Peter Reavy

Neue Sachlichkeit

Posted in art by Peter Reavy on March 14, 2007

The Writer Max Herrmann-Neisse

I’ve been meaning to post about the exhibition Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s (in New York, now ended) since reading about it a few weeks back.

It features portraits in the style known as New Objectivity. Wikipedia has just informed me that this is a translation of Neue Sachlichkeit.

I like the style partly because of the glitter and doom and also because it’s like early oil painting from Northern Europe – detailed and almost photographic but grotesque.

The only paintings of this school that I’ve ever seen in real life were when I visited the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, but I can’t find any examples of the paintings I saw then on their site. Despite these being the paintings I liked most at that museum.

This semi-obscurity seems to be typical of the fate of the poor Neue Sachlichkeit. But perhaps one day I will be able to see a show like the one that was on at the Met.


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