Frau, Dame, sitzend, Hände gefaltet, rosa Kleid, blaue Perlenkette, Schminke, Lippenstift, Strenge, Eleganz, zarter Stoff
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017, Foto: Jürgen Karpinski
In order to minimise the spread of the coronavirus all museums of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden remain closed until 20 April 2020.
In order to minimise the spread of the coronavirus all museums of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden remain closed until 20 April 2020.

Study Depot: New Objectivity portrays women

In the 1920s, Dresden was a major hub of New Objectivity in Germany. After the First World War, at a time of economic hardship, artists like Otto Dix (and later his pupils), Conrad Felixmüller, Wilhelm Lachnit and Fritz Tröger used a well-schooled canvas and wood technique to paint careful observations of everyday themes against a shallow background. New Objectivity included biting satire and social critique as well as the elegance of the Old Masters and the ideas of neo-Romanticism.

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The portrait was one of the most popular visual genres of the period. The self-assured, independent working woman was a contemporary role model. This new female spirit was often expressed in facial expressions, gestures, clothing and accessories, or the use of colours fashionable at the time. Similarities can be found with fashion photography in newspapers and advertisements of the day. Whether portraying models, friends and family or working on commission, the emphasis was on faithfully capturing individual features. It is striking how often a classical composition is adopted: a head-and-shoulders format or seated in three-quarter profile. In the late 1920s, artists increasingly emulated the old German portrait painters.

Frau, Dame, sitzend, Hände gefaltet, rosa Kleid, blaue Perlenkette, Schminke, Lippenstift, Strenge, Eleganz, zarter Stoff
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017, Foto: Jürgen Karpinski
Conrad Felixmüller, Bildnis Jutta Kirchhoff, 1928 Öl auf Leinwand, 97 x 68 cm, Albertinum | Galerie Neue Meister

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The paintings in the exhibition space have been arranged rather like in the museum depot, permitting direct comparison between different portrait types or different styles of New Objectivity.

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