This article aims to explain the genesis, the dynamics, and some contradictions of National Socialist policy on art around 1937, the year of the notorious exhibition Degenerate Art. Adolf Hitler and his supporters did not invent the phrase degenerate art, but they adopted it, intensified it, and derived from it their destructive policies on art. “Looted art” was a last step and parallel consequence of developments that included the expulsion of the Jews from German society. Degenerate art and looted art should not be conflated, but they are to some degree interwoven. The article focuses on the Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich and the extremes of a state-run campaign against modern art that was part of a broader attempt to impose the National Socialist conception of art by force.

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