U.S. Holocaust Museum Rifleman James W. von Brunn: Portrait of the Artist as a Nostalgic Fascist?

U.S. Holocaust Museum rifleman, James W. von Brunn, is not only like Adolf Hitler in that he wrote a long and paranoid Antisemitic screed. Brunn is also a painter devoted to the recovery of “realism” in art (as Hitler was). Below is one of Brunn’s paintings in which he ironically translates Picasso’s “degenerate” modernism back into his own version of Victorian and Aryan realism. Gone the Jewish nose, the alert and returning gaze, the exposed boobies, the let-down hair, and the blue hand in the lap of the Picasso model. By contrast, what Brunn appears to admire is a retiring Aryan woman modestly dressed to the neck, her hair pinned up and under control, her hand decorously held away from her lap, and a supervising cross on the wall behind her (to convict her should she be tempted to masturbate). Unlike the sexually relaxed lower body of the Picasso model, the ledge on which Brunn’s Aryan woman rests her arm seems to literally saw her in two, making a distinct separation between the upper and lower part of her body:


Painting source: Andrew Sullivan’s blog here.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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