Bibliography: Degenerate Art
1. Baker, Kenneth. "A nightmare of an exhibition that really happened". Smithsonian 22, no.4(July 1991): 86-95.
Note: The "Degenerate Art" exhibit held in Munich in 1937 was the end of modern art in Nazi Germany and the beginning of Nazi Art. The author examines some of the art shown at that exhibit.
2. Barr, Alfred. "Art in the Third Reich - Preview 1933". Magazine of Art 38, no.6(October 1945): 212-222.
Note: Barr, the director of the Museum of Modern Art from its inception in 1928 until 1943, displayed "almost prophetic insight" on his visit to Stuttgart at the very beginning of Nazi rule in 1933. In Stuttgart, Barr found that The "Battle Band for German Culture", an early official Nazi group with affiliates in every important German city, dominated almost every phase of German cultural life right from the beginning of the Nazi regime. He also found that modern art, offensive to the Third Reich, was attacked in Stuttgart, a city which had embraced the modern International Style in art and architecture - a reasonable attachment since the International Style was German in origin.
3. Barron, Stephanie. "The Gallery Fischer Auction". In 'Degenerate art': the fate of the Avante-Garde in Nazi Germany, 135-169. Los Angeles and New York: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and Abrams, 1991. (LACMA exhibition catalog published in conjunction with 1991 exhibits at Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago).
Note: The Gallery Fischer in Lucerne put on sale over one hundred works of "degenerate" art, described as "Modern Masters from German Museums", on June 30, 1939. Barron lists the objects' origin and notes whether they were from public or private collections. Most of the art was sold to US private collectors; a small amount went to museums in Liege and Basel.
4. Barron, Stephanie. Exiles and emigreés: the flight of European artists from Hitler. New York: Harry Abrams, 1997. 423 pp. (LACMA exhibition catalog published in conjunction with exhibits at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, February 23-May 11, 1997; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, June 19-September 7, 1997; and the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, October 9, 1997-January 4, 1998).
5. Clinefelter, Joan Lucinda. The German Art Society and the battle for "pure German" art, 1920-1945. Indiana University, 1995. 314 pp. (PhD dissertation, Indiana University, 1995).
Note: The German Art Society (Deutsche Kunstgesellschaft), a culturally conservative art group active between 1920 and 1945, sought to defend pure German art. During the Weimar Republic, the Society fought degenerate modernism and by 1932 the Society has supporters in the Nazi party and other rightist organizations. The German Art Society was given a role in organizing degenerate art exhibits during the Third Reich as well as organizing pure German art shows. After 1937, the Nazis ignored the Society as old-fashioned and pressed for a more distinct art form.
6. 'Degenerate art': the fate of the avante-garde in Nazi Germany. Los Angeles and New York: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and Abrams, 1991. 12 pp. (Brochure published in conjunction with exhibits held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, February 17-May 12, 1991 and the Art Institute of Chicago, June 22-September 8. 1991).
7. Gay, Peter. Weimar culture. NY: Harper Torchbooks, 1970. (Substantial parts of this book appeared in Perspectives in American History, II (1968)).
Note: The Weimar Republic reminds us of modernity in art, literature, and thought, as well as of the exiles, intellects and artisits, who exported this culture all over the world when they were forced out of Germany when the Nazis gained control.
8. Grosshans, Henry. Hitler and the artists. New York: Holmes and Meirer, 1983. xiii, 145 pp.
Note: Hitler wanted the painting and sculpture of Nazi Germany to express Nazi society. In this book, Grosshans traces the relationship between Hitler's artistic and political views: Hitler's failure to achieve notice as an artist; linking modern "degenerate" art with national decline; and his growing anti-Semitism.
9. Hinz, Berthold. "Degenerate art". Art in the Third Reich, 23-44. New York: Random House, 1979.
Note: The Reich Chamber of Culture was the main organizational agency responsible for change on the art scene between 1933 and 1937. The Reich Chamber of Visual Arts was the subchamber responsible for artwork. In its earliest stages the Chambers purged the art world of "degenerate" art and prohibited the hiring of the undesirable artists. The next stage called for moving a new National Socialist art forward, along with the artist. The Nazis used Carl Einstein's "Art of the Twentieth Century".
10. Hinz, Berthold. Art in the Third Reich. New York: Random House, 1979. 268 pp.
Note: According to the author, the Third Reich used all available aesthetic means to project its image: marches, mass meetings, pageants, party rallies were organized as mass aesthetic. Visual arts, including paintings, were bestowed high social value. The author believes that there was a direct association in Hitler's mind between his failure as architect and artist and his pursuit of political leadership.
11. Jelavich, Peter. "Metamorphosis of censorship in Modern Germany". In Culture and politics in nineteenth- and twentieth- century Germany, 9-19. Washington: German Historical Institute, 1992. (This German Historical Institute's Occasional Paper no. 8 resulted from a symposium "Culture and politics in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Germany", in Washingon, DC, held on May 8. 1992.).
Note: Jelavich writes of the forms of censorship under five German regimes and how they effected the political acceptance of cultural productions. He notes that even under the Weimar years, the constitution proclaimed freedom within the limits of the general laws.
12. Nicholas, Lynn H. "World War II and the displacement of art and cultural property". In The spoils of war - World War II and its aftermath: the loss, reappearance, and recovery of cultural property, 39-48. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1997. (Paper presented at international symposium, The Spoils of War, sponsored by Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, New York, January, 1995).
Note: An overview of the unprecedented scope of WWII art displacement accompanied by ideological, legal, and political justifications and watched over by highly trained art specialists assigned to the armies of most of the belligerents. Nicholas traces the importance of art to Hitler's idea of a pure Germanic Empire, purged of "degenerate" art and rich with plundered artworks in accordance with Nazi laws and theories. Thanks to the American museum and archival establishments, the Roosevelt administration assigned archivists and art-specialist officers, "monuments officers' to army groups who secured and sorted out cultural caches at the end of war for restitution to rightful owners. Great Britain had a similiar approach, but the USSR considered cultural treasures as trophies to replace their own wartime losses.
13. Petropoulos, Jonathan. Art as politics in the Third Reich. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. xviii, 439 pp.
Note: This revision of Petropoulos' Harvard University Dissertation, concentrates on the Nazi use of visual arts to display Germany's power and authority. The Nazi art plunder is described chronologically within the framework of the competing administration bureaucracies of Himmler, Goebbels, Rosenberg, Speer, Ley and Rust: the discrediting of modern 'degenerate' art and artists, the looting of art from Jewish collectors, and, finally, the plundering of cultural treasures in conquered territories, all with the goal of creating huge German art centers in Hitler's hometown, Linz, and in Berlin. The author, providing extensive documentation and rigorous scholarship, attributes the competition between Nazi leaders to share Hitler's cultural interests, and to use art as a means of rewarding favorites as the motivation behind their plunder.
14. Petropoulos, Jonathan. "Saving culture from the Nazis". Harvard Magazine 92, no.4(March-April, 1990): 34-42.
Note: During the Hitler regime, Harvard University became a haven for many German artists and scholars forced into exile by the Nazi regime (in 1933, 28 of Germany's museum directors were forced into exile). Harvard also became a haven for art rejected by the Nazis: works by Klee, Kandinsky, van Gogh, Picasso, Nolde and others. In 1939, Harvard also organized the American Defense/Harvard Group, a team of art historians knowledgeable about European art, to identify and locate valuable artworks in the war zone; this Harvard team worked in cooperation with the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas to protect Europe's art. The two groups were superseded by a government organization in 1943.
15. Rabinbach, Anson and Gail Stavitsky. Assault on the arts: culture and politics in Nazi German. New York: New York Public Library, 1993.
16. Saltzman, Cynthia. Portrait of Dr. Gachet: the story of a Van Gogh masterpiece: modernism, money, politics, collectors, dealers, taste, greed, and loss. New York: Viking, 1998. xxii, 406 pp.
Note: The author's story of this van Gogh illuminates the ways in which art, politics, and the market have intersected in this century. The painting, confiscated as "degenerate art" by the Third Reich's Propoganda Ministry, was secretly sold by the Nazis.
17. Steinweis, Alan E. "Conservatism, National Socialism, and the cultural crisis of the Weimar Republic". In Between reform, reaction and resistance: studies in the history of German conservatism from 1789 to 1945 ,edited by Larry Eugene Jones and James N. Retallack, 329-346. New York: Berg, 1993.
18. Steinweis, Alan E. "'Unreliable and unfit': the Nazi purge of Jews and other 'undesirables' from German cultural life, 1933-45". In Holocaust Studies Annual, 3-22. New York: Berg, 1991.
Note: Steinweis examines the Nazi regime's purge of German artistic and cultural life; the earliest purges were implemented with the help of policy emergency powers rooted in the Reichstag Fire Decree of February 1933. The Nazi purge was driven by a highly developed anti-Jewish paranoia fueled by the success of Jews in German cultural life before 1933.
19. Wirth, Gunther. Verbotene Kunst, 1933-1945: verfolgte Künstler im deutschen Südwestern (Forbidden art, 1933-1945: persecuted artists in southwestern Germany). Stuttgart: Hatje, 1987. 351 pp.
Note: Dissertation about proscribed artists in Baden-Wurttemberg, their work, and the impact of denunciation by the Nazi regime.
Source: This page retrieved from the National Archives
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