Menschen, Demonstration, Polizei, Pferde, Reiter, Aufruhr, Gewalt, Uniform
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017, Foto: Elke Estel/Hans-Peter Klut

Before and after 1933

This selection from the Albertinum collection illustrates the diversity in painting in the 1930s, with origins in New Objectivity, Naturalism and “Homeland” art, and responses ranging from inner withdrawal or acquiescence to resistance.

Idealization and classicism were general trends

Idealization and classicism were general trends in European painting at the time, and in Germany the orientation towards the old masters was particularly strong. Artists in Dresden reflected these contemporary tastes, but from different political perspectives.
“Old Farmer” (1932) by Hainz Hamisch, a pupil of Dix, reflected the fashion in portraiture from around 1930 onwards for producing slightly overdone stereotypes of sitters from low-income milieus, but his attitude is unlike those artists who cultivated a nationalist German pathos with references to art history.

Landschaft, Felder, Bäume, Häuser, Idylle, See, Weite, Himmel, Natur
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2017, Foto: Jürgen Karpinski
Otto Dix, Landschaft am Oberrhein, 1938 Öl auf Hartfaserplatte, 66 x 84,5 cm, Albertinum | Galerie Neue Meister

views on “German art”

When the Nazis imposed party policy across cultural life on 22 September 1933, taking systematic control of the institutions and legally enforcing their views on “German art”, the monumental approach and typical idealizations of the day became even more pronounced in figurative depictions. Artists like Georg Siebert adopted the new typology of the heroic German. Art was placed in the service of Nazi ideology.
Artists who rejected National Socialism and were vilified reacted in different ways. Otto Dix, who retreated into “inner exile”, painted landscapes and biblical scenes that seemed harmless on the surface, Hans Grundig fought back with class-conscious, anti-fascist works, while Wilhelm Lachnit, kept under police surveillance, escaped into ideal counter-worlds.

Mann, am Boden sitzend, oberkörperfrei, Steine, Erde, Hacke, Werkzeug, Brauntöne
© SKD, Foto: Jürgen Karpinski
Georg Siebert, Erdarbeiter, 1931 Öl auf Leinwand, 90,5 x 79 cm, Albertinum | Galerie Neue Meister

Further exhibitions

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