i Alexej von Jawlensky, Portrait of the dancer Alexander Sacharoff, 1909, Lenbachhaus, Munich

24 – The Art of Weimar Germany: Modernity in the Balance

On campus

Course 24 – Summer School on campus

Monday 11 July – Friday 15 July
Dr Niccola Shearman

Course description

The Weimar Republic’s startling rate of social progress was matched by a dizzying variety of cultural expressions keeping pace with perpetual change. When, crushed by economic crisis and political conflict, the era came to its chilling end in 1933, the art of cinema had become one of Germany’s most successful exports, and a refined instrument of propaganda. Fighting the opposite corner, John Heartfield’s photo-montage continued the assault on tradition first launched with paper and scissors by Berlin Dada. Meanwhile, Hannah Höch’s work exemplifies the central position of women in art as much as it highlights the paradox of the ‘Neue Frau’; situated somewhere between media-construct and reality.

This course revisits the era that set the standard for creative progress, a century ago: from Expressionism’s last stand to the sober gaze of New Objectivity; landmarks of Bauhaus design; architecture, painting, photography, cinematic arts, cabaret, commercial design, typography and filmic writing. Everything was in the mix of this fertile ecosystem, rife with contradictions and where all that glittered was not gold.


Lecturer’s biography

Dr Niccola Shearman specializes in German and Austrian art of the twentieth century. Coming from a background in German Studies, she completed a PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2018, on the modernist woodcut print in the aftermath of the First World War. In addition to a focus on print histories, her research interests include art and emotion and the psychology of vision; especially the work of Gestalt scientists in 1920s Berlin. She is a freelance lecturer, working for the University of Manchester, Courtauld Short Courses, the V&A and Morley College London.