The term degenerate art was coined by the Nazi regime in Germany in the 1930s to describe modern art.
This was a deliberate attempt to discredit and suppress modern art, which the Nazis saw as a threat to their vision of a pure, Aryan culture.
The Nazis believed that modern art was a symptom of the decay of Western civilization, and they waged a campaign to rid Germany of what they deemed to be degenerate art.
In this article, we will explore the historical context of the Nazi’s attack on modern art, the reasons behind their disdain for this art form, and the far-reaching impact of this cultural campaign.
The Historical Context
The rise of the Nazi party in Germany in the 1930s was marked by a push towards a more conservative and puritanical culture.
The Nazis sought to create a society based on traditional German values, which they believed were under threat from the modernization and globalization that had taken hold in the 20th century.
Modern art was seen as a symbol of this cultural decay, and the Nazis sought to eradicate it from German society.
The Nazis’ disdain for modern art was also linked to their belief in the superiority of the Aryan race.
To the Nazis, modern art was a product of degenerate minds and was evidence of the decline of the German people.
The Nazis believed that modern art had been created by Jews, homosexuals, and other groups that they deemed to be degenerate, and they sought to rid Germany of this art form.
The Campaign Against Modern Art
In 1937, the Nazis held an exhibition in Munich titled “Entartete Kunst,” which translates to “Degenerate Art.”
The exhibition was designed to showcase the so-called degenerate art that the Nazis had confiscated from museums and galleries across Germany.
The exhibition was a spectacle of propaganda, with the art being displayed in a chaotic and disorganized manner to demonstrate its supposed lack of value.
The exhibition was a huge success, drawing over two million visitors in its first six weeks.
The Nazis used the exhibition as a tool to both discredit modern art and to promote their own vision of art, which they saw as reflecting traditional German values.
The exhibition was also used to justify the confiscation of modern art from museums and galleries across Germany.
The Impact of the Campaign
The campaign against modern art had a far-reaching impact on the art world. Many artists fled Germany as a result of the crackdown, and many more were forced to abandon their work or risk persecution.
The Nazis’ campaign also had a lasting impact on the art world, with many artists and critics still grappling with the legacy of the Nazi’s attack on modern art.
The Nazi’s campaign against modern art also had a profound impact on the way that art is viewed and understood in the years since.
The debate over what constitutes degenerate art continues to this day, with many artists and critics questioning the validity of the Nazi’s claims.
The campaign also highlighted the power of art as a tool for political propaganda, and the dangers of allowing political ideologies to dictate artistic expression.
Degenerate Art – Wrap Up
The Nazi’s attack on modern art was a deliberate attempt to discredit and suppress a form of artistic expression that they saw as a threat to their vision of a pure, Aryan culture.
The campaign against modern art had a far-reaching impact on the art world, forcing many artists to flee Germany and abandoning their work.
The legacy of the Nazi’s campaign continues to be felt today, with many artists and critics still grappling with the impact of the attack on modern art.
Ultimately, the Nazi’s campaign against modern art serves as a reminder of the power of art as a tool for political propaganda, and the importance of defending artistic expression in the face of political oppression.