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German Exile, Modern Art, and National Identity

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Part of the Studies in European Culture and History book series (SECH)

Abstract

Even today, more than sixty years after the German surrender in 1945, accounts of the transatlantic interchange between Germany and the United States about Hitler’s artists in exile inaccurately dramatize them as representatives of all the victims of the Third Reich. Undoubtedly, the experience of exile and emigration changed the path of artists’ lives significantly. Many encountered the geopolitical displacement as double loss: they felt exiled from Nazi Germany and as outsiders in the United States. Although their traumatic experiences unify them as a social group, their reasons for emigration and exile vary greatly These include political and racial persecution, individual decisions to pursue life in a democracy and the simple fact of better career opportunities in the New World. Similarly, to follow their aesthetic endeavors means to follow individual creators rather than to identify collective goals and a unified artistic voice.1

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Notes

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© Sabine Eckmann and Lutz Koepnick 2007

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