Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55


Fri - Sun, Feb 9 to Jun 3, 10:00am - 5:00pm


Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street

The first exhibition of its kind, Inventur—Art in Germany, 1943–55 examines the highly charged artistic landscape in Germany from the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s. Taking its name from a 1945 poem by Günter Eich, the exhibition focuses on modern art created at a time when Germans were forced to acknowledge and reckon with the atrocities of World War II and the Holocaust, the country’s defeat and occupation by the Allies, and the ideological ramifications of the fledgling Cold War.

Presented by: Harvard Art Museums
Museum Admission: See website for admission
Museum Hours: All museum galleries will remain open until 9 p.m. Open daily 10am–5pm
Exhibition runs: February 9-June 3, 2018
Opening Celebration: Thursday, February 8, 6-9 p.m. Free, tickets required.
More information 

The word Inventur (inventory) implies not just an artistic stocktaking, but a physical and moral one as well—the reassurance of one’s own existence as reflected in the stuff of everyday life. The exhibition, too, “takes stock,” introducing the richness and variety of the modern art of this period to new audiences, while prompting broader questions on the role of the creative individual living under totalitarianism and in its wake.


Inventur includes more than 160 works, encompassing nearly 50 artists; many of the works have never been on view outside Germany. The exhibition draws from the Harvard Art Museums’ Busch-Reisinger and Fogg collections and is complemented by works from more than 50 public and private collections in the United States and in Germany. It includes key artists from across Germany who worked in an array of media: photography, collage, photomontage, drawing, painting, sculpture, and commercial design.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with two essays and sixty in-depth object entries written by the curator and emerging scholars in the field. This publication, the first of its kind in English, will contribute a wealth of new knowledge to scholarly understanding of 20th-century German art.