Dress Down Friday

A thin excuse for some German expressionism

Reading through Ian Buruma’s “Occidentalism” I came across an absolutely shocking passage.

Apparently Islamist ideologue Sayid Qutb (he who felt the all the horrors of unbridled western lust at a church dance in Colorado) was a fan of Franz Marc, the German expressionist painter who was tragically killed at the battle of Verdun in 1916.

As Buruma puts it:

In a New York museum, he [Qutb] was so entranced by a Franz Marc painting of a fox that he spent an hour staring at it, and was amazed that Americans, in a hurry to see all the pictures in the show, gave it only a glimpse. Clearly, he thought, Westerners were incapable of spiritual or aesthetic contemplation

This is terrible. I even have a reproduction of “the Blue Horse” hanging on the wall at home. And Marc’s semi-cubist fox


has always been one of my favourite pictures

Marc painted a fairly realistic blue and black fox , but unless it was on loan from the Von der Heydt-Museum in Wuppertal this could not have been the one Qutb saw. I could begin to understand an Islamist going for this semi-realist representation. But cubism? I’m ashamed to say that I have no idea where the “cubist fox” is, and am assuming it is in a private collection.

Marc also painted two groups of four foxes


But Buruma does say a single fox. I suppose I am going to have to resign myself to sharing aesthetic tastes with islamists.

Yes I know that Islam is supposedly bound to “non-representational” art, but it’s just not true. Qutb’s brother Mohammed (a former tutor to Osama Bin Laden) was a bit of an art critic himself, once pointing out that:

…all artistic efforts are but a reflection of a man’s concepts, beliefs and intuitions; they reflect whatever pictures of life and the world are found in a man’s intuition.

Have any of your favourite works of art or music ever seemed more tainted when given the seal of approval by people you find extremely unpleasant?