Felix Nussbaum

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Felix Nussbaum (11 December 1904 – 2 August 1944) was a German surrealist painter.

Early life and education

Nussbaum was born in Osnabrück, Province of Hanover, as the son of Rahel and Philipp Nussbaum. Philipp was a World War I veteran and German patriot before the rise of the Nazis. He was an amateur painter when he was younger, but was forced to pursue other means of work for financial reasons. He therefore encouraged his son’s artwork passionately.

Nussbaum was a lifelong student, beginning his formal studies in 1920 in Hamburg and Berlin and continuing as long as the current political situation allowed him. In his earlier works, Felix was heavily influenced by Vincent Van Gogh and Henri Rousseau and he eventually pays homage to Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carrà as well. Carl Hofer’s expressionist painting influenced Felix’s careful approach to color.

In 1933, Nussbaum was studying on scholarship in Rome at the Berlin Academy of the Arts when the Nazis gained control of Germany. Adolf Hitler sent his Minister of Propaganda in April to Rome to explain to the artist elites how "a Nazi artist is to develop", which entailed promoting heroism and the Aryan race. Nussbaum began to understand that a Jewish artist like himself could no longer remain at the academy.

A decade of fear

Nussbaum began a decade of fear, which is directly reflected through his paintings. In 1934, he took Felka Platek, a painter who he had met while studying in...
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