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“Deutsches Holz”: Wood, Wirkung, and the Werkbund in 1933

Freyja Hartzell

Published online:

20 Sep 2022



In the wake of Germany’s ascension to nationhood in 1871, “deutsches Holz”—the stuff of half-timbered houses, Bierkellers, and three-legged chairs—became the building material of a new nationalist politics. But in 1933, after a decade of modernist innovations in steel, glass, and concrete, wood appealed once more to the German cultural consciousness. Amidst economic depression, social upheaval, and political turmoil, wood felt familiar and trustworthy, warm and reassuring—ubiquitous and cheap. But whose Holz was it? This essay employs wood as both substance and symbol to investigate the entangled crises of the German nation, the German Werkbund, and, in particular, Werkbund leader and architect-designer Richard Riemerschmid, in the teeth of the Nazi propaganda machine.

Other articles in this issue:

Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte Issues

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