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Opening Celebration: Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55

Hans Uhlmann, Male Head | Männlicher Kopf, 1942. Steel sheet. Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, FrK 4237/1995. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Photo: Jürgen Diemer.

Special Event M. Victor Leventritt Lecture

Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

This event was recorded. Please view the lecture here.

Konrad Klapheck, a renowned German artist whose work is featured in the Inventur exhibition, will lecture on “War and Peace in German Art after World War II.” Widely known as a “machine painter,” Klapheck will discuss his practice as it relates to the historical, political, and artistic context of the immediate postwar period in Germany and beyond.

Following the lecture, he will be joined in conversation by exhibition curator Lynette Roth, the Daimler Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum and head of the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art.

The first exhibition of its kind, Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55 examines the highly charged artistic landscape in Germany from the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s. Taking its name from a 1945 poem by Günter Eich, the exhibition focuses on modern art created at a time when Germans were forced to acknowledge and reckon with the atrocities of World War II and the Holocaust, the country’s defeat and occupation by the Allies, and the ideological ramifications of the fledgling Cold War. The word Inventur (inventory) implies not just an artistic stocktaking, but a physical and moral one as well—the reassurance of one’s own existence as reflected in the stuff of everyday life. The exhibition, too, “takes stock,” introducing the richness and variety of the modern art of this period to new audiences, while prompting broader questions on the role of the creative individual living under totalitarianism and in its wake.

The lecture will take place at 6pm in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Lecture attendees are invited to view the exhibition following the discussion, as well as to enjoy a reception in the Calderwood Courtyard. All museum galleries will remain open until 9pm.

Free admission, but tickets are required. Tickets will be distributed on the Lower Level beginning at 5pm. One ticket per person. Seating will begin at 5:30pm. After capacity is reached, additional seating in nearby Deknatel Hall will be available to view the lecture via simulcast.

Complimentary parking available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.

Support for the lecture is provided by the M. Victor Leventritt Fund, which was established through the generosity of the wife, children, and friends of the late M. Victor Leventritt, Harvard Class of 1935. The purpose of the fund is to present outstanding scholars of the history and theory of art to the Harvard and Greater Boston communities.

The Harvard Art Museums are deeply grateful to the German Friends of the Busch-Reisinger Museum (Verein der Freunde des Busch-Reisinger Museums) for making the exhibition catalogue possible and for providing additional funding for the exhibition. Major support for the exhibition and related programming comes from endowed funds, including the Daimler Curatorship of the Busch-Reisinger Museum Fund, the M. Victor Leventritt Fund, and the Richard L. Menschel Endowment Fund. In addition, modern and contemporary art programs at the Harvard Art Museums are made possible in part by generous support from the Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art.