We Weren't Modern Enough: Women Artists and the Limits of German Modernism

Overview

Marsha Meskimmon furnishes a fresh perspective on the art of women in the Weimar Republic and in the process reclaims the lost history of a number of artists who have not received adequate attention?not only because they were women but also because they continued to align themselves with the modes of realistic representation the Expressionists regarded as reactionary. Reconsidering the traditional definitions of German modernism and its central issues of race politics, eugenics, and the city, Meskimmon explores ...

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Overview

Marsha Meskimmon furnishes a fresh perspective on the art of women in the Weimar Republic and in the process reclaims the lost history of a number of artists who have not received adequate attention—not only because they were women but also because they continued to align themselves with the modes of realistic representation the Expressionists regarded as reactionary. Reconsidering the traditional definitions of German modernism and its central issues of race politics, eugenics, and the city, Meskimmon explores the structures that marginalized the work of little known artists such as Lotte Laserstein, Jeanne Mammen, Gerta Overbeck and Grete Jurgens. She shows how these women's personal and professional experiences in the 1920s and 1930s relate to the visual imagery produced at that time. She also examines representations of different female roles—prostitute, mother, housewife, the "New Woman" and "garçonne"—that attracted the attention of these artists. Situating her exploration on a strong theoretical base, she ranges deftly over mass visual culture—from film to poster art and advertising—to create a vivid portrait of women living and creating in Weimar Germany.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Marsha Meskimmon is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Art and Design at Loughborough University. Her books include The Art of Reflection: Women Artists' Self-Portraiture in the Twentieth Century (1996).

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Women Artists in the Weimar Republic 1
1 The Prostitute 23
The Working Woman 23
Madonnas and Magdalens 30
The Individual and the Mass 38
Celebrities and the Press 50
Women in Public: Consumer and Mannequin 57
2 The Mother 75
'Woman' of 1934 75
'Woman-Mother': Then and Now 82
Economic Differences between Women: The Working Mother 96
The Domestication of Politics 94
Differences between Women: Race and Eugenics 99
Abortion: The Right to Choose 106
Women Artists and Maternal Subjectivity 112
3 The Hausfrau 121
Husband, House and Home 121
Mann und Frau: Marriage, Sexuality and Comradeship 127
The Household: Rationalisation and Domestic Service 141
Children: Natural Bonds, Social Rules 148
4 The Neue Frau 163
Icons, Myths and Realities 163
Labour: Women as White-Collar Workers 170
The Neue Frau and Consumerism 178
From Stenographer to Revue-Girl 185
5 The Garconne 199
The Third Sex 199
Sapphic Love 208
Masquerade, Performance and Multiplicity 216
Conclusions: Woman as Artist in the Weimar Republic 231
Select Bibliography 249
Index 260
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