Artists for the Reich: Culture and Race from Weimar to Nazi Germany
Joan L. Clinefelter
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While we often think about talented artists fleeing the clutches of the Nazi regime--forced out or sickened by the strictures placed upon them--we rarely consider those artists who willingly stayed behind. This is the first comprehensive treatment of the German Art Society, a group of artists, authors and right-wing activists who actively embraced Nazism. Theses artists have typically been dismissed as a lunatic fringe, but the author argues that they were in fact instrumental in battling modernist art in defense of what they regarded as the German cultural tradition. Drawing on previously neglected archival material, Clinefelter reveals cultural continuities that extend from the Wilhelmine Empire through the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich and elucidates how theses artists promoted Nazi culture "from below."
contributing a lengthy article on the connection between the National Socialist movement and the German style of art to the first issue of Das Bild.10 The relationship between the Baden Ministry of Education, Culture and Justice, Das Bild and the state art academy was, however, short-lived. In July 1934, Bühler, managing editor of Das Bild, resigned from the directorships of the Karlsruhe art academy and the state art museum. After just eight issues, the art academy severed its ties with Das
racially pure artists exhibition and sales opportunities, and honored völkisch old fighters. Feistel-Rohmeder even claimed that the Third Reich had not successfully won the war against modernism. According to her, the modernists were simply in hiding, biding their time as they secretly plotted against brave Germans who were fighting for the salvation of their culture. Even as she evoked memories of the 1918 ‘stab-in-the-back myth’, she warned that despite ‘these negative forces’ working in
continued to offer some entertainment. With the cessation of Das Bild in early 1944, the German Art Society ceased to exist. Feistel-Rohmeder and her husband lived for a time with the Fecht family outside Karlsruhe.108 Just what her experiences were in the last days of the Third Reich or in the German recovery remain unknown. At some point, she and her husband moved into a state home for the elderly in Karlsruhe. But despite her losses Feistel-Rohmeder remained defiant to the end. She even
Kunstgesellschaft, Satzungen. 31. Feistel-Rohmeder, Im Terror des Kunstbolschewismus, p. 212. For Krause’s first name, see U. Loham, Völkischer Radikalismus: Die Geschichte des Deutschvölkischen Schutz- und Trutzbundes 1919–1923 (Leibnitz-Verlag, 1970), p. 273. 32. G. Eley, Reshaping the German Right: Radical Nationalism and Political Change after Bismarck (Yale University Press, 1980), pp. 139, 159, 259, note 95, p. 282; Feistel-Rohmeder, Im Terror des Kunstbolschewismus, pp. 211– 14.
1934, unpaginated; ‘Aus dem Deutschen Kunstbericht’, Das Bild, September 1937, after p. 288. 52. See the full-page ad in Das Bild, February 1936, between pages of the German Art Report supplement. 53. See the combined 1935 and 1936 German Art Society annual reports, 6 June 1936. Goldschmitt (sometimes spelled Goldschmidt) held the title of Oberstudiendirektor and may have taught at the Munich art academy. He served as chair after Blume’s retirement from 1934 until June 1936. Although the