German Architecture-  top ten Nazi architecture

Haus der deutschen Kunst

architect

Paul Ludwig Troost

location

Prinzregentenstrasse 1, Munich, Germany.

date

1934-7

style

Fascist Stripped Classical (German)  the Third Reich's first monumental propaganda building

construction

stone

type

art Gallery
 
  Haus der Kunst, during an exhibition in 2006
 
 
 
The Haus der Kunst (literally House of Art) is an art museum in Munich, Germany. It is located at Prinzregentenstrasse 1 at the southern edge of the Englischer Garten, Munich's largest park.

The building was constructed from 1934 to 1937 following plans of architect Paul Ludwig Troost as the Third Reich's first monumental propaganda building. The museum, then called Haus der deutschen Kunst ("House of German Art"), was opened in March 1937 as a showcase for what the Third Reich regarded as Germany's finest art. The inaugural exhibition was the Grosse deutsche Kunstausstellung ("Great German art exhibition"), which was intended as an edifying contrast to the condemned modern art on display in the concurrent Entartete Kunst exhibition.

After the end of World War II, the museum building was first used by the American occupation forces as an officer's mess; in that time, the building came to be known as the "P1", a shortening of its street address. The building's original purpose can still be seen in such guises as the swastika-motif mosaics in the ceiling panels of its front portico.

Beginning in 1946, the museum rooms, now partitioned into several smaller exhibition areas, started to be used as temporary exhibition space for trade shows and visiting art exhibitions. Some parts of the museum were also used to showcase works from those of Munich's art galleries that had been destroyed during the war. In 2002 the National Collection of Modern and Contemporary Arts moved into the Pinakothek der Moderne. Today, while housing no permanent art exhibition of its own, the museum is still used as a showcase building for temporary exhibitions and for visiting exhibits. Among many others, the Haus der Kunst has housed the Tutankhamun and the Zeit der Staufer exhibits.

Since 1983, the museum building also houses the nightclub P1, Munich's famous high-society hang-out.
 
Adolf Hitler was a genuine patron of the arts, with a love for painting and architecture, but only a patron of those arts of which he approved. Having been a painter in his youth, Hitler considered himself the supreme critic of what was, and was not, proper art. Modern "degenerate" art was definitely out. To promote "proper" art Hitler had the Haus der Deutschen Kunst (House of German Art) built in Munich, to be the scene of special yearly exhibits. Hitler placed his photographer Heinrich Hoffmann, along with director Karl Kolb, in charge of choosing the art works for these annual exhibitions.



The annual exhibitions featured military scenes, portraits of the Führer and other Nazi leaders, German landscapes and places associated with Hitler's youth, nudes, and scenes promoting German traditions, particularly "folk-art" agricultural views. Favored artists included sculptors Josef Thorak, Arno Breker, and Fritz Klimsch, and painters Sepp Hilz, Karl Truppe, Elk Eber, Wilhelm Hempfing, Ernst Liebermann, and Adolf Ziegler. The first exhibit was in 1937, at the opening of the building, and the annual shows continued through 1944.

Many of the following illustrations come from catalogs of the annual exhibits, published by Heinrich Hoffmann and others. Other illustrations come from period postcards, based on Hoffmann's photos and art reproductions. In many cases, these illustrations are all that survive of the artwork produced during the Third Reich, many of the works themselves having been lost or destroyed. The American military authorities confiscated much of this art at the end of World War II. Many works were returned to Germany in the 1980s, where they remain in storage, not accessible to the general public. The U.S. Army War Art collection in Washington retains several of the confiscated works, principally those showing portraits of Hitler and other Nazi leaders, and Nazi party subjects. A very few former HDK works are in private hands today.

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The Haus der Deutschen Kunst was built in 1933-37 to replace the Munich Art Gallery which had burned in 1931. Designed by architect Paul Ludwig Troost in the neo-classical Third Reich style, the building still serves Munich today as an art museum.  (author's collection)

Hitler and Himmler inspect ceremonial troops uniformed as Bavarian infantry, at the opening of the Haus der Deutschen Kunst on July 18, 1937.  (National Archives RG242)

 

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The view on the left shows the grand opening exhibition in July 1937. In the center of the photo, Hitler is seen talking to (third from the left) Heinrich Hoffmann, director Karl Kolb, and architect Paul Troost's widow Gerdy. In the background can be seen Arno Breker's "Anmut."   The photo on the right shows Frau Prof. Troost talking to Rudolf Hess during the 1940 exhibit (in the background is Adolf Wamper's "Genius des Sieges" - Genius of Victory).

    

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More photos of the 1937 opening exhibition. On the left, Hitler (in center) speaks with Gerdy Troost. To the left of Hitler is Josef Goebbels, and to the right of Frau Troost is Heinrich Himmler (back to camera). The photo on the right shows the parade before the exhibition opening, seen here on Ludwigstraße, in front of the Siegestor. The parade was titled "Two Thousand Years of German Culture," and featured floats depicting scenes from German history and culture from prehistory to the present.  (author's collection)

   

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Adolf Hitler visits the 1939 exhibit opening at the HDK. Also seen in the picture are Heinrich Himmler (far left), Josef Goebbels, Dino Alfieri (Italian Ambassador), and Frau Prof. Gerdy Troost (next to Hitler). The painting in the background is Johannes Beutner's "Erwachen."  (Ullstein Photo Service, Berlin)

A young member of the Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth) visits the 1943 exhibition. He is holding the exhibition catalog open to page 65, showing Paul Scheurle's "Najade."

 

A favored theme for Third Reich artists was portraits of the Führer. These became so numerous that Hitler finally decreed that only one would be displayed "officially" at each annual Greater German Art Exhibition (although this order was not followed every year). The portrait chosen for the grand opening in 1937 was Heinrich Knirr's "Adolf Hitler, der Schöpfer des Dritten Reiches und Erneuerer der deutschen Kunst" (Hitler, the Creator of the Third Reich and Renewer of German Art - this original painting is now in the Imperial War Museum in London). The 1938 portrait was Hubert Lanzinger's allegorical "Der Bannerträger" (The Standard Bearer), showing Hitler as an armored knight. This painting became very popular in poster and postcard form.

Special thanks to www.thirdreichruins.com

links

Museum's website
P1 nightclub website
Interview with the curator form the Museum, by amadelio, 2006
www.essential-architecture.com