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
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).