Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Public Policy and Law and Art History
Nazi art collecting and looting was a strong and persistent undercurrent throughout World War II. The public and private practices of Nazi officials reveal both their aesthetic tastes and obsession with establishing themselves as highly educated, cultured patrons of the arts. Although the party’s artistic preferences are hard to define, it is evident that their stance on what constituted fine art and culture was entirely illogical, inconsistent, and incongruent. By examining their motives for acquiring such an astounding amount of art, the artistic tastes of individual Nazi officials, and the public exhibitions they held to advertise their values, one can observe this hypocrisy and inconsistency. This thesis reveals the Nazi’s confused relationship with art in three sections whilst incorporating textual and visual analysis of relevant works. The extent to which the Nazis went to acquire so much art reveals their obsession, and the art the Nazis loved and the exhibitions they held to bolster these works demonstrate their preferred artistic styles. They encouraged and revered artists that had inherent ties to Jewishness, further demonstrating the hypocritical nature of their artistic and ideological values. Despite their attempts to rid Europe of any signs of Jewishness or deviation from Aryan perfection, they were unable to mask their underlying admiration for art with ties to Jewishness. Many Nazi officials were not truly devoted to the cause and this is revealed in their artistic preferences.
Namon, Katharine J., "The Nazi Aesthetic: Nuance and Contradiction in Systematic Art Theft and Collection Efforts". Senior Theses, Trinity College, Hartford, CT 2022.
Trinity College Digital Repository, https://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/theses/960