Saturday, August 2, 2014

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
A Group of Artists (The Painters of the Brücke), 1925-26
Oil on canvas
Museum Ludwig, Cologne
Photo: © Rheinisches Bildarchiv Cologne


Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937

March 13-September 1, 2014

I saw the exhibition this week and was speechless. I saw some of the greatest works by the most prominent artists in art history.  The show at the Neue Galerie is truly a gift to the NYC.

On March 13, 2014 Neue Galerie New York opened the exhibition "Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937." This is the first major U.S. museum exhibition devoted to the infamous display of modern art by the Nazis since the 1991 presentation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The term "degenerate" was adopted by the National Socialist regime as part of its campaign against modern art. Many works branded as such by the Nazis were seized from museums and private collections. Following the showing on these works in a three-year traveling exhibition that criss-crossed Germany and Austria, most were sold, lost, or presumed destroyed. In this light, the recent discovery in Munich of the Gurlitt trove of such artwork has attracted considerable attention. The film "The Monuments Men,"directed by George Clooney, is about this amazing moment in history and shows the growing interest in the subject.

Max Beckmann
Departure, 1932-1935
oil on canvas
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Given anonymously (by exchange)
Digital Image © 2014 The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY
© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Highlights of the show include a number of works shown in Munich in the summer of 1937, such as Max Beckmann's Cattle in a Barn (1933); George Grosz's Portrait of Max Hermann-Neisse  (1925); Erich Heckel's Barbershop (1913); Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's Winter Landscape in Moonlight (1919), The Brücke-Artists (1926/27); Paul Klee's The Angler (1921), The Twittering Machine (1922), and Ghost Chamber with the Tall Door (1925); Oskar Kokoschka's The Duchess of Montesquiou-Fezensac (1910); Ewald Mataré's Lurking Cat (1928); Karel Niestrath's Hungry Girl (1925); Emil Nolde's Still-Life with Wooden Figure (1911), Red-Haired Girl (1919), and Milk Cows (1913); Christian Rohlf's The Towers of Soest (ca. 1916) and Acrobats (ca. 1916); Karl Schmidt-Rottluff's Pharisees (1912); and Lasar Segall's The Eternal Wanderers (1919), among others.

The Neue Galerie exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue published by Prestel Verlag.