Adolf Reich, Hofbräuhaus, Schwemme


Price: € 9.000


‘Hofbräuhaus – Schwemme’
Signed 1939: a splendid depiction of ‘Europe at the brink of the greatest catastrophe in history’.
The painting by Adolf Reich was depicted on postcards issued by the Hofbräuhaus.
The press officer of the Hofbräuhaus has confirmed to us that it is very legitimate that the painting was commissioned by the innkeeper Hans Bacherl in 1939 (at the occasion of the 350-year anniversary of the Hofbräuhaus) and hung in the Hofbräuhaus.

Adolf Reich was a genre painter. His passion was ‘capturing the everyday’, the ordinary, and the seemingly unimportant moments in life. Here he captured a contemplating German soldier in the Hofbräuhaus: warried, concerned, desparate. Did he just got his marching orders? He is alone, surrounded by drinking, unconcerned civilians. It is 1939, the year that World War II began.

The historical Schwemme, which is located on the ground floor of the Hofbräuhaus, constitutes the heart of the Hofbräuhaus. Here, were the beer was once brewed, up to 1300 guests can be seated underneath the cross vaults at tables, some of which have already been here since 1897, as is proven by the numerous initials, names and comments carved into them.
The painting was also printed on a postcard issued by the Hofbräuhaus. A text on the backside reads: ‘Hofbräuhaus, München. Pächter Hans Bacherl’. Hans Bacherl was the innkeeper of the Hofbräuhaus from 1930 to 1945.

The text on the backside further reads: ‘Aufgabeort Hofbräuhaus, München. Pächter Hans Bacherl’ (Aufgabeort means ‘Place of Consignment’).

Extreme scarce work of art
Art works considered as overt propaganda were massively destroyed
In accordance with the Potsdam Agreement of August 1945, the Allied Control Council laws and military government regulations, all collections of works of art related or dedicated to the perpetuation of German militarism or Nazism, were destroyed. Thousands of paintings were considered of ‘no value’ and burned. Around 8,722 artworks were shipped to military deposits in the U.S. In 1986 the largest part was returned to Germany, with the exception of 200 paintings which were considered as overt propaganda: depictions of German Soldiers, war sceneries, swastika’s and portraits of Nazi leaders.

Adolf Reich has depicted the same waitress also on his Hofbräuhaus-diptych.
Below two paintings depicting waitresses at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich. Both paintings were also printed on postcards issued by the Hofbräuhaus.
Left: this painting shows the vaulted ceiling of the Hofbräukeller in the background and guests being served by the waitress from the other painting.
The press officer of the Hofbräuhaus has confirmed to us that it is very legitimate that the paintings shown on the postcards were commissioned by the innkeeper Hans Bacherl in 1939 (at the occasion of the 350-year anniversary of the Hofbräuhaus) and hung in the Hofbräuhaus.
Right: the text on the backside reads: ‘Hofbräuhaus, München. Pächter Hans Bacherl’ (Hans Bacherl was the innkeeper of the Hofbräuhaus from 1930 to 1945).

Left: Adolf Reich, postcard. The text below the pictures reads: ‘A frische Mass von derer Maid, Bringt näher dich der Seligkeit!’ (‘A fresh big pint from this Girl, brings you closer to Happiness!’.
Right: Adolf Reich, postcard, stamped 1942. The text below the picture reads: ‘Mit die Leut, mit die gscheiten, da hat ma sei gfrett! Reden allweil vom Trinken, vom Duescht reden s’ net’ (‘With smart people you are always stressed; they constantly speak of drinking, but never of thirst’). The text on the backside reads: ‘Aufgabeort Hofbräuhaus, München. Pächter Hans Bacherl’ (Aufgabeort means ‘Place of Consignment’).  

The Hofbräuhaus, most famous beer hall in the world
– scene of the first speech of Adolf Hitler (16 October 1919)
– scene of the founding of the NSDAP (24 February 1920)
– scene of the Hofbräuhaus-Battle (4 November 1921

The Hofbräuhaus at Platzl 9, is a beer hall in Munich originally built in 1589 by Bavarian Duke Maximilian I. Everything but the ground floor was destroyed in the bombing during WWII; it was not rebuilt until 1958. From 1930 to 1945 the innkeeper of the Hofbräuhaus was Hans Bacherln. When the Hofbräuhaus celebrated its 350th anniversary in 1939, the Hofbräuhaus officially ceased to be known as ‘Königliches Hofbräuhaus’ and hence forth was known as the ‘Staatliches Hofbräuhaus’. After Munich’s world-famous Oktoberfest (where the Hofbräu has one of the largest beer tents), the Hofbräuhaus is Munich’s most outstanding tourist attraction and historical monument. Hofbräuhaus franchises have opened in several other places in Germany (six), in Italy, Sweden, Melbourne, Dubai, Seoul, Bangkok, Brazil, and at least seven in the USA.

Hitler’s Hofbräu speech and the founding of the NSDAP

Hitler gave his first speech in the Hofbräukeller on 16 October 1919. On 24 February 1920, he organised the biggest meeting at the Hofbräuhaus yet, with over 2,000 people in attendance. It was in this speech that Hitler, for the first time, enunciated the twenty-five points of the German Workers’ Party manifesto: abrogation of The Treaty of Versailles, a Greater Germany, Eastern expansion, exclusion of Jews from citizenship, confiscation of war profits, the distribution of the State’s profits of land, and the necessity to seize land for national needs without compensation.
On the same day, the DAP changed its name to the NSDAP, the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers Party).
Every year after that, on 24 February, the Nazis held their annual celebration at the Hofbräuhaus.

The Hofbräuhaus-Battle/ the birth of the SA

On 4 November 1921, at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich, Hitler spoke to a crowd (2000 men) filled with opposition, including the SPD, the Social Democrats. A fight broke out over the issue of an assassination attempt on Erhard Auer, an SPD spokesperson. A full-scale brawl (‘Schlacht’) followed. The socialists in the audience attacked the SA men with beer mugs they had hidden under the tables as ammunition.  Rudolf Hess, who received a skull-base fracture at this occasion, took a leadership role in this fight. Hitler later idealized this scene in Mein Kampf as the ‘baptism of fire’ of his SA men, who were triumphant in the fight despite being outnumbered 50 to 400. At the beginning of Chapter VI he wrote: ‘During that period the hall of the Hofbräu Haus in Munich acquired for us, National Socialists, a sort of mistic significance. Every week there was a meeting, almost always in that hall, and each time the hall was better filled than on the former occasion, and our public more attentive’. ‘Deutschland Erwacht’ writes in 1933 about the Hofbräuhaus-fight: ‘Dies war die Geburtsstunde der Sturmabteilung’ (‘the fight is considered to mark the birth of the SA’).
Below, the well-known painting ‘Saalschacht’, by Felix Albrecht. Portrayed on numerous posters and postcards. Also depicted in the book ‘Deutschand Erwache’, page 57.

Left: Adolf Hitler speaking in the Hofbräuhaus on February 24, 1940, the twentieth anniversary of the formation of the NSDAP. The plaque commemorating his speech at February 24, 1920, can be seen behind the ‘blood flag’ behind him (photo: Süddeutsche Zeitung).
Right: close-up from the commemorative plaque (photo: Bayerische StaatsBibliothek, München). Depicted in ‘Ich Kämpfe’, Zentral Verlag der NSDAP Franz Eher Nachf., München, 1943. ‘Ich Kämpfe’ (‘I Fight’) was a book given by the Nazi Party to each new enrollee in 1943.

The Nazis celebrated the day of the NSDAP-founding every year on February 24, at the Hofbräuhaus.
Left: Adolf Hitler speaking in the Hofbräuhaus on February 24, 1940, the twentieth anniversary of the NSDAP.
Right: Adolf Hitler speaking in the Hofbräushaus on February 24, 1941, the twenty-first anniversary of the formation of the NSDAP (photos: Bayerische StaatsBibliothek, München).

– condition : II
– size : 73,5 x 53,5 cm; unframed 69 x 49 cm
– signed : left, under (‘A. Reich 39’)
– type : oil on wooden panel

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Left: Adolf Reich, postcard, ‘Um Haus und Hof’ (‘All their precious belongings’), GDK 1940, room 39. Bought by Adolf Hitler for 6.000 Reichmark.
The title of the painting suggests that a peasant couple seated in a notary’s office in Austria is being robbed of everything they own. The two men coazing the farmer into signing the contract correspond to the hateful anti-Semitic image of the deceitful Jew. At the wall a calendar of 1934 and a portrait depicting the 11th Chancellor of the Federal State of Austria, Engelbert Dollfuss, one of the least-known Europe’s 20th-century dictators. On July 25th, 1934, less than a month after the ‘Night of the Long Knives’, Dollfuss was assassinated as part of a failed coup attempt by Nazi agents in 1934. His successor Kurt Schuschnigg maintained his regime until Adolf Hitler’s annexing of Austria in 1938.
Right: ‘Um Haus und Hof’ is in the possession of the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin. Displayed on loan in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nürnberg. Size: 130,5 x 121 cm. Photo 2014.

Adolf Reich, postcard, ‘Das grossere Opfer’, (‘The greater Sacrifice’), GDK 1943, room 27.
The paintings is currently displayed in the Deutsches Historische Museum, Berlin. Size: 260,5 x 230,5 cm. Another copy, likely a second version, is in possession of the  Münchener Stadtmuseum.
Beginning in 1943, the first disastrous news comes from Stalingrad. Two members of the Hitler Jugend are collecting for the Winterhilfswerk. Responsible civilians are giving them money. In the background we can see the Munich Siegestor (built with Kelheimer Limestone, just like the Feldhernnhalle) and a young widow with a baby buggy. Two women are looking behind them at the soldier who had had his leg amputated. Originally there were plans for a stand for this painting with the  inscription composed by Hitler: ‘He who is doubting whether to give or not, should look back. He would see someone who gave a much larger sacrifice’.

Left: ‘Das grossere Opfer’ by Reich, in the possession of the Münchener Stadtmuseum.
Right: ‘Das grossere Opfer’ by Reich, in the possession of the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin.

‘Das grossere Opfer’ by Reich, displayed at the exhibition ‘Art in the Third Reich, Seduction and Distraction’, Museum Arnhem, The Netherlands, November 2023 – March 2024. Photo’s Eva Broekema.

‘Das grossere Opfer’ by Reich, depicted in the exhibition catalog ‘Art in the Third Reich’ by Jelle Bouwhuis and Almar Seinen, 2023.

Left: Adolf Reich, postcard, ‘Aus der illegalen Kampfzeit in Österreich’ (‘At the time of the underground fighting in Austria’). This work was evoking the period of clandestine activity of the NSDAP in Austria, until the Anschluss in 1938. GDK 1941, room 27. Bought by the Austrian Gauleiter August Eigruber for 14.000 RM. Depicted in ‘Kunst dem Volk’, September 1941.
In early 1933, Engelbert Dolfuss, the 11th Chancellor of Austria and one of the least-known Europe’s 20th-century dictators, shut down parliament, assumed dictatorial powers and banned the Austrian Nazi party. On July 25th, 1934, less than a month after the ‘Night of the Long Knives’, Dollfuss was assassinated as part of a failed coup attempt by Nazi agents in 1934. His successor Kurt Schuschnigg maintained his regime until Adolf Hitler’s annexing of Austria in 1938. After 1938 Schuschnigg was arrested, kept in solitary confinement and eventually interned in various concentration camps.
Right: ‘Aus der illegalen Kampfzeit in Österreich’ is in possession of the Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum in Linz. Size: 263 x 199 cm.

Adolf Reich, ‘Am Bezirgsgericht im alten Österreich’ (‘Cantonal Court in te Old Austria’). GDK 1939, room 37. Bought for 4.500 RM by Edoardo Alfieri, the Italian Minister of Culture. Depicted in ‘Kunst dem Volk’, September 1939.

Adolf Reich, ‘Die Wollsammlung in einer Münchener Ortsgruppe’, GDK 1942, room 39; depicted in the exhibition catalogue. Bought by Hitler for 20.000 RM. ‘The Wool Collection at a Munich Local Group’ displayes a drive collecting woolen goods for German soldiers during World War II.
In the winter of 1941, during the invasion of Russia, the German army desperately needed millions items as woolen hats, gloves, long johns and overcoats. On December 20, 1941, Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda, broadcast an appeal for warm clothing to send to the troops, saying: ‘Those at home will not deserve a single peaceful hour if even one soldier is exposed to the rigors of winter without adequate clothing.’
Again a depiction of ‘sacrifice’ by Adolf Reich. Depicted in ‘Kunst dem Volk’, september 1942 and in Mortimer G. Davidson, ‘Kunst in Deutschland’. The painting is in the possession of the US Army Center of Military History.

Adolf Reich, ‘Im Kunsthistorischen Museum Wien’, (‘In the Art History Museum of Vienna’). Date of creation around 1941. Official ‘Haus der deutschen Kunst’-postcard, however it is unclear whether the painting actually was displayed in the Haus der deutschen Kunst.

Adolf Reich, ‘Kunst- und Naturfreund’ (‘Art & Natur Lover’), GDK 1941, room 37. The painting, intentionally or not, shows the art as a way to look at erotic pictures. The artist, a professional and advanced in years, treats the model as part of the artistic process. However, the middel aged patron sneaks a look at the nude model.
Sold for 65.000 USD by Sotheby’s New York in December 2015 (size 50 x 39,50 cm).

Left: Adolf Reich, ‘Inneres der Hofkirche‘ (‘Interior of the Hofkirche in Innsbruck‘), postcard.
Right: the Hofkirche in 2023.
The Hofkirche (Court Church) is a Gothic church located in the Old Town of Innsbruck, Austria. The church was built in 1553 by Emperor Ferdinand I (1503–1564) as a memorial to his grandfather Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519), whose cenotaph within boasts a remarkable collection of German Renaissance sculpture. The church also contains the tomb of Andreas Hofer, Tyrol’s national hero.

Adolf Reich. Date of photo unknown.

Adolf Reich, the Austrian Spitzweg
Adolf Reich (1887–1963), born in Vienna, was the son of a metal caster who created bronze sculptures and other forged works of art. The self-taught painter Reich worked for seven years as painter of stage scenary for the German Theatre in Vienna. In 1910 he devoted his life to being a freelance artist. In addition, he became an illustrator and soon became one of the most sought after artists in the field.
Reich was turned down to be a soldier in World War I, but in 1915 was assigned to be an embedded regimental painter with the troops. He painted in trenches and other positions within the first frontlines; many of his war-depictions were depicted in ‘Österreichs Illustrierte Zeitung’.
From 1916 to 1926 he exhibited annually in the Vienna Academy of Art. In 1926 Reich moved to Munich to escape the financial chaos in Austria. As a permanent staff member of the ‘Leipzig Illustrierte’ and receiving constant commissions from many other magazines and newspapers (like the Süddeutsche Post and the Münchner Illustrierte Zeitung), he became highly respected within a few years. His improving financial position made it possible for him to start again on his passion: genre painting. In 1927 he became President of the newly founded artist-group ‘Wiener Heimatkunst’.
Reich’s passion was capturing the everyday, the ordinary, and the unimportant moments in life, which rendered him the nickname ‘the Austrian Spitzweg’. His paintings do not allow one to glean a deep, metaphysical understanding of the soul. He paid much attention to details and was a master at creating seemingly ordinary, mundane sceneries.
It was also in Munich that Adolf Reich began to work for the Nazis creating folk postcards and propaganda art. From 1938 to 1944 Reich had ten paintings in the Great German Art Exhibitions; three were bought by Hitler for prices of up to 20.000 RM. Reich painted two of the most well-known propaganda pictures of the National Socialists: ‘Um Haus und Hof’ (‘All their precious belongings’, GDK 1940, bought by Hitler for 6.000 Reichmark), and ‘Das grossere Opfer’ (‘The greater Sacrifice’, GDK 1943).
In 1944 Reich lost his house and studio during an air attack by the Allies. After the war he was imprisoned at Camp Glazenbach, outside of Salzburg, Austria, together with hundreds of high-ranking Nazi officers. Reich was ordered to paint portraits of American officers and their wives, which he continued to do until at least 1949. Upon release, he lived in Salzburg. Due to his involvement with the Nazis, he was never allowed to pursue his dream of teaching art. In 1953 he lost his wife who had stood by him in good times and in bad. Reich lived an isolated life and devoted himself completely to his art. During these last quiet years he created a collection of significant genre pictures and masterly portraits.
Adolf Reich died in 1963 in Salzburg.
In 1965 a remembrance exhibition of Adolf Reich (‘Gedächtnisausstellung Adolf Reich, 1887 – 1963‘) was held in the ‘Galerie im Mirabell-Casino‘, Salzburg.
Nowaydays works by Adolf Reich hang in: the Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum in Linz (‘Aus der illegalen Kampfzeit in Österreich’), the Stadtmuseum München (a second version of ‘Das grossere Opfer’), the Lichtensteinmuseum in Vienna and in the Salzburg Museum. Die original and largest version of ‘Das grossere Opfer’ is in the possession of the Deutsches Historisches Museum; in 2010/11 it was displayed at the exhibition ‘Hitler und die Deutschen’ (‘Hitler an dthe Germans’) in Berlin, and depicted in the ‘Tagesspiegel’, 2010.
‘Das grossere Opfer’ by Reich, was again displayed at the exhibition ‘Art in the Third Reich, Seduction and Distraction’, Museum Arnhem, The Netherlands, November 2023 – March 2024. Photo Eva Broekema.