As Germany went through a period of intense physical and moral stocktaking in the wake of World War II, the country's artists responded by creating highly charged works and engaging in heated debates about artistic practice and its relationship to the reestablishment of a new national 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 Roesler'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 Gunter 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.
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.