of group portraits in artistic exile during the Nazi era. The following observations are intended as a starting point for further investigations, and concentrate on the exile in New York and the work of the emigrated painter Arthur Kaufmann and photographer Hermann Landshoff in the late 1930s and 1940s, who devoted themselves to the genre of group portraits. [3]

New York was a destination that attracted a much larger number of emigrant artists, writers, and intellectuals than other places of exile, such as Istanbul or Shanghai. A total of 70,000 German-speaking emigrants who fled from National Socialism found (temporary) refuge in New York City, including—among many others—the painters Arthur Kaufmann and Lyonel Feininger, and the photographers Hermann Landshoff, Lotte Jacobi, Ellen Auerbach, and Lisette Model.[4] Such an accumulation of emigrated artists and photographers in one place may explain the increasing desire to visualize group formats and communal compositions. In the genre of the group picture there are attempts to compensate for the displacement from the place of origin.[5] This mode of self-portrayal as a group can be found in the photographic New York group portraits where the exiled surrealists had their pictures taken together or with their American colleagues. These photos by Hermann Landshoff or George Platt Lynes, which emphasize group solidarity, were used for advertising purposes, were intended to promote exhibitions, or were published in periodicals. In turn, Arthur Kaufmann’s group portrait Arts and Science Finding Refuge in the U.S.A. – Die geistige Emigration (Arts and Science Finding Refuge in the U.S.A. – The Intellectual Emigration, 1939–1964) has archival significance. This group portrait, composed of individual portraits of German-speaking emigrants of the 1930s and 1940s, on the one hand emphasizes the expulsion of intellectuals, while on the other hand there is also a reference to the personal power of the exile community in the United States.

In the following, I will first discuss how exile, group, and identity formation should be thought together. This will be followed by an analysis of the works by Arthur Kaufmann and Hermann Landshoff, which were created at about the same time in New York; here I am particularly interested in how painterly and photographic groups are produced, and what understanding of group formation can be found in the context of exile. In this context, the format and meaning of a group picture is extended: a group can also, as in the series of portraits of artists and photographers by Hermann Landshoff, be formed in the collective assemblage of individual portraits. The format of the series gives these portraits a connection and, moreover, emphasizes unlimited extensibility. Visual aspects of the construction of belonging and community should be in focus. At the same time, it discusses questions concerning the relation between the individual and the group in artistic negotiation and within the horizon of exile.[6]

Exile and Community

The shared experience of persecution and expulsion from Nazi Germany inevitably turned individuals into émigrés. This first concerns the external impact as “emigrants,” which also affects self-perception. How could the experience of forced expulsion give expression to the plural conception of a “we” as émigrés? Significantly, it is precisely this “we” that takes center stage in emigration texts, such as Hannah Arendt’s canonical essay “We refugees”[7] (1943) or Bertolt Brecht’s “Über die Bezeichnung Emigranten” (“Concerning the label emigrants,” 1937). In his poem, Brecht, who was exiled in Denmark, protested against the term emigrant, which he felt was a euphemism. For Brecht saw himself and other refugees from the National Socialist regime not as “people who had emigrated” of their own free will, but as exiles who had been forced to go abroad. He writes:

I always found the name that they gave us false: emigrants. / For that means people who leave their country. But we / did not leave, of our own free will / choosing another country. Nor did we enter / a country in order to stay there, possibly forever. / Rather, we fled. We were driven out, exiled.[8]

In the context of my essay, I am interested in how Brecht includes himself in the community of exiles. “Über die Bezeichnung Emigranten” emphasizes that the conditions made the author, the painter, the photographer become exiles. Thus the existence in displacement inevitably created a new identity as émigrés.

Against this background, it is not surprising that social psychology in exile also dealt with group formation. The beginning of applied group dynamics as a field of research and therapeutic tool only dates back to the 1940s. Worth mentioning here are researchers who worked in the United States, like Kurt Lewin and Jacob L. Moreno, who were German-speaking (e)migrants. While Moreno came from Vienna to the United States in 1925 and did not return to his country of origin, Lewin went into American exile from Berlin in 1933. Both developed an interest in group structures, or expanded their research on the subject after entering the country.[9] It can be assumed that the experience of social radicalization and the formation of communities and political organizations under National Socialism had a formative influence, especially on Lewin.[10] At the same time, emigration and the self-awareness of belonging to the group of emigrants may have strengthened the research interest in groups. This is expressed, for example, in essays that Lewin has written on “minority groups” since the mid-1930s.[11]

In the United States, Kurt Lewin concentrated mostly on “group dynamics,” a term he first used in 1939 in an article. At the core of his theory was the relationship of the individual to the group and vice versa; he was interested in the way persons in a group change, and how they and their patterns of behavior are able to change the group.[12] Jacob L. Moreno, on the other hand, was one of the originators of group psychotherapy, studying role-playing, role adoption, and interaction.[13] It goes without saying that Kaufmann’s or Landshoff’s work is not an illustration of Lewin’s or Moreno’s subjects of investigation; yet it is noteworthy that group formations interested not only the émigré psychologists and analysts, but were also reflected in exile art and photography.

Nevertheless, the parameters of identity formation in exile should also be important for the following work analyses. In exile, the “I” of the emigrant was perceived as part of a community in the external perception. On the other hand, the union with other emigrants could be a form of self-preservation and empowerment in the difficult times of emigration. This leads to Arthur Kaufmann’s group portrait, in which the community of emigrants is created by painting.

We Emigrants: Artists in Arthur Kaufmann’s Group Portrait

Arthur Kaufmann’s Arts and Science Finding Refuge in the U.S.A – Die geistige Emigration was created only a few years after the artist had emigrated to New York in 1936, after several years of exile in the Netherlands (fig. 1).

Fig. 1. Arthur Kaufmann, Arts and Science Finding Refuge in the U.S.A. – Die geistige Emigration, 1939–1964, 211 x 343 cm, oil on hardboard, collection Kunstmuseum Mülheim an der Ruhr. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

In the late 1930s Kaufmann began to work on the triptych, which he did not conclude until 1964, after several decades’ interruption. In 1969 the picture was acquired by the Städtisches Museum Mülheim an der Ruhr.[14] The triptych shows thirty-eight emigrants to the United States, representing science, literature, and the performing and visual arts: the writers Günther Anders, Ferdinand Bruckner, Bruno Frank, Oskar Maria Graf, Erika Mann, Heinrich Mann, Klaus Mann, Thomas Mann, Ludwig Renn, Ernst Toller, Berthold Viertel, and Arnold Zweig; the artists Benedikt Fred Dolbin, Josef Floch, George Grosz, Hans Jelinek, and Arthur Kaufmann; the composers Arnold Schönberg, Ernst Toch, and Kurt Weill; the musician Emanuel Feuermann and the conductor Otto Klemperer; the directors Fritz Lang, Erwin Piscator, and Max Reinhardt; the actor Luise Rainer; the philosopher Ernst Bloch; the psychologists Elisabeth Musset-Kaufmann, William Stern, and Max Wertheimer; the dancer Lotte Goslar; the architect and art historian Paul Zucker; the art dealer Curt Valentin; the physicist Albert Einstein; the theologian Paul Tillich; the physician Ulrich Friedemann; and the neurologist Kurt Goldstein.

Arthur Kaufmann’s self-portrait appears on the left side of the left panel of the painting. Although other visual artists such as George Grosz or Hans Jelinek can also be identified in the group portrait, Kaufmann is the only one to hold a brush—the traditional attribute of painters—in his hand. The tool is in his right, raised hand and at chest level, and the artist’s gaze is focused on a point outside the picture. It is the position of a painter’s hand as he paints a self-portrait; his eyes gaze at the mirror image, his hand wields the brush. Within the group portrait, his demeanor and raised brush point to the author of the triptych—Kaufmann fecit.

It is worth noting that George Grosz, who is standing in front of Kaufmann, is not holding an artist’s tool but a book. On the latter, Kaufmann’s signature is clearly visible, as he thus reveals himself to be the author several times over. Only a few among the scientists, writers, and visual and performing artists portrayed have attributes; many of them declare their identity as part of an intellectual emigrant community solely through their portrait and presence in this group picture.

It is noticeable that Kaufmann only portrayed five women (Elisabeth Musset-Kaufmann, Luise Rainer, Erika Mann, Lotte Goslar, and Helene Thimig), and thus does not do justice to the proportion of female persons among the emigrated artists, literary figures, or intellectuals. This can be traced back to the male gaze of the artist, who—like many others—does not fully recognize the achievements of female emigrants.[15] At the same time, well-known emigrants to the United States, such as Bertolt Brecht, Max Ernst, and Lion Feuchtwanger, are missing. They all came to the country only after 1939, and were no longer considered by Kaufmann. In 1940 Kaufmann interrupted work on the triptych for decades, when, after the outbreak of World War II, and particularly after the occupation of France, more and more emigrants came to the United States, so that the artist had to keep changing the selection and composition of those portrayed. Overall, it can be assumed anyway that Kaufmann had asked far more people to be included in his triptych than were ultimately visualized there. Probably not everyone wanted to appear as an emigrant and cement their status as outsiders.

For his group portrait Kaufmann employed an additive process. Every person in the group portrait Arts and Science Finding Refuge in the U.S.A. was initially painted in a small-format individual portrait.[16] The magazines Life and Direction reported on the working process. A reproduced photograph from Direction (December 1939) illustrates the genesis of the picture (fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Arthur Kaufmann painting his group portrait, in Direction, December 1939 (reproduced in: Skirner Vahle, “‘Arts and Sciences Finding Refuge in the U.S.A. – Die geistige Emigration’ von Arthur Kaufmann und eine Unbekannte, 1938,” in Exil 1 (1981): 58).

On an easel is the portrait of the psychologist Max Wertheimer, which Kaufmann is transferring to the left-hand panel of the triptych. The right-hand and central panels are already largely filled with portraits, and some places are marked with white silhouettes that serve as placeholders for the portraits that are to be added later. In Kaufmann’s painting, the group is not consolidated as an interactive community. Affiliation to the group is manifested by German-speaking origin, the status as émigré, and presence in the pictorial space. The person who decides on inclusion in or exclusion from the group portrait and thus opens the door to this pictorial group space is the triptych’s creator, Arthur Kaufmann.

Instead of interaction, bonding, and differentiation, which are characteristic of group formation, in Kaufmann’s triptych the static nature and isolation of the individual in the group are stressed. Martin Papenbrock, in his essay about Kaufmann’s group picture, writes that the visualization of the group as individual portraits was intentionally implemented that way by the artist in order to point out that the German-speaking emigrants to the United States were dispersed to various centers like New York (Graf, Reinhardt) and Los Angeles (Lang, Schönberg), but also lived in towns like Princeton (Einstein) or cities like Durham (Stern).[17] Rather, it can probably be assumed that the additive assemblage of individual portraits is due to a procedure that was practical: presumably, the people who were portrayed could hardly have been invited to a joint sitting. Therefore a journey to visit the sitters and individual sittings were an important prerequisite for being able to implement the grand-scale project at all. Moreover, this way of proceeding is a commonly used model for doing group portraits. To name an example, the monumental group portrait The Signing of the Deed of Demission, 1843 (1844–1866) by David Octavius Hill might serve as a reference here; the artist used single and small-group photographs of the subjects portrayed as a basis, then brought them together in his painting.[18] Here, too, a certain immobility and lack of connection among the persons in the picture are inevitable. At the same time, through bringing the portraits into line by his characteristic style and by an ornamental arrangement of the models, the painter again underscores the impression of cohesion. In Kaufmann’s work the color blue provides an aesthetic bracket; many of those portrayed wear blue: men’s and women’s suits, a painter’s smock, a tie, a bow tie. And in the background of the picture the color is present again in the blue of the ocean on which a steamship from Europe sets out for freedom in America. These refugees’ points of departure and destination are highlighted by a Gothic cathedral with a swastika flag together with the figures of Cassandra and Lady Justice on the left-hand panel of the picture, while the Statue of Liberty, high-rise silhouettes, and the American flag appear on its right-hand panel.[19]

Measuring 211 x 343 cm, the monumental triptych asserts a confident presence; in the pictorial space and through the hand of Kaufmann, the thirty-eight persons are brought together to form a community in which, however, they do not articulate themselves through looks or gestures. Rather, many of them fix their gaze on a point outside the pictorial space; presumably some of them are looking at the artist Arthur Kaufmann, who sat facing them during the sitting for the single portrait. The artist is thus a point of reference for each individual; it is through him that the relationship between the people in the picture is constituted. Even if many of those portrayed were in relationship to one another, it was Kaufmann who selected and located the persons for the group portrait. It is he who creates community through the act of painting. Not only does Kaufmann’s group portrait make visible the presence of German-speaking emigrants and the subject of forced expulsion—the painting is also witness to the agency of the artist. As Kaufmann was able to pursue his project involving the émigré artists and intellectuals, it was possible for him to show an active stance and to make visible the “other” Germany pictorially.

At the same time, Kaufmann’s portrait makes it clear that groups constitute themselves not only through individuals but also through social situations and contexts, as the psychologist Kurt Lewin wrote.[20] The portrayed individuals do not have a physically active relationship to one another, since they only find each other in the imagined space of the painting. But the individual experience of emigration and their common status as emigrants allow them—at least in the pictorial space—to come together to form a community.

In his group painting, Kaufmann acted as the chronicler of German-speaking emigration to the United States. This is something Kaufmann had in common with the writers Klaus and Erika Mann, who were working on their book Escape to Life during the same period—and were portrayed by Kaufmann for his painting.[21] The Manns in turn mentioned Kaufmann and his group picture in their book:

Many German artists have told us, “I am glad—every day anew I am glad to be in the United States.” We often heard that from the lips of the brilliant portrait painter, Arthur Kaufmann, who has been living and working in New York for years. He has assured us: “Originally my talent was by no means directed toward things politic. I am not a great caricaturist, not a satirist like George Grosz. However, I felt a very definite urge to place my talents and my name in the service of anti-fascism in some form or other. Therefore I am now painting a large picture in three parts, a triptych, which will assemble the portraits of some of the most important German emigrants, the most eminent artists and scientists, who had to leave Germany.” We have seen the first sketches of this great, daringly planned work: it is most promising. Kaufmann’s gigantic pictures may be an enduring document of German disgrace—and of German glory. [22]

Kaufmann’s painting and Erika and Klaus Mann’s chronicle of a German “Culture in Exile” can be termed as analogous strategies that complement each other. In painting, as in the text of the Mann siblings, the face of another, politically “better” Germany was formulated, as the writer Heinrich Mann, the uncle of Erika and Klaus Mann, had already formulated it in his 1933 speech “Tasks of Emigration”: “Emigration will insist that with it, the greatest Germans were and are, and that means in unison: the best of Germany.”[23] Just as the exiled writer Heinrich Mann claimed to be the voice of the “other” Germany, the painter Arthur Kaufmann assembled the emigrated artists, literary figures, and intellectuals to create a counter-image to National Socialist Germany. Just as Kaufmann is a protagonist of exiled Germany in Erika and Klaus Mann’s Escape to Life, the writers Heinrich, Erika, and Klaus Mann also occupy an important position alongside Thomas Mann in Kaufmann’s group portrait: they are exponents of German emigration to the United States.

Hermann Landshoff’s Photographic Group Formation of New York Emigrant Artists

Three years after Kaufmann began his large-scale painting, the group portrait Die Surrealisten (The Surrealists, 1942) by the photographer Hermann Landshoff was created in New York (fig. 3).

Fig. 3. Hermann Landshoff, The Surrealists, 1942, New York, autumn 1942. © bpk Berlin / Münchner Stadtmuseum, Sammlung Fotografie / Archiv Landshoff.

A comparison of Kaufmann’s and Landshoff’s group portraits reveals the differences between a painterly translational process and the photographic act: while Kaufmann brought together individual portraits in one painting, the surrealists and other artists in Landshoff’s picture were actually on location and thus able to interact not only with each other but also with the camera/photographer. Landshoff’s group photography thus illustrates a unity of space and time.

Assembled are a number of painters, writers, and intellectuals who fled to the United States from Europe around 1941, including Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, Max Ernst, André Breton, and Fernand Léger.[24] Posing with them are the American photographer Berenice Abbot and patron of the arts Peggy Guggenheim, in whose apartment the photo was taken. The persons in the picture are arranged in three rows: those standing at the top are facing left, arms confidently akimbo, while the middle row is seated, with four of the people portrayed looking toward the right and the photographer Berenice Abbott, the last in the row, facing them. All of them are resting their hands on their thighs. Below them, sitting cross-legged, are four more artists. The two in the middle are looking at each other, while those sitting on the outside look at the photographer. It becomes clear that this is a carefully arranged choreography within a confined space. The order of the gazes conveys unanimity, the ability to communicate (with each other), solidarity, and unity. At the same time the poses express self-confidence and, in the lower row, relaxation. Even the photographer—Landshoff was an emigrant as well—is included in the group, as two of the people photographed focus their eyes on the beholder and bring him into the picture.

In Landshoff’s portrait of the émigré European artists in New York and their American colleagues, the dramaturgy of group photographs is invoked. At the end of the nineteenth century and in the early twentieth century, group photos were in great demand. Ranging from families, school classes, and student fraternities, to craftsmen’s guilds and social groups, various group photographs can be identified in European photography. The dramaturgy is repeated in different variations. Besides persons who pose standing stiffly next to each other, there are choreographies of connecting gestures; photographs taken in artists’ circles and at artists’ parties in particular show a good deal of expression.[25]

The poses of the artists in Landshoff’s photograph seem to parody the traditional group picture and its repertoire of poses; the direction of the gaze is strictly staged, and stances and gestures are repetitive. Landshoff’s group photograph emphasizes the community, ornamentally arranging the subjects in rows, and humorously comes to terms with the conventions of group photography and the tradition of the painted group portrait. The balance of power between coordination (of the individual/single portrait) and “subordination” (integration into a unified whole) that Alois Riegl observed in seventeenth-century Dutch group portraits can also be recognized in Landshoff’s photograph—more than in Kaufmann’s group painting, where the portrayed do not interact with each other. In Landshoff’s photograph, the persons among themselves as well as the onlooker are brought into relationship with each other through staging gaze and gestures.[26] Kurt Lewin’s investigations into group dynamics can be used to capture the relationship between the individual and the collective: Lewin worked out that the group changes the behavior of its members; the role and position of each decides how others behave towards it.[27] It is precisely this coexistence of action and reaction that becomes visible in Landshoff’s group photography. The lustful play with gestures and poses is an expression of collective behavior, a symbiosis that can also be transferred to the status of emigrants within the local New York artist community. The photo leads to the impression that, beyond the real and conflict-ridden relationships between the protagonists, agreement and harmony seem to determine both the lives of the emigrants and those of their American colleagues.

In Landshoff’s work, community is stage-managed, assuming a playful, unconventional form. The coquettish and flirtatious attitude of the artists in the picture is different from the static form in Arthur Kaufmann’s triptych. Another photograph of exiled artists in New York, by George Platt Lynes (1942),[28] picturing the artists represented in the exhibition Artists in Exile, shows a different interpretation of how a “group” may be visualized.[29] Photographed here are many of the artists and writers already portrayed by Landshoff—including Breton, Ernst, and Léger—seated and standing next to each other. They are looking at the photographer, arms propped on their thighs. While Landshoff emphasized the play of gestures, poses, and looks as a group-dynamic element, Lynes created a more representative portrait. Since at least two different versions of Landshoff’s photograph The Surrealists exist, the thesis that it was a “snapshot,” posited in the only monograph on Landshoff, must also be contradicted.[30] For, in a second photo, the bodies of those photographed are not turned quite as explicitly and consistently in different directions, and the eyes of two artists—Ozenfant and Kiesler—are turned toward the persons who are sitting next to them.[31] It becomes clear that Landshoff, together with the artists in the picture, was trying things out, first rehearsing the repertory of gestures and movements before the photo could be taken.

Landshoff’s photograph is part of a history of twentieth-century artist group portraits that extends from Max Ernst’s 1922 Au rendez-vous des amis and Arthur Kaufmann’s Zeitgenossen – Das geistige Düsseldorf 1925 to Sylvia Sleigh’s A.I.R. Group Portrait (1977–1978), with its roomful of exclusively female artists. In Landshoff’s photograph, however, there are not only references to a photographic and art historical tradition of the group portrait.

During a long-term project, Landshoff developed an alternative form of the group portrait that is not immediately recognizable as such. This means that community is not mentioned in a single group picture, but in a series of photographs unfolding their connections through a common topic (e.g., series of photographers, painters, musicians) and/or the migratory experiences of the models. Since his arrival in New York, Landshoff had been taking portraits of photographers, painters, sculptors, and architects, including a large number of emigrants.[32] Although the photographer did not refer to his project as emigrant photography, when viewed as a whole the photos do constitute a separate exile archive and a community of persons who have experienced emigration. Among those photographed, often portrayed in their ateliers and studios in bust portraits, as half-figures, or as full-length figures, are Andreas Feininger, Walter Gropius, Eva Hesse, Richard Lindner, Jacques Lipchitz, Lisette Model, Ossip Zadkine, and many others (fig. 4).

Fig. 4. Hermann Landshoff, The Photographer Lisette Model, New York, 1948. © bpk Berlin / Münchner Stadtmuseum, Sammlung Fotografie / Archiv Landshoff.

The subsumption of the above-named persons as a gallery of emigrants is possible if the individual series are not grouped according to professions, but rather if one looks for emigrants within them. It is therefore essential to query Landshoff’s oeuvre for specific faces and their histories. It is important, however, that the photographer did not formulate a separate vocabulary of gestures, compositions, or visual aesthetic for the emigrants. Andreas Feininger and his American colleague Edward Steichen, for instance, are both portrayed seated and without their cameras. Thus emigrants are pictured as people among other people (residents of the United States). Nevertheless, the fact that there is a large number of exiles in the different series emphasizes their presence, significance (for they are worthy of being portrayed), and their share in New York’s artistic and cultural scene. Accordingly, society is produced in a serial format, which is potentially extendable. As is the case in Kaufmann’s triptych, a group or community is formed by the author, who selects persons, photographs them, and thus sets them in relation to each other. Yet the serial and single-portrait format is more flexible and richly varied than Kaufmann’s painted group portrait. For the individual shots can repeatedly be recombined in new ways, and made part of various constellations. This means that serial structures express activity and vitality. The emigrants are portrayed as part of a cultural scene; they are integrated and participate on an equal footing with their American colleagues, whom Landshoff also photographed. He did the same in his group portrait of The Surrealists, bringing together the émigrés and the American artists. At the same time, the photographer himself belongs to this art scene in New York; he has access to the workspaces and the trust of those portrayed, and they open themselves to him and to his camera.

Conclusion: Group Portraits and Experiences of Displacements

This paper has gone into the various facets of group portraits in exile, and exile in the form of the group portrait. It has explored how painters and photographers visualized community and exile, but also what nuances and variations of the topic were possible. Community was not necessarily produced in one individual picture; in the work of Landshoff, serial formats for creating community can be found.

Regarding the works of Arthur Kaufmann and Hermann Landshoff, it can be argued that the group portrait was a form of self-assertion during the exile of the years from 1933 to 1945. Especially the group portraits of Kaufmann brought together émigrés to emphasize the strength of the exile community and the people who were forced to leave Germany but came together in their exile country, the United States—they were painted as representatives of a “better” Germany. Kaufmann’s painting conjured up a community that seemed to defy displacement and expulsion from home. In Landshoff’s group photograph The Surrealists, the focus is on the connection between the American artists and the arriving émigrés.

Also, Landshoff’s individual photographs of emigrated artists and cultural producers had a different effect. His essentially open series compiled a cultural archive of emigration, which was—at the same time—part of the American artistic and cultural community. By not exclusively portraying either emigrants or American photographers and artists, Landshoff pursued an inclusive approach. While his emigrant scenes can be read as isolated from the entire series, they also must be placed in a larger context.

The discussed works showed different aims of the group portrait in exile. They presented émigrés as representatives of a displaced German culture (Kaufmann), or showed them as a part of the art scene in New York (Landshoff). In Kaufmann’s picture, the group is in a static space; community is emphasized in order to describe exile as a collective experience of being distanced from one’s country of origin. After their emigration to the United States, contemporary psychologists such as Kurt Lewin and Jacob L. Moreno focused on research on groups. Their work dealt with the relationship between individual and group, power relations, and development potentials of the individual in exchange with others. The experience of emigration seems to have sensibilized Lewin and Moreno to the importance of community building. For Landshoff and Kaufmann, something similar can be stated: their group portraits show displacement as an inevitable process of group formation and self-perception within the group.

Burcu Dogramaci is Professor of Art History at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Her research focuses on the areas of modern and contemporary global art, photography, and architecture; exile, migration, and flight; fashion; historiography of art; and live art. Her main books include: Handbook of Art and Global Migration: Theories, Practices, and Challenges (Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter 2019, ed. with B. Mersmann); Design Dispersed: Forms of Migration and Flight (Bielefeld: transcript 2019, ed. with K. Pinther); Passagen des Exils/Passages of Exile (Munich: edition text + kritik, 2017, ed. with E. Otto); Heimat. Eine künstlerische Spurensuche (Cologne: Böhlau 2016); Migration und künstlerische Produktion. Aktuelle Perspektiven (Bielefeld: transcript 2013, ed.).

Notes

[1] In the following, the terms exile, emigration, émigré, and emigrant will be used in alternation. Exile and emigration in this essay denote the forced, politically motivated departure for another country. When using the terms exile and emigration, I refer to exile research, including i.a. Claus-Dieter Krohn, Patrick von zur Mühlen, Gerhard Paul, and Lutz Winckler, “Vorwort,” in Handbuch der deutschsprachigen Emigration 1933–1945, eds. Claus-Dieter Krohn et al. (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1998), XI–XIII, here XII: “As a rule, emigration is defined as (forced) migration, whereby the resulting break with the country of origin usually precluded a later return […]. Exile, on the other hand, denotes the forced and involuntary residence abroad of a person who wishes to return later. […] Reality, of course, was more diverse and often contradicted existing definitions. […] The distinction between emigrant, refugee and expatriate, between emigration, flight, exodus and exile, is only possible in a provisional, imprecise form and needs to be more concretely defined on a case-by-case basis.”

[2] On Beckmann’s painting, see Andrea Bambi and Felix Billeter, “Max Beckmann – von Berlin nach Amsterdam. Grundlagen für seine Emigration und unterstützende Netzwerke in den Niederlanden,” in Netzwerke des Exils. Künstlerische Verflechtungen, Austausch und Patronage nach 1933, eds. Burcu Dogramaci and Karin Wimmer (Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 2011), 397–414, here 412. On Les Artistes mit Gemüse, see also https://kuenste-im-exil.de/KIE/Content/DE/Objekte/beckmann-gemuese.html?single=1, accessed July 14, 2019.

[3] This contribution draws on ongoing research from the project funded by the European Research Council (ERC), “Relocating Modernism: Global Metropolises, Modern Art and Exile (Metromod),” at the Institut für Kunstgeschichte, LMU Munich (2017–2022), under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement No. 724649). For more information, see https://metromod.net.

[4] On New York as arrival city for émigrés, see Michael Winkler, “Metropole New York,” in Metropolen des Exils (Exilforschung Jahrbuch 20), eds. Claus-Dieter Krohn and Lutz Winckler (Munich: edition text + kritik, 2002), 178–198. A comprehensive investigation of artistic and intellectual exile in the United States is provided by Anthony Heilbut, Exiled in Paradise: German Refugee Artists and Intellectuals in America from the 1930s to the Present (Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press, 1997).

[5] The widespread definition of the group picture as the “picture of a specific number of persons who intentionally define themselves as a group, who understand their self-awareness as being socially mediated, coming to themselves as individuals only within a life context together with others” (Hans-Jürgen Schwalm, Individuum und Gruppe. Gruppenbilder des 20. Jahrhunderts [Essen: Die blaue Eule, 1990], 7) is not used in all the examples in this paper. For instance, there is also a discussion of pictures in which groups are produced primarily by the perspective of the artist. On artistic communities in exile under the aspect of transnational networks (between groups), see Keith Holz, “Recasting Exile Artists’ Groups as Transnational Diasporic Communities,” in Netzwerke des Exils. Künstlerische Verflechtungen, Austausch und Patronage nach 1933, eds. Burcu Dogramaci and Karin Wimmer (Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 2011), 279–295.

[6] Alexander Stephan wrote a fundamental essay on the plurality of people and polyphony of voices in exile; see Alexander Stephan, “Die intellektuelle, literarische und künstlerische Emigration,” in Handbuch der deutschsprachigen Emigration 1933–1945, eds. Claus-Dieter Krohn, Patrick von zur Mühlen, Gerhard Paul, and Lutz Winckler (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1998), 30–46. On the heterogeneity of “exile art,” see, for example, Olaf Peters, “Kunst und Exil,” in Deutsche Künstler im Exil 1933–1945. Werke aus der Sammlung Memoria Thomas B. Schumann, ed. Thomas B. Schumann (Hürth bei Köln: Edition Memoria, 2016), 22–28.

[7] Hannah Arendt, “We Refugees,” in Menorah Journal 31/1 (1943): 69–77.

[8] “Immer fand ich den Namen falsch, den man uns gab: Emigranten. / Das heißt doch Auswanderer. Aber wir / Wanderten doch nicht aus, nach freiem Entschluß / Wählend ein andres Land. Wanderten wir doch auch nicht / Ein in ein Land, dort zu bleiben, womöglich für immer. / Sondern wir flohen. Vertriebene sind wir, Verbannte.” Bertolt Brecht, “Über die Bezeichnung Emigranten,” in Unterm dänischen Strohdach. Skandinavien 1933–1941 (Leipzig: Edition Suhrkamp, 1994), 31.

[9] See Alfred J. Marrow, Kurt Lewin – Leben und Werk (Stuttgart: Ernst Klett Verlag, 1977), 188. A compilation of Lewin’s work on groups can be found in Kurt Lewin, Resolving social conflicts: selected papers on group dynamics (New York: Harper, 1948); see also Jacob L. Moreno, Who Shall Survive? A New Approach to the Problem of Human Interrelations (New York: Beacon House, 1934).

[10] See Kurt Lewin, “Der Sonderfall Deutschland” (1943), in Die Lösung sozialer Konflikte (Bad Nauheim: Christian Verlag, 1953), 74–91.

[11] See, for example, Kurt Lewin, “Psychosoziologische Probleme einer Minderheitengruppe” (1935), in ibid., 204–221.

[12] See also Alfred J. Marrow, Kurt Lewin – Leben und Werk (Stuttgart: Ernst Klett Verlag, 1977), 189–191.

[13] See Katharina Novy, “Begegnung an Schnittstellen. Morenos Werk aus soziologischer Sicht,” in Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie, special issue 6: Jakob Levy Moreno revisited – Ein schöpferisches Leben. Zum 125. Geburtstag, eds. Falko von Ameln and Michael Wieser (2014): 167–181.

[14] See Skirner Vahle, “‘Arts and Sciences Finding Refuge in the U.S.A. – Die geistige Emigration’ von Arthur Kaufmann und eine Unbekannte, 1938,” in Exil 1 (1981): 57–63, here 61; see also Gerhard Ribbrock, “Arthur Kaufmann: Exil – ein zweites Leben?,” Sonderdruck aus dem Mülheimer Jahrbuch (2014), no page.

[15] Reservations about female achievements can also be found for (early) exile research, the archiving of estates, and the consideration in encyclopedias. See Hiltrud Häntzschel, “Geschlechtsspezifische Aspekte,” in Handbuch der deutschsprachigen Emigration 1933–1945, eds. Claus-Dieter Krohn, Patrick von zur Mühlen, Gerhard Paul, and Lutz Winckler, 2nd ed. (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1998), 101–117, here 101.

[16] Also preserved is a drawing by the artist Dolbin, showing Kaufmann working on the portrait of the writer Oskar Maria Graf. See Vahle, “‘Arts and Sciences Finding Refuge in the U.S.A. – Die geistige Emigration’ von Arthur Kaufmann und eine Unbekannte, 1938,” 63, endnote 36.

[17] Martin Papenbrock, “Die Künste, die Wissenschaften und die ‘refugee crisis’. Arthur Kaufmanns Triptychon Arts and Sciences Finding Refuge in the USA (1938/1964),” in Kunst und Politik. Jahrbuch der Guernica-Gesellschaft 3: Kunst im Exil 1933–1945, ed. Jutta Held (Osnabrück: Universitätsverlag Rasch, 2011), 72.

[18] On Hill’s group picture and the preparatory photographs by Adamson and Hill, see Sara Stevenson, “Hill and Adamson’s The Fishermen and Women of the Firth of Forth,” exh. cat. (Edinburgh: Scottish National Gallery, 1991), 9–14. The painting is reproduced in color in: Anne M. Lyden, A Perfect Chemistry: Photographs by Hill & Adamson, exh. cat. (Edinburgh: Scottish National Gallery, 2017), 40–41.

[19] On the pictorial agenda of the background, see Papenbrock, “Die Künste, die Wissenschaften und die ‘refugee crisis’. Arthur Kaufmanns Triptychon Arts and Sciences Finding Refuge in the USA (1938/1964),” 74. A divergent interpretation is found in Vahle, “‘Arts and Sciences Finding Refuge in the U.S.A. – Die geistige Emigration’ von Arthur Kaufmann und eine Unbekannte, 1938,” 59.

[20] See Kurt Lewin, “Experimente über den sozialen Raum” (1939), in Die Lösung sozialer Konflikte (Bad Nauheim: Christian Verlag, 1953), 112–127.

[21] Erika and Klaus Mann, Escape to Life (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1939).

[22] Mann, Escape to Life, 232f. See also Papenbrock, “Die Künste, die Wissenschaften und die ‘refugee crisis’. Arthur Kaufmanns Triptychon Arts and Sciences Finding Refuge in the USA (1938/1964),” 69–84, here 69. In his essay, Papenbrock explores “what image of emigration Kaufmann conveys in triptych, with what models and symbols he works and how his picture relates to other pictures and self-portraits of emigration and exile” (ibid., 70). On the one hand, he points out that, when selecting the people to be portrayed, Kaufmann based his choice on the book Escape to Life (ibid., 80), although the book was not published until 1939 and Kaufmann began work on the triptych as early as 1938. On the other hand, Papenbrock mentions (ibid., 73) that the completed triptych was displayed for the first time in 1965, in the context of the exhibition Exil-Literatur 1933–1945 in Frankfurt am Main, and thus coincided with the renewed attention to exile history in German exile research.

[23] “Die Emigration wird darauf bestehen, daß mit ihr die größten Deutschen waren und sind, und das heißt zugleich: das beste Deutschland.” Heinrich Mann. “Aufgaben der Emigration” [1933]. Deutsche Literatur im Exil 1933–1945. Bd. I: Dokumente. Hg. v. Heinz Ludwig Arnold, Frankfurt/M.: Fischer, 1974, S. 3-8; English translation, accessed September 9, 2019, https://kuenste-im-exil.de/KIE/Content/EN/Persons/mann-heinrich-en.html. I thank Doerte Bischoff for her advice.

[24] The photograph brings together Jimmy Ernst, Peggy Guggenheim, John Ferren, Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, Max Ernst, Amédée Ozenfant, André Breton, Fernand Léger, Berenice Abbott, Stanley William Hayter, Leonora Carrington, Frederick Kiesler, and Kurt Seligmann.

[25] Many examples for the variants of group photography can be found in Paul Hugger and Richard Wolf, Wir sind jemand. Gruppenfotografien von 1879 bis 1945 – ein Spiegel der Gesellschaft (Bern: Benteli, 2012).

[26] See Alois Riegl, Das Holländische Gruppenporträt (Vienna: WUV-Universitätsverlag, 1997/1931), 19. See also Ulrich Schumacher, “Gruppenporträt und Genrebild. Zur Bedeutung der Photographie für die französische Malerei des 19. Jahrhunderts,” in Giessener Beiträge zur Kunstgeschichte 4 (Giessen: W. Schmitz Verlag, 1979), 1961, here 12f.

[27] See Marrow, Kurt Lewin – Leben und Werk, 190.

[28] Cf. Romy Golan, “Über einiger Personen Durchreise durch einen relativ kurzen Zeitraum,” in Exil. Flucht und Emigration europäischer Künstler 1933–1945, exh. cat., eds. Stephanie Barron and Sabine Eckmann (Berlin: Neue Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 1997), 128–146, here 135–137.

[29] Artists in Exile was an exhibition in the gallery of Pierre Matisse in New York (1942) showing artworks by émigré artists like Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, Kurt Seligmann, and others. See Ivo Kranzfelder, “Europäer in New York. Zu einigen Künstlerportraits von Hermann Landshoff,” in Hermann Landshoff. Portrait. Mode. Architektur. Retrospektive 1930–1970, exh. cat. (Munich: Münchner Stadtmuseum, 2013), 67–72, here 70.

[30] Kranzfelder, “Europäer in New York. Zu einigen Künstlerportraits von Hermann Landshoff,” 68.

[31] Illustration in: Hermann Landshoff. Portrait. Mode. Architektur. Retrospektive 1930–1970, exh. cat. (Munich: Münchner Stadtmuseum, 2013), 73.

[32] On these series, see Ulrich Pohlmann, “‘I owe everything to Landshoff’ (Richard Avedon). Leben und Werk von Hermann Landshoff,” in Hermann Landshoff. Portrait. Mode. Architektur. Retrospektive 1930–1970, exh. cat. (Munich: Münchner Stadtmuseum, 2013), 15–47, here 38–40. The exact number of these portraits of artists and photographers cannot be stated, but it is known that Hermann Landshoff created more than seventy portraits of New York-based photographers between 1942 and 1961. Ibid., 39.