The Art that Hitler Hated

The Art that Hitler Hated

Cornelia Feye dances her laser pointer around a slide of German expressionist Emil Nolde’s “The Last Supper.” The art historian explains what Adolf Hitler hated about the 1909 painting.

“The crime (Nolde) was accused of was insolent mockery of the divine,” Feye tells a packed Athenaeum Music & Arts Library house of 60 on Oct. 24.

The theme of the third of four lectures in Feye’s series, “German Art of the 20th Century,” sounds like fodder for a Mel Brooks movie scene. Why would anyone care what paintings Adolf Hitler hated? But it’s actually a thing. Called “degenerate art” — Hitler’s phrase — it’s been taught for decades in art history classes. And it has deep relevance...