Date of Award

May 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Sarah C Schaefer

Committee Members

Katharine L H Wells


Adolf Wissel, Art, Germany, Ingeborg Bloth, National Socialism, Painting


Despite the vast amount of scholarship devoted to the Nazi era, there is very little dedicated to the analysis of its works of art. This paper aims to rectify that, by analyzing the work of Adolf Wissel. Aside from its didactic use amongst academia, there is only one academic analysis of his work. The intent of the present analysis is to build from that foundation and provide an additional layer of contextualization to an era that is relatively unexplored within our field. This analysis will establish that Adolf Wissel maintained specific subject, compositional, and stylistic choices that subtly opposed NSDAP directives. Because of the heavy mobilization of his works by the National Socialists, the art of Adolf Wissel has become synonymous with it. Yet, there is strong visual evidence to support the notion that Wissel’s works both adhered to the dominant social structure while they simultaneously critique and reject it.