About the Class
During the tumultuous years of Germany’s Weimar Republic (1919–1933), in which the fledgling democracy was contested from all sides, and the following 12 years of Nazi rule, artists played a crucial role in the public perception of political and social life. Throughout the 1920s, painters such as George Grosz, Otto Dix, and Heinrich Maria Davringhausen offered unflinching critiques of the political and economic forces at play in a rapidly transforming society. These artists tackled controversial topics such as emancipation, homosexuality, abortion, rapid industrialization, life in the metropolis, and the ever-increasing gap between rich and poor—all in turn muzzled by the Nazi regime in favor of a perceived true German art.
Each week, the main lecture will be followed by an optional small-group discussion session that allows students to ask questions and exchange ideas. These 40-minute sessions, moderated by the instructor or a teaching assistant, take place Wednesdays, November 11–December 9 (no discussion session on November 25), between 2 and 4:20 pm. You will be automatically assigned a time slot once you enroll.
Heinrich Maria Davringhausen. The Profiteer, 1920–1921. © Renata Davringhausen / Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf
Dietrich is a professor and curator of modern and contemporary art with special expertise in 20th-century German art. She has taught at Princeton and held guest appointments at Yale, MIT, Duke, and other universities. She has authored studies on the collage artist Kurt Schwitters, the Dada movement, and art of the 1960s–90s. She has lectured widely in the US and abroad. Most recently, she was professor and chair of the Department of History of Art and Design at Pratt Institute.