Thursday, March 31, 2011


1937-1944 MUNICH
In 1937 the Nazis inaugurated the House of German Art and 
organized the first exposition of  Great German Art. In this 
year -- 1937 -- the reins were finally tightened : Hitler made it 
clear that the cliques of "
dilettantes and art forgers" of the 
modern art
 will be liquidated ....."they have had four years' 
time to prove themselves," he said at the inauguration (see 
photo below).

For the Nazis, it was the final victory of German art over 
modern art. It culminated in two exhibitions that would make, 
they thought,  worldwide history : Degenerate Art and the 
first Great German Art Exhibition. Both "demonstrated the 
artistic credo" of the National Socialist movement. "We do 
not reject the Modernists because they are modern but 
because they are spiritually destructive", wrote Robert 
Scholz, one of the leading National Socialist art critics, in 
Deutsche Kultur-Wacht.

The Haus der Deutschen Kunst (House of German Art) was 
built in a park-like setting just northeast of the 
Feldherrnhalle in downtown Munich on the orders of Adolf 
Hitler, to replace the Crystal Palace Gallery which had been 
destroyed by fire in 1931. It was built under the direction of 
Professor Paul Ludwig Troost who died before it was 
finished. The building was completed by his young widow, 
Gerdie Troost with the help of her associate Professor 
Leonhard Gall in 1937.
The first show  was a modest success. At the same time the 
Nazis organized the exposition of "
degenerated art
entartete kunst) which  -to their  great shame- was a huge 
success as it showed  artworks that were deemed 
"forbidden".  More than 250 artists, sculptors and painters,  
were exposed  at the first exposition of German art.

The themes and subjects of the show were strictly set out by 
 Hitler, Goebbels and Frau Troost  :
*  40 percent showing landscapes,
* 30 percent showing ordinary people,
* 11 percent portraits of historical figures,
* 10 percent showing animals
* 7 percent still lifes.

The exposition revealed a great number of talents to the 
German public and to the European public who  came to 
Munich. But most of those exposed were already well known 
and famous German artists.  Nazism did not create a genre 
nouveau but emphasized the traditional tendencies in Art.
It would be a grave error indeed to judge all artists exposed 
between 1937 and 1944  as mediocre or bad.  Most of them 
were not Nazis but only admitted to the exposition  by the 
Nazis and were happy to find a place of exhibition for their  
works which seperated  themselves from the "modernist" 
current.  Secretly some of them however  had probably deep 
sympathies for the  Nazi program like Josef  Thorak for 
instance. Others were more open : many artists working in 
the traditional vein were eager participants, finding 
themselves able to communicate with the masses, thereby 
being released from the isolation of modern art. The poet 
Gottfried Benn wrote these words to Klaus Mann in exile:
 I declare myself for the new State, because it is my Folk 
that is making its way now. Who am I to exclude myself; do I 
know anything better? No! Within the limits of my powers I can 
try to guide the Folk to where I would like to see it; but if I 
should not succeed, still it would remain my Folk.
Later in the 40s, many even praised the German soldier in 
combat -like Paul Matthias Padua-  which is normal for a 
people as patriotic as the German and for a nation at war on 
two fronts. Furthermore  it would be another mistake to 
think that all artists are anti-conformist, disinterested and 
flee the conformism of mainstream art.  Because essentially 
Nazi inspired art was boring, conformist and unprovocative.
The paintings that exalted the SS men  were made during 
the war but on average the Nazi political message was
.  If a  "fascist" leaning  was  present in many works 
of art  we must not forget that European people in the 20s & 
30s were massively conservative and anti-semitic. Modern 
art, like Socialism and Communism, was deemed to be a 
creation of internationalist and pacifist Jewry.

Of course many paintings glorify family life virtues and 
women in the more traditional role of child raiser and house 
keeper but no artist can be qualified as  "Nazi" because he 
supports those values, generally out of sheer ambition. It 
does not make them  "war criminals",  no more than Soviet 
painters were turned into doctrinaire monsters because 
they exalted Stalin or the achievements of Socialism.

Sculptures by the  German artists are generally beautiful and 
the strong shapes mold by  artists like  Breker or Karl May 
do not make them rabid Nazis or anti-semites either. After all 
Karajan himself joined the party and nobody had ever 
denied his genius. Is there a Nazi way to conduct an 
orchestra ? And after all,  why  La Marseillaise by Francois 
Rude (Paris Arc de Triomphe 1838) to the left would be less  
Nazi than the Genius of Victory by Adolf Wamper ? Because 
she raises her 
left arm instead of the right one ? Or because 
her lines are plumpier, less thin and less agressive ? Maybe 
but she is still inspired by victory and patriotism and the 
whole issue remains highly debatable. And both sculptures 
are beautiful and patriotically inspiring and inspired.
Furthermore a lot of works  of the artists exposed in 1937 
and after are still today selling very well. It suffices to look at 
the records of auction sales on
 Artnet to be convinced of it : 
 if they were that bad as Nazis artworks, they would  have 
fallen in total oblivion sixty three years after the fall of 
The list  mentions the sculptor in  blue colour and the painters in green.
Artists both painter and sculptor are in yellow. Click on each name to get more information.
` `
Alfred Seidel
Adolf Abel 1882-1968
Adolf Reich 1887-1963
Adolf Wamper  1901-1977
Adolf Wissel 1894-1973
Adolf  Ziegler 1892-1959
Albert  Janesch 1889-1973
Albert Stagura 1866-1947
Alexander Rothaug 
Alfred  Brumme 1891-1967
Alfred Roloff  1879-1951
Andres Patzelt 1896-1980
Anton Grauel 1897-1972
Anton Kürmaier 1890-?
Anton Lutz 1894-1992
Anton Müller-Wischin 
Anton Storch-Alberti 
Arno Breker
Arnold Möller 1884-1963
Arthur Kampf  1865-1950
August Ostermann
August Wilhelm-Goebel 
Barbara von Kalckreuth
Bernhardt Butzke
Bernhart Lohf
Carl Weisberger 1891-1968
Carl Busch 1905-?
Carl Ederer 1875-1951
Carl Bauer-Riedeck
Carl Schwalbach 1885-1983
Claus Bergen 1885-1964
Conrad Hommel 1883-1971
Constantin Gerhardinger1888-1970
David Fahrner 1895-1962
David Teniers 1610-1690
Edmund Steppes 1873-1968
Eduard Grützner 1846-1925
Eduard Manhart 1880-1945
Eduard   Thöny  1866-1950
Eduard v.Handel-Mazetti 
Edward H.Compton 
Wilhelm Emil Eber 
Elly Maria Nitschke
Elsa Montag
Emil Dielmann 1897-1954
Emil Sutor 1888-1974
Erich Erler 1870-1946
Erich Hoffmann
Erich Martin Müller 
Erich Merker 1891-1973
Ernst Kretschmann 
Ernst Kunst
Ernst Liebermann1869-1960
Ernst Reiss-Schmidt 
Ernst Zoberbier 1893-?
Erwin Knirr 1894-1973
Erwin Puchinger 1876-1944
Ferdinand Waldmüller 
Ferdinand Stäger 1880-1977
Florry Leuchs-Scholl
Franz Eirchhorst
Franz Gebhardt-Westerbuchberg1895-?
Franz Gerwin
Franz Triebsch  1870-?
Franz Weiss
Franz Xaver Stahl  1901-?
Friedrich Georg
FrIedrich Stahl 1863-1940
Fritz Bayerlein 1872-1956
Fritz Beckert 1877-1962
Fritz Erler  1868-1940
Fritz Halberg-Krauss 
Fritz Klimsch  1870-1960
Fritz Roll 1879-?
Georg Kolbe 1877-1947
Georg  Lebrecht  1875-?
Gisbert Palmie 1897-1986
Gordon J.Benjamin 
Gustav Bredow
Gustav Traub 1885-1939
Hans Maurus 1901-1942
Hans Böhm
Hans A.Bühler
Hans Bauer 1867-?
Hans Best 1874-1942
Hans Frank 1884-1948
Hans Happ 1889-?
Hans Jakob Mann 1887-?
Hans Schlereth 1897-?
Hans Schröder
Hans Schwegerle 1882-1950

Harold Bengen 1879-?
Heinrich Bürkel 1802-1869
Heinrich Faltermeier  
Heinrich Schütz
Herbert Kampf 1896-?
Hermann Blumenthal 
Hermann Gradl 1883-1964
Hermann Jakobs
Hermann Junker 1838-?
Hermann Seidl
Hermann Wendlberger 
Hermine Zahner 1912-1981
Hias Lauterbacher
Hubert N. Lang 1904-1972
Hugo Bickel
Hugo Möhl
Ivo Saliger 1894-1987
Jakob W. Fehrle 1884-1974
Johann Strahn  
Johann Schult 1889-?
Johannes Beutner 
Johannes Rohrbach
Josef  Burger 1887-1966
Rudolf Guba  1884-1950
Josef Riedl 1884-1965
Josef Hengge 1890-?
Josef Jurutka 1880-1945
Josef Schuster
Josef Thorak 1889-1952
Josef Wahl
Joseph Pieper
Josef  Wackerle 1880-1959
Julius P. Junghanns 
Julius Engelhardt 1883-1964
Julius Mahainz 1882-1966
Karl Diebitsch   
Karl Olszewski 1884-?
Karl Ederer 1875-?
Karl May 1890-?
Karl Schuster
Heinrich Berann 1915-1999
Karl Trausch
Karl Truppe 1887-1959
Knaus Robert 1900-?
Kurt Köpernik
Leo Heidkamp
Leo Pötin
Leo Hauer
Louis Wohner 1888-1958
Ludwig  Platzöder 
Luise Federn-Staudinger 
Marie Luise Wilckens
Mathias  Kiefer
Mathias Shumacher
Max Clarenbach 1880-1952
Max Fuhrman 1860-1908
Max H. Fritz
Max Rimböck 1890-?
Michael Kiefer 1902-1980
Oskar Oestreicher 
Oskar Frey 1883-1966
Oskar Graf 1870-1955
Oskar Kreibich 1916-?
Oskar Martin-Amorbach1916-?
Oskar Mulley
Ottmar Obermaier 1883-1958
Otto Albert Hirth 1899-1969
Otto Scheinhammer 1892-1982
Otto Vaeltl 1885-1977
Paul Blume 1900-1981
Paul Bronisch 1904-1989
Paul Geissler     1881-1965
Paul Hähndel
Paul Hauptmann 1887-1940
Paul Herrmann 1864-1940
Paul Padua 1864-1940
Paul Rosner 1864-1940
Paul Scheurle
Peter Kalman
Peter O. Heim
Peter Philippi 1866-1958
Rudolf G. Zill 1866-1958
Rudolf Eisenmenger 1866-1958
Raphael Schuster-Woldan1866-1958
Reinhold Koch-Zeuthen1890-? 
Reinhold Unger 
Ria Picco-Rückert1900-1966
Richard Miller
Richard Klein1890-1967 
Richard Heymann
Richard Schreiber1904-? 
Robert Knaus1904-? 
Robert Schwarz
Robert Ullmann1903-1966
Rosl Popp
Rudolf Schramm-Zittau1903-1966
Rudolf Gerhard-Zill
Rudolf Hermann 
Rudolf  Käsbach
Rudolf Lipus
Rudolf Nissl1870-1955
Rudolf Ostermaier
Rudolf Otto
Sepp Hilz-Bäuerliche
Siegfried Dorschel1912-?
Theodore Hummel1864-1939
Gottlieb Theodor von Hartenkampf Kempf 1864-1939
Theo Guillrey
Thomas Baumgartner1892-1962
Josef Walderman Keller-Kühne1892-1962
Wilhelm Dachauer1881-1951
Wilhelm Hempfing1886-1948
Wilhelm Sauter1896-1948
Wilhelm Wilke
Wilhelm Göbel1886-1951
Willi Repke
Wilhelm Tschech1891-?
Wilhelm Tag1891-?
Wilhelm Kriegel1901-1966
Wilhelm Mulot1889-?
Heinrich Aufenanger...
Wilhelm Waldapfel1889-?
Josef Thorak1889-1952
Friedrich Lommel
Willy Seidel
StatCounter - Free Web Tracker and Counter 
At the first Great German Art Exhibition, 200 sculptures were shown. However as time wore on, the 
numbers grew : 440 works by 237 sculptors were shown in 1940. This increasing number of sculptures 
was caused by the fact that sculpture seemed better able to express the National Socialist obsession 
with race and biology. It offered a body language people could identify with and on which they could 
model themselves. In that sense, sculpture was seen as an enduring faith carved in stone and eventually 
expressed better racist concepts and latent antisemitism.
  Some painters  like Hans 
Schmidt-Wiedenbrück chose to exalt the community of men and classes at  war : his 
paintings are on the 
verge of being ridiculous and exalt a  patriotism of convenience.

Another important factor was that art was increasingly viewed as a complement to architecture. 
Frequently sculpture and low reliefs were used on and in conjunction with buildings, enhancing the idea 
of architecture as art. As we now know Hitler was a poor painter and a better building designer. Please 
find  below the complete list of the exposed artists in 1937 and with each artist's name (when  possible) a 
link to more information about him/her or a link to his/her current market value according to 

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