Nazi Censorship of the Arts
Example of paintings condemned and called Degenerate by the evil Nazis (click to Enlarge)
The years 1927-37 were alarming and terrifying for artists in Germany. In 1937 The National Socialist Society for German Culture held an art exhibition in Munich. The Nazis called the exhibit Entartete Kunst, or Degenerate Art. During this time over 22 thousand art-works by more than 200 artists of that time were confiscated. The National Socialist Society for German Culture declared artists of the banned paintings, mostly Expressionists, Cubists, Dadaism, Surrealist, Fauvists, nineteenth-century Impressionist and Post-Impressionist to be insane and morally corrupt. Adolf Hitler stated "As for the degenerate artists, I forbid them to force their so-called experiences upon the public. If they do see fields blue, they are deranged, and should go to an asylum. If the only pretend to see them blue, they are criminals, and should go to prison. I will purge the nation of them."
Many German painters were inspired by the atrocities and inhumanities of the first world war. The paintings created during that explosive time were stirring and intense. Hitler and the Nazis despised this new style of art. Hitler angrily declared "Humanitarianism is the expression of stupidity and cowardice."
Particularly reviled by the nazis were: Edvard Munch, Emile Nolde, Oskar Kokoschka, Ernst Kirchner ( Kirchner was so devastated by his exile to Switzerland that he committed suicide in in 1938.) Wassily Kandinsky, Otto Dix, Franz Marc, and Paul Klee. Klee feared for his life and spent his last years exiled to Switzerland. The artist was unable to obtain Swiss citizenship because of his status as a degenerate artist. Brilliant art nouveau painter, Alphonse Mucha died shortly after an "official questioning session" by the Gestapo in 1939.
The Nazis felt that these many contemporary artists led young people astray by encouraging free thinking and corrupt behaviors. The upper echelons of the SS occasionally got together for 'art burning' parties. They would drink beer and throw darts at so called degenerate paintings, later burning the paintings in huge art pyre. God knows how many masterpeices were lost forever.
The justification for deciding on what could be classified as "degenerate" art was relatively straightforward and spiteful: any painting or sculpture that was in conflict with Hitler's artistic philosophy, was considered to be "Entartete Kunst". Hitler famously once stated "Anyone who sees and paints a sky green and fields blue ought to be sterilized."
Many historians believe Hitler despised the artists of his day because he was never recognized for his own lackluster paintings. Hitler's favorite artists included Lucas Cranach, Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Dure, Frans Hals, Rembrandt Meindert Hobbema and Quentin Metsys. Hitler felt that these painters upheld wholesome decent standards.
In 1937, Joseph Goebbels, Minister for Propaganda organized a public exhibition of banned art. The exhibition was called "Entartete Kunst," meaning, "Degenerate Art." The purpose of the exhibition was to show the public the stupidity, immorality, and depravity of the modern art movement. It is so sad to think of those despicable Nazis parading around art galleries and museums destroying beautiful works of art and condemning artists to death, exile and torture.
Important Artists on the the Nazi shit list .... singled out for special condemnation
Otto Dix German 1862-1942 Expressionist
Great Painters Who Were Murdered by the Nazis
Abraham Joseph Berline (1893 – 1942) Russian, murdered in Aushwitz
Josef Čapek (1887 – 1945) Czech, murdered at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Max Jacob (1876 – 1944) French, died enroute to a German camp
Otto Freundlich (1878 – 1943) German, murdered at Majdanek Concentration Camp
Rudolf Levy (1875—1944) German, murdered in Aushwitz
Felix Nussbaum (1904 – 1944) German, Surrealist, murdered in Aushwitz
Charlotte Salomon (1917-1943) German, murdered in Aushwitz here is a great site dedicated to Salomons work
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