Modernism the plight of the poor and

represents an evolving set of ideas among a number of painters, sculptor,
writers and performers who individually and collectively sought new approaches
to art making in order to break away from the traditions in art due to them
seeing something go wrong in society which made them want to abruptly break
away from it and reinterpret the way art is made and viewed. It refers to this
period’s interest in new types of paints and other materials, in expressing
feelings and ideas, in creating abstractions and fantasies rathe than
representing what is real. This kind of art requires it’s audience to observe
carefully in order to get some facts about the artist, their intentions and
their environment before forming judgements about the work.



was an artistic movement in the early 20th century, where the artist’s
subjective expression of their inner experiences were emphasised through a
distorted rendition of reality.




Expressionism had begun before World War One and continued to have a strong
influence throughout the 1920’s. Weimar Republic Era began in the midst of
several major movements in the fine arts such as Expressionism that continued
into the 1920’s. Weimar Republic era was a group of artists of the time reacting
to World War One especially in Germany. They were trying to analyse and
reinterpret the society of the time focusing on satirical grotesque and
provocative realism – emotional experience rather than reality. It was defined
by exaggerated and harsh features and dramatic use of colour and
chiaroscuro.  Weimar Republic artists
worked in different styles, but shared many themes: horrors of the war, social
hypocrisy and moral decadence, the plight of the poor and the rise of Hitler.





artists Otto Dix and George Grosz were prominent members of the New Objectivity
group during the Weimar Republic era. This was a group of artists in the 1920’s
which was an outgrowth of Expressionism that opposed its introverted
emotionalism. They referred to their own movements as Verism which is a
reference to the Roman Classical Verism approach called Verus – meaning


Otto Dix was
noted for his ruthless and harshly realistic depictions of Weimar society and
the brutality of war.



George Grosz
was known for his caricatural drawings and paintings of Berlin life in the
1920’s.  He shows distorted and vivid
depictions of figures who supported Fascism and controlled society during this
period to express his disgust towards them.



Portrait of Sylvia von Harden by George
Grosz, depicts the German journalist, Sylvia von
Harden sitting at a table in a a café with a cigarette in her right hand and a
cocktail placed on the table. The juxtaposition of the chair being ornate and
flowery, suggests that Harden serves a comparison between the way women were
thought of before this period and their new position in society. Dix wanted to
demonstrate to the German society during the 1920s that there is a new type of
woman emerging into society because he claimed that women who were less
concerned about her appearance and more on her psychological state were more
superior. This new woman smoked, drank alcohol and didn’t care much about
starting a family which is typically how men in this era thought and lived so
we can clearly see the social changes that occurred during this period. It is
referenced to in the 1972 film ‘Cabaret’ that is set in the Weimar Republic Era
in Berlin. Dix has decided to depict Harden in a masculine way to emphasise his
point that women are changing. Her posture is slumped with a screwed up face
instead of smiling which emphasises that she doesn’t care about her appearance.
Her hands are very large in proportion to her body with no wedding ring;
enhances the idea that she’s quite masculine and has no thoughts on her mind of
marriage. She’s wearing a monocle in her right eye which are commonly
associated with men so it’s strange to see her with one, but it conveys to the
viewer that she is very career orientated and preoccupied by her work to be
bothered by other people which could explain why there is only one chair at the
table. We can see that she doesn’t care about her appearance shown by her
stockings falling down below her dress which is not very flattering and doesn’t
show her female figure.


Cabaret congrats the decadency of the Cabaret show in the Kit Kat Klub
against the juxtaposition of violence, Nazism and anti-semitism present at the
time. It’s a 1966 musical by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb and book by Joe
Masteroff. It’s based on John van Druten’s play I Am a Camera (1951)
which was adapted from short-novel Goodbye Berlin (1939) by Christopher
Isherwood. Set in Berlin as the Nazi’s are rising into power, it focuses on the
nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and revolves around young American writer
Cliff Bradshaw and his relationship with English Cabaret performer, Sally
Bowles. It was then developed into a musical film in 1972, directed by Bob
Fosse and starring Liza Minelli, Micheal York and Joel Grey. There’s a strong
political message highlighting the harsh reality of life in Berlin during World
War Two and society’s views on homosexuality and racial equality. Cabaret
incorporates dark/black comedy scenes, many of which were naturalistic and
incorporated music and juxtaposes them in serious, naturalistic scenes which
shocked the audience and emphasised the importance of the message being
portrayed. If You Can See Her comments on how this society viewed people
having relationship that were seen as unusual such as ‘her’ is presented as in
a Gorilla costume to express prejudice against Jewish people. Two Ladies comments
on the love and sex triangle involving two men and a woman which was common in
this era. Money, Money comments on how society heavily relies on money
and power in order for people to function. 


Bertolt Brecht believed theatre was created for us to think and reflect hang
up their brains with their hats in the cloakroom; he thought theatre was
there to deliver a political message. He doesn’t want the audience to get
emotionally involved instead he wants people to respond rationally and
self-reflect as well as self-reflect on society. The purposes of political
theatre is to achieve changes the we can change opinions, attitudes and
society. Brecht wants the audience to see the actors as actors, so they can
clearly communicate the political message. He wants you to be kept a distance
from the actors, so you can see things on a stage and that it’s not real. He
believed benefits as a society rather than an individual. Songs were used to interpret
the action on stage just like narration by talking to the audience which breaks
down the fourth wall and reiterates that what they are viewing is not real.
During the rise of Hitler he began to write plays using his techniques which
are still being used by other writers such as Cabaret employs Brecht’s
style of theatre. 


The rise of Hitler began after World War One,
Hitler entered politics and many Germans were upset that they had lost the war.
They were also not happy with the Treaty of Versailles, it not only blamed the
war on Germany, but it took land from Germany. At the same time, Germany was in
an economic depression and between the depression and the Treaty of Versailles;
the time was right for Hitler to rise into power. After becoming Chancellor
there was no stopping Hitler, he had studied his idol, Benito Mussolini of
Italy, about how to install a fascist government and become a dictator.