Jerome Klein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Jerome Klein was an American art historian and art critic and a founding member of the American Artists' Congress (AAC).


Klein began his career as an instructor in art history at Columbia University in the late 1920s, the only member of the department interested in modern art. In 1933 Klein signed a letter protesting the decision of the university to invite Hans Luther, the Ambassador from Nazi Germany, to speak at Columbia. Although other professors also signed the letter, Klein’s return address left on one of the letters by a careless student opponent of fascism identified Klein as the ringleader. According to Stephen H. Norwood, Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler, an admirer of Italian and German fascism, fired Klein for signing the letter.[1]

Klein became the art critic for the New York Post, writing also for other publications.[2][3] He was a champion of the socialist artists of the 1930s,[4] calling for a “broad, unified social-artistic engineering which would transform man’s environment for the benefit of man.”[5]

In 1935 Klein was a founding member of the American Artists' Congress, organized in response to the call of the Popular Front and the American Communist Party for formations of literary and artistic groups against the spread of Fascism.[6] His image can be seen in the drawing of the congress organizers by Peppino Mangravite.[7][8]


  • Modern Masters, from Manet to Gauguin, 1938


  1. ^ Norwood, Stephen H., "Complicity and Conflict: Columbia University’s Response to Fascism, 1933-37, Modern Judaism, Sept. 1, 2007,
  2. ^ Monroe, Gerald M. (1973). "Art Front". Archives of American Art Journal. The Smithsonian Institution. 13 (3): 13–19. JSTOR 1557096. 
  3. ^ The New Deal Art Projects: An Anthology of Memoirs , by Francis V. O'Connor, 1972, p. 204
  4. ^ Art and Life in America , by Oliver W. Larkin - Art United States History – 1960, p. 410
  5. ^ Henry Goddard Leach (Jan-Jun 1939). The Forum and Century, v. 101.
  6. ^ Congress of American Artists, 1941
  7. ^ American Magazine of Art. Vol. 29 #4. April 1936. "Aesthetic Freedom and the Artist' Congress" by Peppino Mangravite.
  8. ^ "The American Artists Congress and the Invasion of Finland". Gerald M. Monroe. Archives of American Art Journal. Vol. 15, No. 1. (1975), pp. 14-20. JSTOR 1557148