This digital exhibition includes important examples from the oeuvre of the German Jewish Expressionist artist Fritz Ascher (1893-1970). Ascher’s career extended from prior to the First World War until the late 1960s. However, Ascher’s artistic trajectory was interrupted due to persecution under National Socialism, and he spent much of the Second World War in hiding, concealed in a family friend’s basement. Ascher’s work consequently encompasses both the vibrant artistic scene in early-20th-century Germany, as well as the trauma and aesthetic shifts consequent of Ascher’s persecution and deprivations during the twelve years of the Nazi regime.
These selected works are representative not only of critical moments in Ascher’s personal and artistic development, but also of key themes that occupied Ascher’s attention throughout his career. Variations in certain ideas, motifs, and subjects in Ascher’s work betray the traumatic impact of Nazi oppression as much as they equally speak to Ascher’s personal and artistic growth over time. Similarly, Ascher’s persistent affection for particular subjects provides insight into Ascher’s fortitude as a human being: an individual who, even in the most dire of circumstances, continued to use music, poetry, and theatrical paradigms as lenses through which to engage with the world.
Fritz Ascher: Themes and Variations