Before the Fall: German and Austrian Art of the 1930s at Neue Galerie New York, through May 28, 2018

Before the Fall: German and Austrian Art of the 1930s is an exhibition devoted to the development of the arts in Germany and Austria during a decade marked by economic crisis, political disintegration, and social chaos.

The exhibition is organized by Dr. Olaf Peters, University Professor at Martin- Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, and serves as the third in a trilogy of shows curated by Peters that focus on German history. The first of these three exhibitions, Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany 1937, organized in 2014, examined the infamous traveling exhibition Entartete Kunst mounted by the National Socialist regime. The exhibition was an enormous popular and critical success. The second show, Berlin Metropolis: 1918-1933 on view in 2015, explored the critical role played by the city of Berlin in the growth of modern culture.

This exhibition, comprised of nearly 150 paintings and works on paper, traces the many routes traveled by and demonstrates the artistic developments that foreshadowed, reflected, and accompanied the beginning of World War II. Central topics of the exhibition are the reaction of the artists towards their historical circumstances, the development of style with regard to the appropriation of various artistic idioms, the personal fate of artists, and major political events that shaped the era.” — Neue Galerie

Max Beckmann (1884-1950). Self-Portrait with Horn, 1938. Oil on canvas. Neue Galerie New York and Private Collection © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Felix Nussbaum (1904-1944). Self-Portrait in the Camp, 1940. Oil on panel. Neue Galerie New York © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Otto Dix (1891-1969). Portrait of Johann Edwin Wolfensberger, 1929. Oil on panel. Neue Galerie New York © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Rudolf Wacker (1893-1939). Two Heads, 1932. Oil on panel. Belvedere, Vienna Photo: © Belvedere, Vienna

Max Beckmann (1884-1950). Paris Society, 1931. Oil on canvas. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Photo credit: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation/Art Resource, NY © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Otto Dix (1891-1969). Mother and Eva, 1935. Oil on panel. Museum Folkwang, Essen Museum Folkwang Essen – ARTOTHEK © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Richard Oelze (1900-1980). Expectation, 1935-36. Oil on canvas. The Museum of Modern Art, New York Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art / Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY

August Sander (1876-1964). Children Born Blind, 1930-31. Gelatin silver print. The Museum of Modern Art, New York © 2018 Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv, Cologne; ARS, New York

Franz Sedlacek (1891-1945). Landscape with Rainbow, 1930. Oil on panel. University of Applied Arts Vienna, Collection and Archive © University of Applied Arts Vienna, Collection and Archive

Pandiscio Green is the designer of the exhibition and was also responsible for the installations for the previous two shows in the trilogy. Michele Oka Doner created a site-specific sculpture for the installation of this exhibition.

Images courtesy Neue Galerie.