Before the Fall: German and Austrian Art of the 1930s on view in New York City
26 May 2018
Before the Fall: German and Austrian Art of the 1930s is a riveting and thought-provoking exhibition on view through May 28 at New York City’s Neue Galerie, the small but important museum that is a fairly recent (2001) addition to New York’s “Museum Mile” on Fifth Avenue, home to the Metropolitan, the Guggenheim and numerous other world-renowned institutions.
The current show is the last in a trilogy that began at the Neue Galerie several years ago with two other, equally fascinating exhibitions, the first one entitled, Degenerate Art: the Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, which was followed by Berlin Metropolis: 1918-1933. All three shows have been curated by Olaf Peters, a professor at the Martin-Luther-Universität in Halle, Germany.
The current exhibition includes the work of some less well-known artists compared to its predecessors. It also features work from a somewhat later period than the earlier shows—paintings, prints and photographs from either just prior to or during the era of the Third Reich.
A few of these artists could perhaps be placed in a category similar to the “forgotten composers” who lost their lives or whose careers suffered because of the Holocaust. Most included in this exhibition, however, survived the war, and only a few were Jewish. In fact, there are a handful of artists here who were Nazis themselves, or at any rate joined the Nazi Party. Even among some who opposed fascism, however, their prospects for an international reputation suffered as a result of the upheavals of the 1930s and 1940s.
The timeliness of this work, produced as it was in the shadow of Hitler’s dictatorship, hardly needs…