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The Complex Paradoxes of Weimar Germany, As Expressed Through Art

  • Conrad Felixmuller - The Beggar of Prachatice 1924
July 29, 2018
Andreja Velimirović is a passionate content writer with a knack for art and old movies. Majoring in art history, he is an expert on avant-garde modern movements and medieval church fresco decorations. Feel free to contact him via his Linkedin profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreja-velimirovi%C4%87-74068a68/

Relying primarily on the effects that the rich holdings of The George Economou Collection will have on the viewers, Tate Modern is getting ready to open a year-long, free exhibition that will explore German art made between the two great wars.

This presentation of about seventy paintings and works on paper will be titled Magic Realism and will highlight the complex paradoxes of the Weimar Republic, an unofficial designation for the German state used between the years of 1919 and 1933.

The culture of the Weimar Republic was unique in a sense that liberalization and anti-militarism flourished in tandem with political and economic difficulties of the time, which makes the upcoming Tate Modern a very interesting event that should definitely be on your radar.

Albert Birkle - The Acrobat Schulz V 1921 - Sergius Pauser- Self - Portrait with Mask 1926
Left: Albert Birkle – The Acrobat Schulz V, 1921. Oil paint on canvas, 920 x 607 mm. The George Economou Collection, © DACS, London 2018 / Right: Sergius Pauser – Self–Portrait with Mask, 1926. Oil paint on canvas, 600 x 730 mm. The George Economou Collection, © Angela Pauser and Wolfgang Pauser

Magic Realism

While the term magic realism may be commonly associated with the literature of Latin America, this term was actually coined by the artist and critic Franz Roh in 1925.

With magic realism, Franz Roh hoped to describe the creative shift from the emotional art of Expressionism towards the indifferent imagery of the interwar period, which Franz recognized as a unique piece of German art history.

The shift Roh talked about was largely brought by the profound social and political disarray in Germany after World War I, circumstances that had a great impact on the artists – precisely what the upcoming Magic Realism hopes to demonstrate.

George Grosz - Self-Portrait with Model in the Studio 1930-7 - Jeanne Mammen - At the Shooting Gallery 1929
Left: George Grosz – Self-Portrait with Model in the Studio, 1930-1937. Watercolour on paper, 660 x 473 mm. Tate, © Estate of George Grosz, Princeton, N.J. 2018 / Right: Jeanne Mammen – At the Shooting Gallery, 1929. Watercolour and graphite on vellum, 445 x 360 mm. The George Economou Collection, © DACS, 2018

German Artists Between the Two World Wars

The artworks prepared for the Magic Realism showcase will offer a rare opportunity to view a range of artworks not ordinarily chosen for public display. In fact, a lot of the works were never before presented in UK museums.

The show will have the challenging goal of exploring the diverse practices of a number of different artists, including the likes of Otto Dix, George Grosz, Albert Birkle and Jeanne Mammen.

The works of these artists, while created during a time of growing political extremism, reflected a fluid social experience as well as inner worlds of emotion and magic.

Josef Eberz - Dancer (Beatrice Mariagraete) 1923 - Hans Grundig - Girl with Pink Hat 1925 - Jeanne Mammen - Bruderstrasse (Free Room) 1930
Left: Josef Eberz – Dancer (Beatrice Mariagraete), 1923. Oil on canvas, 1580 x 785 mm. The George Economou Collection / Middle: Hans Grundig – Girl with Pink Hat, 1925. Oil paint on cardboard, 704 x 500 mm. The George Economou Collection, © DACS, 2018 / Right: Jeanne Mammen – Brüderstrasse (Free Room), 1930/ Watercolour, ink and graphite on vellum, 475 x 345 mm. The George Economou Collection, © DACS, 2018

Weimar Germany Art Exhibition at Tate Modern

The forthcoming Magic Realism at Tate Modern comes at a good time, commemorating the anniversary of the end of World War I and accompanied by the Aftermath: Art in the Wake of World War One show held at Tate Britain. Taking that into account, the interest in the upcoming show will certainly be great, which is the main reason why the show will be open for an entire year.

Curated by Matthew Gale, Head of Displays, and Katy Wan, Assistant Curator, Magic Realism will be on view between the 30th of July 2018 and the 14 of July 2019 at Tate Modern in London, UK.

Featured image: Conrad Felixmüller – The Beggar of Prachatice, 1924. Watercolour, gouache and graphite on paper, 500 x 645 mm. The George Economou Collection © DACS, 2018 . All images courtesy of Tate Modern.