AHASVER’S SALVATION, 2012
Pen and ink, wash, white gouache.
42 x 29,7 cm, Privatbesitz.
"Wagner saw Meyerbeer triumph in Paris, while he himself sought to join in vain. The initially friendly relationship with Meyerbeer, whose Jewish origins were not an issue for Wagner at first, turned into a bitter and ideologically heated rivalry after the Paris disappointment. Wagner does not mention Meyerbeer by name in his writing, but it was readily apparent to any contemporary reader that Wagner's tirades about the elaborate yet superficial opera music of the time, with its banalities and silliness, were specifically directed against Meyerbeer. Wagner does, however, mention Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy by name as an example of the failure of "true art" despite the richest talent, but at least he attests to a "tragic situation" and assures him of his "participation." Otherwise, the pamphlet contains complaints about the "Hebrew taste in art," the general "Jewishness," and the power that "the Jew" had procured for himself with the help of money, even in art, especially in the world of music. [...]
Again and again, the thesis is put forward that Wagner was secretly animated by the fear of being of Jewish descent himself, since his father died at an early age and his official stepfather Ludwig Geyer – supposedly of Jewish descent, but this has been disproved – was in fact his biological father. (Wagner told Cosima in 1878: "I don't believe it." ) The American author Robert W. Gutman even went so far as to assume that Wagner's anti-Semitism was a "hysterical" one due to his allegedly unsettled question of descent, with which he wanted to prove his "Aryanism" avant la lettre, so to speak. In fact, there were numerous caricatures of Wagner during his lifetime that depicted the man with a prominent, long nose – a fixed iconographic element of anti-Semitism – as a Jew himself. These caricatures may be understood as a disguised anti-Semitic allusion to Wagner's notorious skill at collecting money from potent patrons, but could also be interpreted as a derisive reaction to his own anti-Semitism."
(From: "The small Wagnerian", Enrik Lauer and Regine Müller, C.H. Beck Verlag)