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Art of Germany

German art in the 20th Century: In Hitler’s shadow

Andrew Graham-Dixon’s study of German art concludes with an exploration of the dark, tumultuous history of the 20th Century.

Adolf Hitler, a failed artist with deeply conservative tastes, waged a propaganda battle against modernist art which foreshadowed his total war against the rest of Europe.

The Bauhaus, with its clean lines and community aesthetic, was described as ‘the crucible of modernism’. It epitomised what Hitler viewed as an evil threat.

Hitler was particularly fond of architecture. He became obsessed with the idea of rebuilding Berlin as the new capital of Europe and remodelling his 'home town' of Linz, even as he hid in his bunker in 1945.

Graham-Dixon looks at how post-war artists have dealt artistically with a country that wants to forget, finding in present-day Berlin signs that German art is finally coming to terms with its dark past.

Art of Germany is on BBC World News 18-19 May.

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