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
Arts and Entertainment

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade

radio
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
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.

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?