Painted Proof: The Nazis' ascension to power as witnessed and documented by Berlin artist Charlotte Salomon

Conely, Kimberly M.   Wayne State University ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  2009. 3378844.

Abstract (summary)

This dissertation seeks to increase the general awareness, and supplement the existing scholarship pertaining to Berlin artist and Holocaust victim Charlotte Salomon (1917-1943) and her extraordinarily complex, 1,324 gouache paintings created over an 18-month period during WWII. An excellent example of the stylistic convergence of early 20th century modern art and cinema, Salomon's semi-autobiographical imagery, text, and music detail over thirty years and vary from single referential compositions to multi-paned sequential day-in-the-life narratives. To enhance the overall understanding of Salomon's technical skills as a painter and eyewitness, this study focuses on a small subset of emotionally charged, mass media informed proto-cinematic images that depict Hitler's ascension to power and the Nazis intention to annihilate Europe's Jews and other minorities.

Several scholarly approaches were consulted and appropriated for this project including Mieke Bal's theory of 'traveling concepts,' Griselda Pollock's transformation of the transdisciplinary method of analysis, and Peter Burke's definitions regarding eyewitness painting and historical evidence. By applying the transdisciplinary principles of crossing boundaries and adapting technologies to find new meanings, this author and filmmaker became a 'visionographer' with the ability to create a new, hybridized digital documentary and use it as a research method and new art form to be analyzed.

In addition to writing about Salomon's historically relevant art, this project appropriated the performative platform of nonlinear editing as a research method to further examine and rearrange Salomon's Nazi inscribed imagery. The repositioned imagery accompanied by a voice-over narration written by Salomon and music she specified, resulted in the creation of the Digital Media Object (DMO) Painted Proof: The Nazis Ascension to Power, attached to this project. The DMO effectively illustrates that interspersed amongst Salomon's 1,324 paintings is an idiosyncratic form of anti-fascist propaganda and a painted visual historical reference documenting the Nazis’ ubiquitous atrocities and subjugation of the Weimar Republic, the persecution of the Jews, and life as an exile in Southern France.

Indexing (details)

Art history;
Mass communications;
Judaic studies
0377: Art history
0708: Mass communications
0751: Judaic studies
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Convergence; Digital Media Object; Germany; Modern art; Nazi aesthetics; Salomon, Charlotte; Weimar cinema
Painted Proof: The Nazis' ascension to power as witnessed and documented by Berlin artist Charlotte Salomon
Conely, Kimberly M.
Number of pages
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 70/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Oshagan, Hayg
Committee member
Flatley, Jonathan; Trapani, Bill; Vultee, Fred
Wayne State University
University location
United States -- Michigan
Source type
Dissertation or Thesis
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL