Hunting down Modernism

2012-01-29
Hunting down Modernism. The Prohibited Arts in the Third Reich
October 19, 2011 – January 29, 2012

With Adolf Hitler’s assumption of the office of German chancellor, the year 1933 opened up a new, ignominious and painful chapter in German history. Hitler’s vision held no room for independently thinking avant-garde painters, printmakers, poets, writers and composers. This unique exhibition – a joint project of the International Cultural Centre and Landschaftsverband Rheinland – presents works categorised by the Nazis as  entartete Kunst (degenerate art). The artists whose work is displayed here – among whom are outstanding personalities such as Emil Nolde, Otto Freundlich, Rudolf  Belling, Anna Seghers and Lion Feuchtwanger, but also the forgotten Carl Rabus, Valentin Nagel, Julius Graumann and Irmgard Keun, were persecuted for their innovative artistic expression, their racial identity, and their political views. The “Polish annexe” that rounds off the exhibition, with works by Karol Hiller, Jankiel Adler, Władysław Strzemiński, Katarzyna Kobro, Jan Rubczak and Bruno Schulz, throws light on the tragic situation of Polish artists, who with the outbreak of World War II suddenly found themselves within the sphere of Nazi “cultural policy”.

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