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Degenerate Art

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Degenerate Art
By Olaf Peters
Retail Price $60.00
Amazon Price: $40.45

Book Description: 

This book accompanies the first major museum exhibition devoted to a reconstruction of the infamous Nazi display of modern art since the presentation originated by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1991. During the Nazi regime in Germany, “degenerate art” was the official term for much of the most important modern art of the day. “Degenerate art” was defined by the Nazi regime as artwork that was not in line with the National Socialists’ ideas of beauty. Their condemnation extended to works in nearly every major art movement: Expressionism, Dada, New Objectivity, Surrealism, Cubism, and Fauvism. Banned artists included Max Beckmann, Paul Klee, and Oskar Kokoschka. Richly illustrated, Degenerate Art elucidates the historical and intellectual context of the notorious exhibition in Munich in 1937, which spurred the attack on modern art. The book contains reflections on the genesis and evolution of the term “degenerate art” and details of the National Socialist policy on art. Art works from the exhibition Degenerate Art are compared to works of art from The Great German Art Exhibition, which was held at the same time and displayed the works of officially approved artists. The book also presents the after-effects of the attack on modernism that are felt even today.



This book a scholarly text on how the Nazi’s viewed contemporary art and their reaction to it.  In 1937, Germany’s Nazi government staged an exhibition in Munich displaying “modern art” which was not strictly classicist or realist in nature. The exhibition was not merely designed to illustrate what the Nazis deemed “bad art,” but had a political purpose. “Modern art” was deemed to be part of the overall assault on “German art” and culture.  While not your usual art book, the text is accompanied by wonderful color illustrations.  This book and the exhibit it represents is critical to understand a chapter of history that is quickly being forgotten.

~Reviewed by John C.


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