Tour the Nazis’ Infinitely Rich “Degenerate Art” Collection Online

04/22/2010 3:45 PM |

nazis degenerate art
  • “‘Dada’?! Was ist das?”

When the Nazi party came to power in 1933, it quickly developed a set of strict cultural prohibitions, which basically meant that all Modern art—ie. Dada, Expressionism, Post-Impressionism, Surrealism, and all those other movements Germany had been at the forefront of—was designated “degenerate art” and seized, burned or banned. This resulted in the 1937 Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich, which was infinitely more successful than the show of state-sanctioned art right across the street, and for a long time was the best-attended art exhibition ever. And now that it’s all online it could reclaim that attendance title.

Now you can share in the oppositional museum-going magic of the moment, because Berlin Free University has put 21,000 works from the Nazis’ degenerate art collection online, including works by Emil Nolde, Otto Dix, Marc Chagall, Max Beckmann, Wassily Kandinsky and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. It’s all in German, which makes it a little difficult to navigate, but if you can figure out even ein bißchen Deutsch (a little German), you can unlock all the Nazi masterpieces. (ArtForum, Bloomberg)