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‘Degenerate Art’ Resurfaces in Berlin

Posted on Dec 1, 2010
AP / Markus Schreiber

A woman passes the sculpture “Portrait of Anni Mewes,” created in 1921 by German artist Edwin Scharff, during a press preview of the so-called “degenerate art” exhibit in Berlin on Nov. 8.

An assortment of sculptures once derided by the Nazis as prime examples of “degenerate art”—complete with a Third Reich-sponsored show under that heading—has been partly recovered and reunited for a comeback exhibit at Berlin’s Neues Museum.  —KA

The New York Times:

The 11 sculptures proved to be survivors of Hitler’s campaign against what the Nazis notoriously called “degenerate art.” Several works, records showed, were seized from German museums in the 1930s, paraded in the fateful “Degenerate Art” show, and in a couple of cases also exploited for a 1941 Nazi film, an anti-Semitic comedy lambasting modern art. They were last known to have been stored in the depot of the Reichspropagandaministerium, which organized the “Degenerate” show.

Then the sculptures vanished.

How they ended up underground near City Hall is still a mystery; it seems to involve an Oskar Schindler-like hero. Meanwhile a modest exhibition of the discoveries has been organized and recently opened at the Neues Museum, Berlin’s archaeological collection, the perfect site for these works.

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