The 10 Most Famous Artists of ‘New Objectivity’

The art movement of ‘New Objectivity’ emerged in the early 1920s in Germany as a response to the chaos and uncertainty left by World War I. Characterized by its realistic and detailed depictions of everyday life, this movement rejected the romanticism of the past and embraced a more harsh and sober aesthetic. Artists of ‘New Objectivity’ captured the disillusionment and anxieties of the post-war era, creating works that reflected the social and political climate of the time. Here are 10 of the most famous artists associated with this movement.

1. Otto Dix (1891-1969)

Otto Dix was one of the leading figures of ‘New Objectivity’ and is best known for his provocative and thought-provoking paintings. His work often depicted the horrors of war, exposing the dark realities faced by soldiers and civilians alike. Dix’s vivid and meticulously detailed representations brought attention to the physical and psychological scars left by World War I. Notable works include ‘The Trench’ and ‘The Skat Players.’

2. George Grosz (1893-1959)

George Grosz was another prominent artist of ‘New Objectivity’ whose creations often displayed a scathing critique of the Weimar Republic and the social decay of German society. His work combined elements of satire, caricature, and grotesque imagery to unmask the corruption and hypocrisy within politics and the bourgeoisie. Grosz’s famous works include ‘Grey Day’ and ‘The Funeral.’

3. Christian Schad (1894-1982)

Christian Schad was renowned for his distinctive portrait paintings that showcased a photorealistic style coupled with a mystical atmosphere. His use of a camera-like perspective and the blurring of reality with dreamlike elements added a surreal quality to his works. Schad often portrayed individuals from various social backgrounds, capturing the life and emotions of his subjects. Notable paintings by Schad include ‘Self-Portrait with Model’ and ‘Agosta, the Pigeon-headed Woman.’

4. Max Beckmann (1884-1950)

Max Beckmann’s artwork reflected the tumultuous era following World War I through his depictions of disfigured figures and distorted landscapes. He explored themes of isolation, despair, and the loss of individuality amidst a rapidly changing society. Beckmann’s use of bold colors and expressive brushstrokes added a sense of urgency and emotional intensity to his work. Notable paintings by Beckmann include ‘The Night’ and ‘The Departure.’

5. Heinrich Maria Davringhausen (1894-1970)

Heinrich Maria Davringhausen was known for his somber and introspective paintings that delved into the depths of human psychology. His works often featured enigmatic and distorted figures, creating a sense of unease and introspection. Davringhausen’s unique style blended elements of ‘New Objectivity’ with influences from Italian Renaissance and German expressionism. Notable pieces by Davringhausen include ‘Totentanz’ and ‘Bombed Landscape.’

6. Conrad Felixmüller (1897-1977)

Conrad Felixmüller was a key figure in ‘New Objectivity’ and was known for his powerful and emotional portraits that captured the human condition. His work often depicted the struggles of the working class and marginalized individuals, reflecting the societal inequalities prevalent during the time. Felixmüller’s use of bold colors and strong brushstrokes enhanced the expressiveness of his paintings. Notable works by Felixmüller include ‘Man with a Top Hat’ and ‘Self-Portrait in Angry Mood.’

7. Rudolf Schlichter (1890-1955)

Rudolf Schlichter was an influential artist associated with ‘New Objectivity,’ known for his keen observations of the urban environment and its inhabitants. His works often depicted the alienation and loneliness experienced by individuals in the modern city. Schlichter’s use of exaggerated and elongated figures added a sense of distortion and unease to his paintings. Notable pieces by Schlichter include ‘Two Prostitutes’ and ‘Indian Woman with Green Hat.’

8. Franz Radziwill (1895-1983)

Franz Radziwill was a prominent member of the ‘New Objectivity’ movement, recognized for his meticulously detailed and haunting paintings. His works often depicted surreal and dreamlike scenes, evoking a powerful and melancholic atmosphere. Radziwill’s use of symbolism and metaphor added depth and complexity to his artworks. Notable paintings by Radziwill include ‘The Earthquake’ and ‘After the Deluge.’

9. Anton Räderscheidt (1892-1970)

Anton Räderscheidt was an artist who explored the themes of industrialization and urbanization in his ‘New Objectivity’ paintings. His works often depicted mechanized and dehumanizing environments, showcasing the impact of modern technology on society. Räderscheidt’s use of sharp lines and geometric shapes added a sense of structure and precision to his artworks. Notable pieces by Räderscheidt include ‘Metropolis’ and ‘The Convoy.’

10. Karl Hubbuch (1891-1979)

Karl Hubbuch was a pivotal figure in ‘New Objectivity’ and his work often incorporated elements of satire and social commentary. His paintings depicted scenes of everyday life, highlighting the absurdity and banality of modern existence. Hubbuch’s use of exaggerated and grotesque figures added a satirical edge to his artworks. Notable works by Hubbuch include ‘The Witches’ and ‘Street Scene with Lovers.’

These ten artists played a significant role in shaping the ‘New Objectivity’ movement, capturing the essence of an era marked by disillusionment and social upheaval. Their works continue to resonate with audiences today, offering a unique perspective on the complexities of the human condition.

Useful Links:

Artsy – The Emergence of New Objectivity in Post-World War I Germany
The Art Story – New Objectivity
German History USA – The New Objectivity