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Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany 1919-33 at Tate Modern, July 30, 2018 – July 14, 2019

“Tate Modern explores the art of the Weimar Republic (1919-33) in a year-long, free display, drawing upon the rich holdings of The George Economou Collection. This presentation of around seventy paintings and works on paper will address the complex paradoxes of the Weimar era, in which liberalisation and anti-militarism flourished in tandem with political and economic uncertainty. These loans offer a rare opportunity to view a range of artworks not ordinarily on public display – some of which have never been seen in the United Kingdom before – and to see a selection of key Tate works returned to the context in which they were originally created and exhibited nearly one hundred years ago.

Although the term ‘magic realism’ is today commonly associated with the literature of Latin America, it was inherited from the artist and critic Franz Roh who invented it in 1925 to describe a shift from the anxious and emotional art of the expressionist era, towards the cold veracity and unsettling imagery of this inter-war period. In the context of growing political extremism, this new realism reflected a more liberal society as well as inner worlds of emotion and magic.

The profound social and political disarray after the First World War and the collapse of the Empire largely brought about this stylistic shift. Berlin in particular attracted a reputation for moral depravity and decadence in the context of the economic collapse. The reconfiguration of urban life was an important aspect of the Weimar moment. Alongside exploring how artists responded to social spaces and the studio, entertainment sites like the cabaret and the circus will be highlighted, including a display of Otto Dix’s enigmatic Zirkus (‘Circus’) print portfolio. Artists recognised the power in representing these realms of public fantasy and places where outsiders were welcomed.” — Tate Modern

Albert Birkle (1900 – 1986). The Acrobat Schulz V, 1921. Oil paint on canvas, 920 x 607 mm. The George Economou Collection © DACS, London 2018.

August Heitmüller (1873 – 1935). Self-Portrait, 1926. Oil paint on canvas, 900 x 705 mm. The George Economou Collection.

Conrad Felixmüller (1897 – 1977). The Beggar of Prachatice, 1924. Watercolour, gouache and graphite on paper, 500 x 645 mm. The George Economou Collection © DACS, 2018.

George Grosz (1893 – 1959). A Married Couple, 1930. Watercolour, gouache, pen and ink on paper, 505 x 440 mm. The George Economou Collection © Estate of George Grosz, Princeton, N.J. 2018.

Hans Grundig (1901-1958). Girl with Pink Hat, 1925. Oil paint on cardboard, 704 x 500 mm. The George Economou Collection © DACS, 2018.

Jeanne Mammen (1890-1976). Brüderstrasse (Free Room), 1930. Watercolour, ink and graphite on vellum, 475 x 345 mm. The George Economou Collection © DACS, 2018.

Josef Eberz (1880 – 1942). Dancer (Beatrice Mariagraete), 1923. Oil paint on canvas, 1580 x 785 mm. The George Economou Collection.

Otto Dix (1891 – 1969). Lili, the Queen of the Air (from Circus portfolio), 1922. Etching, drypoint on paper. The George Economou Collection © The Estate of Otto Dix 2018.

Sergius Pauser (1896 – 1970). Self – Portrait with Mask, 1926. Oil paint on canvas, 600 x 730 mm. The George Economou Collection © Angela Pauser and Wolfgang Pauser.

Magic Realism is curated by Matthew Gale, Head of Displays and Katy Wan, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern.

Images courtesy Tate Modern.

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