The Novembergruppe

Agent of the avant-garde

Between 1919 and 1932 the Novembergruppe mounted almost 40 exhibitions, published books and organised concerts, readings, parties and fancy-dress balls. In this way the association publicised modernist art on many different levels, providing plenty for people to talk and argue about.

Here we unveil the extraordinary story of the best-known of all little-known creative communities and its dramatic origins.

 

 


Prologue

Germany, autumn 1918. Workers and soldiers marched in protest through the streets demanding an end to the First World War and the abdication of the Kaiser – and their calls were heeded: a republic was proclaimed on 9 November...

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Agent of the avant-garde

In the 1920s Berlin was more vibrant than ever. Freed from the horror and anxiety of the war years, people flocked to bars and cabarets, cafés and dance halls – Berlin was now a symbol of fun and creativity.

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Revolutionaries of the mind

“We stand on the fertile soil of the revolution. Our motto is: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!” Thus begins a manifesto drawn up by the Novembergruppe soon after it was founded in the upheaval of the November Revolution.

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Women in the Novembergruppe

The Revolution of 1918/19 was a watershed for women. They had fought for suffrage and some were now elected as politicians to the National Assembly in Weimar. They demanded their place in the arts too, and at last they were permitted to study at the academies.

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New buildings

Neues Bauen was a movement to promote modern architecture that was functional, sober and clear. The Novembergruppe played an important role in its birth.

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New music new concerts

It is a handsome record: in just under 15 years the Novembergruppe organised not only some 40 exhibitions at home and abroad, but also 21 musical soirées.

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interdisciplinarity

The elegant, dynamic figures in the sculpture “Triad” resemble a group of dancers. Only when we look closer can we make out the heads, arms and legs swirling in a rhythmic circle.

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Caught in the crossfire

The newspapers made mincemeat of the first exhibitions by the Novembergruppe. The reviewer for the Berliner Tageblatt thought he was in a “madhouse” when he visited the Novembergruppe section at the Berlin Art Exhibition in 1919.

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The avant-garde on air

In 1925 the radio magazine Der Deutsche Rundfunk boasted: “At last! After delaying for far too long, the broadcasting station in Berlin has decided to grant the young, vibrant art of our day space in its programme.”

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Incompatibly radical

In early May 1921 the painter Otto Dix sent an angry letter to his Dada colleague Raoul Hausmann: “Dear Raul, tell the Novembergruppe they are pitiful philistines and I pay these people my deepest contempt. (...) I suggest (...) they should call themselves the Preliberal Group.”

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Berlinische Galerie

Landesmuseum für Moderne
Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur
Stiftung Öffentlichen Rechts

Alte Jakobstraße 124–128
10969 Berlin Germany

bg@berlinischegalerie.de

Tel +49 (0)30-789 02-600
Fax +49 (0)30-789 02-700

Opening hours

Wednesday–Monday 10 am–6 pm

Extended opening hours until 8 pm on the last weekend of the exhibition "Freedom: The Art of the Novembergruppe 1918–1935" (07.03.–11.03.).

Closed on Tuesdays
Closed on 24. and 31.12.