New Objectivity

New objectivity. Movement (German Neue Sachlichkeit ), an artistic movement that emerged in Germany in the early 1920s rejecting Expressionism . The movement essentially ended in 1933 with the fall of the Weimar Republic and the seizure of power by the Nazis. The term is applied to works of pictorial art, literature , music , architecture , photography, or film .


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  • 1 Emergence
  • 2 groups
  • 3 Other painters with the same style
  • 4 Music and architecture
  • 5 Legacy
  • 6 Sources


Gustav Friedrich Hartlaub , who was the director of the Kunsthalle in Mannheim, coined the term in 1923 in a letter he sent to colleagues describing an exhibition he was planning. In his later article, “Introduction to the New Objectivity: German Painting from Expressionism,” Hartlaub explained, what we are showing here is distinguished by the – in themselves purely external – characteristics of objectivity with which artists express themselves. themselves .


He identified two groups: the Veristas , who “rip the objective form of the world from contemporary events and represent current experience in its tempo and feverish temperature”; and the magical realists, who search for the “object with the eternal ability to embody the external laws of existence in the artistic sphere.”

Although the distinction between veristas and magical realists is in fact quite fluid, veristas can be considered the most revolutionary wing of the New Objectivity , exemplified in Otto Dix and George Grosz. Its vehement form of realism distorts appearances to emphasize the ugly.

It was the reality that these artists wanted to expose. His art was crude, provocative, and harshly satirical. Other important veristas were Rudolf Schlichter, Georg Scholz (in his early works), and Karl Hubbuch . Max Beckmann, who never considered himself part of any movement, is a giant among veristas, even though he sometimes calls himself an expressionist.

Compared to veristas, magical realists more clearly exemplify the post- World War I “return to order” that arose in the arts across Europe , and which found expression in neoclassicism.

Magical realists, including Anton Räderscheidt, Christian Schad, Georg Schrimpf, Alexander Kanoldt , and Carl Grossberg were a diverse group ranging from Schad’s almost photographic realism to Schrimpf’s neo-primitivism.

Räderscheidt’s paintings show echoes of the metaphysical painting of the Italians Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carrà, and the influence of the Swiss painter Félix Vallotton is evident in the bitter realism of several of the painters of the new objectivity, both veristas and magical realists. Among the cultivators of this magical realism was Albert Carel Willink.

Other painters with the same style

Other painters who at some time cultivated this style were Oscar Kokoschka ( 1886 – 1980 ), Ernst Barlach ( 1870 – 1938 ) and Conrad Felixmüller ( 1897 – 1977 ).

Albert Renger-Patzsch and August Sander are front-line representatives of the «New Photography» movement, which brought with it a clearly focused, documentary quality to photographic art, where previously self-conscious poetics had dominated.

The painters of the Neue Sachlichkeit devoted themselves above all to the genre of portraiture and self-portraiture, with simple features or tending to caricature.

Music and architecture

The New Objectivity in music , as in the visual arts, rejected the sentimentality of late romanticism and the emotional turmoil of expressionism . Composer Paul Hindemith can be considered both an expressionist and a member of the New Objectivity, depending on the composition in question, throughout the 1920s .

His music typically dates back to Baroque models and makes use of traditional forms and stable polyphonic structures, along with modern dissonance and rhythms affected by jazz. Ernst Toch and Kurt Weill also composed New Objectivity music during the 1920s.

The New Objectivity in architecture , as in painting and literature , describes the German work of the transition years in the early 1920s in Weimar culture, as a direct reaction to the stylistic excesses of expressionist architecture and change in national mood.

Architects like Bruno Taut, Erich Mendelsohn, and Hans Poelzig turned to the simple, functional, and practical approach to the New Objectivity; its application to architecture resulted in it being known in Germany as Neues Bauen (“New Building”).

The Neues Bauen movement , which flourished in the short period between the adoption of the Dawes plan and the rise of Nazism , encompassed public exhibitions such as the Weissenhof Estate , Taut and Ernst May’s extensive urban planning and public promotion projects, and the influential experiments of the Bauhaus.


The New Objectivity movement is normally considered to have ended when the Weimar Republic fell when the National Socialists under the leadership of Adolf Hitler gained power in March 1933 . The Nazi authorities condemned much of the work of the New Objectivity as degenerate art; Many works were confiscated and destroyed, and many artists were prohibited from exhibiting.

A few, including Karl Hubbuch, Adolf Uzarski, and Otto Nagel , were completely prohibited from painting. While some of the great figures of the movement went into exile, they did not continue to paint in the same style. George Grosz emigrated to the United States and adopted a romantic style, and the work of Max Beckmann by the time he left Germany in 1937 was, in the words of Franz Roh , an expressionist.

The influence of New Objectivity outside of Germany can be seen in the work of artists like Balthus, Salvador Dalí (in early works such as his Portrait of Luis Buñuel in 1924 ), Auguste Herbin, Maruja Mallo, Cagnaccio di San Pietro , Grant Wood , Adamson -Eric and Juhan Muks .


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