The Degenerate Art Exhibition, featuring 650 works of artwork confiscated from German museums, was organized by Adolf Ziegler and the Nazi Party at the Institute of Archeology in the Hofgarten of Munich during the summer of 1937. In the exhibition, works by Marc Chagall, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and Paul Klee were shown on display to more than 20,000 people each day of the show. Subsequent exhibitions were shown in Berlin, Leipzig, Weimar, Vienna, and Salzburg among others. After the exhibition some of the artwork was sold, but most of the pieces were destroyed. Art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt stole some 300 pieces of this “degenerate artwork,” which was discovered in his son’s Munich flat in 2011.
Neue Galerie New York, a museum devoted to twentieth-century German and Austrian art and design, opened the exhibition “Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937” on March 13. This is the first major U.S. museum exhibition devoted to this infamous display of modern art by the Nazis since the 1991 show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The Neue Galerie is exhibiting 50 paintings and sculptures, 30 works of paper and several posters, photographs, and memorabilia on the second and third floor galleries of the museum including Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s A Group of Artists, Max Beckmann’s Departure, Paul Klee’s The Angler, and Adolf Ziegler’s triptych The Four Elements.
Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937 runs through June 30.
Images courtesy of Neue Galerie New York
Adolf Ziegler, The Four Elements, 1937
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, A Group of Artists, 1925-26
Lasar Segall, Eternal Wanderers, 1919
Ernst Barlach, The Berserker, 1910
Oskar Kokoschka, Self-Portrait for Der Sturm, 1910
Hitler touring the Degenerate Art exhibition, July 16, 1937
Photograph of ‘Entartete Kunst’ Typescript, V&A
Paul Klee, The Angler, 1921