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Monday, August 1 at 4:50 PM
 

degenerate art


THE DEGENERATE ART EXHIBITION OF 1937

"Over 5,000 works were seized, [including works by] Marc Chagall, James Ensor, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. The Entartete Kunst [Degenerate Art] exhibit, featuring over 650 paintings, sculptures, prints, and books from the collections of thirty two German museums, premiered in Munich [Nazi Germany] on July 19, 1937."

"Speeches of Nazi party leaders contrasted with artist manifestos from various art movements, such as Dada and Surrealism."

Dada "began in 1916 in Zurichs Cabaret Voltaire, where expatriate artists, poets, and writers gathered in refuge from World War I. Dada started as an indictment of the bourgeois values responsible for the horrors of the war, and assumed many forms, including outrageous performances, festivals, readings, erotic mechanomorphic art, nonsensical chance-generated poetry, found objects, and political satire in photomontage."

OTTO DIX

"When the Nazis came to power in Germany, they regarded Dix as a degenerate artist and had him sacked from his post as an art teacher at the Dresden Academy."

Stormtroops Advancing Under Gas by Otto Dix, 1924.

His paintings The Trench and War Cripples were displayed at the Degenerate Art exhibition. "They were later burned."

GEORGE GROSZ

In his own words... "My Drawings expressed my despair, hate and disillusionment, I drew drunkards; puking men; men with clenched fists cursing at the moon... I drew a man, face filled with fright, washing blood from his hands... I drew lonely little men fleeing madly through empty streets. I drew a cross-section of tenement house: through one window could be seen a man attacking his wife; through another, two people making love; from a third hung a suicide with body covered by swarming flies. I drew soldiers without noses; war cripples with crustacean-like steel arms; two medical soldiers putting a violent infantryman into a strait-jacket made of a horse blanket... I drew a skeleton dressed as a recruit being examined for military duty."

Made in Germany by George Grosz, 1920.

MAX ERNST

He was "arrested by the Gestapo, but managed to escape and flee to America with the help of [Peggy] Guggenheim."

L'Ange du Foyer by Max Ernst, 1937.

MAX BECKMANN

"In 1937 more than 500 [of his works] were confiscated from German museums, and several of these works were put on display in the notorious Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich. For ten years, Beckmann lived in poverty in self-imposed exile in Amsterdam, failing in his desperate attempts to obtain a visa for the US. In 1944 the Germans attempted to draft him into the army, despite the fact that the sixty-year-old artist had suffered a heart attack."

The Night by Max Beckmann, 1919.

[edited August 4, 2012]