Berlin, The City That Never Slept

During the years of the Weimar Republic, the newspaper cartoonist Karl Arnold (1883-1953) regularly stayed in the German capital in order, as he wrote, “to capture the bizarreness of this crazy city.” He supplied Simplicissimus and the Münchner Illustrierte Presse with cartoon reportages caricaturing cultural and contemporary life throughout Berlin. With his assured drawing skills and the cool gaze of a detached observer, Arnold portrayed his characters and scenes from Berlin life for a wide audience. Berlin was a fascinating city, revolting against the remains of the imperial cult, the establishment and basically everything. It was chic to be communist, fascist, Morphinist, Occultist, ‘feminine ’ male or ‘masculine ’ female. Berlin was also the showplace for politicians and battlefield of fascists and communists. Shortly, for cartoonists it was a city full of models. This came to an end in January 1933 and so ended the creativity to make place for a ruinous regime and ideology. The exhibition in the Berlinische Galerie visualised the Roaring Twenties by 130 cartoons and it tells the story of a creative, but imbalanced society.