The new permanent exhibition set up in 2017 on art in Germany between 1890 and 1990 presents the museum’s unique history using prominent items from its collections.
It is divided into five areas: secessionist art from around 1900, Imperial art from 1900–1918, art in the Weimar Republic from 1919–1933, art in the Third Reich from 1933–1945 and art in the Soviet occupation zone/GDR from 1945–1990.
These sections tell the history of the museum, its directors and how they shaped the collections, alongside the development of art in 20th-century Germany. All four areas present works of fine and applied art on an equal footing: paintings and sculptures are exhibited next to handicrafts and medals as examples of small-scale sculpture.
The exhibition areas on art in the Third Reich and the GDR are an exception. They present works which were created under those social systems, most of which were also acquired during that time – pieces both by artists who saw themselves as following the tradition of Modernism and by those representing the art promoted and supported under the state’s cultural policy.
These two parts of the exhibition make the art museum one of the first in Germany to go on the offensive in the way it deals with the history of its institutions and collections, leaving out neither the “black years” of Nazi dictatorship nor the GDR era as a blind spot in history. Instead, it reacts to research findings on art in the Third Reich and to current social discussions with a presentation of the works that avoids any sharply defined black and white view of the past, inviting visitors to view the art created during those periods in a nuanced manner. Deeper insights into the permanent exhibition on art of the 20th century can be found on our accompanying website:
Flyer for the exhibition area “Paths of Modernism. Art in Germany 1900–1945”
Flyer for the exhibition area “Paths of Modernism. Art in the SOZ/GDR, 1945–1990”
Kopfmotiv Foto: Blick in den Ausstellungsbereich „Wege der Moderne. Kunst in Deutschland 1900–1945“ | Foto: Marcus‑Andreas Mohr | © VG Bild‑Kunst, Bonn 2018 für die Werke von Lyonel Feininger