my daily art break today brought me across a cosmopolitan artist by the name of max pollak within the exbition space of pretty-hoe bayreuth’s art museum which is currently hosting a czech-german coop, ‘die verschwiegene moderne’ , a really worthwhile little assemblage of paintings, sketches and prints. i was fascinated by his depiction of a dancer, the artistic portrait of mila cirus is to be seen in bayreuth, itS beautiful and edgy (and unfortunately the search engines rather know of the teenage stench of miley cyrus than the 1920s dancer).
max pollak seems to have done a lot of portraits of leg-swinging ladies and to have been an en-vogue-portraitist, high in demand at the time by stage beauties like kitty starling (and if i ever get a daughter this will be the nickname i will lure her with; and hopefully later as well her dj-stage name). pollak, prague-born and taught in vienna, left europe in 1927 and established himself in san francisco, where he died in 1970. his wife stayed on for some years before she followed her man to sweet heavens. lacking mila cirus as an virtual impression (but iVe seen it in real life and you should too, aura and all that jazz) here’s the images of kitty starling (above) and isa marsen:
his most famous portrait is probably that of sigmund freud, though, at his desk, imagining what there is in a mind:
max pollak: sigmund freud at his desk 1914
it’s interesting how the mindgames cross:
doing a bit of off-the-track-research on max pollak i read a restitution record from vienna 2006 and it exactly links with questions i am writing on in the contexts of afrikan museologies: looted objects, violent appropriation of cultural expressions, lacking reparations. pollak’s collection of 1000 own painting which he had left behind when going to amerika in the first place (he seems to have kept his flat in vienna, and we know the shitty trans-x crossings with heavy luggage…) got ‘confiscated’ by the gestapo, due to the 1941-legislation the couple’s family fortune went straight to the bureaucrats of terror and deprivation. vienna and her cultural institutions actually gave one of pollak’s paintings to his heirs, if i followed up correctly, yet there’s more to be talked about.
concerning the large-scale impacts of this global tendency of grab’n’forget , especially concerning the afrikan-european relations, read opuku’s answer to the bbc, “a history of the world in 100 looted objects” at pambazuka. let’s get our mind wandering towards an atlas mnemosyne along the making of of our visual world and cultural archives, being built up on violent links, and let’s risk a imaginary along the blanks.