German cardinal sparks fury with ‘Nazi art term’


This is a video of expressionist artists’ work, such as Barlach, Munch, Kokoschka, Van Gogh; with the music of Camille Saint Saens – Danse Macabre.

From AFP news agency:

Berlin – Politicians and artists have condemned a German archbishop who described modern art as “degenerate” [German: “entartet”], the term used by the Nazis in their persecution of artists.

Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, said art which had no link to religion was “entartete Kunst”, a term that in German has strong connotations linked to the Third Reich and its ban on paintings and other culture. …

The Central Council of Jews in Germany was outraged. Its secretary-general Stephan Kramer said Meisner was a “notoriously incendiary” figure.

In 1999, the cardinal compared over-the-counter abortion pills with the Zyklon B gas used by the Nazis in the Auschwitz death camp.

Cologne-based painter Gerhard Richter, one of Germany’s best-known artists, said the cardinal had made a serious error of judgement.

“To use the word ‘degenerate’ in relation to art, as Cardinal Meisner did, is a serious faux pas,” Richter told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. …

The Nazis removed or banned an estimated 20,000 works of art, especially Expressionist art, from German museums after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933.

Painters such as Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Edvard Munch were persecuted and stigmatised.

Also: by 1933, most Expressionist art, being recent, was not in museums (yet), to put the estimate of 20,000 in perspective.

Outcry over British graffiti artists’ jailing gathers pace online: here.

German nazi art in the USA: here.

British media pre 1933 on Hitler: here.

14 thoughts on “German cardinal sparks fury with ‘Nazi art term’

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