Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

4 Of Hitler’s Least Favourite ‘Degenerate’ Artists (There Were Many More)

20th century

4 Of Hitler’s Least Favourite ‘Degenerate’ Artists (There Were Many More)

As a person who considered himself an artist, Hitler was very sensitive to aesthetics. He hated people who did not fit to his imagined world of ideally proportioned men with Aryan features and German upbringing. Same applied to artworks: if something looked too modern, it was discarded as UN-GERMAN, or JEWISH or COMMUNIST. In effect, virtually all German avant-garde artists faced sanctions, lost their jobs or even had to flee the country.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Man's Head. Self-Portrait, 1926

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Man’s Head. Self-Portrait, 1926

In the year when Hitler took power, 1933, Kirchner’s works were already branded as ‘degenerate’. He, the talented Expressionist printmaker, painter and sculptor, was very disturbed by the situation: “There is a war in the air. In the museums, the hard-won cultural achievements of the last 20 years are being destroyed, and yet the reason why we founded the Brücke was to encourage truly German art, made in Germany. And now it is supposed to be un-German. Dear God. It does upset me”, he wrote. In 1937 over 600 of his artworks were sold or destroyed, and he was expelled from the Art Academy in Berlin. A year later, Kirchner committed suicide by shooting himself dead.

Max Enst

self-portrait-1909.jpg!Large

Max Ernst, Self-Portrait, 1909, Private collection


Fortunately, Ernst left Germany for France already in 1925. However, the German origins caused Ernst some problems as in 1939 he was interned as an ‘”undesirable foreigner” in Camp des Milles, near Aix-en-Provence. His friends Paul Éluard and Varian Fry interceded and Ernst was released a few weeks later, but when Germany occupied France in 1940, he was arrested again, this time by Gestapo. He escaped and with the little help from his friends Peggy Guggenheim and Fry, he fled to the US.

Max Beckmann

Max Beckmann, Self-Portrait With Trumpet, 1938, Private collection

Max Beckmann, Self-Portrait With Trumpet, 1938, Private collection

In 1933 the Nazis called Beckmann, an artist associated with the New Objectivity movement, a “cultural Bolshevik”. He was dismissed from his teaching post in the Frankfurt Art School and in 1937 over 500 of his works were confiscated by the government. A day after Hitler’s speech about ‘degenerate art’, Beckmann left Germany for the Netherlands and stayed there until the end of the war. Then he moved to the States.

Otto Dix

Otto Dix, Self-portrait, 1912, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI

Otto Dix, Self-portrait, 1912, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI


Dix was also sacked from his teaching position in Dresden Academy. However, he remained in Germany and kept painting. As the other practising artists, he was forced to join the Reich Chamber of Fine Arts and promise that he would paint only landscapes. He was conscripted to the army and captured by the French at the end of the war. They released him in 1946. Dix returned to Germany and regained recognition and good name.

Magda, art historian and Italianist, she writes about art because she cannot make it herself. She loves committed and political artists like Ai Weiwei or the Futurists; like Joseph Beuys she believes that art can change us and we can change the world.

Comments

More in 20th century

  • The Friendship of Salvador Dali and Coco Chanel. Salvador Dali and Coco Chanel sharing a cigarette, 1938. Pinterest. The Friendship of Salvador Dali and Coco Chanel. Salvador Dali and Coco Chanel sharing a cigarette, 1938. Pinterest.

    Artists' Stories

    A Fierce Romance of Art and Fashion: The Friendship of Salvador Dali and Coco Chanel

    By

    When Dali moved to Paris in 1926, Chanel was already a famous fashion designer. Dali had already worked in the fashion industry, as he had collaborated with Elsa Schiaparelli. But, Coco also introduced him to theatrical costume design, jewelry, and other things that combined both art...

  • 20th century

    Micha Ullman’s Empty Library: An Ode to Culture

    By

    A symbol of education in the city of Berlin, the Bebelplatz Square was chosen on May 10, 1933 by Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Education and Propaganda of the Nazi government, to carry out the infamous autodafé. This sad episode of German history consisted of the burning...

  • Aerial view of Beirut Aerial view of Beirut

    20th century

    Beirut’s Art Scene: Before the Blast and Now

    By

    It was only three years ago, after a long civil war, that Beirut’s art scene began to find its feet. Despite ever-present political corruption, an unsteady economy, and rising inflation, the Mediterranean city has recently become a hot-spot for Arab artists that often attracts an international...

  • Damien Hirst, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable Damien Hirst, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

    19th Century

    Artists and Their Myths

    By

    Sometimes, the story that is attached to an artist is as important as their craft. Let’s take a look at artists and the myths that are related to them. Though many think of myth as a fictional story, that is not always the case. In fact,...

  • Luchita Hurtado Luchita Hurtado

    20th century

    Luchita Hurtado: Art and Life Over a Century

    By

    Luchita Hurtado (November 28, 1920 – August 13, 2020) was an artist, photographer, poet, environmentalist, activist, feminist, fashion designer, and so much more over the course of a lifetime that spanned a century. Hurtado was born in Venezuela. She migrated to New York City at the...

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy