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Selected Highlights

  • Berlin Street Scene
    Berlin Street Scene

    George Grosz (American (born Germany), Berlin 1893–1959 Berlin)

    Date: 1920
    Accession Number: 50.113.2

  • Berlin Street
    Berlin Street

    George Grosz (American (born Germany), Berlin 1893–1959 Berlin)

    Date: 1931
    Accession Number: 63.220

  • The Businessman Max Roesberg, Dresden
    The Businessman Max Roesberg, Dresden

    Otto Dix (German, Untenhaus 1891–1969 Singen)

    Date: 1922
    Accession Number: 1992.146

  • Female Nude
    Female Nude

    Otto Dix (German, Untenhaus 1891–1969 Singen)

    Date: 1933
    Accession Number: 1994.85

  • Seated Nude
    Seated Nude

    Otto Dix (German, Untenhaus 1891–1969 Singen)

    Date: 1923
    Accession Number: 1994.184

  • Study for
    Study for "The Schoolroom"

    Karl Hubbuch (German, 1891–1979)

    Date: ca. 1924
    Accession Number: 1995.37.1

German Drawings and Prints from the Weimar Republic (1919–33)

July 2–October 31, 2004

The turbulent years of the Weimar Republic as recorded with clinical detachment and incisive lines by Otto Dix, George Grosz, Max Beckmann, Karl Hubbuch, and Rudolf Schlichter. In subjects ranging from portraits and nudes to street scenes, the selection of some twenty works is drawn from the Museum's collection.

The short-lived Weimar Republic saw political, economic, and social turmoil, yet also innovation in literature, music, film, theater, and art. Among the artists working in the various Post-Expressionist styles, the most vital ones were part of the movement toward a deadpan, matter-of-fact realism that later became known as Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) in Germany in the 1920s.

The artists working in that style looked at their surroundings soberly, cynically, and often ferociously. In both their paintings and drawings, they recorded with clinical detachment and precise lines this rootless society that flourished or floundered during these pivotal years, also mislabeled The "Golden" Twenties. In the street scenes by Max Beckmann and Georges Grosz, profiteers and drifters mingle with prostitutes and war cripples. As one and a half million German soldiers returned wounded from the war, war cripples loomed large and were a common sight selling matches or begging in the street. In Otto Dix's fearsome drypoint Cardplayers (1920)—based on one of his four antiwar paintings, the famous 1920 Skat Platers in the collection of the Nationalgalerie, Berlin—the hideously disfigured officers clutch their cards with foot, mouth, and mechanical hand.

In the artists' searing portraits assembled here, we encounter mainly male professionals: a businessman, industrialist, doctor, art dealer, and actor. An exception is Dix's portrait of Marga Kummer (1914), a couturier and the artist's first love. Dix drew the cat-like features of this willful young woman in the exacting lines that already herald his celebrated Verist style of six years later.

Most of the drawings and prints assembled here have been acquired since 1994.