Questions of German-Bohemian art and New Objectivity

Title: Questions of German-Bohemian art and New Objectivity
Variant title:
  • Otázky německočeského umění a nová věcnost
Author: Holz, Keith
Source document: Opuscula historiae artium. 2018, vol. 67, iss. 1, pp. 14-23
  • ISSN
    1211-7390 (print)
    2336-4467 (online)
Type: Article
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This essay reviews historiographical issues that arise when one relates New Objectivity painting in Germany with the visual arts of ethnic German visual artists in Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia. It also discusses potential avenues of inquiry to examine this interrelationship more closely. Readers are reminded of the tortured complications arising in artists' lives, careers, identities, and their wartime and postwar dislocations that separated them from the role of representing states in the postwar period. Apropos New Objectivity, it asks who defined the art of ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia and how did those definitions relate to the discourse produced and disseminated by Gustav Hartlaub and Franz Roh's trail-blazing positions in Germany. It also asks that more specificity be placed upon defining the sense and scope new realist pictures by ethnic Germans were "modernist," or "avant-garde" in the Czechoslovak interwar context. Finally, the essay suggests an opening through which new realist paintings, prints or drawings might be studied as artifacts involved in the address of audiences whose expectations for art were engrained within local notions and practices of craftsmanship in the highly respected design industries.
This paper was supported by the Czech Science Foundation (GA ČR), project: 17-06031S, New Realisms of the Visual Art Scene in Czechoslovakia 1918–1945.