Belonging and Betrayal: How Jews Made the Art World Modern
Critically acclaimed: One of the Best Nonfiction and Best Culture books of 2021 by Kirkus Reviews, Artnet's Top 20, and a 2021 National Jewish Book Award Finalist
[An] exceptional work of scholarship. . . . A brilliant account of Nazi pillage and the ongoing efforts at restitution.
—Kirkus (starred review)
This is a magisterial book. Wide-ranging yet closely focused, detailed yet suspenseful, it should be required reading for all who make art or collect it. Gracefully written and sumptuously illustrated throughout, Belonging and Betrayal is an important—even indispensable—contribution to the field.
—Nicholas Delbanco, author of Why Writing Matters
A major contribution to understanding a profound Jewish goal to belong and succeed, only to be betrayed by willful acts by Nazis and their collaborators. This impressive book will engage you, surprise you, anger you, and above all, enrich you.
—Richard I. Cohen, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, author of Jewish Icons
Brilliantly evocative and deeply researched, Charles Dellheim’s Belonging and Betrayal is a superb addition to the ongoing discussion on art ownership, theft, and restoration.
—David H. Lynn, editor emeritus of The Kenyon Review
A sweeping, magisterial study. Dellheim is a master storyteller as he interweaves the histories of an extra-ordinary cast, including the Wildensteins, the Duveens, the Rothschilds, and an array of artists, from Pissarro to Modigliani. Belonging and Betrayal is a tour de force.
—Jonathan Petropoulos, author of Göring’s Man in Paris: The Story of a Nazi Art Plunderer and His World
A hefty, deeply researched book…A compelling portrait of the Jewish families who, unexpectedly, became arbiters of taste in Europe, beginning in the late 19th century and ending with Nazi plunder. Read if you’re into: thinking about art history, Jewish history and where they intersect.
Readers of Dellheim’s book will learn more about the history of modern art and European cultural history during times of upheaval and turmoil. Those who enjoy history and art history will enjoy this deep dive.
A comprehensive tale of the artwork that appeared throughout Europe and then was absconded with in one of the largest heists ever. The various characters featured in this fascinating account hustle, sell and backstab.
—Manhattan Book Review
The stories of the Nazis’ lust for fine art during World War II most often revolves around the pillaging of personal and private collections and subsequent efforts at restitution…Yet, there is another story to tell among this intriguing but oft-rehearsed narrative, a prologue of sorts, and Charles Dellheim’s book Belonging and Betrayal deftly does just that…In addition to narrating the vast contribution of Jews to the early twentieth-century art world, Dellheim explores the Jewish assimilation experience… Dellheim’s book transcends typical university press publications. The volume is an enjoyable, breezy read that intertwines the fortunes and fate of a host of colorful figures who changed the art world, as well as the devastating betrayal of some of its very best.
—Jewish Book Council
With its twists and turns, Dellheim’s book reads like a Realist novel. Despite the seriousness of its subject matter, it is a thrilling read, divided into wittily titled sections… The book is a veritable tour de force and an outstanding addition to scholarly research on art, Modernism, and Jewish studies.
—Naomi Polonsky, Hyperallergic
Belonging and Betrayal is "a wonderful achievement, beautifully written, a magnificent work of art in itself, a fabulous book.
—Andrew Keen, Keen On
Highly recommended. This well-researched volume, with copious notes, two sections of color plates, and interspersed black-and-white figures, will interest those studying art history, provenance research, art markets, museums and repatriation, cultural studies, and Jewish studies.
—J. Decker, Rochester Institute of Technology
Masterful and magisterial... Dellheim has written a highly readable, substantive and engaging account of the entry of Jews into art. It may well be the definitive work on this topic.
—Sheldon Kirshner, The Times of Israel
Dellheim’s rich, deeply engaging, compulsively readable study… which combines business history, social history, and cultural and intellectual history, offers a fresh and exciting approach to ethnic studies. The larger issue that Dellheim explores in his extraordinary book is the complex connection between Jews, modernity, and modernism.
—Inside Higher Ed
Belonging and Betrayal is a brilliantly etched portrayal of the family firms that maneuvered, battled, adapted, persevered, and prospered over decades and centuries. What
underlies all of Charles Dellheim’s painstaking research lies a loving devotion to the subject matter. That means, above all, that his discussion of cultural and aesthetic matters rests on a bedrock of economic and business history. The element so often missing from studies of Jewish participation in Western culture here properly takes center stage. In this
masterwork, Dellheim shows how to understand the business of culture.
—Jon Karp, Jewish Review of Books
Dellheim’s book is the first to present a collective portrait of the businessmen – and occasionally businesswomen, like Berthe Weill – who thrived in fashionable and avant-garde circles. ...This is a huge work of historical synthesis, which manages to weave together an enormous cast of characters and locations with flair and sympathy.
—Tom Stammers, Ars Judaica
Charles Dellheim is Professor of History at Boston University. He was previously Professor of History and Humanities and Director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Program at Arizona State University, where he won a Distinguished Teaching Award. His chief publications in modern British history include The Face of the Past: The Preservation of the Medieval Inheritance in Victorian England, Cambridge University Press; The Disenchanted Isle: Mrs. Thatcher’s Capitalist Revolution, Norton. He has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Littauer Foundation. He is a past president of the Economic and Business Historical Society and served on the executive board of the Western Humanities Alliance. Between 2001 and 2009 he served as Boston University History Department chair, and in 2010 became Director of the Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Honors College at Boston University.