Die Neue Sachlichkeit:The New Objectivity

Die Neue Sachlichkeit (The New Objectivity) was a pseudo-Expressionist movement founded in Germany in the aftermath of World War I by Otto Dix and George Grosz. It is characterized by a realistic style combined with a cynical, socially critical philosophical stance. Many of the artists were anti-war. In their paintings and drawings they vividly depicted and excoriated the corruption, frantic pleasure seeking and general demoralization of Germany following its defeat in the war and the ineffectual Weimar Republic which governed until the arrival in power of the Nazi Party in 1933. But their work also constitutes a more universal, savage satire on the human condition.

A second term, Magic Realists, has been applied to diverse artists, including Heinrich Maria Davringhausen, Alexander Kanoldt, Christian Schad, and Georg Schrimpf, whose works were said to counteract in a positive fashion the aggression and subjectivity of German Expressionist art. Christian Schad was a German painter associated with Dada and the New Objectivity movement. A man of elegant erotic melancholy, Christian Schad made some of the most memorable portraits of his period. The Magic Realists were a diverse group that encompassed the nearly photographic realism of Schad (his painting "Count St. Genois d'Anneaucourt" is shown here) and the gentle neo-primitivism of Schrimpf.

The Magic Realists more clearly exemplify the post-World War I "return to order" that arose in the arts throughout Europe, and that found expression in neoclassicism. Many of the works Anton R├Ąderscheidt produced in the 1920s depict a stiffly posed, isolated couple that usually bear the features of R├Ąderscheidt and his wife, the painter Martha Hegemann.


The influence of metaphysical art is apparent in the way the mannequin-like figures stand detached from their environment and from each other. His works from this era are rare, because most of them were either seized by the Nazis as degenerate art and destroyed, or were destroyed in Allied bombing raids.