Special Exhibition Gallery - Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s

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Esaak, Shelley. "Special Exhibition Gallery - Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s." ThoughtCo, Mar. 1, 2017, thoughtco.com/glitter-and-doom-german-portraits-4122870. Esaak, Shelley. (2017, March 1). Special Exhibition Gallery - Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/glitter-and-doom-german-portraits-4122870 Esaak, Shelley. "Special Exhibition Gallery - Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/glitter-and-doom-german-portraits-4122870 (accessed October 17, 2017).
01
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Self Portrait with Champagne Glass, 1919

Photograph provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Used with permission
Max Beckmann (German, 1884-1950). Self Portrait with Champagne Glass, 1919. Oil on canvas. 25 9/16 x 21 7/8 in. (65 x 55.5 cm). Private collection, courtesy W. Wittrock, Berlin. Photo: Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf. © 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

November 14, 2006–February 19, 2007 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s reminds us that the years of the Weimar Republic in Germany were short, sad and, particularly in Berlin, spectacular. A contingent of German visual artists moved on from Dada to Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), from which a leftist sub-branch now known as Verism arose.

This image gallery contains a selection of some of the Verist works on view in the exhibition. Painted during a society's death spiral, the prostitutes, war cripples, transvestites, wealthy industrialists, doctors, lawyers and, yes, often the Verist artists themselves, are captured here in a now-lost era. Less 'enjoyable' than many themed exhibitions, Glitter and Doom... is superlative at compelling the viewer to look and think.

For his own self-portrait, Max Beckmann (1884–1950) chose to seat himself in a nightclub interior holding a glass of champagne. The perspective of the setting is badly skewed; walls, table, chair, all are mismatched in space. Only the glass of champagne is upright and unaffected. In this disordered and unstable setting, Beckmann himself looks over his shoulder, which he touches languidly with one ringed hand, and sneers.

About the show:

The years of the Weimar Republic in Germany were short, sad and, particularly in Berlin, spectacular. A contingent of German visual artists moved on from Dada to Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), from which a leftist sub-branch now known as Verism arose.

The Verist works on view in this exhibition were painted during a society's death spiral. Prostitutes, war cripples, transvestites, wealthy industrialists, doctors, lawyers and, yes, often the Verist artists themselves, are captured here in a now-lost era. Less 'enjoyable' than many themed exhibitions, Glitter and Doom... is superlative at compelling the viewer to look and think.

"Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s" is on view from November 14, 2006 – February 19, 2007 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028-0198. (Telephone: 212-535-7710; Website). The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Suggested admission is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students. Paid parking is available in the Museum Garage.
 

02
of 12

Young Argentine, 1929

Photograph provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Used with permission
Max Beckmann (German, 1884-1950). Young Argentine, 1929. Oil on canvas. 49 3/16 x 32 7/8 in. (125 x 83.5 cm). Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich. © 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn


Shades of Joel Grey in Cabaret. Is this glowering, nearly-transparent youth in a tuxedo wearing face powder and rouge, or does he suffer from tuberculosis? In either case, it looks as if a stiff breeze would knock that cigarette out of his hand and him off his feet.

Max Beckmann served in the German medical corps during World War I, a chapter of his life that triggered a nervous breakdown. Not coincidentally, his figural work afterward often contains elements of disease and/or physical suffering.

About the show:

The years of the Weimar Republic in Germany were short, sad and, particularly in Berlin, spectacular. A contingent of German visual artists moved on from Dada to Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), from which a leftist sub-branch now known as Verism arose.

The Verist works on view in this exhibition were painted during a society's death spiral. Prostitutes, war cripples, transvestites, wealthy industrialists, doctors, lawyers and, yes, often the Verist artists themselves, are captured here in a now-lost era. Less 'enjoyable' than many themed exhibitions, Glitter and Doom... is superlative at compelling the viewer to look and think.

"Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s" is on view from November 14, 2006 – February 19, 2007 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028-0198. (Telephone: 212-535-7710; Website). The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Suggested admission is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students. Paid parking is available in the Museum Garage.
 

03
of 12

The Art Dealer Alfred Flechtheim, 1926

Photograph provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Used with permission
Otto Dix (German, 1891-1969). The Art Dealer Alfred Flechtheim, 1926. Mixed media on wood. 47 1/4 x 31 1/2 in. (120 x 80 cm). Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie. Photo: Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz/Art Resource, NY. © 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn


Alfred Flechtheim (1878-1937) was originally a Düsseldorf collector of Far Eastern art. After he turned dealer in 1913, and by the time Dix had met him, Flechtheim had gained a reputation as an avowed Francophile with a marked preference for Cubism. He was (inaccurately) supposed to have turned his back on Expressionism and German work in general.

Otto Dix neither liked nor trusted Alfred Flechtheim, as is clearly evident in this uncommissioned portrait. Here surrounded by Cubist works, grasping a French painting in one hand and what must be bills of sale in the other, Flechtheim's small eyes seem heavy-lidded with greed. Dix appears to be telling us that, as he sees it, the other side of this particular International art dealer coin is a nothing more than a salesman in a cheap suit, hawking merchandise.

About the show:

The years of the Weimar Republic in Germany were short, sad and, particularly in Berlin, spectacular. A contingent of German visual artists moved on from Dada to Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), from which a leftist sub-branch now known as Verism arose.

The Verist works on view in this exhibition were painted during a society's death spiral. Prostitutes, war cripples, transvestites, wealthy industrialists, doctors, lawyers and, yes, often the Verist artists themselves, are captured here in a now-lost era. Less 'enjoyable' than many themed exhibitions, Glitter and Doom... is superlative at compelling the viewer to look and think.

"Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s" is on view from November 14, 2006 – February 19, 2007 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028-0198. (Telephone: 212-535-7710; Website). The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Suggested admission is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students. Paid parking is available in the Museum Garage.
 

04
of 12

Dr. Mayer-Hermann, 1926

Photograph provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Used with permission
Otto Dix (German, 1891-1969). Dr. Mayer-Hermann, 1926. Oil and tempera with mixed media on wood. 59 1/16 x 39 3/8 in. (150 x 100 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Philip Johnson, 1932. Photo © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY. © 2006 ARS/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn


Both Dr. Wilhelm (later William) Mayer-Hermann (1890-1945) and his portrait by Otto Dix wound up across the Atlantic Ocean in the same city. Six years after its completion Dr. Mayer-Hermann was donated to the Museum of Modern Art in 1932, where it has remained on permanent display (except, of course, in the event of loans such as the Glitter and Doom... exhibition) ever since.

The good Dr. and his family emigrated from Berlin to Manhattan in 1934, and Mayer-Hermann established a wildly successful ear, nose and throat practice. It is said anecdotally that, until his death in 1945, he enjoyed visiting "himself" at MoMA and never failed to be privately amused by the unkind remarks his portrait elicited from other viewers.

About the show:

The years of the Weimar Republic in Germany were short, sad and, particularly in Berlin, spectacular. A contingent of German visual artists moved on from Dada to Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), from which a leftist sub-branch now known as Verism arose.

The Verist works on view in this exhibition were painted during a society's death spiral. Prostitutes, war cripples, transvestites, wealthy industrialists, doctors, lawyers and, yes, often the Verist artists themselves, are captured here in a now-lost era. Less 'enjoyable' than many themed exhibitions, Glitter and Doom... is superlative at compelling the viewer to look and think.

"Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s" is on view from November 14, 2006 – February 19, 2007 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028-0198. (Telephone: 212-535-7710; Website). The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Suggested admission is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students. Paid parking is available in the Museum Garage.
 

05
of 12

Cartoon for Metropolis (Triptych), 1928

Photograph provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Used with permission
Otto Dix (German, 1891-1969). Cartoon for Metropolis (Triptych), 1928. Charcoal, pencil and red and white chalk and body color on paper. Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, permanent loan from the State of Baden-Württemberg. Photo: Uwe H. Seyl, Stuttgart. © 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn


Dix gives us a glimpse, here, of his prodigious skill as a draftsman. The cartoon for the later painting, Metropolis, is peopled with his wife, many friends and acquaintances, and Dix himself. Drawn at a time when life was going well for the artist both personally and professionally, you might think it very nearly veers into a kinder, gentler Dix ... but, no. Scratch the surface and every sneering comment on Weimar society, and every bit of anatomical symbolism is present. Not to mention the fact that a triptych is, traditionally, the format of many religious altarpieces. Hard to imagine a more secular subject for an "altarpiece," isn't it? That was almost certainly Dix's pointed point.

Dimensions:

Left: 70 7/8 x 40 3/4 in. (180 x 103.5 cm)
Center: 70 7/8 x 90 9/16 in. (180 x 230 cm)
Right: 70 1/2 x 39 3/4 in. (179 x 101 cm)


About the show:

The years of the Weimar Republic in Germany were short, sad and, particularly in Berlin, spectacular. A contingent of German visual artists moved on from Dada to Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), from which a leftist sub-branch now known as Verism arose.

The Verist works on view in this exhibition were painted during a society's death spiral. Prostitutes, war cripples, transvestites, wealthy industrialists, doctors, lawyers and, yes, often the Verist artists themselves, are captured here in a now-lost era. Less 'enjoyable' than many themed exhibitions, Glitter and Doom... is superlative at compelling the viewer to look and think.

"Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s" is on view from November 14, 2006 – February 19, 2007 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028-0198. (Telephone: 212-535-7710; Website). The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Suggested admission is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students. Paid parking is available in the Museum Garage.
 

06
of 12

The Dancer Anita Berber, 1925

Photograph provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Used with permission
Otto Dix (German, 1891-1969). The Dancer Anita Berber, 1925. Oil and tempera on plywood. 47 1/4 x 25 9/16 in. (120 x 65 cm). Loan of the Landesbank Baden-Würtemberg in the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. © 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn


Anita Berber (1899-1928) was immensely famous in 1920s Berlin - for reasons not acknowledged in polite society. She danced (nude) in nightclubs, seduced a wide swath of the the population (both male and female), appeared (also frequently nude) in soft porn silent films, drank (on the average) one bottle of cognac per day, married three times, was addicted to cocaine and opium, was never seen in public without heavy make-up, talked incessantly, lied like a rug and, predictably, died at an early age.

Incredibly, given her notoriety, almost no one in the present day would have heard of Anita Berber were it not for this Otto Dix portrait. The artist was never huge on using the color red, but did so here for his friend to eye-popping effect. It is the red of Venus, the red of rubies and we are nearly physically assaulted with her sexual power - even on canvas, even 80+ years after the fact.

About the show:

The years of the Weimar Republic in Germany were short, sad and, particularly in Berlin, spectacular. A contingent of German visual artists moved on from Dada to Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), from which a leftist sub-branch now known as Verism arose.

The Verist works on view in this exhibition were painted during a society's death spiral. Prostitutes, war cripples, transvestites, wealthy industrialists, doctors, lawyers and, yes, often the Verist artists themselves, are captured here in a now-lost era. Less 'enjoyable' than many themed exhibitions, Glitter and Doom... is superlative at compelling the viewer to look and think.

"Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s" is on view from November 14, 2006 – February 19, 2007 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028-0198. (Telephone: 212-535-7710; Website). The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Suggested admission is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students. Paid parking is available in the Museum Garage.
 

07
of 12

The Salon I, 1921

Photograph provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Used with permission
Otto Dix (German, 1891-1969). The Salon I, 1921. Oil on canvas. 33 7/8 x 47 7/16 in. (86 x 120.5 cm). Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. © 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn


These prostitutes are past their prime, tired and completely stuck in dead-end jobs. Otto Dix was rightfully feared as a portraitist in 1920s Germany, but he was not without sympathy for victims and the downtrodden. As worn-out as these women appear, they retain more human elements than Dix was known to paint into those higher up on the social ladder.

True story: Both Salon I and Salon II (lost) were acquired by Dix's good friend, sometime patron and one-time sitter, Dr. Hans Koch (1881-1952). When the artist left Düsseldorf to return to Dresden in 1921, one of the items traveling with him was Koch's wife, Martha (1895–1985). Dix and Martha later married, while Dix and Koch, incredibly, remained good friends. When the latter married his ex-wife's older sister, Maria, the two men indeed became brothers-in-law. How terribly, terribly civil.

About the show:

The years of the Weimar Republic in Germany were short, sad and, particularly in Berlin, spectacular. A contingent of German visual artists moved on from Dada to Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), from which a leftist sub-branch now known as Verism arose.

The Verist works on view in this exhibition were painted during a society's death spiral. Prostitutes, war cripples, transvestites, wealthy industrialists, doctors, lawyers and, yes, often the Verist artists themselves, are captured here in a now-lost era. Less 'enjoyable' than many themed exhibitions, Glitter and Doom... is superlative at compelling the viewer to look and think.

"Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s" is on view from November 14, 2006 – February 19, 2007 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028-0198. (Telephone: 212-535-7710; Website). The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Suggested admission is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students. Paid parking is available in the Museum Garage.
 

08
of 12

To Beauty, 1922

Photograph provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Used with permission
Otto Dix (German, 1891-1969). To Beauty, 1922. Oil on canvas. 55 1/8 x 48 1/16 in. (140 x 122 cm). Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal. © 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn


The central figure in this painting is Otto Dix himself, and there is no beauty to the scene. Standing in the middle of a brothel, he is holding a telephone in his left hand. The right side of his face is in shadow, while a left-looking glance sidles towards us somewhat menacingly. The only people here who do not look like wind-up dolls are Dix and the maniacally grinning black jazz drummer (with a fragment of the American flag sticking out of his breast pocket).

About the show:

The years of the Weimar Republic in Germany were short, sad and, particularly in Berlin, spectacular. A contingent of German visual artists moved on from Dada to Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), from which a leftist sub-branch now known as Verism arose.

The Verist works on view in this exhibition were painted during a society's death spiral. Prostitutes, war cripples, transvestites, wealthy industrialists, doctors, lawyers and, yes, often the Verist artists themselves, are captured here in a now-lost era. Less 'enjoyable' than many themed exhibitions, Glitter and Doom... is superlative at compelling the viewer to look and think.

"Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s" is on view from November 14, 2006 – February 19, 2007 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028-0198. (Telephone: 212-535-7710; Website). The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Suggested admission is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students. Paid parking is available in the Museum Garage.

09
of 12

The Swimmer of Cologne, 1926-28

Photograph provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Used with permission
Karl Hubbuch (German, 1891-1979). The Swimmer of Cologne, 1926-28. Watercolor and pencil. 26 1/8 x 19 5/16 in. (66.3 x 49 cm). Städtische Kunsthalle, Mannheim; Photo: Margita Wickenhaüser


Karl Hubbuch was extensively trained in etching, woodcutting, and illustration, so it is not surprising that we are gifted with every bridge rivet and a highly-detailed rendering of the Cologne Cathedral in the background of The Swimmer of Cologne. What is somewhat surprising is that Hubbuch much preferred dual- or multi-figural compositions, but here we see one solitary woman. She is standing on new technology, poised in front of the old. Why, though? And what will she do next?

About the show:

The years of the Weimar Republic in Germany were short, sad and, particularly in Berlin, spectacular. A contingent of German visual artists moved on from Dada to Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), from which a leftist sub-branch now known as Verism arose.

The Verist works on view in this exhibition were painted during a society's death spiral. Prostitutes, war cripples, transvestites, wealthy industrialists, doctors, lawyers and, yes, often the Verist artists themselves, are captured here in a now-lost era. Less 'enjoyable' than many themed exhibitions, Glitter and Doom... is superlative at compelling the viewer to look and think.

"Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s" is on view from November 14, 2006 – February 19, 2007 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028-0198. (Telephone: 212-535-7710; Website). The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Suggested admission is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students. Paid parking is available in the Museum Garage.
 

10
of 12

Self-Portrait, 1927

Photograph provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Used with permission
Christian Schad (German, 1894-1982). Self-Portrait, 1927. Oil on wood. 29 15/16 x 24 3/16 in. (76 x 61.5 cm). Private collection, courtesy Galerie Brockstedt, Hamburg. Photo: Benjamin Hasenclever, Munich. © 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn


Unlike some of the other Verists, Christian Schad had no need to delve into caricatures of humans. He was fully capable of making us squirm with excruciating realism alone, such as that found in Self Portrait (1927). Now, you're left with no doubt as to why these two people are here, but it was very clearly a joyless act. Schad is unsparing of himself; he is troubled looking, neither naked nor clothed and, though in the foreground, most definitely not the dominant force in the scene. The woman, on the other hand, is so obviously in charge that she is defiantly nude and almost palpably bored. Honestly? She scares me. I'm convinced that scar on her left cheek came by way of some dominatrix duel with sabers or horsewhips - and, no, there is absolutely no factual basis for my saying that.

About the show:

The years of the Weimar Republic in Germany were short, sad and, particularly in Berlin, spectacular. A contingent of German visual artists moved on from Dada to Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), from which a leftist sub-branch now known as Verism arose.

The Verist works on view in this exhibition were painted during a society's death spiral. Prostitutes, war cripples, transvestites, wealthy industrialists, doctors, lawyers and, yes, often the Verist artists themselves, are captured here in a now-lost era. Less 'enjoyable' than many themed exhibitions, Glitter and Doom... is superlative at compelling the viewer to look and think.

"Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s" is on view from November 14, 2006 – February 19, 2007 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028-0198. (Telephone: 212-535-7710; Website). The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Suggested admission is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students. Paid parking is available in the Museum Garage.
 

11
of 12

Count St. Genois d'Anneaucourt, 1927

Photograph provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Used with permission
Christian Schad (German, 1894-1982). Count St. Genois d'Anneaucourt, 1927. Oil on wood. 33 7/8 x 24 13/16 in. (86 x 63 cm). Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Purchased in memory of Siegfried Poppe, 2000. © 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

© CNAC/MNAM/Dist. Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource, NY


The Graf, or Count St. Genois d'Anneaucourt was a well-known figure in Viennese society, where Schad had family connections. St. Genois d'Anneaucourt was known partly for being an aristocrat and diplomat, and partly for being the object of great, gossipy speculation. Where did his preferences lay? Male, female, both or neither? He never said, so Schad portrays the Count elegantly dressed in evening clothes here, looking somewhat trapped while standing before two figures garbed in sheer gowns. They eye each other as if rivals for his attention, one a rather severe and mannish woman (identified as Baroness Glasen, for whom the Count often served as a "walker," or male escort), the other a transvestite. Schad has put a rather smug expression on the transvestite's face, but that was merely a guess on the artist's part.

About the show:

The years of the Weimar Republic in Germany were short, sad and, particularly in Berlin, spectacular. A contingent of German visual artists moved on from Dada to Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), from which a leftist sub-branch now known as Verism arose.

The Verist works on view in this exhibition were painted during a society's death spiral. Prostitutes, war cripples, transvestites, wealthy industrialists, doctors, lawyers and, yes, often the Verist artists themselves, are captured here in a now-lost era. Less 'enjoyable' than many themed exhibitions, Glitter and Doom... is superlative at compelling the viewer to look and think.

"Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s" is on view from November 14, 2006 – February 19, 2007 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028-0198. (Telephone: 212-535-7710; Website). The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Suggested admission is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students. Paid parking is available in the Museum Garage.
 

12
of 12

Sonja, 1928

Photograph provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Used with permission
Christian Schad (German, 1894-1982). Sonja, 1928. Oil on canvas. 35 7/16 x 23 5/8 in. (90 x 60 cm). Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie. Purchased 1997 by Friends of the Nationalgalerie (Stiftung Ingeborg and Günter Milich, Berlin). © 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Photo: Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz/Art Resource, NY


We don't know much about the sitter except that Sonja was a secretary who smoked Camels and was comfortable sitting in a trendy café without an escort. Though she is the enigmatic focal point, Schad painted in bits of two men about whom we know more: to Sonja's right is the unmistakable left ear of the writer Max Herrmann-Neisse (1886-1941), and to her left are the jawline and red-jacketed torso of journalist Felix Bryk (1882-1957), a friend of Schad's.

About the show:

The years of the Weimar Republic in Germany were short, sad and, particularly in Berlin, spectacular. A contingent of German visual artists moved on from Dada to Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), from which a leftist sub-branch now known as Verism arose.

The Verist works on view in this exhibition were painted during a society's death spiral. Prostitutes, war cripples, transvestites, wealthy industrialists, doctors, lawyers and, yes, often the Verist artists themselves, are captured here in a now-lost era. Less 'enjoyable' than many themed exhibitions, Glitter and Doom... is superlative at compelling the viewer to look and think.

"Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s" is on view from November 14, 2006 – February 19, 2007 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028-0198. (Telephone: 212-535-7710; Website). The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Suggested admission is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students. Paid parking is available in the Museum Garage.