During the Weimar Republic, Verism and the New Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit) were among Germanys most characteristic art phenomena. These movements no longer responded to the experiences of World War I and the subsequent crisis of society by using the Expressionist utopia of the new man, an ecstasy of the subject and his emotions (Emotion is a private matter, Bertold Brecht stated in 1926). Neither did they react with the Constructivism the Bauhaus used for conveying art and life. They rather cast a cool, finely tuned glance to a reality that ran between social misery and the banality of everyday life. Sober, unsentimental and sharp, they rendered figures and things by means of their contours in order to give them sustenance and firmness once again in an attempt to stabilize and make manageable a world that had become unmanageable. Instead of dynamically breaking through boundaries, a static delineation of limits now emerged. Their realism was not a reproduction, but an interpretation of reality that strove to make it secure once again.
This exhibition features 130 watercolors, drawings, and prints from the extensive collection of the Museum of Prints and Drawings Berlin. The selection has been supplemented with 35 loans, paintings in particular. Only by including painting, the New Objectivitys central means of expression, is it possible to show its precise artistic significance. The result is a comprehensive panorama comprising works by all of the important artists of the time, such as Otto Dix, George Grosz, Max Beckmann, Carl Grossberg, Conrad Felixmüller, Alexander Kanoldt, Franz Radziwill, Christian Schad, Rudolf Schlichter, Georg Scholz, and Georg Schrimpf. The very scope of this spectrum of around 40 artists clearly demonstrates the impossibility of pinpointing any unifying artistic tendency in terms of style or geography. Granted, the positions, which have been labeled as Verism, New Objectivity or Magic Realism, share common features in their turning toward reality, especially the human image, the precision of the object with a clear picture construction, and the dominance of the line. But nevertheless, they operate within a broad radius.
Emotion is a Private Matter
Feb. 16 - May 15 2011