Today in History: “Degenerate Art” exhibition opens in 1937

entartetekunst_1962

Today in History: “Degenerate Art” exhibitions opens in 1937

On this day in 1937, the infamous Degenerate Art (Entartete Kunst) exhibition in Munich, Germany. Organized by Adolf Ziegler and the Nazi Party, the exhibition presented some 650 paintings, sculptures and prints by over 100 (primarily) German artists, incl.  works by famous artists such as Otto Dix, Max Ernst, Paul Klee, Emil Nolde and Kurt Schwitters. The “degenerate” works were defined as art that was insulting to any artistic skill and feeling. Even the presentation of the artworks by the Nazi regime was intentionally chaotic: the chosen venue was dark, rooms were very narrow. Paintings were displayed without frames; many were accompanied (or partially covered) by derogatory slogans. The “unhealthy” modern art presented an image of chaos that stood in stark contrast to the Nazi ideal of male heroism or the glorification of the womanhood. Over one million people attended the exhibition in the first six weeks alone. The display lasted until November 30, 1937.

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