Anselm Kiefer, "Morgenthau Plan"

Art, Painting Free
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The title of the show—and indeed, Kiefer's expansive if brooding paintings within, depicting wildflower-filled pastures—refers to a radical proposal for postwar Germany advanced by certain American policymakers during the closing days of World War II. Endorsed by FDR's secretary of the treasury, Henry Morgenthau Jr., the plan called for partitioning Germany into three separate states, and doing away with its industrial capacity—reducing its economy, essentially, to a purely agrarian one. Stalin made the proposed division moot, while George Marshall's far more prudent ideas for rebuilding Germany prevailed. But since Morgenthau was Jewish, his plan subsequently became fodder for anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists, who offered it as proof that Hitler's fanatical contention—that the Jews were out to destroy Germany—was correct all along. The fact that Kiefer—whose works have always been ambivalent about his country's Nazi past—would revive this relic of darker times is both fascinating and troubling.


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