The Max Raphael Project

This website commemorates the work of the German art historian and philosopher Max Raphael (1889-1952). Maintained by a small group of editors, the Max Raphael Project aims to open up Max Raphael's writings to an English-speaking audience for purposes of research and education. The presented texts are subject to change and new material is constantly being added. Please feel free to contact one of the editors in case you find any errors or would like to contribute to the development of the website.

The following books have been published on Max Raphael in recent years:


2016: The Invention of Expressionism: Critical Writings 1910-1913, a collection of Max Raphael's early writings, translated by Patrick Healy and published by November Editions.


2015: Picasso / Marx and Socialist Realism in France by Sarah Wilson. Contains an English translation of Max Raphael's Proudhon, Marx, Picasso. Published by Liverpool University Press.

1. About

1.1. Max Raphael: Biography

The point of departure for this research project is the article 'Der Expressionismus' published by Raphael in September 1911, which was aimed at identifying the contemporary tendencies in art.

In the period from 1910-1913, Raphael effectively created not only the term 'Expressionism', but also developed what was to become the basic historical reading of modernity, especially culminating in his work Von Monet zu Picasso, published in Munich in 1913.

Max Raphael in Switzerland, 1917

With 'Der Expressionismus' Raphael was the first to name and provide a theory of Expressionism in the German language. His writings in these years are also the fruits of the first period of his lifelong engagement with art, and his many-sided research to provide 'an empirical theory of art', which would continue until his death by suicide in New York in 1952.

Some of this research was published subsequently by the Bollingen Press. In a note Raphael sent to the Bollingen Foundation we have perhaps the most succinct description of his life's work:

The work I have been doing for the past 35 years concerns a theory of art encompassing:

  1. the essential concepts of a scientific description of a work of art
  2. a theory of art criticism, and
  3. a theory of art history.

All my published work since 1913 and all my unpublished studies have been preparatory work for this purpose. They covered, from the historical and aesthetically point of view, modern art (architecture, painting, sculpture) of the XIX and XX centuries, the architecture and sculpture of the XII century, Greek architecture, the paintings of the Palaeolithic caves in France and Spain, and the prehistoric pottery of Egypt. My theory of art shall be general, i.e. valid for all times and all peoples. Therefore I had to analyse the creative process of the human mind, a project which was realised in my book Theory of Knowledge. Moreover history of art cannot be separated from economics, sociology, politics, religion etc., thus my studies embraced these fields too.

The work 'Theory of Knowledge' to which Raphael refers in the letter was published in German in 1934, under the title Zur Erkenntnistheorie der konkreten Dialektik, and in 1938 in French as La théorie marxiste de la connaissance (NRF, Gallimard). Returning to consider the first part of these studies, which were issued in various publications from 1910, sometimes under the pseudonym Schönlank, or Schönlanke (after his place of birth, in Western Prussia, where he lived until the age of 10), we can see between the work on Expressionism and the book-length publication Von Monet zu Picasso the setting out of his research to explore a theory of creativity and engage in contemporary criticism, which put him at odds with the established practice of art history as promulgated by Wölfflin in his Principles of Art History. Notably, Wöllfflin had refused to accept Raphael's proposal for a thesis on Picasso, telling him: 'Such a topic is of no interest to me'.

In a memoir on Raphael, Professor Claude Schaefer has suggested that in Berlin the young student had been noticed by Simmel, who is said to have told Raphael: 'Since you are such an independent spirit, there is nothing much for you in the university.'

In his 'autobiography', Raphael noted 1910 was a year of wandering along the Rhine, the significant meeting with Max Pechstein, whose sketch portrait of Raphael survives, and most significantly of all - as he tells in one of his published articles - of the shock of seeing a painting by Picasso in a window in Paris, which in retrospect would be a fatidic moment for his whole life.

A scan of Max Raphael's autobiography

When reviewing works of Seligman in the early 1950s, Raphael would return to the artists who inspired some of his deepest reflection and trenchant criticism: Picasso, Cézanne and Matisse. John Berger decicated his famous work The Success and Failure of Picasso to Max Raphael, 'a forgotten but great critic', and Herbert Read ranked him as the most significant theorist of art of the first half of the 20th century. Read was instrumental in having Raphael's essays published in English tranlation by Norbert Guterman by the Bollingen Foundation, under the title The Demands of Art, where we have the most advanced example of his theory at work.

The immediate context of the article 'Der Expressionismus' was Raphael's confrontation with the writing of Lovis Corinth who, in the journal Pan, had dubbed the young, modern artists 'a horde of imitators':

In the thirteenth issue of Pan, mister Lovis Corinth has, under the title of 'The Latest Painting', published a study in which he seeks to write off young artists as a horde of imitators. They imitate Cézanne (about whom mister Corinth writes as academically as one should about him), van Gogh and Gauguin. They copy 'the present-day pictures of Negroes and Malayans, the painting on Indian tepees'. In short 'the young forget that no master has ever fallen from the sky and that everything great has come into being through taking pains, through work, and learning. They begin - as Liebermann rightly says - where the great masters have left off'.

Raphael then proceeds to sharply rebuke Corinth, making the point that he repeats what had once been said about him, and that the comparative judgement he draws is misplaced:

Behind these truisms is concealed the usual accusation of inability that is levelled at every new phenomenon.

Raphael suggests that he will break the bad habit that tries 'by every means to avoid naming names', and in a direct rebuttal to Corinth suggests that he will name the future of painting and artists who concentrate their creative will in a totally new way, and:

much more intensely than mister Corinth ever has. Of the foreigners we have Matisse and Picasso, de Vlaminck and Kees van Dongen. Among the Germans, Pechstein and Purrmann, Erbslöh and Levy, Kirchner, Heckel and Schmidt-Rottluff. There are certainly a few names missing, but I assume gladly and joyfully that none of them has ever visited mister Corinth's academy.

The polemic shifts from making jibes at Corinth to an analysis of Impressionism and its different goals, to what he identifies as the 'new art': 'In Impressionism, the world as human representation seems not only to be drawn into the uncertainty of movement, but this representation is itself also dissolved in an eternally flowing play of elements.'

What this suggests to Raphael is not only the oneiric nature of Impressionism, but also that it was not founded on representation, 'if one understands this to be the joining of several impressions into a clear picture in the memory', but on perception. He adds that this is probably the case of every naturalism: 'This new kind of perception was brought into being by the artist's devotion to nature, his empathy with cosmic life.'

Raphael sums up his trenchant critique of Impressionism by declaring the distinguishing tendencies he sees in the new movement:

If I had to distinguish the tendencies of the Expressionists from those of their predecessors, I would say: [...] The Expressionists mistrust the impression - immediate, multifarious in its chance nature -, and seek to raise it to an unambiguous, clear, simple and necessary concept. Their work is based on abstraction [...] [They] form this perception into closed pictures.

Speaking of the response to non-European art, Raphael notes that the Expressionists had an 'eminent ability to re-experience those simple and expressive forms. For the artist, they are the adequate form of his imaginative content and not pure copies.'

The text ends with a return to Corinth and a ringing declamation:

We, friends of the new art, can do without the kitsch painters Manguin and Friesz, the adulterators of our ideals [...] We want to see: Matisse and Picasso, de Vlaminck and Kees van Dongen, Pechstein and Purrmann, Erbslöh and Levy, Kirchner and Heckel, Schmidt-Rotluff.

It is fascinating to chart Raphael's research over a period of three years, in more than sixteen published articles, and its culmination in the work Von Monet zu Picasso. In 1910, and 1912 he had made visits to Paris, met with Rodin, Matisse and Picasso, and studied the work of Poussin and medieval architecture. Raphael was certainly influenced by Bergson and Simmel in his early formulation of a theory of artistic creation, and he directly challenged the dominant neo-Kantian aesthetic which was so much part and parcel of German academic life. He undertook intensive studies of Husserl, engaged in research on mathematics, wrote plays and took himself to Bodensee, where he stayed at Überlingen and was, as Schaefer notes, surprised by the outbreak of World War I. His studies were aimed at resolving the theoretical questions in the first part of Von Monet zu Picasso: how does one find from the genesis of a work its raison d'être?

In the course of his military service he developed arguments for conscientious objection in a diary entry titled 'Geist wieder Macht', and wrote a long work on Kant's Perpetual Peace. (The first volume of the Suhrkamp Werkausgabe, 1989, entitled Lebens-Erinnerungen has excerpts from diaries at this date, and valuable extracts from correspondence.) He deserted the army and went to Switzerland in 1917, remaining there until 1920. During this time he met with individual artists, for example de Fiori (de Vogelaer), Haller, von Tscharner, Wiegele, and published articles on their work.

In his 'autobiography', a document of less than 25 closely written pages probably composed in 1951, Raphael acknowledges that he was no longer able to maintain his earlier theoretical position, and saw that his idea of theory rested on a metaphysics which could only be hostile to the empirical world. His turn was toward a new question, namely the question of the State and social order.

From Switzerland he relocated to Berlin in 1920, and offered various projects for publication, of which Idee und Gestalt was accepted, a work whose metaphysical assumptions he was concurrently beginning to deconstruct. Claude Schaefer sees 1920 as a date at which the direction of Raphael's interest begins to sharpen and his analysis takes a turn to concreteness. This involved him in the study of the exact sciences and mathematics, with work pursued on Newton's axioms, and exhaustive investigations on particular works of art. In some sense his paper on the tropes of scepticism ('Die pyrronischen Skepsis', published in 1921) marks the collapse of Raphael's 'idealist commitments', a turning to the exact sciences, and increasingly studies which went in the direction of Marx.

Significant for Raphael in the midst of these severe concentrated studies was the contact he established with the Volkshochschule Gross-Berlin, where he taught from 1924. In some way this was an experimental station where he could check the effectiveness of the working method he was developing. He gave seminars on Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, on Husserl's Logical Investigations and the work of Max Scheler, and on dialectic method in Marx and Hegel.

He also taught at the Marxistische Arbeiterhochschule von Gross-Berlin. Schaefer suggests that the director, J.L. Schmidt, made Lukács aware of Raphael's writing on 'a Marxist theory of art'. Raphael viewed his teaching, retrospectively, as leading him via practice and experience towards the political and its impact on the exact sciences. The breadth and extent of Raphael's work in this period is simply astonishing. From monograph-length studies on Corot, on Rembrandt, on Degas - essays which were to appear translated in edited version in The Demands of Art, which also contains a later account of Raphael's 'Empirical Theory of Art'. Some of this period required rest at sanatoria in Davos or Arosa, where he also gave lectures. Raphael extended his methodological work to literature, studying the writing of Valéry, and continued with his architectural analysis, publishing his work on the Doric temple, which involved him re-measuring temples in Sicily, in 1930. He was also responding in detail to the competition for the Palace of the Soviets, and attedempting to formulate a theory of 'democratic architecture'.

In 1932 Raphael proposed to the directors of the Volkshochschule a course on the scientific foundations of Marx's Capital, and a course on the sociology of art. The directors cautioned prudence, given the political situation in Germany, and Raphael took the decision to leave the school, and Germany and go to Paris, where he arrived on the 1st of December 1932 and would remain until the first half of 1941. Raphael never joined any political party.

It was the works published from these studies in the 1930s that Bordieu claims were of considerable import for his theoretical development. Nishida in Japan also noted the value of Raphael's writing, and there is clear evidence that Walter Benjamin was profoundly influenced in his understanding of 'a Marxist theory of art' by his reading of Raphael, whom he cites in the Passagen-Werk.

Raphael began to publish in French immediately. The éditions Excelsior published his Proudhon Marx Picasso. Trois études sur la sociologie de l'art in 1933. The same year his book on the school of Lurcat in Villejuif appeared (J-L Cohen dedicated a thesis study to this work), as well as articles on Picasso in Minotaure . In 1934 the 'Marxist Theory of Knowledge' Zur Kunsttheorie des dialektischen Materialismus was published in Paris and smuggled into Germany; it would be issued in a French translation by Gallimard in 1938. Raphael had taken up contact with Löwenthal and Horkheimer at the Institute in regard to this work. In 1935 he wrote a monographic study on Romanesque church architecture in France after prolonged study visits to the South of France. These studies were much appreciated by Meyer Schapiro, who arranged to have some of Raphael's writing published in the Marxist Quartely in New York. In 1936, Raphael prepared a study on Flaubert, which was followed by a long manuscript on Racine in 1939. This year, 1939, also saw the production of his text Arbeiter, Kunst und Künstler (Workers, Art, and Artists), which could be viewed as a synthesis of the preceding research of the decade, the 1930s. First delivered as a series of lectures to Swiss workers, and based also on his lectures in the Louvre, it is the fullest explication of his method, especially in the analysis of a work of Corot, to which he dedicated a minute analysis. (He would send this to the Institute for Social Research, and Horkheimer considered publishing an extract. Some of the correspondence indicates that Horkheimer was personally very impressed with the serious purpose of Raphael, and remarked in correspondence on his shyness, and scholarly competence.)

The analysis should be supplemented by his text on 'An Empirical Theory of Art', composed at the beginning of the 1940s but not finally elaborated until 1945. Raphael provided his own assessment of these works as constituting the first part of his projected 'theory of art; and the fundamental notions of description'. He was still unsatisfied with what he had set out, and wished to enlarge the historical understanding to which he had arrived. He hoped to return to study the last painting of Poussin, the unfinished Apollo and Daphne. It was when lecturing in front of this work in the Louvre that he met a young woman from Germany, Emma, who was to be his future wife.

Raphael was placed in an internment camp in the South of France, where he continued to compose, writing texts on a Marxist ethics and Spinoza. Diaries survive of this internment experience, from Emma, which make for harrowing reading.

He left France aided by the Quaker Mission and arrived in New York on 22nd of June 1941, where he was later joined by Emma, who took cleaning jobs in the city to support their precarious existence.

Max and Emma Raphael in the United States

Raphael wrote his account of the last days he spent in France as a preface to his (unpublished) history of German industrial capitalism. From a letter he wrote to Claude Schaefer on the 14th of November 1943, one can grasp the direction of his work at this date, and the extreme conditions under which it was carried out. A similar letter to Alice Guggenheim has been published in the Lebens-Erinnerungen. (Neither Löwenthal, nor Horkheimer could, due to straitened circumstances of the Institute, help with either publication or financial assistance. Meyer Schapiro was also unable to provide assistance in New York.)

The letter gives an account of Raphael's work from the time of arrival in New York. He had begun to study the Neolithic Egyptian pottery in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and attempted to interpret from the changing forms of the pottery the changing conditions of the economy and of the society. In the ornamentation he saw magical signs with a precise meaning, and he succeeded in translating these signs into contemporary abstract language, which antedates the use of hieroglyphs by 1.000 to 1.200 years. In seeking to understand the causes for these transformations Raphael focused on the significance of social transformation, economical and political. These studies led him to consider the diachronic relations of art, and not just the synchronic relations between an infra- and super-structure within the social. He wanted to see if the magic signs of the early Neolithic were related to the signs found in cave art, in the Palaeolithic caves of France and Spain especially. The second question he approached was: how did religion emerge from magic?

Raphael saw this process as occurring through domestication and the beginning of agriculture - influenced by the research of Gordon Childe - and proposes that the emergence of a new dominant class which no longer required the use of magic for the animal hunt, instead needed these means against other humans, and thus developed signs that are more restricted and limited in their communication; signs that were meaningful only to the initiated. To his surprise he found in measuring the Palaeolithic paintings that there was a consistent appearance of the golden section, approximately that of Paccioli, that is 2:3 = 3:5. Although surprising, he said he found a simple explanation for this: the human hand. Through spreading the fingers of the hand, one could approximate these proportions, and so the stylisation in Palaeolithic art could be better understood from the presence of the hand. It seemed to Raphael that each period of art might have such a unifying source - for example the use of Euclidean co-ordinates by the Greeks, deployed from the interior to the exterior - and that according to the emphasis on this or that solution one could distinguish the different phases of Greek art.

These researches also took him to reconsider his earlier writing on artists. His essay on Picasso's Guernica - the touchstone for Berger's The Success and Failure of Picasso - was re-written in the last year of his life, and published as part of The Demands of Art in 1968. Two other volumes on architecture and sculpture had been planned to accompany this work with the general title of 'Wie will ein Kunstwerk gesehen sein?' - 'How should a work of art be viewed?'

Raphael planned to return to Europe to study the Palaeolithic cave paintings. As his student Shirley Chesney writes in the introduction to Wiedergeburtsmagie in der Altsteinzeit (Fischer Verlag, 1979), the trip was in preparation at the beginning of 1952.

According to Professor Schaefer, Raphael fell into a depression, aggravated by difficult life constraints and a torrid New York summer, which led him to commit suicide on the 14th of July 1952.

Max Raphael in the United States


  • Material from the Werkausgabe (Frankfurt-am-Main: Suhrkamp, 1989).
  • Claude Schaefer, typescript of the unpublished 'Memoir'.
  • Unpublished manuscript of Raphael's 'autobiography'. Healy Papers, FIU, Amsterdam.
  • Paper by Shirley Chesney from Hamburg, Raphael Conference, 1989.
  • Patrick Healy and Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs (eds.), Das schöpferische Auge, oder, Die Geburt des Expressionismus, die frühen Schriften, 1910-1913 (Vienna: Gesellschaft für Kunst und Volksbildung, 1993).
  • Patrick Healy (ed. and transl.), The Invention of Expressionism: Critical Writings 1910-1913 (Amsterdam: November Editions, 2016).

1.2. Bibliography

This bibliography is an expanded version of the bibliographies in Max Raphael (1989) Marx Picasso. Die Renaissance des Mythos in der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp) pp. 163-170 and Max Raphael (1993) Das schöpferische Auge oder die Geburt des Expressionismus (Wien: Gesellschaft für Kunst und Volksbildung) pp. 180-181, and has been compiled by Jules Schoonman. Links to digital editions have been provided when available. Revisions and expansions are constantly made. Please contact us in order to provide feedback or contribute to the list.


  • Max Raphael-Schönlanke, "Die amerikanische Ausstellung," in: März, IV:12 (Mid-June), pp. 497-500. PDF
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Berliner Ausstellungen," in: März, IV:15 (August 2), pp. 234-237. PDF
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Ein Manetbuch," in: März, IV:18 (September 16), pp. 494-495. PDF
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Der Sonderbund in Düsseldorf," in: Nord und Süd, XXXV, vol. 135:2 (2nd October issue), pp. 154-157. PDF
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Die Weltstadt Berlin.," in: Nord und Süd, XXXV, vol. 135:6 (2nd December issue), pp. 506-509. PDF


  • M.R. Schönlank, "[Review of:] Ossip Dymow. Der Knabe Wlaß," in: Nord und Süd, XXXV, vol. 136:422 (2nd January issue), p. l68. PDF
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Die neue Secession," in: Katalog der Neuen Secession Berlin. III. Ausstellung: Gemälde; Februar-April, 1911 (Berlin: Wm. Baron Verlag).
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Weiß und Schwarz," in: Nord und Süd, XXXV, vol. 136:423 (1st February issue), pp. 241-244. PDF
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Akademie und neue Künstlervereinigung," in: Der Sturm, 1911:49 (February 4), p. 392. PDF | Blue Mountain Project
  • M.R. Schönlanck [sic], "[Review of:] Curt Herrmann: Der Kampf um den Stil," in: Nord und Süd, XXXV, vol. 136:424 (2nd February issue), p. 355. PDF
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Die neue Sezession," in: Nord und Süd, XXXV, vol. 137:427 (1st April issue), pp. 70-73. PDF
  • A.R. Schönlank [sic], "Die neue Malerei. Neue Sezession," in: Der Sturm, 1911:58 (April 8), pp. 463-464. PDF | Blue Mountain Project
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Die 'Neue Secession' in Berlin," in: Bildende Künstler, I:4 (April?), pp. 155-156.
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Liebermanns barmherziger Samariter," in: Nord und Süd, XXXV, vol. 138:435 (lst August issue), pp. 210-212. PDF
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Der Expressionismus," in: Nord und Süd, XXXV, vol. 138:437 (lst September issue), pp. 360-365. PDF
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Henri Bergsons Schriften. [Review of:] Henri Bergson: Zeit und Freiheit," in: Nord und Süd, XXXV, vol. 138:438 (2nd September issue), pp. 429-432. PDF
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Malerei und Persönlichkeit," in: Die Aktion, I:31 (September 18), pp. 974-979. PDF
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Goethes Geburtstag in Weimar," in: Die Aktion, I:32 (September 25), pp. 1006-1007. PDF
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Purrmann und Levi [sic]," in: Der Sturm, II:84 (lst November issue), pp. 671-672. PDF | Blue Mountain Project
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Berliner Ausstellungen," in: Nord und Süd, XXXVI, vol. 139:442 (2nd November issue), pp. 260-264. PDF
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Zur modernen Malerei. [Review of:] Julius Meier-Gräfe: Cézanne. – van Gogh [and] E.H. du Quesne-van Gogh: Persöniche Erinnerungen an Vincent van Gogh," in: Nord und Süd, XXXVI, vol. 139:443-444 (1st and 2nd December issues), pp. 437- 438. PDF
  • M.R. Schönlank, "[Review of:] Charles de Coster. Flämische Legenden," in: Nord und Süd, XXXVI, vol. 139:434-444 (1st and 2nd December issues), pp. 444-445. PDF


  • M.R. Schönlank, "Lieber Herr Pechstein!," in: Pan, II, 25 (May 9), pp. 738-739. PDF


  • Von Monet zu Picasso. Grundzüge einer Ästhetik und Entwicklung der modernen Malerei (Munich: Delphin-Verlag)., second edition
  • M.R. Schönlank, "Max Pechstein," In: Pan, III, 21 (February 21), pp. 492-495. PDF


  • "Zur gegenwärtigen Bedeutung der Schiller'schen Ästhetik," in: Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, XXXIV:5 (August), pp. 339-346. HU
  • "Der Tastsinn in der Kunst," in: Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, XXXV:8 (November), pp. 145-157. HU
  • "Der Deutsche Stil," in: Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, XXXV, pp. 458-464. HU


  • "Die Wertung des Kunstwerkes," in: Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, XXXVI:2 (May), pp. 84-99. HU
  • "Über die Arbeit des Künstlers," in: Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, XXXVII:7 (October), pp. 61-74. HU
  • "Über einige Grenzen der Malerei," in: Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, XXXVII:9 (December), pp. 203-210. HU


  • "Die Ansprüche des modernen Kunstgewerbes," in: Innendekoration, XXVII (February), pp. 63-77. HU
  • "Die deutsche Landschaft als malerisches Sujet," in: Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, XXXVIII:1,2 (April and May), pp. 57-62; 131-141. HU, Part I | Part II
  • "Die Idee des Schöpferischen," in: Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, XXXVIII:5 (August), pp. 308-316. HU


  • "Über den Expressionismus: offener Brief an Herrn Prof. Rich. Hamann," in: Das Kunstblatt, I:4 (April), pp. 122-126. PDF
  • "Das Erlebnis Matisse," in: Das Kunstblatt, I:5 (May), pp. 145-154. PDF
  • "Das moderne Museum," in: Das Kunstblatt, I:8 (August), pp. 225-230. PDF
  • "Das Problem der Darstellung," In: Die Kunst für Alle (Munich), XXXII:21/22 (August), pp. 418-423. HU
  • "Purrmanns Atelierecke," in: Das Kunstblatt, I:11 (November), 336-40. PDF


  • "Das Buch mit Abbildungen," In: Dekorative Kunst (Munich), XXVI (March), pp. 176-185. MDZ
  • "Max Pechstein," in: Das Kunstblatt, II:6 (June), pp. 161-175. PDF
  • "Ausstellungen [on the Carl Hofer exhibition in Zurich]," in: Das Kunstblatt, 2, pp. 125-126. PDF


  • "Alexander Gerbig," in: Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, XLIII:11 (February), pp. 309-310. HU
  • "Die Gestaltung des Menschen in der Malerei," in: Das Kunstblatt, III:3 (March) pp. 76-83. PDF


  • "Ernesto di Fiori," in: Das Kunstblatt, IV:6 (June), pp. 183-185. PDF
  • "Wiegele und Tscharner," in: Das Kunstblatt, IV:9 (September), pp. 264-72. PDF


  • Idee und Gestalt. Ein Führer zum Wesen der Kunst. (Munich: Delphin-Verlag).


  • "Über Gustav Wolff," in: Der Cicerone (Leipzig), XV:16 (August), pp. 742-747; also in: Jahrbuch der jungen Kunst (Leipzig), IV, pp. 190-197.


  • "Über Johann von Tscharner," in: Der Cicerone (Leipzig), XVI:3 (February), pp. 136-139; also in: Jahrbuch der jungen Kunst (Leipzig), IV, pp. 293-299.


  • "Kunst als Ersatz. Gespräch mit einem Nervenartz," in: Davoser Revue 3, No.1 (15 Oktober), pp. 11-14.


  • "Gedanken über den griechischen Tempel und die christliche Kirche," in: Davoser Revue 4, No.2 (15 November), pp. 39-40.


  • Der Dorische Tempel, dargestellt am Poseidontempel zu Paestum. (Augsburg: Dr. Benno Filser Verlag).
  • "Über den Aufbau und Zusammenhang der Künste," in: Musik im Leben 5, No.10/12, pp. 170-172.
  • "Das Werk von Le Corbusier," in: Davoser Revue 5, No.6 (15 März), pp. 187-190.
  • "Die gotischen Bildwerke der deutschen Schweiz," in: Davoser Revue 6, No.3 (15 Dezember), pp. 78-83.


  • "Die neuromantische Auferstehung des Mittelalters und der kulturkämpferische Neuthomismus," in: Neue Schweizer Rundschau (Zurich), XXIV:4 (April), pp. 261-264.
  • "Werkstattfragmente," in: Davoser Revue 6, No.6 (15 März), pp. 186-187.
  • "Große Künstler I. Tilman Riemenschneider," in: Davoser Revue 6, No.10 (15 Juli), pp. 291-298.
  • "Große Künstler II. Erinnerungen um Picasso, zu dessen 50. Geburtstag," in: Davoser Revue 6, No.11 (15 August) pp. 325-329.
  • "Anmerkungen über den Prosastil von Paul Valéry," in: Deutsch-Französische Rundschau, IV:7 (July), pp. 553-563.
  • "Die pyrrhoneische Skepsis," in: Philosophische Hefte (Berlin), III:1/2, pp. 47-70.
  • "Davoser Impressionen," in: Davoser Revue (August, September and Oktober); continued in: Davoser Blätter (September and Oktober 1932).
  • "Der aufständische Künstler. Zu Gedächtnis Riemenschneiders," in: Die Welt am Abend, No.155 (7 Juli).


  • "Zur Kunsttheorie des dialektischen Materialismus," in: Philosophische Hefte (Berlin), III:3/4, pp. 125-152.
  • "C.G. Jung vergreift sich an Picasso," in: Information (Zurich), No.6 (December), pp. 4-7.


  • "Ein Jahrhundert französischer Karikatur," in: Deutsch-Französische Rundschau, VI:5 (May), pp. 291-303.
  • Proudhon, Marx, Picasso: Trois études sur la sociologie de l'art. (Paris: Éditions Excelsior).
  • "Introduction à une architecture en béton armé," in: Groupe scolaire de l'Avenue Karl Marx á Villejuif, réalisé pour la Municipalité par André Lurçat, Architecte... (Paris: Édition de l'architecture d'aujourd'hui), pp. 5-16.
  • "Geistige Strömungen im gegenwärtigen Paris," in: Information (Zurich), No.7 (Januar).
  • "Remarque sur le baroque," in: Minotaure, Heft 1.


  • Zu Erkenntnistheorie der konkreten Dialektik. (Paris: Éditions Excelsior).


  • "A Marxist Critique of Thomism," in: Marxist Quarterly (New York), I:2 (April-June), pp. 285-293. Translation of pp. 157-171 of Zur Erkenntnistheorie...(1934).


  • La Théorie Marxiste de la connaissance. (Paris: Gallimard). Translation of Zur Erkenntnistheorie...(1934).


  • Prehistoric Cave Paintings. (New York: Pantheon Books; Bollingen Series IV). Translated by Norbert Guterman.


  • Marx y Picasso: Los pintores modernos a la luz del materialismo dialéctico, en un estudio sobre la sociologia del arte. (Buenos Aires: Ediciones Archipiélago). Two essays of Proudhon, Marx, Picasso...(1933) translated by R. Sajon.


  • Prehistoric Pottery and Civilization in Egypt (New York: Pantheon Books; Bollingen Series VIII). Translated by Norbert Guterman.


  • "Picasso," in: Il Castello. Revista mensile di cultura 2, No.1&2. Translation of essay on Picasso from Proudhon, Marx, Picasso...(1933).


  • Teorija Duhovnog Stvaranja Na Osnovi Marksizma (Sarajevo: Veselin Maslesa). Serbo-Croatian translation of Zur Erkenntnistheorie...(1934).


  • The Demands of Art (Princeton: Princeton University Press; Bollinger Series LXXVIII). Translated by Norbert Guterman.


  • Zur Erkenntnistheorie der konkreten Dialektik (Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Neue Kritik; Archiv sozialistischer Literatur 25). Facsimile edition of Zur Erkenntnistheorie...(1934).


  • Theorie des geistigen Schaffens auf marxistischer Grundlage (Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer). Revised edition of Zu Erkenntnistheorie...(1934). Afterwords by Joachim Schumacher and Claude Schaefer.
  • "Sur la méthode d'interprétation de l'art paléolithique," in: Raison présente, No.32 (Paris).


  • Arbeiter, Kunst und Künstler. Beiträge zu einer marxistischen Kunstwissenschaft (Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer Verlag). Afterword by Norbert Schneider.


  • Für eine demokratische Architectur. Kunstsoziologische Schriften. (Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer Verlag). Afterword by Jutta Held.


  • Arbeiter, Kunst und Künstler (Dresden: VEB Verlag der Kunst; Fundus Bücherei 58/59/60). Reprint of Arbeiter, Kunst und Künstler...(1975). Afterword by Tanja Frank.


  • Wiedergeburtsmagie in der Altsteinzeit. Zur Geschichte der Religion und religiöser Symbole. (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag). Edited by Shirley Chesney and Ilse Hirschfeld.
  • Teorija na duchovnoto tvoreštvo vrz osnova na marksizmot (Skopje: Makedonska Kniga [and others]). Translation of Theorie des geistigen Schaffens auf marxistischer Grundlage(1974).


  • Proudhon, Marx, Picasso. Three Studies in the Sociology of Art (New Jersey: New Jersey Humanities Press; London: Lawrence & Wishart). Translated by Inge Marcuse. Edited, introduced and with a bibliography by John Tagg.


  • "Flaubert auf dem Rigi," In: Freibeuter 10, pp. 34-36.


  • "L'art des cavernes préhistoriques. Contribution à la problématique de l'art quartenaire," in: Café, No.3, pp. 101-116. Foreword by Patrick Brault.
  • Marx Picasso. Die Renaissance des Mythos in der bürgerliche Gesellschaft. (Frankfurt am Main/Paris: Qumran). Revised edition of two essays in Proudhon, Marx, Picasso... (1933). Edited and with an afterword by Klaus Binder.
  • Von Monet zu Picasso. Grunzüge einer Ästhetik und Entwicklung der modernen Malerei. (Frankfurt am Main/Paris: Qumran). Revised edition of Von Monet zu Picasso... (1913). Edited and with a foreword by Klaus Binder.


  • Die Farbe Schwarz. Zur materiellen Konstituierung der Form. (Frankfurt am Main/Paris: Qumran). Afterword by Bernd Growe. Edited by Klaus Binder.
  • Wie will ein Kunstwerk gesehen sein? «The Demands of Art» (Frankfurt am Main/New York: Edition Qumran im Campus Verlag). German edition of texts first published in English translation in The Demands of Art (1968). Afterword by Bernd Growe. Edited by Klaus Binder.


  • Aufbruch in der Gegenwart. Begegnungen mit der Kunst und den Künstlern des 20. Jahrhunderts. (Frankfurt am Main/New York: Edition Qumran im Campus Verlag). Edited and with a foreword by Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs.
  • Lebens-Erinnerungen. Briefe, Tagebücher, Skizzen, Essays. (Frankfurt am Main/New York: Edition Qumran im Campus Verlag). Edited and with an introduction by Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs.


  • Trois essais sur la signification de l'art pariétal paléolithique (Paris: Kronos). Edited by Patrick Brault.
  • "Über den Selbstmord," in: Roger Willemsen (ed.), Der Selbstmord (Köln: Kiepenheuer und Witsch) pp. 123-36. Reprint of Lebens-Erinnerungen... (1985), pp. 206-221.
  • Raumgestaltungen. Der Beginn der modernen Kunst im Kubismus und im Werk von Georges Braque (Frankfurt am Main/New York: Edition Qumran im Campus Verlag). Edited and with an introduction by Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs.
  • "Tintoretto: Die Auffindung Mosis, In: Merkur 40, 9/10, pp. 852-863. Prepublication of part of Bild-Beschreibung (1987).


  • Bild-Beschreibung. Natur, Raum und Geschichte in der Kunst (Frankfurt am Main/New York: Edition Qumran im Campus Verlag). Edited by Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs and Bernd Growe. Afterword by Bernd Growe.
  • "Wiegele und Tscharner," in: Franz Wiegele. Gemälde-Katalog (Klagenfurt/Wien: Österreichische Galerie), pp. 23-27. Reprint from Wiegele und Tscharner (1920).


  • Tempel, Kirchen und Figuren. Studien zur Kunstgeschichte, Ästhetik und Archäologie. (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp). Edited and with an introduction by Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs.
  • Natur – Kultur. Studien zur Philosophie und Literatur. (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp). Edited and with an introduction by Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs. Afterword by Ulrich Sonnemann.


  • Das göttliche Auge im Menschen. Zur Ästhetik der romanischen Kirchen in Frankreich. (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp). Edited by Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs. With contributions by Franz Dröge, Knut Nievers and Johann Konrad Eberlein.
  • Werkausgabe (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp).
    • Vol. 1: Marx Picasso. Die Renaissance des Mythos in der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft.
    • Vol. 2: Von Monet zu Picasso. Grundzüge einer Ästhetik und Entwicklung der modernen Malerei.
    • Vol. 3: Aufbruch in die Gegenwart. Begegnungen mit der Kunst und den Künstlern des 20. Jahrhunderts.
    • Vol. 4: Raumgestaltungen. Der Beginn der modernen Kunst im Kubismus und im Werk von Georges Braque.
    • Vol. 5: Die Farbe Schwarz. Zur materiellen Konstituierung der Form.
    • Vol. 6: Wie will ein Kunstwerk gesehen sein? »The Demands of Art«.
    • Vol. 7: Bild-Beschreibung. Natur, Raum und Geschichte in der Kunst.
    • Vol. 8: Tempel, Kirchen und Figuren. Studien zur Kunstgeschichte, Ästhetik und Archäologie.
    • Vol. 9: Das göttliche Auge im Menschen. Zur Ästhetik der romanischen Kirchen in Frankreich.
    • Vol. 10: Natur – Kultur. Studien zur Philosophie und Literatur.
    • Vol. 11: Lebens-Erinnerungen. Briefe, Tagebücher, Skizzen, Essays.


  • Das schöpferische Auge oder die Geburt des Expressionismus (Wien: Gesellschaft für Kunst und Volksbildung). Collection of early writings, 1910-1913. Edited by Patrick Healy and Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs. PDF


  • El Greco. Ekstase und Transzendenz. Mit Bildvergleichen zu Tintoretto. (Berlin: Reimer). Edited by Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs, Michael Scholz-Hänsel and Erasmus Weddigen.


  • Questions d'art (Paris: Klincksieck). Translation of Wie will ein Kunstwerk gesehen sein? (1984). Translated and with an introduction by Denise Modigliani.


  • Die Hand an der Wand (Zürich-Berlin: diaphanes).


  • Proudhon, Marx, Picasso in: Sarah Wilson, Picasso / Marx and Socialist Realism in France (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press). Translated by Sarah Wilson.


  • The Invention of Expressionism (Amsterdam: November Editions). Translated by Patrick Healy.

1.3. Contact

This website is currently maintained by:

  • Patrick Healy, senior researcher at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology. Patrick has been researching the works of Max Raphael over the last couple of decades. Several books and articles of his hand on the work of Raphael have been published over the years, as well as lectures. Some of these can be consulted on his website:
  • Jules Schoonman, independent curator and researcher currently teaching at the Delft University of Technology’s Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment.
  • Gijs van Koningsveld, editor, translator and occasional writer living in Amsterdam. Founder of November Editions.

Please contact us at: info [at] maxraphael [dot] org.

2. Resources

2.1. Shirley Chesney on Max Raphael

Source: Patrick Healy Archive, Amsterdam.
Few corrections were made to the original typescript.

Max Raphael wrote of Cezanne in Wie will ein Kunstwerk Gesehen Sein, published in English as The Demands of Art(Princeton, 1968)

'I paint my still-lives, these natures mortes, for my coachman who does not want them, I paint them so that children on the knees of their grandfathers may look at them while they eat their soup and chatter. I do not paint them for the pride of the Emperor of Germany or the vanity of the oil merchants of Chicago. I may get ten thousand francs for one of these dirty things, but I'd rather have the wall of a church, a hospital, or a municipal building .' Neither his curses nor his desires were realized, and the painter was thrown back on one last maxim: 'One must be a good worker... The ideal of earthly happiness - to have a beautiful formulation.' (quoted by Gasquet)

In the same way Max Raphael dedicated his work to those fighting to create a better world, to workers, to all those who would find inspiration and energy in art to bring about individual and social self-determination. After years of active teaching and lecturing in Europe, Raphael spent his last years in New York in concentrated research and writing. Occasionally he would guide friends and scholars through museums and art galleries. He was always open and available to seeing new work, especially that of young artists. I met Raphael at gallery shows of Picasso's sculptures, of Dubuffet, and at a large exhibition of Cezanne. The wealth of material from his last years now preserved in the Nuremberg archive was, however, for the most part, a solitary outpouring of effort and self-realization.

What were some of the problems he set for himself and how do we begin to approach such a world-encompassing work? Were the works of art elucidated for their own exemplary artistic merits or were they available to him, as points of departure for a theme and variation on an autobiographical journey? In much the same way that Cezanne used Mont. St. Victoire or the objects of a still-life, Rembrandt, the literary tales of the Testaments, Picasso, the full range of past and present works of art to stimulate their creativity. I believe, we must see Raphael as an artist-creator, using man-made works of art rather than nature or the people in his personal life to raise "seeing" to his own form of artistic practice. The physical break with the European continent not only brought him to New York and new objects (or subjects), but it was his last works that began to take on a kind of tragic grandeur.

Of course, I did not realize any of this when I was introduced to Raphael by my professor of history and philosophy at an experimental girl's college in 1950. My teacher had given me two Raphael books to study, Prehistoric Cave Painting, and Prehistoric Pottery in Egypt. Both books were published in English translations by the Bollingen Foundation in the mid forties. I struggled to understand these books. I turned back and forth from the illustrations to the text and in the case of the pottery, to the originals encased in the Egyptian collection of the Metropolitan Museum. I took Raphael's word as authority. I did not know the extent of the originality of his work and how it stood in sharp conflict with the prevailing interpretations of prehistoric archaeologists and art historians. When I finally met him, it was through my teacher's recommendation that I apply to assist him in France on a trip to the caverns and palaeolithic art collections. The following September he planned to prepare his work on the "Iconography of Quaternary Art" and he needed someone to make new illustrations, based on bringing out compositional relationships. From that time on I "saw" compositions in palaeolithic art, but he died the summer, before leaving for France.

Today, I believe I was studying Raphael more than I was analyzing drawings of bison and reindeer or neolithic inscriptions. Yet there is no great discrepancy here. What he brought to "seeing" and interpreting the palaeolithic signs, symbols, and compositions was a life-time of seeing individual work and of forging a method to systemize his experiences; building a vocabulary to share and explicate them. His interpretations of cave art actually made other scholars angry. At Sarah Lawrence College where he analyzed the compositions of the great ceiling and galleries of Lascaux, as the struggles of totemistic social groups, a prestigious audience, including Joseph Campbell, Rudolph Arnheim, Helen Lynd, and Gene Weltfish were all overwhelmed by the intricacy of the analysis. Every detail of sign or graffiti was masterfully incorporated in his exposition. "But was it true?" people asked then and must still ask now. How could he retell the story of the Magdalenian hunters with such certainty and authority? Was he imposing "class struggle" on the palaeolithic hunters? Why did he embark on such a task alone in New York, far from a world fighting on the soil of the caves, where a twenty thousand year continuum of art making produced thousands of images? He had no department, graduate students, or computer. Yet he managed to compile a systematic file of thousands of drawings and information about the contents of over hundreds of caves sites in France, Spain, and other parts of Europe, the numbers and sites of animal species, their dispositions and relationships from site to site. He read and amassed huge bibliographies of published articles by European prehistorians and kept in correspondence with these scholars.

But his best hopes for preparing an assistant was not in asking me to read the archaeological literature. Instead he wished to help me to "see" works of art. When I spoke to him of my own doubts about my vocation of art practice, he tapped his head and said "We came from the Talmud." This ancient Hebrew taboo was a prohibition on the creation of graven images of the deity for the Jewish people that he believed severely limited their powers of pictorial invention. Whether he was deeply serious about the constraints of the Hebraic patriarchs on a not very committed Jewish art student or only encouraging me to undertake to help his scholarly work, I later felt his "prohibition" deeply and did abandon my studio work. After his death, I lived in the Raphael apartment with Mrs. Emma Raphael. She was an outstanding woman and anti-fascist militant who had dedicated all her energy to assist her husband, before and after his death. While she returned to Europe to try to interest publishers in Raphael's books I became part of the small group including Dr. Ilse Hirshfeld and Claude Schaefer who with Mrs. Raphael were concerned about the preservation and publication of the total work. From the 1940's until 1968 no new book appeared until Dr. Robert Cohen, a philosopher and physicist, together with Herbert Read, encouraged Princeton University Press to bring out The Demands of Art.

I had come to the study of Raphael's work through the simplest observation that anyone approaching a world art museum can ask: Why did no one for thousands of years in the palaeolithic era create an image that looked like one from Egypt? Or why for thousands of years in Egypt were conventions so strict that there was no palimpsest as in palaeolithic times or Greek proportions or Greek spatial compositions? Was there never a moment of complete artistic freedom or one single transgression of cultural norms throughout whole eras of human history? If there is an approach to this problem, how would one begin? Trough a study of history? Through the study of anthropology and ethnology? Through Hegel and Marx? "Yes," was Raphael's own answer, through the internal evidence of his published and unpublished works. But primarily, through the relatively independent domain of works of art themselves, which must be seen, grasped, felt, reconstituted and recreated, compared with other works and become the data for psychology of artistic production. A further task was to form a hierarchy of values by which to compare and judge the works of art. This the experiencing individuals would incorporate into their growth, ethics, and practice in the world. Only by seeing something of the whole range of art making might one begin to approach the "necessity" implied in such questions.

Again and again at different periods of my own life I have taken up the study of palaeolithic art and the reading of Raphael's books and studies. Raphael worked with the photographs and drawings of cave murals and mobiliary art made by the early prehistorians and scholars up until 1952. The nineteenth and early twentieth century practice was to ignore context and select out for reproduction of the clearest lines which corresponded to an identifiable image, animal or human. Great traditions of markings and signs that overlay or undercut or continued the individual figure or group were virtually ignored. Even at Lascaux it took decades for the Abbe Glory to prepare new drawings of the thousands of undecipherable markings of the Lascaux galleries for publication. We have in Raphael's palaeolithic, neolithic, and Greek studies the beginning study of motifs which he began to recognize, compare and encompass in a story of the visual record of mankind beginning with the wandering palaeolithic big game hunters, particularly at the last periods of the Magdalenian era, when that way of life was coming to an end.

But we must recognize some of the contradictions that came with exile, independent research and his preoccupation with art from Europe. Raphael had visited caves in 1935, according to his own diary entry on his research trip to the Romanesque churches, but at that time he did not undertake a systematic study. What works he cited, were from tracings and photographs from publication. In the case of the neolithic pottery, he worked from the originals in New York. But in the "Classical Man" he used a cast reproduction available in the Metropolitan Museum study rooms. His painstaking reconstructions often had flaws, which he was the first to acknowledge. But he wanted to be judged by the brave hypothesis and the broader implications of his work, which in the case of the palaeolithic, he judged to be the only scientific way to approach the vast material. To be acquainted with the totality of the then discovered works and to organize and compare them at individual sites. What he was doing was selecting out features that became part of his own paradigms of Palaeolithic man, Neolithic man, and Classical man in Greece. He then attempted to use these paradigms to show how a given social and economic system necessarily demands a unique spatial relationship, proportions, materials, and symbols, and feelings for each era. These powerful emotions evoked by works of art can affect viewers of all times. In a sense there is a limitation on the freedom of every artist since the most remote times of purposeful architecture, 300,000 years ago. Chronological and nationalist arrangements of art in museums would therefore, not help the individual trying to feel his way back into the palaeolithic works. We can see several different forms of symbol systems operating simultaneously – the large animal forms, the abstract notational markings and the signs that looked to Breuil like huts, emanating rays, and the undecipherable mazes of engravings covering whole ceilings. With no written record of traditional mythology to guide him , did Raphael create a mythology for the palaeolithic?

For ten years Raphael was engaged in the palaeolithic studies. I only met him two years before his death. Every occasion of meeting to see a gallery exhibit or visit for a simple dinner with Emma and Max Raphael was an enjoyable and relaxed experience. He was not threatening or formidable in person, but smiled often and had a need to laugh. This was, perhaps, because we did not know each other very well and while I may never have satisfied him intellectually or in practical matters; ie. for the field trip in France, he expected me to learn to operate a motorcycle and to transport him in a side car to cover the distance between caves. He seemed happy enough with my simple intuitive reactions to the art we saw together. A close college friend helped me translate a short preliminary essay for him that was sent to French scholars and for years later we joked about the meaning of such passages as "bison of uncertain sex," which we couldn't understand or translate at that time.

While he began the intense comprehensive studies of eras of art making with neolithic Egyptian pottery, he worked further back into the earlier universal era, the palaeolithic, with the deciphering of the neolithic signs. These "decorations" he could relate to a later hieroglyphic tradition and to an elaborate mythology, as well as to the earlier era. In his book Prehistoric Cave Painting he analyzed the markings as originating from gestures; the spreading and closing of fingers in the human hand, the central organizing device for proportions and spatial compositions that corresponded to the asymmetric animal bodies of bison, mammoth, and deer of the big game hunters in the palaeolithic era. He asserted that the lack of a base line corresponded to the experiences of wandering nomadic tribes and the palimpsest to the experiences of seeing the animals in herds and hordes. To my knowledge, no other scholar of art or archaeology made these relations between what was known of the life experiences of the palaeolithic peoples and the kinds of figurations they produced based on formal analysis of the compositional relationships. But when he went further to assert a meaning for the symbols, as a palaeolithic totemistic ideology and a magic of regeneration, we still have few studies that either confirm or deny these hypotheses. We do have forty years of literature attempting to debunk the magical and religious interpretations which were suggested by the earliest prehistorians and sociologists of religions, Frazer, Durkheim, Abbe Breuil, and Reinach. Their work had postulated a magic practiced on the animals; sympathetic magic for killing and fertility magic to increase or insure food. Raphael saw animals as symbols for men and social groups faced with the struggle for individual and collective survival.

The monumental works of the caves were themes and variations on the motif of love/ death/ immortality. For a man beset with the demands of such unstinting research alone, of analyzing, cataloging, and synthesizing the materials of a 20,000 year tradition, recreating the experience of a magic of rebirth must have been a powerful and dangerous undertaking. Here Raphael may have felt he was going to "the Mothers," in the passage of the second volume of Goethe's Faust, which he often quoted, where men find it difficult to find their way back. Was Raphael writing his own autobiography with palaeolithic imagery? Mrs. Raphael confirmed that he was working so intensely during the last weeks in New York that he needed pills every night to sleep. She was never certain how much they may have created a mood of uncertainty and horror along with the unbearable heat a New York summer, that contributed to the taking of his own life. But it can not be ignored that he was deeply preoccupied with deep rites and images that he believed were one of the most potent responses to the fact of man's mortality. He was always deeply concerned with "political realities and 1952 was a continuing agon for a committed but non-conforming Marxist theoretician. In my attempts to question him about contemporary politics, he referred to the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution as a fact that would take generations to bring to full realization. He spoke to me in terms of the millennia he was dealing with in his art studies. Mrs. Raphael later spoke to me of how deeply disturbed he was by the events and purges in Eastern Europe.

For us who inherited a wonderful legacy of problems Raphael did not live to bring to conclusion, there are infinite possibilities for further research. Perhaps the archaeological and historic sciences may now find his questions and hypotheses of more than historic interest, after forty years of collective new data from all over the world. Researchers today are testing hypotheses about the migrating social groups and settlement patterns of the Old Stone Age that relate to his hypothesis of social group boundaries (totemism), as the content underlying certain, but not all, palaeolithic representation. Recent research has revealed the sources of flint, the numerous mineral resources for the colors and evidence of trade and ceremonials of a seasonal character, particularly in the Dordogne river valleys. Raphael believed the growth of population, the constant meeting and mingling of groups necessitated their differentiation by animal symbols. The major signs may be regional markers. He wrote that many caves show records of initiations, marriages, battles and exchanges between the sexes of the differing social groups. In Niaux he saw a magnificent hall of heroes, a place where the great dead were commemorated. In other caves such as Los Casares he saw evidence of animals representing the passage of a deceased clan member, ascending to an underwater purgatory and emerging as a reborn spirit. For his interpretations Raphael used a long historic tradition of grave symbolism – images showing similar forms or devices that have a magical regeneration content. He also freely utilized the materials of Robertson Smith, Durkheim, Frazer, and other students of comparative religions. But no where does he suggest that there is a collectively unconscious storehouse of these images, which can be summoned at will or need from a universal collective unconscious. Raphael's sense of visual motifs is different from a universal predetermined archetype in the Jungian sense. But the processes whereby symbols are retained in history and folk memory and transformed are not very clear or developed. We may never know the origins of art or symbols (the palaeolithic caves and mobile art are a late phenomenon), but Raphael went further than anyone before him in attesting to the value and beauty of this earliest art we know.

The vocabulary of his time, which referred to contemporary indigenous peoples, as Naturvolk, with a regressive history sounds Eurocentric and in need of understanding and correction. Raphael seems to have shared a fundamental optimism and positive value judgement during the Second World War, on the emerging technological industrial world, whose monopolistic capitalistic practices he hoped to see abolished in the future triumph of a world socialist society. But he saw contemporary primitive societies outside the dialectic movement of history. Only in his study of a monumental sculpture from Eastern Island did he reflect positively on a recent prehistoric culture. "Who are the primitives?" he says in closing this essay, impugning his own Western values. In most cases he eschewed ethnographic comparisons, because he felt that most primitive societies were technologically overpowered by developed state societies and had created overelaborated magical ideologies in compensation. We may have reached a time when the formerly viewed superstitions, traditional ideologies, and practices of these people world-wide may now be seen as the only preservers of the planet? In any case, we must try to understand Raphael's paradigms of "progressive" and "regressive" history, as central to the upheavals of our own time.

Raphael may be one of the last great heroes of a generation who tried to experience and recapitulate the documented experience of all times past and present in his own work. Picasso was such a person. The Joyce of Finnegans Wake also comes to mind. For me, Raphael created an art form, different from pictorial image-making, literature, or music, but which used concepts, images, history and myth as his basic material (working material). He wished to create a science of art. It is still our task to evaluate his work to see whether indeed that was his true accomplishment or whether he truly reached "the Mothers" – that inner creative sphere from which both the greatest art and the great concepts of science have emanated. In his last year he wrote of Cézanne's late work with such depth of emotional intensity, as if he completely identified with both the creator and the created. In a sense, I have come to see the paradigm for Modern Man, succeeding the paradigm of Palaeolithic, Neolithic, and Classical Man, was Raphael himself.

Shirley Chesney, March 1989