Date of Award

December 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Sarah Schaefer

Second Advisor

Katherine Wells


artist, Degenerate Art, Weimar, Wilhelm Hopfner


Humor and Quiet Resistance: The Graphic Work of Wilhelm Höpfner is an exhibition that was on display at the Emile Mathis II Art Gallery at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee November 15–December 20, 2018. The works consist of fine art prints produced Wilhelm Höpfner between 1921 and 1939 in Berlin and the smaller city of Magdeburg. The exhibition and this accompanying catalogue seek to introduce the reader to his work and to provide the cultural context for its interpretation. When discussing the artistic movements of Europe in the early twentieth century, there is a tendency to discuss them as discrete, contained phenomena, though the truth is anything but. Movements such as Expressionism, Dadaism, Surrealism, New Objectivity, and Bauhaus Modernism overlap and inform one another, and this interplay is particularly evident in Höpfner’s work as he negotiates these varying influences. Höpfner also uses his artwork as a means to explore and comment on the social and political climate in which he lived. While visually arresting, his work also serves as an important window on the convergence of artistic trends and Germany’s sociopolitical climate during the Weimar Era and early years of the Third Reich.