When Hermann Albert moved to Berlin in 1964, the world of art was still being defined by the post-war attitudes. Both East and West Germany faced a common problem—how to recover and redefine modern art after the dictatorship had effectively defamed and destroyed art by referring to it as degenerate art. Carefully selecting the themes, artistic media, and manner of presentation, art organizers exerted great influence over the way artwork was being produced. It was demanded that artists like Albert must embrace a socialists heroic style in all of their portraits, still lives and landscapes. Yes, Hermann Albert did do just that, but with a hymm to a nude—a sexy erotic twist.
While his early works seem to be preoccupied with everyday life, he decided to move toward the values of the human condition—beauty, silence, and erotic expression. Fearing that the public would turn away from him, he began to incorporate what was demanded of him and became an active player in the cultural reconstruction of the city and country.
Continuing the tradition of Neue Sachlichkeit, Albert soon began mixing in more figurative tendencies which was highlighted in American art, especially pop art. Not characterized by any particular set of stylistic rules, Albert’s work evolved with more hardness of outline, smoothness in finish, and distorted or caricatured literalism. But it was his choice of subjects which concentrated on the pragmatic approach to daily living, but without the bleak outlook normally reserved for this tradition.
In the late 1970’s, a new generation of European artist emerged and Albert being one of them was warmly welcomed by American art dealers and collectors who had grown tired of Minimalism and Conceptual art. By returning to what had previously been dismissed as so-called degenerate art, Albert was able to remove the vestige’s of the war’s influence on art and become one of the most admired artists of this century.