Cover image for Berlin metropolis : Jews and the new culture, 1890-1918
Berlin metropolis : Jews and the new culture, 1890-1918
Bilski, Emily D., 1956-
Publication Information:
Berkeley, CA : University of California Press ; New York : Jewish Museum, [1999]

Physical Description:
265 pages : illustrations ; 30 cm
General Note:
Catalog for the exhibition ... [et al.] held at the Jewish Museum, New York, Nov. 14, 1999-April 23, 2000.

Accompanied by a checklist of the exhibition (6 p. ; 28 cm.)
The Berlin Jew as cosmopolitan / Paul Mendes-Flohr -- Modernism and the "alien element" in German art / Peter Paret -- The Berlin moderns: Else Lasker-Schüler and Café Culture / Sigrid Bauschinger -- Images of identity and urban life: Jewish artists in turn-of-the-century Berlin / Emily D. Bilski -- Max Liebermann as a "Jewish" painter: the artist's reception in his time / Chana C. Schütz -- Jewish renaissance--Jewish modernism / Inka Bertz -- Encounters at the margins: Jewish salons around 1900 / Barbara Hahn -- Performing high and low: Jews in modern theater, cabaret, revue, and film / Peter Jelavich -- Chronology: 1890-1918.
Added Corporate Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6885 .B43 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Between 1890 and 1918 the city of Berlin evolved into a commercial and industrial hub that also became an international center for radical new ideas in the visual, performing, and literary arts. Jews were key leaders in developing this unique cosmopolitan culture. Berlin Metropolis: Jews and the New Culture, 1890-1918 vividly documents the many ways that Jewish artists and entrepreneurs participated in this burst of artistic creativity and promoted the emergence of modernism on the international scene.

The book and exhibition at The Jewish Museum highlight leading cultural figures such as Max Liebermann, a founder of the Berlin Secession, and Herwarth Walden, who founded Der Sturm; artists such as Ludwig Meidner and Jakob Steinhardt; pioneers of cabaret, theater, and film, including Max Reinhardt and Ernst Lubitsch; art dealers, publishers, and writers; and leading intellectual and political figures such as Martin Buber and Georg Simmel. These and other fascinating individuals are represented by more than 200 diverse objects: paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, books, letters, posters, graphic arts, theater memorabilia, and film. The book includes eight essays by scholars of German and Jewish culture and art history that provide a truly interdisciplinary interpretation of the Berlin renaissance.

The period represented in Berlin Metropolis was a time when Jews were traditionally restricted from participating in major areas of German public life such as the army, government, and the university. But by turning to the "alternative public spheres" characteristic of urban society--galleries, caf#65533;s, journals, theaters, cabarets--they emerged as innovative cultural leaders whose intellectual and artistic impact is still felt today.

The exhibition, Berlin Metropolis: Jews and the New Culture, 1890-1918 , will be at The Jewish Museum, New York , from November 14, 1999, to March 5, 2000; and the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida , from April 1 to June 11, 2000.

Author Notes

Emily D. Bilski is guest curator of Berlin Metropolis: Jews and the New Culture, 1890-1918 , and the author of Golem! Danger, Deliverance, and Art (1988). She lives in Jerusalem.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Accompanying a recent exhibition at New York's Jewish Museum, this collection of essays explores Jewish participation in the cultural life of Berlin from 1890 through 1918. Painting, writing, theater, film, cabaret, artistic salons, and the Zionist movement are all addressed. Some full-page and many small reproductions of artworks along with a generous number of photographs help illustrate the time and place. A year-by-year chronology of important political events and the art and culture of the Jews of Berlin and internationally provides an interesting framework for the text. Unfortunately, the tone and quality of the writing are uneven, and there is some repetition of information from essay to essay. This book will be of most use in specialized historical and Judaica collections.--Kathryn Wekselman, Cincinnati (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

In light of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany, a fertile chapter of active Jewish participation in the culture of Germany in earlier times has largely been eclipsed. Berlin Metropolis discusses the Jewish contribution to the visual arts, theater, literature, and publishing during the reign of William II. This exhibition catalog of about 250 works and nine scholarly essays introduces readers to such artists as Max Liebermann, Lesser Ury, Ludwig Meidner, and Jacob Steinhardt, the poet Elsa Lasker-Sch"uler, art dealers like Herwarth Walden and Paul and Bruno Cassirer, and theater and film innovators such as Max Reinhardt and Ernst Lubitsch. Prior to WW I, Berlin was a Mecca for artists, poets, actors, and philosophers, many of whom were Jews. Liebermann, for instance, was a major figure in the secession movement, while the Cassirers introduced modern art to a German public. The popular cafe culture and the Jewish salons were meeting places for both aspiring and established artists. Jewish artists strove to assimilate into German culture; for them, religion was largely a private matter, and most believed that Jewish birth did not create Jewish artists. An important contribution to a little-studied aspect of German culture. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through faculty. J. Gutmann; Wayne State University