German Art, Out of the Rubble

Many of the artists here will be relatively new to American audiences, who are likely more familiar with pre-war German names—Beckmann, Dix, Grosz, Klee, Kandinsky—and contemporary ones—Baselitz, Richter, Kiefer. The exhibition features German art from 1943 to 1955: late works by Otto Dix, as well as by Fritz Winter (including that first acquisition), and an exhilarating range by Willi Baumeister, with exuberant large paintings such as Growth of the Crystals II (1947–1952) and Large Montaru (1953). The energy, colors, and lines of these later Baumeister works, recalling Kandinsky and Klee, delight—but more unexpected are the small early lacquers he produced, along with Oskar Schlemmer and Franz Krause, in Wuppertal during the war. Their ethereal beauty in the face of such destruction is itself a type of resistance.

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