Upcoming Exhibitions

Degenerate! Hitler’s War on Modern Art

Fall 2024

Under the control of the Nazi regime, works of art across Europe were confiscated in the thousands. Some were destroyed; some were sold to help build their war machine; others were used as propaganda, promoting the idea that certain perspectives and people were ‘degenerate’ and ‘unworthy of life’. This exhibition tells their story.

Between the end of WWI and the Nazis’ rise to power, the Weimar Republic era was a period of social, economic, and political upheaval in Germany and of thriving cultural and artistic experimentation. Modern Art, which cut ties from ridged tradition and promotes freedom of expression, was rising in popularity with new movements like Dadaism, Cubism, Expressionism, and Abstraction taking strong footholds in German society.

Hitler did not approve. He deemed modernist tendencies to be the result of genetic inferiority and society’s moral decline, labeling the artists and their work as Entartete Kunst, or ‘degenerate’.

An unprecedented attack to change and cleanse Germany’s cultural landscape was unleashed – a key step in Hitler’s plans for racial cleansing. Featuring art from private and institutional collections, this exhibit explores the Third Reich’s use of modern art as a tool of propaganda for public indoctrination to Nazi ideology and some of the artists, movements, events and outcomes of being branded ‘degenerate’.

An originally curated Jewish Museum Milwaukee exhibition. A special thank you to the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center (HERC) for their expertise and consultation on this exhibit.

Maltz Museum