Neue Sachlichkeit

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Movement in German painting in the 1920s and early 1930s reflecting the resignation and cynicism of the post-war period. The name was coined in 1923 by Gustav Hartlaub, director of the Kunsthalle, Mannheim, and used as the title of an exhibition he staged there in 1925, featuring ‘artists who have retained or regained their fidelity to positive tangible reality’. The movement was not characterized by a unified style or by any kind of group affiliation, but its major trend involved the use of meticulous detail and violent satire to portray the face of evil. This marked a continuation of the interest in social criticism that had characterized much of Expressionism, but Neue Sachlichkeit rejected the abstract tendencies of the Blaue Reiter, in which Expressionism had reached its high point just before the First World War. Dix and Grosz were the greatest figures of the movement, which was dissipated in the 1930s with the rise of the Nazis. Other artists associated with Neue Sachlichkeit include Conrad Felixmüller (1897–1977), Christian Schad (1894–1982), and Rudolf Schlichter (1890–1955).

Subjects: Art.

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