The Art of the Great Disorder 1918–1924
Dennis CrockettAlthough the Weimar Republic has received elaborate attention in the areas of history, politics, and culture in general, studies of the art movement that best defines the period have been rare. Post-Expressionism in Germany is the first study to reconstruct historically the evolution of Die neue Sachlichkeit, the slogan coined as a designation for the Post-Expressionist figural art that developed throughout Germany following the failed revolution of 1919.
Rather than start with the moment this Post-Expressionist movement was christened with a slogan (1923), Crockett investigates the sources and precepts of Post-Expressionism beginning with the anti-Expressionist stance of Dada in 1918 and the loss of faith in Expressionism on the part of some of its chief supporters during 1919–20. With the author's historical reconstruction of both the development of figural Post-Expressionism and contemporary criticism, the historical inaccuracy regarding the popular understanding of Die neue Sachlichkeit becomes evident.
While the term Neue Sachlichkeit has been associated with stabilization and sobriety since the mid-1920s, Crockett argues that Post-Expressionism developed not during the relative economic and political stabilization of the middle years of the Weimar Republic, but during the political, social, and economic chaos of the first years of the republic. The first part of the book looks at the state of art and the economy in Germany from 1919 to 1925. The second section focuses on the unique Post-Expressionist development in cities throughout Germany. The final section deals with art criticism from 1923 to 1925.
Dennis Crockett is Associate Professor of Art at Whitman College.
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