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F15 Cain - GERMAN 232 - Visions of Modernity in German Lit Around 1900

German Art and the First World War

The turn of the twentieth century was an exciting time marked by the discovery of new, previously unsuspected worlds below the surface of everyday perception. Germany, Austria and Switzerland were at the forefront of literary, scientific and artistic innovation at that time. In psychology, Sigmund Freud’s work found explanations hidden in the depths of the unconscious. In the sciences, Röntgen’s 1895 discovery of the X-ray and Rutherford’s 1911 splitting of the atom revealed previously invisible physical realities. In politics, Marx and Engels proposed that labor and capital were the forces determining social change and the progress of history. This time of great optimism and scientific advance also witnessed the outbreak of the First World War, a violent and technological war that questioned the optimism about the continuing progress of humankind. Artists and writers responded to these new ideas in highly imaginative ways. Expressionist artists such as Franz Marc and Wasilly Kandinsky of the “Blaue Reiter” group believed their art revealed a “spiritual” dimension that could balance a society dominated by rationalism. Writers such Kafka, Brecht, Schnitzler and Kästner took their readers into these new worlds in their prose and poetry. In this course we will explore notions of hidden worlds revealed and how they were reflected in art, literature, film and political and scientific texts. We will read and analyze a variety of materials, including short stories, poems, plays and a graphic novel adaptation of the children’s story Emil und die Detektive. We will continue to improve our German proficiency including all the fundamental skills of speaking, listening, reading, writing and grammar. Special features of the class include a trip to the UMMA, guest lectures and creative writing. Taught in German.

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff
Die Sonne, No. 3 from the series 10 Holzschnitte...
woodcut | paper
Museum Purchase
Käthe Kollwitz
'Bauernkrieg' (Peasant War Cycle). Losbruch (Outbreak)
aquatint and etching | paper
Museum Purchase
George Grosz
A Dream
pen, ink and wash | off-white laid paper
Museum Purchase
A human face in anguish, with hands raised to his cheeks, looks out from the center of a visual field full of slashing diagonals and explosive triangles of color. On the left side, smoke billows.
Otto Dix
Artillery Battle (Artillerieschlacht)
charcoal and gouache | paper mounted on linen
Museum Purchase
A man clothed in pants, shoes, and a long-sleeved shirt sits at a small table with his hands folded. Part of a loaf of bread sits on the upper left corner of the table. The man is in a small room with a small, square, barred window high on the wall behind him. There is a toilet without a lid behind him to his left.
George Grosz
In Prison
ink | wove paper
Gift of Herbert Barrows
Christian Rohlfs
1849 - 1938
color woodcut | paper
Museum Purchase
Three-quarter profile view of a woman’s face<br />
Käthe Kollwitz
lithograph | paper
Bequest of Jean Paul Slusser
A group of seven men kneel and pray around a radiant figure representing God. God is in the viewer&#39;s upper left, and the supplicants are arranged around him. Hands project into the scene from behind God, suggesting additional figures kneeling in prayer behind.
Max Pechstein
The Lord's Prayer, sheet 6 - And Forgive Us Our Sins (Das Vaterunser - Und vergieb uns unsre Schuld)
woodcut with hand-coloring | paper
Museum Purchase
Max Beckmann
Hunger. No. 4 from the Series of Ten Prints, 'Die Hölle' (Hell).
lithograph | paper
Museum Purchase
László Moholy-Nagy
Militarism (Militarismus)
gelatin silver print from rephotographed photomontage | paper
Museum Purchase made possible by the Friends of the Museum of Art
Portrait head with landscape in background.
Ernst Kirchner
Portrait of David Müller
woodcut | paper
Museum Purchase
George Grosz
Religion of the Sword
1893 - 1959
ink | paper
Gift of Helmut Stern


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Last Updated

February 7, 2020 3:56 p.m.


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