In July 1937, the Nazi Party exhibited a collection of modern artwork confiscated from museums throughout Germany. This display, entitled the “Degenerate Art Exhibition,” was organized to ridicule the artwork being presented. The events that led to such a breaking point had started forming around the early 20th century. In Germany, after the First World War, the blossoming of modern art had coincided with the forming of a racist ideology. Meanwhile, Hitler was also discovering his own racist views and dislike of modern art. An artist who delved into politics, Hitler integrated his artistic views into his political ideologies. Eventually, this would lead to the Nazi association of Judaism with modern art.
This project will focus on the events that led to the “Degenerate Art” Exhibition. It will provide background information on the status of modern art in Germany in the early 20th century, as well as Hitler’s own background in art and his experiences in Vienna and Munich. There will also be a brief discussion of how Judaism was associated with modern art, and how the Aryan race was associated with “pure,” realistic art. The paper will later delve into the Nazi war against modern art.
Recommended CitationKazmaz, Zeynep, "Entartete Kunst: The War against Modern Art in the Third Reich" (2017). Honors Projects in History and Social Sciences. Paper 38.