Max Pechstein and Why Nazis hated Expressionism

German Expressionism was derided by the Nazis as “Degenerate Art.” Before some research, I did not fully understand.

(See more below picture)

Max Pechstein, Girl with Red Fan

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I thought it was simply that they preferred a neoclassical style. or that they assumed all degenerate art was perverted or that the artists were all Jews. But the ideology was much deeper than that. The Nazis had an entire ideology focused on blood descent and territory. They wanted everything to be German, free from poisonous external influence. Perhaps the reason for their obsession was the great degree of intermarriage between gentile and Jew, which was very high at the time.Of German Jews who married before 1914, only 21.5% of Jews were in a mixed marriage; by 1932, this had surged to 65.1%. So the Nazis had an obsession with who was and who was not a Jew. This was why Max Pechstein, accused of being a Jew because of a Jewish sounding name, had to prove his gentile descent. Everyone was looking for an aryan grandmother or grandfather. If you had three of them, you could live. Two aryan grandparents and you might or might not be deported to Auschwitz. Meanwhile, the Nazis carried this ideology through to literature, fine art, and even which trees would be planted. Art was to be “Germanic” and follow the German Romantic tradition. The ideology promoted idyllic landscapes and peasants. The arts were soaked with the Nazis Blood and Soil ideology (Blut und Boden).

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About kinneret

Hello, and welcome. I'm writing this blog under an alias. Why an alias? I started to write what may be described as an "American Gothic" novel (sort of Henry James/ Franz Kafka with violence) with some autobiographical details. ..when I started this blog I just decided to use the alias. This blog is about art and art history, but my interests also include literature, film analysis, psychology, forensic psychology, faerie tale analysis, cognitive therapy, cognitive linguistics, classical theater, World War II, and Russian and British history. My favorite writers include Kafka, the Brontes, and Philip K Dick. Thank you for reading this blog and I will happily reply to any comments.
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1 Response to Max Pechstein and Why Nazis hated Expressionism

  1. Michael Scott says:

    Thanks for telling this story. The Nazis represented the darkest soul of Mankind which is still alive and well in this world unfortunately.

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