The collection of works of classical modernism in the Kunstmuseum Basel is one of the most famous of its kind. Yet it came into being comparatively late. In the summer of 1939 - shortly before the outbreak of World War II - the museum's director at the time, Georg Schmidt (1896-1966), succeeded in acquiring 21 masterpieces. These had been defamed as "degenerate" in 1937 in the course of National Socialist cultural policy and forcibly removed from German museums. The Reich Ministry of Propaganda assumed that it would be able to sell some of the works abroad for foreign currency. For this reason, selected works of art deemed "internationally exploitable" entered the market through various channels.
The exhibition Zerrissene Moderne (Torn Modernism) illuminates this important moment in the history of the Basel collection in all its facets. In addition, it is devoted to the artificial fragmentation of modern art by the Nazi regime's act of cultural political violence. For the selection into "usable" art and alternatively art consigned to oblivion or destruction still has an impact on museum collections all over the world today. The exhibition, which is both art-historical and historical, conveys unexpected stories of people, works and trade.
Note: This text was translated by machine translation software and not by a human translator. It may contain translation errors.
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