“The logical result of Fascism is the introduction of aesthetics into political life.” …”All efforts to render politics aesthetic culminate in one thing: war.” (Walter Benjamin )…”A work of art carries its defence within itself.” ( Jean Cocteau).
Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibit, was visited by three million Germans as it traveled around the country in 1937 and 1938. It is very instructive to see what degenerate art is and why it is so important to embrace Modern and Avant Garde art: we can see from the past what could become of artists, and their artworks, which come from the wrong culture or ask the wrong questions about the world around them.
…A painting by Jankel Adler received a gold medal at the exhibition “German Art Düsseldorf” in 1928. In 1931 Adler moved into a studio at the Düsseldorf academy, which he abandoned in 1933 when leaving Germany upon friends’ advice, after he had published together with other left-wing artists and intellectuals an “urgent appeal” against the Nazi policy and for communism during the campaigns for the parliamentary “elections” in February 1933.
“In that year, two of his pictures were displayed by the Nazis at the Mannheimer Arts Center as examples of degenerate art. Adler now left Germany, staying in Paris, where he regarded his exile consciously as political resistance against the fascist regime in Germany. In the years that followed, he made numerous journeys to Poland, Italy, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Romania and the Soviet Union. In 1937, twenty-five of his works were seized from public collections by the Nazis and four were shown in the Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) exhibition in Munich. (haGalil)
Until 1933 Chagall was a renowned painter of modern art, even and especially in Germany where notable museum directors such as Georg Swarzenski and Gustav Friedrich Hartlaub had purchased his pictures. Already in 1933 these purchases came to be the target of Nazi propaganda. In Mannheim at the exhibition “kulturbolschewistische Bilder” Chagall’s famous painting ‘The Pinch of Snuff’ was pulled on a hand-cart through the streets together with a painting from Jankel Adler and publicly jeered at.
In 1938 all of Chagall’s oil paintings and water-colour pictures were confiscated from the public collections. Four of these were on display at the exhibition of “Degenerate Art” (i.e. ‘Purim’ from the Folkwang Museum Essen, ‘The Pinch of Snuff’ from the Kunsthalle Mannheim, ‘ Winter’ and ‘Men with Cow’ – two water-colour paintings from the Städtische Galerie at the Städelsche Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt/ Main). The confiscated works were later sold in Switzerland in exchange for foreign currencies…. Paintings that belonged to private collections shared about the same fate. For instance those that belonged to the vast private collection of Herwarth Waldens. …