Isolation

Art in hiding 1933 – 1945

Hans Uhlmann, Untitled, around 1934
Hans Uhlmann, Untitled, around 1934
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

The travelling exhibition “Degenerate Art”, which came to Berlin in 1938, attacked all modern art as a carbuncle of the “decadent” Weimar Republic. Meanwhile, shows like the “Great German Art Exhibition” illustrated the kind of art favoured and enforced by the regime – “Aryan” works in the service of a lethal racial ideology.

Theodor Werner, Pierrot Iunaire, 1944
Theodor Werner, Pierrot Iunaire, 1944
© unknown

Very few actively resisted. One who did was the sculptor Hans Uhlmann, who took part in political activities to oppose the National Socialists. He was arrested in 1933 and spent two years in prison. There he drew designs for sculptures to make after his release – secretly and in complete isolation, like his friend Jeanne Mammen, who also hid her work in secret. Her paintings from the Nazi years were influenced by Pablo Picasso and the avant-garde art now ostracised as “degenerate”. Like Hannah Höch’s watercolours and paintings from the period, they are moving testimonies to a life of isolation. Despite the risks, these artists preserved some kind of artistic existence and found ways to express the horrors of the dictatorship and the Second World War.

Represented Artists (Selection)

Hans
Uhlmann

1900 - 1975

Jeanne
Mammen

1890 - 1976

Hannah
Höch

1889 - 1978

Further topics

Werner Heldt, Still Life of Houses, 1948

Amid the rubble

Art at the war’s end in 1945

Architektur Entwurf

New beginnings
and newbuild

Architecture after 1945 in East and West Berlin

Installation by Wolf Vostell from 1958-59

Return of the figure

Art in the 1960s and 1970s

All topics

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