German Art in New York

The Canonization of Modern Art 1904 - 1957

Gregor Langfeld

German Art in New York

Gregor Langfeld

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

232 pages | 40 color plates, 100 halftones | 6 2/3 x 9 1/4 | © 2015
Paper $62.50 ISBN: 9789089647665 Published September 2015 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
Why did the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim in New York, and art collectors and curators such as Katherine Dreier and Alfred Barr, collect modern German art in the first half of the twentieth century? And why did certain works of art belong to the canon while others did not?

In this book, Gregor Langfeld argues that National Socialism played a crucial role in the canonization of movements such as Expressionism and the Bauhaus. A role which undermined the post-1945 reputations of many artists associated with classical and figurative trends. Langfeld offers important new insights into the political and ideological motivations behind the New York art world's fluctuations in opinion, fashion, and price.

Questions and Hypotheses
Methodological Foundations
The Current State of Research

Harvard University
From the First Exhibitions of German Art to the First World War
Promoting German Art in the 1920s:The International versus the National Position
Katherine Dreier
Dreier’s Understanding of Art
International Exhibition of Modern Art (1926–1927)
William R. Valentiner
Valentiner’s Understanding of Art
Modern German Art at the Anderson Galleries (1923)

Promoting German Art around 1930: The National Position
The Harvard Society for Contemporary Art:
Modern German Art and Bauhaus (1930–1931)
The Museum of Modern Art and Alfred H. Barr Jr.
Barr’s Development and Understanding of Art
The Collecting Strategies of the Museum’s Founders
Barr’s Reputation
German Painting and Sculpture (1931)

The Influence of National Socialism on Canonization
Reactions to National Socialist Art Policy through 1937
Barr’s Early Assessments
Art Criticism, 1937
The Canonization of the Bauhaus
Bauhaus, 1919−1928
at the Museum of Modern Art (1938–1939)
Former Members of the Bauhaus in the Educational System
Roosevelt’s Opening Speech at the Museum of Modern Art (1939)
Hilla Rebay and Solomon R. Guggenheim: An Apolitical Perspective
Rebay’s Understanding of Art
The Reception among Art Critics
Acquisitions of “Exile Art” by the Museum of Modern Art (1939)
Protests by American Artists
Exhibitions of “Degenerate Art” outside of New York (1939–1940)
The Traveling
Exhibition of 20th Century (Banned) German Art
Modern German Art at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts
Contemporary German Art at the Institute of Modern Art, Boston

The Affirmation of the Canon
The Museum of Modern Art during the Second World War
Free German Art (1942)
The Postwar Era
German Art of the Twentieth Century at the Museum of Modern Art (1957)
The Collecting Strategies of the Busch-Reisinger Museum
The Canonization of Other Art Forms
Looking Ahead

Index of Names
List of Illustrations
Review Quotes
“Offers a useful analysis of a key aspect of modern German art heretofore unexplored in the literature. Langfeld clearly outlines the scope of his inquiry, and his approach is well organized and well documented with primary material. . . . Recommended.”
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