"Feelings are a private concern"
Verism and the New Objectivity

23.04.2010 to 15.08.2010

Verism and the New Objectivity were defining art styles for the Weimar Republic. Artists such as Otto Dix, George Grosz, Max Beckmann, Conrad Felixmüller, Alexander Kanoldt, Franz Radziwill, Christian Schad, Rudolf Schlichter, Georg Schrimpf, the sculptor Eugen Hoffmann and others used their art as a response to the traumatic experience of the First World War and the utopias of Expressionism that were shattered along with it.

In contrast to the Expressionists, their works were conspicuous for both their sharper eye for reality, with all the social destitution this entailed in the years after the war and revolution, as well as the motifs of the modern industrialised world. One stylistic hallmark they all share is the graphic quality of the figurative detail, with a dominance of the line, used with documentary precision to capture real images in a relatively detached way. After the excess emotionalism of Expressionism, the new motto of the day was 'Feelings are a private concern’ (Bertolt Brecht, 1926).

While the Verists among this group of artists (including such figures as Grosz, Dix, Hubbuch, Schlichter) took to task social discrepancies between those who had profited and those who had lost out from the war, the glamour of the nouveau riche and the misery of the working classes, a second, more classically-orientated contingent (Kanoldt, Mense, Schrimpf) gave voice in enraptured landscape and figure paintings to their yearning for a quiet, timeless way of life. The exhibition sees around 130 watercolours and drawings go on display from the great store of works held by the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Drawings and Prints). These are enriched by a further 25 works on loan, including paintings and sculptures. A catalogue of all works from our own collection will accompany the exhibition.