"Entartete Kunst" - Degenerate Art
In 1937 in Munich the Nazis held an art exhibition of what they called
Entartete Kunst, or Degenerate Art. The purpose of the
exhibition was to let the Germans know that some forms and pieces of art
were not accepted by the "highest race", and this art is "degenerate",
also called as Jewish or Bolshevistic. During the "Entartete Kunst"
campaign over 20 thousand works by
more than 200 artists of that time were confiscated.
The grounds for choosing the "unworthy" pieces of art were
quite simple and cruel: anything that was out of tune with Hitler's way
of thinking, was considered to be "degenerate". Hitler believed
the art must serve the purpose of exaltation of the Aryan way of life.
In this case, with this great aim, art is perfect and eternal. To Hitler's
The authors of the banned works, mostly expressionists,
were proclaimed mad. It would be curious to learn that most of those artists
are known as the most prominent among their contemporaries, and are still
admired. They are:
Paul Klee, Wassily
Kandinsky, Edvard Munch, many others, and the most degenerate artist
of the world, Pablo Picasso.
The poster of the "degenerated music" (Entartete Musik) exhibition (1938).
This exhibition gave start to a series of art events in Germany of that
time, and occurred to be a very powerful way of leading the overall opinion.
The Nazis were good psychologists: instead of simply destroying the art
works they thought inappropriate, they chose to do it publicly, in order
not to create martyrs, so dearly loved by the people. In the way they
did it, it worked, and the art of 1930s was labeled by the contemporaries
as "incomprehensible and elitist".