Glitter and Doom - Rewald, Sabine; Buruma, Ian; Eberle, Matthias - Yale University Press
Art and Architecture

Published in association with The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Glitter and Doom

German Portraits from the 1920s

  • Sabine Rewald; With essays by Ian Buruma and Matthias Eberle
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Out of Print.

In the 1920s Germany was in the grip of social and political turmoil: its citizens were disillusioned by defeat in World War I, the failure of revolution, the disintegration of their social system, and inflation of rampant proportions. Curiously, as this important book shows, these years of upheaval were also a time of creative ferment and innovative accomplishment in literature, theater, film, and art.

Glitter and Doom is the first publication to focus exclusively on portraits dating from the short-lived Weimar Republic. It features forty paintings and sixty drawings by key artists, including Otto Dix, Max Beckmann, and George Grosz. Their works epitomize Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), in particular the branch of that new form of realism called Verism, which took as its subject contemporary phenomena such as war, social problems, and moral decay. Subjects of their incisive portraits are the artists’ own contemporaries: actors, poets, prostitutes, and profiteers, as well as doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and other respectable citizens. The accompanying texts reveal how these portraits hold up a mirror to the glittering, vital, doomed society that was obliterated when Hitler came to power.

Sabine Rewald is Jacques and Natasha Gelman Curator in the Department of 19th-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ian Buruma teaches at Bard College, Annandale, New York, and is a regular contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. Matthias Eberle is Professor of Cultural History, Kunsthochscule, Berlin.   


The Metropolitan Museum of Art (November 14, 2006 – February 19, 2007)