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Count St. Genois d'Anneaucourt, 1927

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© CNAC/MNAM/Dist. Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource, NY
Photograph provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Used with permission

Christian Schad (German, 1894-1982). Count St. Genois d'Anneaucourt, 1927. Oil on wood. 33 7/8 x 24 13/16 in. (86 x 63 cm). Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Purchased in memory of Siegfried Poppe, 2000.

© 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

The Graf, or Count St. Genois d'Anneaucourt was a well-known figure in Viennese society, where Schad had family connections. St. Genois d'Anneaucourt was known partly for being an aristocrat and diplomat, and partly for being the object of great, gossipy speculation. Where did his preferences lay? Male, female, both or neither? He never said, so Schad portrays the Count elegantly dressed in evening clothes here, looking somewhat trapped while standing before two figures garbed in sheer gowns. They eye each other as if rivals for his attention, one a rather severe and mannish woman (identified as Baroness Glasen, for whom the Count often served as a "walker," or male escort), the other a transvestite. Schad has put a rather smug expression on the transvestite's face, but that was merely a guess on the artist's part.

About the show:

The years of the Weimar Republic in Germany were short, sad and, particularly in Berlin, spectacular. A contingent of German visual artists moved on from Dada to Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), from which a leftist sub-branch now known as Verism arose.

The Verist works on view in this exhibition were painted during a society's death spiral. Prostitutes, war cripples, transvestites, wealthy industrialists, doctors, lawyers and, yes, often the Verist artists themselves, are captured here in a now-lost era. Less 'enjoyable' than many themed exhibitions, Glitter and Doom... is superlative at compelling the viewer to look and think.

"Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s" is on view from November 14, 2006 – February 19, 2007 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028-0198. (Telephone: 212-535-7710; Website). The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Suggested admission is $20.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and $10.00 for students. Paid parking is available in the Museum Garage.

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