New Objectivity

Our presentation features German and European paintings from the collection of the Lenbachhaus dated from 1918 into the 1940s. They exemplify the period’s extraordinarily rich range of visual idioms and thematic concerns.

In his book "Post-Expressionism – Magic Realism: Problems in Recent European Painting" of 1926, Franz Roh, an art historian and artist living in Munich, surveyed the diverse developments since the end of World War I. Many artists who were profoundly distressed by what they had experienced disavowed the formal innovations of the avant-garde such as Cubism, Expressionism, and abstraction and focused their energies on soberly realist depictions of the world around them.

Others built on the achievements of the prewar period to break new ground: the Bauhaus fused abstract tendencies with new principles of design, Expressionism blended with realism, Dadaism and Surrealism devised distinctive variants of figuration, and the cosmopolitan artists’ initiative "Abstraction-Création", which counted Kandinsky and Jean Hélion among its members, promoted abstract and concrete art.