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Deri, Max

    Full Name: Deri, Max

    Other Names:

    • Max Deri

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1878

    Date Died: 1938

    Place Born: Bratislava, Slovakia

    Place Died: Los Angeles, CA, USA

    Home Country/ies: Germany

    Subject Area(s): German (culture, style, period) and Modern (style or period)

    Career(s): art critics


    Overview

    Lecturer, art critic and art writer of the Weimar Republic. Deri was born in Pressburg, Germany, which is present-day Pozsony, Hungary. He was the son of Ignatz Deutsch (1844-1929), a lawyer and writer, and Therese Pollak (Deutsch). The family changed their surname to “Deri” after a conversion to Christianity from Judaism. After graduating from the Akademisches Gymnasium in Vienna in 1897 he studied mechanical engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Charlottenburg, 1897-1901.  In 1901 he switched to art history in nearby Berlin and then Vienna and Halle. In Berlin he studied under Heinrich Wölfflin (Berlin) and Adolph Goldschmidt. He was much attached to the latter scholar and when Goldschmidt took a position in Halle, Deri followed. This intense student group attached to Goldschmidt also included Johannes Sievers. Deri’s 1906 dissertation, written under Goldschmidt was titled Das Rollwerk in der deutschen Ornamentik des sechzehnten und siebzehnten Jahrhunderts (Scrollwork in 16th and 17th German Ornament).  He wrote two articles for the famous art journal Pan in 1911.  In 1913 and 1914, Deri lectured at the Mannheim Kunsthalle (under its director Fritz Wichert) as part of an initiative “Akademie für Jedermann“ (The Academy for Everyone).  Deri worked a variety of positions the following years in Berlin, in the art dealer Paul Casirer’s gallery, 1916; as an art critic for the Berliner Zeitung am Mittag and also as a lecturer at the Staatlichen Hochschule für Musik (State University of Music), and the Lessing-Volkshochschule (Lessing Adult Education Center). He was also the president of the Deutschen Monistenbundes (German Monist League). His Die Malerei in 19 Jahrhundert Entwicklungsgeschichtliche Darstellung aud psychologischer Grundlage of 1919 went through four editions and his Naturalismus, Idealismus, Expressionismus seven, both before 1926.  With the rise to power of the Nazis and anti-semitism, Deri found himself the subject of attacks by Alfred Rosenberg’s “Kamfbund für deutsche Kultur” (Militant League for German Culture), who ridiculed him for being a Jewish-intellectual and dubbing him a “degrading” critic.  In 1933, when the so-called Nuremberg Laws (laws against Jews in positions of authority) took effect, Deri was dismissed from his lecturing and critic positions. He emigrate in 1934 to Czechoslovakia where he taught at the Mararyk Volksuniversiät in Brünn. In 1937, he emigrated again to the United States, relocating permanently to Los Angeles.

    Deri was an exponent of modernism in Germany writing articles on most of the modern movements.  Methodologically he followed Goldschmidt’s social-historical bent. He also embraced psychology as an art historical tool, writing for the periodical, Schaubühne, edited by Sigmund Freud.


    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:]  Das Rollwerk in der deutschen Ornamentik des sechzehnten und siebzehnten Jahrhunderts.  Halle, 1905, published, Berlin: Schuster & Bufleb, 1906; Führer durch das Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin. Berlin: Neuen freien Volksbühne, 1910;  “Die Futuristen.” Pan 2 (1911/12):  817ff.; “Die Kubisten und der Expressionismus.”  Pan 2 (1911/12):  872ff. ; “Die absolute Malerei.”  Pan 2 (1911/12):  1201ff.; Versuch einer psychologischen Kunstlehre. Stuttgart: Ferdinand Enke, 1912; Die Malerei in 19 Jahrhundert Entwicklungsgeschichtliche Darstellung aud psychologischer Grundlage. Berlin: Cassirer 1919; Naturalismus, Idealismus, Expressionismus. Leipzig: Seemann, 1919;  Die neue Malerei Sechs Voträge. Leipzig: E.A. Seemann,  1921;  and Dessoir, Max et al. Einführung in die Kunst der Gegenwart. Leipzig: E.A. Seemann,  1922;  Das Bildwerk Eine Anleitung zum Erleben von Werken der Baukunst, Bildhauerei und Malerei. Berlin: Deutsche Buch-Gemeinschaft,  1924; Die Stilarten der bildenden Kunst im Wandel von zwei Jahrtausenden. Berlin:  Bong, 1932.


    Sources

    Sinsheimer, Hermann and Pallmann, Gerhard. Gelebt im Paradies: Erinnerungen u. Begegnungen. Munich: Pflaum, 1953, pp. 121 ff.;  Wendland, Ulrike. Biographisches Handbuch deutschsprachiger Kunsthistoriker im Exil: Leben und Werk der unter dem Nationalsozialismus verfolgten und vertriebenen Wissenschaftler. Munich: Saur, 1999, vol. 1, pp. 121-3.



    Contributors: Cassandra Klos


    Citation

    Cassandra Klos. "Deri, Max." Dictionary of Art Historians (website). https://arthistorians.info/derim/.


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