The Wiener Library

For the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide

London 1938: Defending 'Degenerate' German Art

Access information

This exhibition is the ground floor.

Step-free access is available to all floors of the building.

Large print guides are available at reception.

Find out more about accessibility at the Library.

Opening hours

Monday-Friday 10.00am-5.00pm

Tuesday 10am-7:30pm

Saturday-Sunday Closed

Find out more about upcoming closures.

13 June 2018 - 14 September 2018

The Wiener Library’s summer 2018 exhibition explores the history and context of an exhibition held in 1938 at the New Burlington Galleries in London entitled Twentieth Century German Art. 2018 marks the eightieth anniversary of this exhibition, which was the most prominent international response to the Nazi campaign against ‘degenerate’ art. It remains the largest display of twentieth-century German art ever staged in Britain.The show featured over three hundred examples of modern German art, by exactly those artists who had faced persecution in Germany: the exhibition in London in 1938 was an attempt to defend them and their work on a world stage.

The Wiener Library’s exhibition tells the story of the Third Reich’s campaign against ‘degenerate’ art and this response in London in 1938. The exhibition features a small number of the original artworks from the New Burlington Galleries’ exhibition, including works by Emil Nolde and Max Slevogt, presented with the stories of their lenders in 1938. The show will also include items from The Wiener Library’s unique archival collections.

London 1938 event series

The exhibition run will include a series of events designed to amplify themes in the exhibition. All the events are free but space is limited – please register to attend below.

This exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual (German-English) catalogue. The London 1938 project is being organised in collaboration with Liebermann-Villa am Wannsee, Berlin, where a companion show entitled London 1938: mit Kandinsky, Liebermann und Nolde gegen Hitler (London 1938: with Kandinsky, Liebermann and Nolde against Hitler) will run from October 2018 to January 2019.


Supported by Sotheby’s and the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

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