Edited by Lynette Roth
With Ilka Voermann
430 pages; 9 x 10 1/2 in.
297 color & b/w illustrations
Published by Harvard Art Museums
Distributed by Yale University Press
As German artists went through a period of intense physical and moral stocktaking in the wake of World War II, they created equally charged works and engaged in heated debates about artistic practice and its relationship to the reestablishment of a new national and cultural identity. This long-overdue examination of German art from the immediate postwar period includes case studies of nearly fifty artists working in a variety of media ranging from small-scale drawings and collages to large, colorful canvases and industrial products. Insightful essays delve into Willi Baumeister’s wartime lacquer experiments, Louise Rösler’s abstract ruinscapes, and Arno Fischer’s photographs of a divided Berlin, revealing Germany’s surprisingly generative and pluralistic artistic culture. With a title taken from a 1945 poem by Günter Eich, this important book provides a fresh perspective on a largely overlooked corpus of works—some published here for the first time—and is a valuable contribution to our understanding of 20th-century German art.
The related exhibition, Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55, is on display at the Harvard Art Museums from February 9 through June 3, 2018.
Lynette Roth is the Daimler Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum and head of the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Harvard Art Museums. Ilka Voermann served as the Renke B. and Pamela M. Thye Fellow in the Busch-Reisinger Museum; she is now a curator at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt.
Support for this project was provided by the German Friends of the Busch-Reisinger Museum (Verein der Freunde des Busch-Reisinger Museums) and by endowed funds, including the Daimler Curatorship of the Busch-Reisinger Museum Fund, the M. Victor Leventritt Fund, and the Richard L. Menschel Endowment Fund. In addition, modern and contemporary art programs at the Harvard Art Museums are made possible in part by generous support from the Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art.
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