Alfred Roloff, Vormarsch


Price: on request


‘Vormarsch’ (‘Advancing’)
Displayed at the Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellung 1943 room 13.
Size 194 x 138 cm.
‘Vormarsch’ by Roloff is a
typical theme of totalitarian art.

‘Vormarsch’ by Roloff, displayed at the GDK 1943 room 13.

‘Vormarsch’ by Roloff, depicted in the newspaper ‘Novoe Slovo’ (‘Neues Wort’), 1943. ‘Novoe Slovo’ was founded in Berlin in Mai 1933 by Russian immigrants and Baltic Germans (ethnic German inhabitants of the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, in what today are Estonia and Latvia). The newspaper was monitored by National Socialist Institutions, first by the Anti-Komintern, a special agency within the Propaganda Ministry under Joseph Goebbels. From 1936 it stood under control of the ‘Aussenpolitischen Amtes der NSDAP’ under Georg Leibbrandt. Novoe Slovo was published twice a week, its ceased its publications in 1944.

-condition : II
– size : 194 x 138 cm; unframed  172 x 115
– signed : right, below 
– type : oil on canvas

============================================ § ============================================

BIOGRAPHY: Alfred Roloff

Alfred Roloff, ‘Flüchtende Pferde’ (‘Fleeing Horses’), GDK 1941 room 19. Size 160 x 105 cm. Bought by Hitler for 4,000 Reichsmark. In the possession of the Deutsches Historisches Museum.

Alfred Roloff, ‘Meldereiter’  (‘Dispatch Rider’), displayed at the exhibition ‘Deutsche Künstler und die SS’, 1944, in Breslau and Salzburg. Also printed on postcards ‘Herausgegeben im Auftrag Der Reichsführer-SS, SS-Hauptamt Berlin’. 

‘Wir fahren den Tod’ (‘Driving towards Death’)
Thor Goote, pseudonym for Werner Schultze von Langsdorff (1899 -1940), German writer and aircraft engineer, was the son of an aristocratic Hession Officer. Goote wrote the trilogy ‘Wir fahren den Tod‘ (1930), ‘Wir tragen das Leben‘ (1932) and ‘Die Fahne hoch!‘ (1933). The autobiographical books describe the road from the WWI trenches to the Freikorps-battles and then to the NSDAP movement.
‘Wir fahren den Tod’ deals with German soldiers responsible for the amunition supply on the Western Front. Depicted on the cover is ‘Deutsche Munitionskolonne im Feuer’ (‘German ammunition platoon under fire’) by Alfred Roloff. 

Alfred Roloff, ‘Ochsen am Plug’ (‘Ploughing Oxen’), GDK 1943 room 40. Bought for 6,000 Reichsmark by the ‘Freunde der bildenden Kunst e.V.’ (based in München).

Alfred Roloff, ‘Vernichtung polnischer Kavallerie durch deutsche Panzer‘ (‘Elimination of the Polish Cavalry by German Tanks‘), GDK 1941 room 13. Bought by Gauleiter Adolf Wagner for 6,000 Reichsmark. Depicted in ‘Kunst dem Volk’, 1941.

Alfred Roloff, postcard depicting ‘Der Führer’.

Alfred Roloff, ‘Pferde  am Plug’ (‘Ploughing Horses’), displayed at the ‘Herbst-Ausstellung 1940’, organised by the ‘Verein Berliner Künstler. 

Alfred Roloff, ‘Auf russischen Strassen‘ (‘On Russian Streets‘), GDK 1942 room 13. Bought by Stellvertretende Gauleiter Georg Traeg (Schwabia) for 5,000 Reichsmark.

Alfred Roloff, ‘Versprengte Pferde’ (‘Dispersed Horses’), GDK 1944 room 27. Depicted in ‘Die Kunst im Deutschen Reich’, 1944.

Alfred Roloff, ‘Pferde im Gewittersturm‘ (‘Horses in Thunderstorm’), GDK 1940 room 19. Bought for 3,000 Reichsmark by Joachim Freiherr von Ribbentrop. Size 112 x 148 cm. In the possession of the Belvedere Museum, Vienna (Sammlung Joachim von Ribbentrop).
The painting was very much appreciated by Hitler (‘Hitlers Tisch gespräche im Führer Hauptquartier‘, by Dr. Henry Picker, 1976):

Alfred Roloff, ‘Vom Wasser bedrängt‘ (‘Threatened by the Sea‘), GDK 1942 room 39. Bought by Joseph Goebbels for 4,500 Reichsmark.  

Alfred Roloff, ‘In der Freiheit‘ (‘In Freedom‘), GDK 1943 room 23. Bought by Joseph Goebbels for 8,000 Reichsmark.

Interview with Alfred Roloff, published in the ‘Illustrierter Beobachter’, 7 Januari 1943.

Alfred Roloff, postcards issued by The German Red Cross during WWI (below).

‘Unser Kronprinz in den Argonnen Eiserne Kreuzen verteilend’ (‘Our Crownprince awarding Iron Crosses in the Argonne’).

Left: ‘Ausmarsch’ (‘Departure’).
Right: ‘Treue Freude’ (‘Loyal Friends’).

Left: ‘Ulanen beschiessen ein Feindlichen Flugzeug‘ (‘Uhlans schooting at hostile airplane‘).
Right: ‘Grüsse in die Heimat’ (‘Greetings to the Homeland’).

‘Reitergefecht’ (‘Riders Fight’).

‘Die Künstler der Batterie’ (‘The Artists of the Battery‘).

Other published WWI works by Roloff:
‘Reiters Rast’ (‘Resting Riders’).

‘Deutsche Ulanen auf der Verfolgung von Kosaken’ (‘German Uhlans chasing Cossacks’). Published in 1914 in ‘Die Wochenschau’. 

Alfred Roloff, ‘Gegen die Drahtverhaue‘ (‘Against Barbed Wire Entanglements‘). Published in 1915, likely in ‘Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte’.

Left: Alfred Roloff (date unknown).
Right: Alfred Roloff, depicted in the ‘Illustrierter Zeitung’, 7 January 1943.

Alfred Roloff, prominent war-painter in two world wars
Alfred Gustav Christian Roloff (1879 – 1951) son of a naval officer, was a German illustrator and painter. In 1886, the family moved to Hamburg. From 1896 to 1901 Roloff studied at the Academy of Arts in Berlin (his younger brother Otto, 1882 – 1972, would also become painter, and art professor). During and after his his study, he worked as illustrator for publishers, among them Verlagshaus für Volksliteratur und Kunst in Berlin, which issued from 1911 to 1916 weekly the  ‘Unter deutscher Flagge’, a series of romans with war as the main theme. Other illustrated books by Roloff, sold in the European consumer market, were mostly light entertainment, quickly produced works of fiction, known as ‘dime novels’. 
In 1905, Roloff won a prominent price (200 Marks) in a competition for advertising designs, jointly sponsored by Henkell & Co., Sektkellerei and Stollwerck. His illustration work took off, and his designs were depicted on covers of popular books that were sold by the millions. At the same time he developed his painting skills and in 1906 he was, for the first time, represented at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung. Subject of his paintings were primarily horses in dynamic scenes, feated in motion.
During World War I, Roloff became War Painter; he produced especially battle scenes with horses. Many of his war depictions were printed on postcards, among them a series of cards issued by the German Redd Cross. In 1930 his work ‘Deutsche Munitionskolonne im Feuer’ (‘German ammunition platoon under fire’) was printed on the cover of the book ‘Wir fahren den Tod’ (‘Driving towards Death’), written by Thor Goote. Goote, pseudonym for Werner Schultze von Langsdorff (1899 -1940), wrote the trilogy ‘Wir fahren den Tod‘ (1930), ‘Wir tragen das Leben‘ (1932) and ‘Die Fahne hoch!‘ (1933). Autobiographical books describing the road from the WWI trenches to the Freikorps-battles and then to the NSDAP movement.
Roloff participated at the ‘Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung’ in the years: 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1914, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1920, 1921, 1923, 1926, 1928, 1940/41 and 1942. In the Third Reich he became member of the Reichskammer der bildenden Künste. He took part in several exhibitions of the ‘Verein Berliner Künstler‘: the ‘Frühjahrsausstellung 1938’, ‘Herbstausstellung 1938’, ‘Frühjahrsausstellung 1939’, ‘Früjahrsausstellung 1940’, ‘Herbstausstellung 1940’, and in the ‘Deutsche Stätdebilder und Landschaften’, 1940.
In 1941 he was represented at the ‘Kunstausstellung Hilfswerk für Deutsche Bildende Künst in der NS-Volkswohlfahrt’, 1941. In 1944 he showed his work ‘Meldereiter’  (‘Dispatch Rider’), at the exhibition ‘Deutsche Künstler und die SS’, 1944, held in Breslau and Salzburg.
From 1940 to 1944 Roloff displayed nine works at the Great German Art Exhibitions. His paintings were bought, for prices of up to 8,000 Reichsmark, by Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels (2), Joachim von Ribbentrop, Gauleiter Adolf Wagner and deputy-Gauleiter Georg Traeg. His military depictions included: ‘Vernichtung polnischer Kavallerie durch deutsche Panzer‘ (‘Elimination of the Polish Cavalry by German Tanks‘, bought by Gauleiter Adolf Wagner for 6,000 Reichsmark); ‘Auf russischen Strassen‘ (‘On Russian Streets‘, bought by Stellvertretender Gauleiter Georg Traeg for 5,000 Reichsmark), and ‘Vormarsch’ (‘Advancing’). Some of his GDK works were printed on Haus der Deutschen Kunst postcards. A work by Roloff depicting Adolf Hitler was also depicted on postcards.
In 1942, at the height of his recognition, Roloff started a relation with Elisabeth von Trotta, descendant of a former Baltic aristocrat family who fled the 1917-Russian revolution; their daughter later became the filmmaker and author Margarethe von Trotta. In 1943 Roloff’s work ‘Vormarsch’ (‘Advancing’, GDK 1943), was printed on the front page of the newspaper ‘Novoe Slovo’ (‘Neues Wort’, a Nazi controlled newspaper for Russian immigrants and Baltic Germans).
On 7 January 1943, the ‘Illustrierter Beobachter’ published an article about Roloff in which two of his works were depicted: ‘Auf russischen Strassen‘ (‘On Russian Streets‘, GDK 1942) and ‘Vom Wasser bedrängt‘ (‘Threatened by the Sea‘, GDK 1942).
As the war approached Berlin, Roloff moved to Warthegau. In 1945, he settled in Rade (near Rendsburg), where he died six years later.