1937: Looking for Traces - In Remembrance of the “Degenerate Art” Campaign
June 20, 2007 – March 30, 2008

1937 marked Hitler’s regime’s taking strict control of the art world in Germany, destroying all modern developments in art in the country. Many artists were discriminated against from 1933 and later persecuted and within weeks their works were removed from German museums.

In remembrance of the 70th anniversary of those events in the summer of 1937, the Sprengel Museum Hannover will delve into its collection of classical Modern art. This exhibition will include paintings and sculptures by nineteen artists representing the spectrum of avant-garde art at the turn of the 20th century. Remembering the stories behind these works and what happened to the artists during the Nazi era is the focus of this exhibition. A number of the paintings clearly allude to what was happening then and bear witness to the artists’ reactions. Some of the art, such as El Lissitzky’s “Proun R.V.N.2” (1923) or Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s “Kranker in der Nacht” (sick person at night) (1920-2) were already part of the provincial art museum’s collection in Hanover before 1937. They survived the removal actions of that year and were (in the one case in 1963, in 1977 in the other) re-purchased by the government of the province of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony). Two additional works of art, Emil Nolde’s Herbstmeer IX (autumn sea) (1910) and Otto Müller’s Liebespaar (lovers) (c. 1920), were once on view at museums in Munich and Breslau and were, in addition to Kirchner’s painting, part of the “Degenerate Art” show.

This comprehensive look at the Sprengel Museum Hannover’s collection encompasses only renowned artists’ work, including many of their most significant pieces, largely thanks to the great efforts undertaken by individual collectors, such as Fritz Beindorff, Wilhelm Stichweh, Hermann Bode and Bernhard and Margrit Sprengel. They were able to protect individual works from the ravages of 1937 so that the palette on view at the Sprengel Museum could be on view today.

A publication will accompany the exhibition thanks to support from the Friends of the Sprengel Museum Hannover (e.V.) as part of the series entitled “ About the Collection”, in the form of a brochure, “1937: Looking for Traces - In Remembrance of the “Degenerate Art” Campaign“, available for 8 €.

Three lectures delving into this theme will be given on Saturday, October 6, 2007, at the Sprengel Museum Hannover. The speakers will be Dr Christian Fuhrmeister (Munich), Andreas Hüneke (Berlin) and Dr Ines Katenhusen (Hanover).


For further information please contact: Press and Public Relations