A is for Art…

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German expressionist art, that is. This period had a wide range of styles, from portraits, to abstract, but all of it was distorted to convey emotional experiences through distorted perception, and was highly focused on the individual experience of reality/existence.

Art from this period ranges from music,paintings, art, film, and architecture.

This movement began in the early 1900s, but continued into/past the 40s, and shows the deep growing pains in Germany at the time. Around the era of the 1920s, Germany was transitioning from a left-wing republic which was beginning to destroy itself with in-fighting to the authoritarian rule of Hitler.

Weimar Germany was astonishingly liberal for it’s time and what followed, after. Here’s a tune off of “Berlin Cabaret Songs” by Ute Lemper, “Chuck out the Men” – this album really gives you a good glimpse into the emotional/intellectual life of pre-war Berlin.

The battle for emancipation’s been raging since history began
Yes, feminists of every nation want to chuck off the chains made by man
Hula girls and housemaids and wives in Maribou
hear all our voices thunder in protest
Anything that men do women can do too
and more that that we women do it best

So, there we go – early feminism. Just on this album, you find acceptance of open sexuality, anti-war songs, subtle winks and nods and all kinds of issues that are still relevant in the world today.

“Songs of the Lodz Ghetto” – Brave Old World

Although not quite German expressionist art, these songs are done in of klezmer, which is an old Jewish style (currently being revived! Yay humanity, sometimes.) is a blend of middle eastern instruments, sung in Yiddish (you can find english translations online) and cover what is was like to be a Jew in Hitler’s Germany, specifically the Jewish ghetto in Lodz, Poland.

As for paintings, here’s a quick over-view of some paintings:

“Carnival”, Max Beckmann


Max Oppenheimer – Moderne Galerie Theatiner-Maffeistr


“Strumtruppe Geht Unter Gas” – Otto Dix




The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari




Interesting sidenote: Some art from this movement was shown in a “Degenerate Art” exhibition by Hitler, banned, and many pieces were destroyed or lost.