A new book by our colleague Christian Drobe, Verdächtige Ambivalenz: Klassizismus in der Moderne 1920–1960 (Suspicious Ambivalence: Classicism in Modernism 1920–1960) has just been published by Arts and Science Weimar.
After the First World War, artists throughout Europe once again embraced tradition. The desire for order and peace fuelled their artistic visions. This modern classicism, which emerged most notably in France and Italy, has so far received little attention in German art history. This publication attempts to close this gap. At the beginning of the 1920s, important representatives of New Objectivity such as Georg Schrimpf, Alexander Kanoldt or Carlo Mense approached forms of the new classicism, which art critics were intensively discussing at the same time. Traditional art centres such as Munich or Dresden played a major role in this process. The same applies to the Italian experience as a place of longing, which in Germany, like the reception of antiquity as a whole, looks back on a long history. The National Socialists, however, besmirched the ideas of classicism, made references back to tradition suspect and ultimately put an end to this heritage. The struggle for supremacy over the past, nevertheless, looked back on a long tradition. Conservatism had a massive impact on interwar art in Germany and is examined here in its ideas, counter-examples and also in its misconceptions in continuity up to the post-war period.