This Drop Pays Homage to a German Art Movement You (Probably) Didn’t Know About
The third edition of BERLIN, BERLIN has arrived. From pop-ups and in-person parties to exclusive content and products, we dive into Berlin’s creative culture. Explore the content here and browse the drops here. BERLIN, BERLIN is made possible thanks to the support of the Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises of the Berlin Senate.
It is not uncommon for a museum building to be as much a work of art as the works it houses: the Guggenheim Museum in New York is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most comprehensive buildings, the Louvre attracts almost as many tourist photos as the Mona Lisa, and James Stirling’s Neue Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart has taken postmodern architecture to a new plane.
The last of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s major projects to be built, the Neue Nationalgalerie is no different.
Commonly known as Mies, the architect rose to prominence in the Weimar Republic as a leading figure in the Neue Sachlichkeit, a movement of visual artists centered in 1920s Germany. It encompassed everything the world, from painters to filmmakers, as they rallied against the romanticism of Expressionism that felt out of touch in a country struggling after World War I.
Neue Sachlichkeit’s substantial influence later made it an inspiration for the realism of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud as well as much of modern architecture, although it never had a manifesto. formal and was discontinued by the Nazi regime for its socialist beliefs.
The likes of Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius would come to define this movement within architecture, operating with the premise that Mies called “less is more”.
Typically, this included using a combination of steel framing, vitrified concrete and glass to create an airy and minimal space; characteristics that made the Neue Nationalgalerie such a famous building. Built in 1968, it concluded Mies’ pioneering role in Neue Sachlichkeit architecture and his immense influence on the Bauhaus – the design school of which he was the eventual director before its closure.
Our latest collection with the museum refers to the iconic building and the man behind it, but this time we also got to explore what’s inside the museum. In addition to its large collection of German Expressionist painters, the building houses influential works of art from the opposition Neue Sachlichkeit movement in 1920s Berlin.
This includes a group of German painters, including Max Beckmann, Otto Dix and George Grosz, whose interpretation of realism focused on the everyday reality of life in the Weimar Republic. It mirrored the ugly and unsavory parts of post-war life in opposition to the abstract notions that had dominated in the pre-war years.
Namely, this includes the painting of Christian Schad sonia (1928), which is part of the permanent collection of the Neue Nationalgalerie. Following his practice of Schadographs (photos taken without a camera) which earned him a name within the Dada movement, his painting at the Neue Sachlichkeit began after a move to Italy in 1920, followed by moves to Vienna and Berlin where he became a central player. figure in this school of painting.
A stark contrast to the soft colors and angular edges you’ll find in the design of the building, the painting is a soft portrait of a weary Sonja smoking a pack of Camel cigarettes with white tablecloths, champagne in an ice bucket and carrying a men’s suit around her. These elements combine to create a decadent scene that you can find on the back of a hoodie from our new collection.