Another great show on San Marco is ‘New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic, 1919–1933’ which features approximately 140 paintings, photographs, drawings, and prints by more than 40 artists.
Key figures, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Christian Schad, August Sander, and Max Beckmann, are presented together with lesser known artists, including Hans Finsler, Georg Schrimpf, Heinrich Maria Davringhausen, Carl Grossberg, and Aenne Biermann, among others. Special attention is devoted to the juxtaposition of painting and photography, offering the rare opportunity to examine both the similarities and differences between the movement’s diverse media, although this combination on the show was met with a mixed response. In terms of influence, both by, and to, Walter Sickert and Edward Burra came to mind, in way that hadn’t occurred to me before.
The exhibition is organized into five thematic sections: ‘Life in Democracy and the Aftermath of the War’ examines both the polar conditions dividing Germany’s rising bourgeoisie and those suffered most from the war’s aftereffects, including maimed war veterans, the unemployed, prostitutes, and victims of political corruption and violence; ‘The City and the Nature of Landscape’ addresses the growing disparity between an increasingly industrialized urbanity and nostalgic longing for the pastoral; ‘Still Life and Commodities’ highlights a new form of the traditional still life in which quotidian objects–often indicative of mass production–are staged to create object-portraits; ‘Man and Machine’ looks to artists’ attempts to reconcile the transformative yet dehumanizing effects of rapid industrialization; and lastly, ‘New Identities: Type and Portraiture’ showcases a new trend in portraiture in which subjects are rendered as social typecasts rather than individual subjects.