Nazi Aversion To Modern Art Essay

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SEMINAR THEME: THE NAZI ASSULT ON ‘DEGENERATE’ ART AND ‘CULTURAL BOLSHEVISM’: ACCOUT FOR THE HOSTILE REACTION OF THE NAZIS TO THE MODERN MOVEMENT IN ART. • One reason that could account for the Nazis hostile reaction to the modern movement in art could be down to the same reason they rejected modernity. In that they saw modernity as the reason for the degeneration of the German nation • Rejected the art that flourished during the Weimar Period including modernist art of the recent past as decadent. • Nazis associated Modern art with “cultural Bolshevism” • Adherents of National Socialism saw modernism, as a manifestation of racial decay, wanted to art to reflect Nazis ideology of “blood and soil” • Nazification of the arts: Thus the period 1933 to 1937 saw Hitler actively involved in cultural policy and state intervention in the arts. • Steinweiss argues that artistic and culture issues offered more than a propaganda opportunity; they were central to Nazi ideology. • Of course prior to the World War One, in Germany there was an outburst of artistic activity and a keen display of modern art. In 1897, the Berlin National Gallery became the first museum anywhere to buy a Cezanne and the Folkwang Museum purchased Van Gogh and Gauguin. • After the war, the expressionist movement in paintings and sculptures took on a new meaning. During the war, many German artists had turned to pacifism after being exposed to the horrors of war. • This concept of art, nation and state evolved from the ideas of early racialist and volkish theories. Anti-modernist aesthetic principles, which were in a large part reaction to the cultural developments of the late empire and the Weimar Republic. Believed that the Weimar period embodied modern art movements such as Expressionism, Expressionism dominated politics as much as paintings during this period. The National Gallery of

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