Academic journal article German Quarterly

1938. Kunst. Künstler. Politik

Academic journal article German Quarterly

1938. Kunst. Künstler. Politik

Article excerpt

Atlan, Eva, Raphael Gross and Julia Voss, eds. 1938. Kunst. Künstler. Politik. Göttingen: Wallstein, 2013. 340 pp. euro24.90 (paperback).

The year 1938 has long been recognized as a pivotal one and a turning point in the develop - ment of National Socialist Germany. This beautifully produced volume, the catalogue published for the eponymous exhibition held by the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt (Main) between November 2013 and February 2014, seeks to draw due attention to art in this context and demonstrate that for it too 1938 marked a crucial caesura with the completion of a fundamental restructuring of artistic life by the regime. The catalogue consists of a number of thematic essays (Alan Steinweis discusses the nexus between antisemitism and National Socialist cultural policy, for instance, and Jörg Osterloh throws light on the evolution of the terms "Verjudung," "Zersetzung," "Entartung," and "Kulturbolschewismus"), biographical information on the artists featured, and reproductions of their art works. The principal focus is on three artists: Lotte Laserstein, Elfriede Lohse-Wächtler (who had long-standing mental health problems and was eventually murdered in the context of the so-called euthanasia campaign T4), and Heinrich Ehmsen. The central argument put forward in this volume is one that will be of great interest to all those readers who have long marvelled at, or been puzzled by, the vagaries involved in the Nazis' attempt to map their aesthetic predilections on to their racial ideology. …

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