Follow Here To Purchase Fugitive Colors: A Novel


Author: Lisa Barr

Publisher: Arcade Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-61145-894-7


Yakov Klein, the only child of an Orthodox Jewish New York couple, struggles with his father’s callous anger and insistence that Yakov have nothing to do with art.  Realizing that his passion to be an artist transcends family, Jewish heritage and even the importance of his own name, Yakov moves out of his parents home in the middle of the night, changes his name to Julian, and goes to Paris to attend the prestigious Beaux Arts art school.  While in Paris, he encounters Rene Levi, a gifted young French artist, and Felix Von Bredow, a young German wannabe-artist.

From distinctly different backgrounds with a common, idealistic passionate love for art, the three swiftly become friends as Julian is convinced by the others to leave art school and study expressionist art with them under a local artist.  This decision made at the beginning of WW11 confronts Julian with the question of “to what lengths would I go for a friend?”

Felix’s dark jealousy fuels resentment of the artistic talent of both Rene and Julian putting the young artists in terrifying situations as Hitler’s fury explodes.  Felix joins his high-ranking Nazi father in believing that Germany was “being lost to Jews, Bolsheviks, degenerate artists and immoral writers” and because Julian and Rene are Jewish artists, Felix reminds them that as Jewish artists, they "will be hit twice as hard.”  Quickly and dramatically this pronouncement becomes reality as the Nazis begin to rape Europe of its great art and move towards the eradication of anyone who does not fit their stereotype understanding of Aryan racial purity.

Fugitive Colors is a compelling, complex and emotionally-charged historical novel about art, artists and Jews caught in the spider’s web of Nazi persecution; and a story about the courageous men and women who kept meticulous inventories of stolen artwork during WW11.  

It is a story about three men: Julian, Rene and Felix and four women: Adrienne (artist and Rene’s girlfriend); Charlotte (the artists’ model and muse who simultaneously inspired and destroyed men); Olivia (Charlotte’s daughter); and Helen (Felix’s mother who recognizes her husband and son’s intention to destroy all art that did not conform to the Aryan ideal).  Undergirding every plot and sub-plot is the question: “How far would I go to save the art of others.”   As Hitler’s campaign against ‘degenerative art’ escalates, Julian finds himself catapulted into a secret life and ultimately, in Dachau with Rene where they encounter Felix in full Nazi dress and power.

In today’s global violence and unspeakable acts of terror because of a perception of ‘religious purity,’ this is a timely and gripping must-read where Rene’s words spoken in a time and place become an important mantra for all: “They can control everything, Julian, but not your thoughts. Never forget that.” 

Lisa Barr has tackled a controversial and difficult subject with skill, tenacity and imagination based-on-fact in a roller coaster ride, full of sinister twists-and-turns of horrific betrayals, sacrifice, secrets, religious and artistic persecution - and a surprising unexpected act of kindness.  What next, Lisa Barr?  Your audience eagerly awaits.