HAVC 135B : German Art 1905-1945

Socialist Realism

In contrast to western abstraction, socialist realism prescribed an aesthetic of easily legible, photonaturalistic realism. Enshrined as the state style of Stalin's regime in 1934, such art combined accessible imagery with clear, didactic themes readily understood by the masses. An art 'of the people,' it had helped secure the triumph of socialism in the Soviet Union, and it was hoped that the style would also be beneficial to the rebuilding of German culture in the communist East Germany (German Democratic Republic).

Definition adapted from Barbara McCloskey, "Dialectic at a Standstill: East German Socialist Realism in the Stalin Era," (2009).

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