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"Solar Dance" by Modris Eksteins

The Brilliant Book "Solar Dance" 

Modris Eksteins’s Solar Dance is recognized as a brilliant, remarkable, and many-layered story that describes fakery, forgery, and fraud. In other words, this unbelievably fascinating book explores the fate of Otto Wacker and a number of the forged paintings of Vincent van Gogh, a famous and influential painter in the long history of Western art. This paper aims to provide a critical analysis and evaluation of Solar Dance by Modris Eksteins. It will focus on the concise and accurate summary of the book, on the detailed and critical assessment of the content, and finally, on the positive impacts the described events could have on readers.

Solar Dance by Modris Eksteins reveals the exciting story of creation and illegal distribution of copies of famous and unique paintings of Vincent van Gogh (Eksteins, 2012). According to the plot of the book, Otto Wacker, a talented art dealer from Germany, becomes infamous and widely criticized for commissioning and selling several dozens of forgeries. Because this man has built an excellent and unblemished reputation in the field of art, he successfully managed to convince several prominent experts that he owns and sells only original paintings (Eksteins, 2012). This sophisticated and groundbreaking book concentrates on Otto Wacker’s sensational trial where he was accused of distributing fake paintings. His successful selling of more than three dozens of forged Van Gogh’s paintings resulted in massive scandal, and at the same time led to the unprecedented increase in the value of Van Gogh’s works (Eksteins, 2012).

This book is unique because, through the lens of Otto Wacker’s sale of forgeries, the author investigates the realities of the Weimar Republic collapsed and of the impetuous rise of Hitler. According to the estimations of critics who analyzed and evaluated Modris Eksteins’s book, the story that reveals the truth about Otto Wacker and unprecedented popularity of Vincent van Gogh is the bright example of fundamental uncertainties that are typical of the modern era (Heer, 2012). This work provides convincing evidence that the early twentieth century should be viewed as a new epoch where people searched for purpose, originality, and meaning. This book is also a cultural and political guide to personal and professional life of Vincent van Gogh (Heer, 2012). Moreover, this fascinating story should be interpreted not only as a work of cultural history that accurately and objectively reflects the events of a certain period of time, but also as a provocative analysis and assessment of nature and essence of the modern era, authenticity of art, and numerous contradictions typical of the first half of the twentieth century (Heer, 2012).

Despite the fact that the author of the book pays attention to life and work of Vincent van Gogh, he also motivates and inspires his readers to think about the significance, impacts, and nature of truthfulness and authenticity not only in the sphere of art, but in the lives of people as well (Eksteins, 2012). Modris Eksteins has made a successful attempt to describe how Otto Wacker neglects the value and the idea of authenticity. Eksteins’s book is groundbreaking as it successfully chronicles the era of controversies, confusion, and morality (Eksteins, 2012). Regardless of the fact that 56 short sections of the book are directly linked to the works of Vincent van Gogh, the author describes not only the personal life, success, and failures of this genius, but also reveals the impacts of Nazi condemnatory attitudes and their takeover of other countries (Eksteins, 2012).

The crisis of authenticity in Solar Dance is one of the major and most significant themes of the modern era. In addition, the author of this brilliant book provides bright examples on how authority, form, and law threaten the development and prosperity of culture and art (Eksteins, 2012). Description and evaluation of the greatest and most memorable forgery cases of the entire twentieth century give the author a chance to explore the nature of the cultural breakdown. Critics claim that this captivating book in fact deserves a wider, attentive, and interested readership because it not only describes the unique features and characteristics typical of the late nineteenth and twentieth-century culture but also sheds light on the never-ending struggle between authenticity and forgery, as well as on the importance of money and genuine art (Heer, 2012).

This book is an intriguing story of art, truthfulness, and cultural authenticity that describes the influence of political forces and social commentary on the art history. A thorough and accurate cultural observation from the political perspective gives the author an opportunity to describe the differences between the world of culture and the world of politics and material wealth (Eakin, 2012). In simple words, in order to explore the tight link between fakery and art, Modris Eksteins made a winning decision to describe how politics influenced the Western culture and art. The author of this engaging book describes the events in a layered manner in order not to miss conflicts in the spheres of politics and culture (Eakin, 2012). This book serves as a bright example that its author is one of the most erudite and talented scholars who managed to describe the crisis of authenticity through the assessment of Van Gogh cult and the story of Otto Wacker. Eksteins draws several parallels that aim to explore the connection between modernism and forgery (Heer, 2012).

Vincent van Gogh is the central personality in this deeply researched story, as the author of the book, a famous cultural historian, assesses the paradoxical status of him, one of the most recognized and talented painters of all times (Eksteins, 2012). Mr. Eksteins provides convincing arguments in his tale, proving that a variety of social and political forces influence and shape the works of art and their universal values. It is critically important to stress that the author of the books represents Vincent van Gogh not only as a talented and prominent painter of the modern age, but also as a the “marker” of the new epoch in the world of art (Eksteins, 2012). Otto Wacker, on the contrary, symbolizes the degrading Weimar Republic that is exhausted by the Great War and by Hitler’s assumption of power (Eksteins, 2012). In other words, Otto Wacker is a bright symbol of volatility and aspirations typical of the Weimar Republic.

Mr. Eksteins explores the stories of both main personalities, Van Gogh and Otto Wacker, in a professional manner, in order to express the spirit of the past and provide convincing evidence that the crisis of truth and authenticity is not a myth, but a severe reality that puts the development and prosperity of art and culture at risk (Eksteins, 2012). A detailed analysis of Solar Dance provides the most passionate readers with an excellent opportunity to understand how significant and influential social and political events have the power to shape cultures (Eksteins, 2012). Therefore, this captivating story gives readers a chance to gain insight into how the devastation and degradation caused by the war had influenced and changed the perceptions and attitudes of people toward the world, and how the devastating consequences of the war had changed moral, cultural, and political decisions on local and global levels (Eakin, 2012).

The central thesis presented by the author of this fascinating story states that the works of Van Gogh appeared and satisfied the public’s transcendental hunger for beauty in the time of rationality. According to the information provided in the book, despite his greatness, Vincent van Gogh was also a dominant symbol of disintegration, collapse, degradation, and even the death of art, beauty, and finally, truth (Eakin, 2012). A long and complex story of Van Gogh and Otto Wacker motivates every reader to think of what is true, authentic, and real in this world. Because the author of Solar Dance is a professional in the history of Germany and modern culture, he possesses enough experience and talent to investigate the profound and terrible crisis of truth in the modern world (Eakin, 2012).

After having summarized and critically assessed the content of the book, it is important to emphasize that Solar Dance was written by an acclaimed writer and researcher, which presents people with a great opportunity to examine and understand the tight link between truth and fakery. Modris Eksteins uses two famous personalities, Vincent van Gogh and Otto Wacker, in order to provide a descriptive survey of the influence of social and political forces on the Western culture in the twentieth century.

This interesting and captivating story is worth reading because it serves both as an incredibly interesting work of cultural history and as an accurate analysis of the modern era that is influenced and shaped by social and political movements. Moreover, this brilliant story sheds light on the works of Vincent van Gogh and examines how this prominent personality of the world of culture contributed to artistic, cultural, social, and political movements, proving the value of truthfulness and authenticity in the sphere of art. An emphasis is also placed on the cult of the artist, on the loss of faith, absence of truthfulness, and despair born of the war. The cultural weight of this book is immense as this story explains the crisis of truth and authenticity and the increased need for humanity for meaning and purpose. I recommend this groundbreaking book to other readers because it describes the close relationship between history, politics, and the world of art.