Danse Macabre

In the early years of Nazi rule, many artists clung to the hope that the new regime would tolerate some manifestations of modernism. Yes, Hitler had dismissed the movement’s proponents in Mein Kampf as “spiritual degenerates or slimy swindlers.” But the artists reassured themselves that there were “decent people” in the Nazi leadership who collected modern paintings and sculptures. Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and his wife commissioned a portrait of their children from the expressionist painter Otto Dix, and chief propagandist Joseph Goebbels talked about a “healthy view of Expressionism.”

When it came to something like designing service stations for the new autobahns, even Hitler, the artist manqué, admitted that modernist design was more appropriate than “Romantic eccentricity or anachronistic buildings.” He wanted industrial projects to convey a suitable contemporary style. Moreover, Petropoulos argues that initially, “Hitler refrained from making his personal views state policy,” which allowed “pockets

Article source: http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/danse-macabre_876688.html

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