‘Organ Man' by Mark Schaevers shortlisted for major award

Mark Schaevers has been nominated for the shortlist of the Golden Book Owl, the most important literary prize in Flanders. His nonfiction title 'Orgelman. Felix Nussbaum. Een schildersleven' (Organ Man. Felix Nussbaum. A Painter’s Life, originally published by De Bezige Bij) is the only title on the list by a writer from Flanders.


If there was ever a man who rose from the ashes like a phoenix, then it was the painter Felix Nussbaum. In 1944 his entire existence was burned to the ground. Nothing remained of his paintings or of the great fame he had enjoyed in Berlin between the wars. But half a century after his death in Auschwitz, a museum was founded for him in his native city of Osnabrück, and today he is regarded as one of the most important Jewish painters of the twentieth century.

It is a wonderful story that largely takes place in the Low Countries, yet it has waited until now for a narrator. Mark Schaevers follows Nussbaum on his wanderings through the Nazi years, from Rome to the Italian Riviera, from Paris to Ostend and Brussels. Along the way he looks at the many paintings in which Nussbaum presented his unique view of what it is like to be an artist in exile, an organ man without an echo.

The jury said the following: “With ‘Organ Man’, Mark Schaevers has pulled off a difficult feat of investigative journalism. Stylistically breathtaking, movingly intelligent and pure of language.” The book will be published in German by Verlag Galiani Berlin.

published on: 2015-03-26

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