Against the world’s beautiful delusions

The Expressionist Werner Scholz

Center for Persecuted Arts / Solingen

26th november 2017 – 4th february 2018

After World War I it was Paris, after World War II it was New York. But in between, during the Weimar Republic, it was Berlin: the world capital of art. After the war had put the world on fire, now all visions and problems of society focussed on this city of vice and debauchery. And amidst it all, the painter Werner Scholz (1898-1982), to whom the Center for Persecuted Arts now dedicates a solo exhibition.

Werner Scholz‘ contemporaries were George Grosz and Otto Dix, the second generation of expressionists who dedicated themselves to the problems, worries and needs of those overexcited times. Scholz‘ paintings tell about life during the ‘Roaring Twenties’ just as they show people’s existential loneliness and distress. The primary subjects of his work are individuals as well as landscapes and religious themes. His style is characterized by muted colours and wild expressiveness. Along with Franz Frank, Albert Birkle und Otto Pankok, he is considered an Expressive Realist. From 1933, his creative work was defamed and dishonored by the Nazis.

In 1937, two of his paintings, Amaryllis and The Dead Child, were confiscated from German museums and exposed in the Nazis’ ‘Degenerate Art’ show. In 1939, Werner Scholz fled to Austria to escape further fascist defamation. His Berlin atelier was destroyed by bombing in 1944, and with it the largest part of his prewar pictures. It was not before the late Fifties that he found out that some of his paintings were saved, such as Child between Graves, which is now on show in Solingen.

A catalogue in German, edited by Dr. Rolf Jessewirsch, is available in the museum‘s shop



The Center of Persecuted Arts takes care of a collection of literature and a collection of art. Certain components of these collections are on permanent display in the Museum. The primary focus of both collections include works that were forbidden during the time of National Socialism and the GDR. We have given the unknown artists of that period a home in the Center of Persecuted Arts.