CASSIRER, PAUL (1871–1926), German art dealer and publisher. He was born in Goerlitz, Germany, and achieved a wide reputation as a promoter of new movements in the arts. After finishing his studies in the history of art, he opened an art gallery and a publishing house in Berlin together with his cousin Bruno Cassirer in 1898. His art gallery in Berlin became a centre of the German art world, because Cassirer was the first to exhibit the French impressionists in Germany, such as Manet, Monet, but also Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin, and also championed the work of the German impressionists such as Lovis Corinth, Max Liebermann, and Lesser Ury. He was associated with the Berlin Secession, a group which opposed the accepted salon and the officially sanctioned style of painting.
After dissolving the partnership with his cousin in 1901, Paul Cassirer became a very active publisher. He established not only the Pan Presse and launched the bi-monthly journal Pan, which provided a forum for new ideas on art and literature, but also founded the Gesellschaft Pan which presented unknown or ignored dramatic works to an exclusive circle of theatregoers. The Paul Cassirer publishing house, founded in 1908, focused on editing works of modern artists. In World War I, he launched two journals, Kriegszeit (1914–16) and Bildermann (April–December 1916). Kriegszeit showed graphic works which dealt with the war in an optimistic light, because Cassirer himself, like many other intellectuals and artists, saw at first saw the war in nationalistic terms. However, he moved toward pacifism while serving as a despatch rider in the war. After the war he became active in politics and developed theories about the place of art in socialism (Utopische Plauderei, 1919; Unser Weg, 1920). Among his later commissions were the illustrations for Chagall's My Life in 1922. After his relationship with his wife, the actress Tilla Durieux, deteriorated, Cassirer committed suicide in 1926. Max Liebermann, Harry Graf Kessler, and René Schickele published a memoriam in the same year.
Katalog der auf der Pan-Presse gedruckten Buecher und Mappenwerke (1912); "Verzeichnis der Lithographien im Вildermann," in: E. Barlach, Das druckgraphische Werk. Dore und Kurt Reutti Stiftung. Katalog Kunsthalle (1968); E. Caspers, Paul Cassirer und die Pan-Presse. Ein Beitrag zur deutschen Buchillustration und Graphik im 20. Jh. (1986); R.E. Feilchenfeldt, Markus Brandis: Paul Cassirer Verlag: Berlin 1898–1933. Eine kommentierte Bibliographie (2002).
[Sonja Beyer (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.