In matters of art Germany, France, England, Italy, America and other countries assume the paradoxical position of standing with their backs toward one another and their faces toward Paris. During the late nineteenth century as many American artists studied in Germany as in Paris but more recently and especially during and since the War, America and Germany have been more or less isolated from one another so far as painting and sculpture are concerned. Largely through American inertia few of our best modern artists have been exhibited in Germany. On the other hand, it is mainly through American initiative that some modern German art has already been shown in America, though for the most part not in New York. The German sections of the Pittsburg International Exhibition have recently been very well chosen. An excellent collection of modern German paintings is on view in the Detroit Museum. Several of the most important German artists, especially Marc and Lehmbruck, received much attention at the famous Armory Exhibition held in New York in 1913. In 1923, perhaps too shortly after the War, an exhibition of German art was organized by Dr. Valentiner at the Anderson Galleries. Several good German painters were also included in the Tri-national Exhibition, and many of the best left wing painters have been introduced to New York through the courageous Société Anonyme. Adventurous dealers have also shown the work of contemporary Germans from time to time.
To appreciate German art it is necessary to realize that much of it is very different from either French or American art. Most German artists are romantic, they seem to be less interested in form and style as ends in themselves and more in feeling, in emotional values and even in moral, religious, social and philosophical considerations. German art is as a rule not pure art. Dürer was interested in the world of fact, science and metaphysics, Holbein was interested in the analysis of human character, Grünewald in violent sensation and emotion. Many contemporary German artists follow in their footsteps. It is significant that German painters do not concern themselves over much with still-life, nature morte, and that German sculptors are usually not satisfied with torsos. They frequently confuse art and life.
However much modern German art is admired or misunderstood abroad, it is certainly supported publicly and privately in Germany with extraordinary generosity. Museum directors have the courage, foresight and knowledge to buy . . .