Artists for the Reich: Culture and Race from Weimar to Nazi by Joan L. Clinefelter

By Joan L. Clinefelter

Whereas we frequently take into consideration proficient artists fleeing the clutches of the Nazi regime--forced out or sickened via the strictures put upon them--we hardly think of these artists who willingly stayed at the back of. this is often the 1st complete therapy of the German artwork Society, a bunch of artists, authors and right-wing activists who actively embraced Nazism. Theses artists have regularly been pushed aside as a lunatic fringe, however the writer argues that they have been in reality instrumental in scuffling with modernist artwork in security of what they considered as the German cultural culture. Drawing on formerly overlooked archival fabric, Clinefelter unearths cultural continuities that reach from the Wilhelmine Empire throughout the Weimar Republic into the 3rd Reich and elucidates how theses artists promoted Nazi tradition "from below."

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While quantifying the economic decline of the artists lies beyond this study, a qualitative perception of doom resonates in the sources. 87 Worn out by dissillusion, the artists complained of lack of success and state protection. Certainly, the fear that true German artists could no longer compete and make a decent living in the republic’s art market drove the creation and growth of the German Art Society. But other artists, even modernists who the Society assumed were profiting, were also deeply troubled by a market glutted with artists, academies filled with eager students about to enter the art market and the general inability to prosper.

The Society’s Lübeck show offered the first attempt to publicly offer an interpretation of racially pure, contemporary German art. For the German Art Society, the first prerequisite for the Germanic style was that the artists themselves be of pure German blood. 62 In accordance with völkisch aesthetics, such true German artists necessarily produced art that reflected their racial identity. 63 However, even Feistel-Rohmeder had to admit that there was a great deal of variation within the supposedly homogenous German style presented in the exhibition.

In its first incarnation, the magazine appeared quarterly from 1927 to 1930. Printed in runs of 3,000 issues, subscribers were members of the Society and the German League. The League was the sole source of funds for Deutsche Bildkunst, covering the costs for paper, printing and distribution. 51 As important as the Deutsche Bildkunst was to the German Art Society, the organization reached a much wider audience through another of its publications, the German Art Correspondence. The Correspondence was a cultural news service funded by the German League and written almost exclusively by Feistel-Rohmeder.

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