New Objectivity exhibition: 'World in Transition: Art of the 1920s'

New Objectivity exhibition: 'World in Transition: Art of the 1920s'

Georg Scholz: 'Newspaper carriers (Work disgraces)' (1921)

Poor and rich side by side, and the rich man has porcine facial features — Georg Scholz captured the extremes of German society after WWI in a style reminiscent of caricature. The automobile was seen as a symbol of authority by Scholz and his fellow New Objectivity artists.

New Objectivity exhibition: 'World in Transition: Art of the 1920s'

Otto Dix: 'Self Portrait' (1931)

Scholz's friend Otto Dix was regarded as an expert chronicler of the Weimar Republic. He delved into the big cities' underworlds and portrayed people in garish colors. The above self portrait is somber by comparison — but the many shades of gray and the crystal ball in the foreground may very well portend a gloomy future.

New Objectivity exhibition: 'World in Transition: Art of the 1920s'

Rudolf Schlichter: 'Margot' (1924)

The Weimar Constitution proclaimed that women were equal to men, causing gender roles to change. Rudolf Schlichter's portrayal of a prostitute named Margot is typical for the "new woman" of the era: She has a short-trimmed bob, a cigarette and a self-confident pose. Nevertheless, the painter shows how life has marked the woman.

New Objectivity exhibition: 'World in Transition: Art of the 1920s'

August Sander: 'Pastry Cook' (1928)

The exhibition at Hamburg's Bucerius Kunst Forum museum juxtaposes paintings from the school of New Objectivity with the era's New Vision photographs. August Sander portrayed hundreds of people from all walks of life for his "20th century people" series. The result is a fascinating portrait of post WWI society in Germany.

New Objectivity exhibition: 'World in Transition: Art of the 1920s'

Albert Renger-Patzsch: 'Glas' (1928)

In 1920s advertising, photography increasingly replaced graphic representations. Albert Renger-Patzsch set the standards for product photography during that time. His focus is all about capturing the purity of surface, structure and shape.

New Objectivity exhibition: 'World in Transition: Art of the 1920s'

Reinhold Nägele: 'Weissenhof Housing Estate Stuttgart by night' (1928)

The Bucerius Kunst Forum's exhibition is part of the "100 years of Bauhaus" program celebrating the architecture and design movement's centennial, so naturally architecture has a place in the Forum's show. Reinhold Nägele's painting portrays a Bauhaus masterpiece, the Weissenhof Housing Estate in Stuttgart, which was built in only 21 weeks under the direction of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Following the horrors of WWI, people lived lives torn between trauma and euphoria. The Weimar Republic was an artistically fruitful period, and a show in Hamburg hones in on its New Objectivity and New Vision movements.