Usually translated as ‘New Objectivity’, Neue Sachlichkeit was a German modern realist movement of the 1920s

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  • George Grosz, 'Suicide' 1916

    George Grosz
    Suicide 1916
    Oil on canvas
    support: 1000 x 775 mm frame: 1106 x 887 x 67 mm
    Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund 1976 DACS, 2002

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  • George Grosz, 'Drawing for `The Mirror of the Bourgeoisie'' circa 1925

    George Grosz
    Drawing for `The Mirror of the Bourgeoisie' circa 1925
    Drawing on paper
    support: 629 x 505 mm
    Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1955 DACS, 2002

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  • Christian Schad, 'Self-Portrait' 1927

    Christian Schad
    Self-Portrait 1927
    Oil on wood
    support: 760 x 620 mm frame: 1040 x 910 x 92 mm
    Lent from a private collection 1994 Christian Schad Stiftung Aschaffenburg/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn and DACS, London 2002

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It took its name from the exhibition Neue Sachlichkeit held in Mannheim in 1923. The exhibition was part of the phenomenon of the ‘return to order’ following the First World War (when artists rejected the more extreme avant-garde forms of art for more reassuring and traditional approaches); and was described by the organiser G.F. Hartlaub, as ‘new realism bearing a socialist flavour’.

The two key artists associated with Neue Sachlichkeit are Otto Dix and George Grosz, two of the greatest realist painters of the twentieth century. In their paintings and drawings they vividly depicted and excoriated the corruption, frantic pleasure seeking and general demoralisation of Germany following its defeat in the war, and the ineffectual Weimar Republic which governed until the arrival in power of the Nazi Party in 1933. But their work also constitutes a more universal, savage satire on the human condition.

Other artists include Christian Schad and Georg Schrimpf.