Transatlantic is definitely one of the most successful series of 2023. Created by the German producer Anna Winger, the TV show tells the true story of Varian Fry and the Emergency Rescue Committee, which helped to save many prominent figures among the refugees in France during World War II. The cast is full of famous actors, such as Gillian Jacobs, Lucas Englander, Cory Michael Smith, and Corey Stoll. But one of the artists that caught the most attention is Max Ernst, played by Alexander Fehling. Let’s discover where we have already seen him.
You can watch the official trailer for Transatlantic here on Youtube.
Transatlantic, the cast: Alexander Fehling is Max Ernst, the artist targeted by the Nazis
Max Ernst is one of the many important artists and intellectuals saved by Varian Fry and the Emergency Rescue Committee between 1940 and 1941. He was on the list of the individuals targeted by the Nazi authorities and living in France. In the TV show Transatlantic, he’s played by the German actor Alexander Fehling.
Alexander Fehling was born in Berlin on March 29, 1981. He studied acting at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin and started his career in 2002. He gained recognition for his performance in the 2009 film Inglourious Basterds, directed by Quentin Tarantino, where he played the role of Master Sergeant Wilhelm Wicki. Below you find the scene where he was the protagonist.
Max Ernst was a German artist who was targeted by the Nazis because of his art, which they deemed “degenerate” or “un-German.” Ernst wasn’t Jewish, but he was a prominent member of the Dada and Surrealist movements and was known for his innovative and often provocative works that challenged traditional artistic conventions.
In 1933, when the Nazis came to power, they launched a campaign against modern art. They confiscated and destroyed thousands of works of art and banned exhibitions of modern art. Ernst, who was living in France at the time, was included in the list of “degenerate” artists, and his works were confiscated from German museums. He was also stripped of his German citizenship and labeled a “cultural Bolshevik.”
After the German occupation of France, Max Ernst was arrested by the Gestapo but managed to escape. As we see in Transatlantic, Max Ernst managed to escape France thanks to Varian Fry’s help in those years. In 1941, he reached the United States, where he married Peggy Guggenheim.
Ernst’s art continued to be targeted by the Nazis even after his escape. In 1941, the Nazis staged an exhibition of “degenerate” art in Munich, which included several of Ernst’s works. Despite the persecution, Ernst continued to produce art throughout his life and is now considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century.