Critics of the "Kunst der Nation" circle tried to point to the pure germanic roots of the work of Barlach, Beckmann, Nolde, near - in their perception - to the ideology of National-Socialism. Goebbels, who acted as a patron to the group, was a collector of expressionist art and his private residence were adorned with the works of Beckmann and Nolde. The attempt to utilize - in the Italian manner - modern German art for the needs of the new ideology was not successful. The victors were Rosenberg's racist concepts and Hitler's conservative tastes. The short flirtation of Nazism with expressionism ended together with the liquidation in 1935 of "Kunst der Nation" and the appearance of the chief Nazi art periodical "Kunst der Dritten Reich." After Hitler came to power in 1933, the process of installing the concepts worked out in "Kampfbund" began. As a first step in the "renewal" of the arts were changes in the personnel of art schools. Deprived of the right to teach were, among others, Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Paul Klee, Willi Baumeister, Max Lieberman and Karl Hofer. The Nazis also changed the heads of most cultural institutions and the directors of musea. At the same time exhibitons were organized that presented contemporary art as degenerate, spreading moral decay, horrid and repulsive.
The first of these presentations "Regierungskunst von 1918 bis 1933" (Government art 1918-1933) was opened in 1933 in Karlsruhe. It was an attempt at a comprehensive criticism of German arts of in the period of the Weimar Republic. As representative of "Boshevik culture" the works of Max Liebermann, Luisa Corinth, Max Slevogt and Edvard Munch were presented for the first time. Accompanying the artworks, presented as degenerate and worthless, was information about the prices paid for them, these given in dizzingly inflationary sums. In a separate section. restricted to adults were admitted, they collected materials that illustrated the sexual debauchery of contemporary artists. At similar shows in Stuttgart, Munich, Hamburg and Dessau they showed the works fo Dix, Grosz, Chagall, Munch as examples of moral and artistic downfall of their creators. The exposition in Dresden was entitled "A mirror image of downfall" ("Spiegelbilder des Verfalls"), and in Chemnitz "Art that does not derive from our soul." The next stage of the settling matters with modern art was the major initiative began in 1937 to clean out German collections by removal of undesired artworks. Its course was supervised by the head of the Reichskammer der bildenden Künste, the Munich academic painter - Adolf Ziegler. Carried out with unusual meticolousness, it encompassed all museum collections and resulted in the confiscation of around 17 thousand artworsks by over a thousand artists

based on Sztuka a systemy totalitarne (Art and totalitarian systems) by Waldemar Baraniewski.

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Originally posted in Polish by Liga Republicanska which gave permission for posting of an English version
Links:     Socrealism     Jones
English translation by Peter K. Gessner of Polish original posted by Liga Republicanska
© 2000 Polish Academic Information Center, University at Buffalo. All rights reserved.


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