February 15 - March 22, 2019
„Das war Berlin! Glanz- und Schattenseiten einer Metropole zwischen den Weltkriegen“
Finissage: Friday | March 22, 2019 | 7pm - 9pm
As of February 15th, Jörg Maaß Kunsthandel presents the exhibition „Das war Berlin! Glanz- und Schattenseiten einer Metropole zwischen den Weltkriegen“ („Berlin as it was! The Bright and Dark Sides of a Metropolis between Two World Wars“), and invites to immerse into the Zeitgeist of the world capital Berlin during the “Golden Twenties”.
The exhibition will include important works on paper by the great artistsof the time as well as by artists almost forgotten today, but who are nonetheless just as important. The show will highlight drawings, prints and photographs by Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Karl Hubbuch, Jeanne Mammen, Georg Tappert, Sasha and Cami Stone, Lotte Jacobi alongside rare works by for example Paul Gangolf (Metropolis, 1922), Rudolf Grossmann and others. The comprehensive photo album „Berlin im Licht“, of which there exist only a few copies, will also be presented, offering a unique overview of the metropolis’ development in the 1920s.
The glamour of the “Golden Twenties” still holds a strong fascination today while at the same time some tendencies of the politically charged decade between the World Wars have become alarmingly current. In the midst of extreme tensions caused by social contrasts and the young Weimar Republic – which was doomed to fail – the metropolis Berlin became a magnet of attraction – a multifaceted, intoxicated cosmopolitan city.
The cabarets, dance bars and cinemas with a wide variety of entertainment characterized nighttime activities, as did drug consumption and prostitution. A large part of the population lived in bitter poverty and sought to escape the drudgery of daily life in the evening. Alcohol abuse and drug addiction, illegal prostitution and suicides escalated dramatically. The Kurfürstendammbecame the main boulevard and turned into the center where the hedonistic masses looked for amusement.
The newly organized shift work disrupted the familiar daily rhythm. The streets became bustling avenues with cars, underground trains and streetcars; war invalids and beggars of all kinds were amidst cafés and large department stores with neon light advertisements.
Not far from Rankestraße and the gallery rooms of Kunsthandel Jörg Maaß, the most important artists, actors and writers of the time met in the Romanisches Caféat Breitscheidplatz. Erich Kästner called it the „waiting room of talent“. One hoped for the right contacts and the big breakthrough.
In the 1920s Berlin was the largest industrial city in Europe and in 1929 it already had over four million inhabitants. The city guaranteed adventure. It was a cesspool of vice, wicked and dangerous, a magnet and center for all of those who wanted to amuse themselves but it was also a stronghold of crime. The upper class and the underworld were equally present in Berlin. This posed challenges for its inhabitants, simultaneously confronting them with fear and fascination. The city could not be ignored by any culturally creative artist.
A diverse presentation of these main themes comprises the core of our exhibition, creating a vivid impression of Berlin in the 1920s with its bright and dark sides from the vantage point of the artists who experienced it.