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NEUE SACHLICHKEIT: New Objectivity in the Visual Arts

In the visual arts, New Objectivity has been identified with the following characteristics, but New Objectivity as a movement is still questioned by some art historians, just as the literary counterpart is questioned by some literary scholars.

CHARACTERISTICS: Visual Arts of New Objectivity

  1. A new and intentional fidelity to the outlines of the objects, which contrasts in particular with the mobile, expansive, generalizing manner of the Expressionists.

  2. Visual sobriety and acuity, an unsentimental, largely emotionless way of seeing.

  3. Concentration on everyday things, on banal, insignificant and unpretentious subjects, betraying no aversion for what is "ugly."

  4. Isolation of the object from any contextual relationship, thus calling its identity into question.

  5. Static pictorial structure, often suggesting a positively airless, glassy space, and a general preference for the static over the dynamic.

  6. Manifest construction of a picture out of heterogeneous details which form no organic whole (the collage-like assemblage of "particles of experience" suggests no experiential connection, is confirmed by no unified perspective, and is illuminated by no single light source).

  7. Eradication of the traces of the process of painting, and elimination of all gestural elements which might betray the hand of the individual painter.

  8. New mental relationship with the world of objects.

Now read on:

A comparison of Expressionism and New Objectivity (in English): Comparison.
Now look at these examples of the art of New Objectivity:

Historischer Hintergrund (1890-1918).
Historischer Hintergrund (1918-1945).