V&A museum will publish Hitler's list of 'degenerate art' online for the first time

The full inventory of "Entartete Kunst" will be made available to the public

Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, the Nazis confiscated thousands of “degenerate” artworks from galleries across Germany.

The regime kept records of the 16,558 works of modern art that were later sold, loaned or destroyed by artists including such celebrated names as Picasso and Van Gogh.

The V&A in London will this month publish the only surviving full inventory of "Entartete Kunst" – Degenerate Art – online, some 17 years after it came into the collection.

Heike Zech, curator of the Gilbert Collection at the V&A, said: “It’s one of the crucial sources to understand what happened to a lot of these pieces. We want to give everyone the chance to look at the original documents; it’s such a contentious and difficult subject matter.”

It is particularly pertinent coming shortly after it emerged last year that 1,400 modern works were seized in a Munich apartment, from a collection built by Hildebrand Gurlitt. Gurlitt’s name appears several times in the V&A’s document, while it also emerged that Herman Goering had bought three Van Gogh works.

It is part of a wider plan by the museum to digitise its archive material. “The Gurlitt case in Germany has really hammered home the point that this needs to be out now,” Dr Zech said.

The list was compiled at the height of the Second World War by the Reichsministerium fur Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, the ministry for public enlightenment and propaganda.

Other artists on the list include Paul Klee and Oskar Kokoschka, while one of the more celebrated German artists was Franz Marc. His inclusion caused controversy from war veterans at the time because the artist had fought for Germany in the First World War, dying in 1916.

The art was confiscated by the Nazi regime mainly between 1937 and 1938. Dr Zech said: “It’s mostly what we would regard as modern art now. Anything that wasn’t straightforward and figurative, but abstract and so on, was likely to be confiscated.”

The list, which is typed, compiled alphabetically and split into two volumes, was donated to the V&A by the widow of Heinrich Robert Fischer in 1996 as part of a larger collection of publications on German art.

Fischer was an Austrian-born art dealer who fled to Britain in 1938, before serving in the British Army’s Pioneer Corps during the Second World War.

Dr Zech said it was immediately clear that the Entartete Kunst was “something special. It stood out straight away.” It is the only one of the three surviving copies that contains the second volume listings.

The inventory lists institutions alphabetically by location – from Aachen to Zwickau – and then by location each artist is listed alphabetically. Those with an “x” next to them in the records show those that were destroyed.

“We hope publishing the document online will inspire more research among a wider range of people who otherwise may not have been exposed to it,” Dr Zech, who is also the restitution liaison officer at the V&A, said. “There is still more research to be done on this. It’s a work in progress.”

MORE: Artworks appropriated by the Nazis found in Cornelius Gurlitt's possession

The document has been available to scholars and many have studied it for provenance cases. None of the original pages have been available to the public before now.

The V&A is to put a PDF version of the “Degenerate Art” list online and the research team is currently working on making the document searchable.

In 1938, Entartete Kunst was the title of the exhibition held in Munich in 1938. It was displayed “for education purposes” as examples of bad art. Close by there was an exhibition of “great German art” to outline what art should look like.

Dr Zech said: “The irony of course was that everyone went to see the Degenerate Art exhibition. It was the most visited and popular exhibition of modern art of the time. Only a fraction of the visitors went to the other exhibition.”

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Arts and Entertainment
Sergeant pfeffer: Beatles in 1963
booksA song-by-song survey of the Beatles’ lyrics
Arts and Entertainment
music'I didn't even know who I was'
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl was left in a conundrum with too much talent and too few seats during the six-chair challenge stage
tvReview: It was tension central at boot camp as the ex-Girls Aloud singer whittled down the hopefuls
Arts and Entertainment
Kalen Hollomon's Anna Wintour collage

art
Arts and Entertainment

TV Grace Dent on TV
Arts and Entertainment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

music
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer is believed to be playing a zombie wife in Patient Zero

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Gatiss says Benedict Cumberbatch oozes sex appeal with his 'Byronic looks' and Sherlock coat
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Clothing items bearing the badge have become popular among music aficionados
musicAuthorities rule 'clenched fist' logo cannot be copyrighted
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson will star in Seth MacFarlane's highly-anticipated Ted 2

film
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in 'Gone Girl'

film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style