Christian Schad <br/>
German 1894-1982<br/>
<em>Self-portrait</em> 1927<br/>
oil on wood<br/>
76.0 x 62.0 cm<br/>
Private collection, courtesy Tate London<br/>
© Christian Schad Stiftung Aschaffenburg. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney

The Mad Square

Modernity in German Art 1910–37

NGV International

Temporary Exhibition Space 1, 2 and 3, Level G

25 Nov 11 – 4 Mar 12

An Art Gallery of New South Wales travelling exhibition

In an era of chaos came an explosion of creativity – experimental, provocative and utterly compelling.

Germany in the early twentieth century was a country in turmoil. After the First World War, the monarchy was abolished and replaced with the Weimar Republic. This was a period of political unrest, but it was also an era of optimism characterised by industrial development, innovation, and unprecedented freedom of expression.

In Berlin and cities throughout Germany, avant-garde art movements flourished: Expressionism, Dada, Constructivism, Bauhaus and New Objectivity. Artists shared interest in radical experimentation extended across all art forms, including painting, photography, design, decorative arts, film, theatre and political satire. The Mad Square: Modernity in German Art 1910–37 shows the diversity of the art created in this period.

The exhibition brings together over 200 works exploring the fascinating and complex ways in which artists represented the modern world, including major works by Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Christian Schad, Hannah Höch,August Sander, László Moholy-Nagy and El Lissitzky.  Drawn from renowned international and Australian collections, this is the most comprehensive exhibition of German modernism to be seen in Australia.

Select Works

Christian Schad
German 1894-1982
Self-portrait 1927
oil on wood
76.0 x 62.0 cm
Private collection, courtesy Tate London
© Christian Schad Stiftung Aschaffenburg. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
El Lissitzky
Russian 1890-1941
New man 1923
from the portfolio Victory over the sun 1923
colour lithograph
31.1 x 32.1 cm
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Purchased 1980
© El Lissitzky/Bild-Kunst. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
August Sander
German 1876-1964
Secretary at West German radio in Cologne 1931, printed by August Sander in the 1950s
from the portfolio People of the 20th century, III The woman, 17 The woman in intellectual and practical occupation
gelatin silver photograph
29 x 22 cm
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur, August Sander Archiv, Cologne
© Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur - August Sander Archiv, Cologne. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Karl Grill
active at the Bauhaus 1920-29
[Spiral costume, from the ‘Triadic ballet’] c.1926-27
gelatin silver photograph
22.5 x 16.2 cm
J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Photo The J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Otto Dix
German 1891-1969
Dr Paul Ferdinand Schmidt 1921
oil on canvas
83.0 x 63.0 cm
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
Photo: © Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
© Otto Dix/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
George Grosz
German 1893-1959
Tatlinesque diagram 1920
watercolour, pencil and ink with photomontage and collage
41 x 29.2 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
© George Grosz/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Max Beckmann (1884–1950)
The trapeze 1923
oil on canvas
196.5 x 84 cm
Lent by the Toledo Museum of Art
Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey
Photo: Photography Incorporated, Toledo
© Max Beckmann/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
German 1880-1938
Woman in a hat 1911
oil on canvas
95.0 x 85.0 cm
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
Gift of Baron H H Thyssen-Bornemisza 1979
Photo: State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia
László Moholy-Nagy
Berlin radio tower c.1928
gelatin silver photograph
36 x 25.5 cm
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
Julien Levy Collection, Special Photography Acquisition Fund 1979
John Heartfield
German 1891-1968
Adolf, the superman: swallows gold and sprouts rubbish from the Workers Illustrated Paper, vol 11, no 29, 17 July 1932, p 675
38 x 27 cm
John Heartfield Archiv, Akademie der Künste zu Berlin
Photo: Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Kunstsammlung, Heartfield 2261/ Roman März
© The Heartfield Community of Heirs /VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney