The Multicultural Modernism of Winold Reiss (1886–1953)
(Trans)National Approaches to His Work
Edited by Frank Mehring
In a first, this anthology presents essays by art historians and cultural scientists from both sides of the Atlantic to rediscover, analyze and contextualize the rich and largely unknown art of Winold Reiss, opening up a new, previously untapped archive of multicultural Modernism. The German-American artist, who was born in Karlsruhe in 1886 and arrived in New York in 1913, defies instant categorization. With his dual background in fine arts and applied arts he set out to bridge the gulf between “high” and “low” art introducing a bold use of color to the American art scene and to interior design. In his portraits Reiss captured the multi-ethnic diversity of the US. His specific blend of cultural otherness, primitivism, and depictions of ethnicity challenged the conventions of the time.