The author wishes to acknowledge the following individuals for their time, expertise and assistance: Peter Chametzky, Rae Ferren, Mark Friedberg, Andreas Hüneke, Steven Jacobs, Brigitte Peucker, Marshall Price, James Saslow, Lola Scarpitta, and Christoph Zuschlag.
1. Notably, in addition to Jacobs: Brigitte Peucker, Michael Walker and Tom Gunning. [return to text]
2. French painter Bonheur (1822-1899) was probably the most famous woman painter of the 19th century and her work is held in many major museum collections.
3. See David Ng, “Olivier Assayas’ new film about art uses authentic masterpieces,” Culture Monster blog, Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2009,
4. This is a synoptic version of the first part of a larger project called Real Objects in Unreal Situations: Modern Art in Fiction Films. In addition to these three case studies of art in films of the classic period, it will include more contemporary material, especially focusing on the following films: The Damned (Joseph Losey, 1963); An Unmarried Woman (Paul Mazursky, 1978) and other films set in the New York art world of the 1970s and 1980s; Pride & Prejudice (Joe Wright, 2005) and Summer Hours (Olivier Assayas, 2008).
5. As per Lola Scarpitta. [return to page 2]
6. Scarpitta was the father of noted post-war American sculptor, Salvatore Scarpitta (1919-2007) and the grandfather of painter Lola Scarpitta.
7. “Boris Lovet-Lorski, 1894-1973,” Macklowe Gallery, New York.
8. I should note, however, that the Scarpitta statue does share one salient attribute with Lorski’s Venus (1925): the figure stands on tiptoes. If Mamoulian was particularly impressed with his friend’s work, he may have urged this iconography upon Scarpitta, when he undertook the commission.
9. Both One Touch of Venus and The Barefoot Contessa do include other art works in their mise-en-scene, however. In the former, the supposed antiquity has been purchased for a department store art gallery that is furnished with an eclectic assortment of obvious reproductions. In the latter, a Renaissance period Italian palazzo is persuasively enough furnished. But in neither case do these furnishings create an entirely persuasive context for the central sculpture.
10. The censors’ decision of 14 March 1934 is available at
11. Zerlett letters in the Deutsche Kinemathek, Schriftgutarchiv, as per Andreas Hüneke, “’Entartete Kunst’ in Einem NS-Film,” Recherche Film und Fernsehen, 4 (2008), p. 42.
12. See “Die Beschlagnahme der "Entarteten Kunst" 1937 und ihre Folgen,” at the website of the Forschungsstelle "Entartete Kunst,” Kunsthistorisches Institut, Freie Universität Berlin,
13. Many of these identifications were made by Andreas Hüneke and Christoph Zuschlag, both at that time associated with the Forschungsstelle “Entartete Kunst,” of the Freie Universität Berlin, to whose attention the author and Peter Chametzky brought the movie in 2006. According to Chametzky, “the Kleinshmidt, Duett im Nord-Café, 1925, formerly Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, is visible in the 1937 Munich showing of “Degenerate Art” in Stephanie Barron, “Degenerate” Art: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany, 56, # 15988. It is also visible in a still, with the caption: “The receptionist (Empfangsdame) in Benjamin Hecht’s Salon presents ‘artworks’ that these days we have eliminated as ‘degenerate’.” Ellie Tschauner, “Benjamin Hecht macht in ‘Kunst’,” Filmwelt: Das Film- und Foto-Magazin (Berlin) Nr. 16 (18 April 1941): 410-411.The Empfangsdame wears a monocle and a necktie, identifying her as a Weimar period lesbian. The possible Grosz is also reproduced, captioned as “Das Erlebnis” (it is captioned “Die Begegnung” in the film itself), “a concoction of Jewish corruption.” The Kirchner is Das Paar, 1923/24, acquired 1930, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg.” See Peter Chametzky, Objects as History in Twentieth-Century German Art: Beckmann to Beuys (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010), 147.
14. Michael Kimmelman, “Art’s Survivors of Hitler’s War,” New York Times, November 30, 2010:
15. Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, “Ausstellung: Der Berliner Skulpturenfund. ‘Entartete Kunst’ im Bombenschutt,” press release, 8 Nov. 2010, http://hv.spk-berlin.de/deutsch/
16. Peter Chametzky. Op cit. cites Linda Schulte-Sasse, Entertaining the Third Reich: Illusions of Wholeness in Nazi Cinema and “Plastiken auf Celluloid: Frauen und Kunst im NS-Spielfilm,” as well as Ellie Tschauner, “Benjamin Hecht macht in ‘Kunst’,” Filmwelt: Das Film- und Foto-Magazin (Berlin) Nr. 16 (18 April 1941): 410-411.
17. A reproduction of Pablo Picasso’s Pitcher and Bowl of Fruit (1931), as identified in private correspondence, by Steven Jacobs. [return to page 4]
18. Ferren scholar Marshall Price believes the two probably met in California, however.
19. Roberta Smith, review of “John Ferren, the Formative Years: The 1930s in Paris and Spain,” The New York Times, August 27, 1993.
20. Interview with Rae Ferren, June 22, 2009.
22. I have looked closely at the works in The Trouble with Harry with Marshall Price, foremost scholar of the work of John Ferren (his dissertation on the artist is near completion at the CUNY Graduate Center), and, although he cannot definitively identify any of the works seen in the film, he recognizes all, or virtually all, as being consistent with Ferren’s work of the late 1940s and 1950s. Conversation, 14 July 2010.
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