Magic Realism: Art in 1920s Germany

Ref: C2226670

In 1920s Germany artists sought for new ways to express the social divisions, suffering and excitement of life in the Weimar Republic. Reacting against the garish colours and visual distortions of Expressionism painters such as Otto Dix, Max Beckmann, Conrad Felixmuller, Jeanne Mammen and Franz Radziwill developed a style of heightened, near uncanny, realism, which contemporary critic Franz Roh perceptively called 'Magic Realism'. This innovative style, also termed 'New Objectivity', is uncomfortably clear in Christian Schad's 'Self-Portrait with Model', gentler in Mannen's beautiful 'Boring Dolls'. We set the scene with a class on pre-war and WWI German art, contrast 'Magic Realism' with Berlin's First International Dada Fair of 1920, Hannah Hoch's innovative collages and Georg Grosz's caricatures of capitalists, and end by discussing how and why the National Socialists came to term 'Magic Realism' degenerate.

Additional information about this course

Half term break on 29/10/2019

Course aim

This course introduces students to German art of the 1920s. It fosters close looking at many fascinating images and an understanding of the turbulent historical circumstances in which 1920s German artworks were produced.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Discuss and compare some paintings, prints and other artworks produced by artists in Germany, focusing on the years 1920-1930.
  • Identify the inter-connections between art and artistic training and art and society, including markets and commissions, within the limits of an introductory course.
  • Evaluate the importance of style and technique, as appropriate to a short introductory course.
  • Participate in looking at paintings, prints and other artworks and visiting galleries and museums.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member

Download full course information sheet

Magic Realism: Art in 1920s Germany


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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