Abstract

Abstract:

What is the value of expertise in the arts? This article relies on two microcases to address this general question. It focuses on the fate of Gustav Cramer and Max J. Friedländer in the occupied Netherlands during World War II. Their casesare exceptional in that both survived the war even though the Nazi occupation forces knew that they were Jewish according to the 1935 Nuremberg Laws and knew where they lived. This article argues that their lives were spared because both were experts in their fields, art history and art markets respectively, and were therefore valuable for the occupation forces. The analysis sheds new light on these forms of expertise and suggests that expertise may be subject to superstar effects. The unique position held by the arts for the Nazi regime is highlighted by comparing expertise in the arts with the economic value of other forms of expertise.

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