What is Degenerate Art?

July 12, 2018

Paris en Fete by Marc Chagall is an original signed lithograph

1,500 works of art that had been missing for over 70 years were found in an apartment in Germany. The apartment was owned by the son of an art dealer who worked with the Nazis. Amazingly, this treasure trove of art was discovered in 2011 but was only reported to the public in 2013. Many of the works of art in this collection were thought to have been destroyed and had been labeled as "Degenerate Art" by Hitler.

Degenerate Art was a term adopted by the Nazi regime that was applied to all modern art. This was during the time when there were many changes in the art world. Styles such as cubism, dada and surrealism (to name just a few) were exploding onto the scene. Picasso, Dali, Braque and Chagall among many others were labeled as degenerates.

The Fugitive by Joan Miro is an original etching and aquatint signed in pencilTo incite a revulsion of this work, the Degenerate Art Exhibition was held in 1937. The show featured over 650 works of art crammed together with defamatory text written around them. 

Over 16,000 works of art were stolen from individuals, galleries and museums in order to eradicate these from the German culture. A large amount of this art was destroyed in a bonfire in 1942.

The avant-guarde artists living in Germany at that time were considered enemies of the state. Many went into exile and those of Jewish descent were sent to the concentration camps. Artists that remained in Germany were not allowed to teach or work. Only the artists that created the approved German art flourished.

Many of these works of art are still missing.

Did you know that Seaside Art Gallery is one of the largest private art galleries in the Southeast? They have been helping art lovers with their collections  for over 57 years and are eager to service experts and beginners alike. Contact Seaside Art Gallery today – you’ll be glad you did!

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