This rare terracotta sculpture is from 1922. It is one of the first ‘Mädchen’ sculptures of Arno Breker. Beginning in 1920 Breker studied at the Düsseldorfer Akademie. After making some abstract figures, he created in 1921 his very first Mädchen Sculpture. Unlike the sculptures he made after the war, the first models have thicker, shorter legs, their faces and hands are less detailed, and the nose is flat like that of a boxer. In the 1920s, Breker created some terracotta sculptures. These were mostly small figures, with no limited series, which he gave to art associations (source: Joe Bodenstein). His motifs here were ‘Aurora’ (‘Laying’), ‘Sinnende’ (‘Revery’) and ‘Knieendes’ (‘Kneeling’). Solid models were made, as well as hollow casts. The hollow casts were very fragile and therefore few copies still exist nowadays. Breker used several different potteries, in Düsseldorf, Krefeld and Berlin, because he wanted to compare the quality of the work.
The sellers of this sculpture were the heirs of Adolf Fischer, who live in Düsseldorf. Fischer and Breker, who lived in Düsseldorf from 1950 to 1991, knew each other quite well. Breker also created the grave monument (große Steinamphore) for Adolf Fischer on the Düsseldorfer graveyard.
‘Sinnende’, picture 5 in the book ‘Arno Breker, Ein Leben für das Schöne’, 1996.
|– condition||: II|
|– size||: height 18 cm|
|– signed||: ‘AB’ with number X inside|
|– type||: ceramic, glazed|
|– misc. I||: with mark of pottery Grootenburg, Krefeld|
|– misc. II||: previously in possession of Adolf Fischer, friend of Breker (Breker created a Steinamphore at his grave)|
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BIOGRAPHY: ARNO BREKER
Left: Arno Breker, postcard*, ‘Die Partei’.
Right: Arno Breker, postcard, ‘Die Wehrmacht’.
Statues representing the spirit of the Nazi Party that flanked the carriage entrance to Albert Speer’s new Reich Chancellery.
Arno Breker, postcard, ‘Der Rächer’ (‘Revenger’), GDK 1941, room 2.
One of the most beautiful artworks ever
Arno Breker ‘Apollo und Daphne‘ (‘Apollo and Daphne‘) Bronze, created in 1940-1942. Cast by foundry Alexis Rudier Fondeur, Paris. Size 240 x 285 x 40 cm. Displayed at the Arno Breker-exhibition in the Musée de l’Orangerie in 1942 in Paris. At the opening of this exhibition on 15 May 1942, Aristide Maillol described Breker as ‘Germany’s Michelangelo’.
After the exhibition the huge bronze relief stayed in France. It was confiscated by the French state in 1944 and stored in a depot of the Musée dárt modern in Paris. In 1961 Arno Breker bought the relief back when the French state auctioned it off. One other cast in bronze exists. Offered by a German auction house in 2020.
‘The early works of Breker are found to be familiar first-attempts of a gifted student in love with various historic periods, from the Egyptians to Rodin’, according to Charles Despiau, one of the three most important French sculptors of the early 20th century (with Rodin and Maillol) in ‘Arno Breker par Charles Despiau’, 1942, published by Flammarion in Paris.
The full quote comes from Monuments Man Lincoln Kirstein in ‘Art of the Third Reich, -Magazine of Art, October 1945: ‘In a Handsome monograph published by Flammarion and signed: Charles Despiau, the early works of Breker are found to be familiar first-attempts of a gifted student in love with various historic periods, from the Egyptians to Rodin. In a portrait, he renders Nefretete as seen by Despiau: nudes are spineless and adolescent, like Kolbe’s. But in spite of eclecticism, he displays a genuine physicality and astonishing manual dexterity’.
The opening of the Arno Breker exhibition in the Musée de l’Orangerie at 15 May 1942 in Paris. From left to right: Arno Breker, Charles Despiau, Aristide Maillol and French art historian Louis Hautecoeur.
‘At the opening of the Breker show, Maillol had himself photographed with Breker and Despiau, having made a special trip from Banyuls to honor his former pupil’, Monuments Man Lincoln Kirstein in ‘Art in the Third Reich’, Magazine of Art, New York, October 1945.
Left: Arno breker, postcard, ‘Berufung’ (‘Mission’), GDK 1941, room 2.
Right: Arno breker, postcard, ‘Bereitschaft’ (‘Readiness’), GDK 1939, room 2.
Berlin Olympic Stadion (still existing)
Left: Arno Breker, ‘Zehnkämpfer’ (‘Decathlate’). GDK 1937, room 15.
Right: Arno Breker, ‘Die Siegerin’ (‘The Victress’). GDK 1937, room 8.
Both sculptures are placed in the Pfeilerhalle (Pillar-hall) of the ‘Haus des Deutschen Sports‘, Berlin Olympic Stadiun. Photos: 2015.
‘Die Siegerin’ -likely the plaster model- stood also in the Reichskanzlei (located in the ‘Verbindungshallen im Westlichen Verwaltungsbau’); ‘Die Siegerin’ was also displayed in the International Pavilion of the World Exhibition, 1937, in Paris.
‘Die Siegerin’ by Breker, displayed in the German section of the International Pavilion of the World Exibition, 1937, Paris. Depicted in ‘Deutschland in Paris, ein Bild-Buch von Heinrich Hoffmann’, 1937.
The Biennale di Venezia, Deutscher Pavillion, 1938.
Left : ‘Atleta’ (‘Zehnkämpfer’ or ‘Decathlete’) by Breker (in the possession of Reichssportführer von Tschammer und Osten).
Right: ‘Vincitrice’ (‘Die Siegerin’ or ‘The Victress’) by Breker.
The Biennale di Venezia, Deutscher Pavillion, 1940.
Left: ‘Pronti!’ (‘Bereitschaft’ or ‘Readiness’) by Breker.
Right: ‘Ponderazione’ (‘Der Wäger’ or ‘Ponderer’) by Breker. Depicted in the exhibition catalog.
Arno Breker, postcard, ‘Knieendes’ (‘Kneeling woman’). GDK 1942, room 11.
Arno Breker, ‘Aurora’. Sculpture, created in 1926, on the roof of the Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf (photo: 2014).
Left: Arno Breker, ‘Vergeltung’ (‘Revenge’), depicted in the ‘Völkischer Beobachter’, 1943, after the lost Battle of Stalingrad.
Right: Arno Breker, postcard*, ‘Vergeltung’.
Left: ‘Bust of Arthur Kampf’, by Arno Breker, created in 1935. Bronze, height 38 cm. Displayed in 2016 by the ‘Museum de Fundatie’, The Netherlands (given on loan by the heirs of Arno Breker). The same -or a similar- cast of Arthur Kampf by Breker, was displayed at the GDK 1937 room 2.
Right: ‘Bust of Arthur Kampf’ by Arno Breker, displayed at the ‘Frühjahrs-Ausstellung’, 1937, Preussische Akademie der Künste. Depicted in the exhibition catalog.
Arno Breker, ‘Frauenkopf‘ (’Head of a Woman’), at the façade of the building of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik e.V. The building at the Rauchstrasse 17/18 in Berlin, was erected in 1938/39, and previously housed the ‘Königlich Jugoslawische Gesandtschaft’; it was dsigned by architect Werner March who also designed the Olympiastadion.
Three impressive Breker sculptures, displayed at the exhibition ‘Nazi Design’, Design Museum Den Bosch, The Netherlands, 8 September 2019 -1 March 2020. The exhibition was covered on the front page of the New York Times and Bild, and i.a. in the Guardian, Le Monde, Le Figaro, Paris Match, Spiegel, Welt, Tagesspiegel, El Pais and all Dutch News papers. On television the exposition was covered by the ARD, ZDF, Aljazeera, and all mayor television chanels in The Netherlands.
Hermann Göring Collection
Hermann Görings entire art collection comprised some 4,263 paintings, sculptures and tapestries. He planned to display them in the ‘Norddeutsche Galerie’, an art gallery which should be created after the war. The Norddeutsche Gallery was to be erected as an annex to Karinhall in the big forest of the Schorfheide, near Berlin. According to the website of the German Historical Museum, the following works by Arno Breker were part of the collection: ‘Morgenröte’ and ‘Schreitende’ (life size bronzes, both cast in Paris), ‘Anmut’ (marble) and a Horse-relief (high-relief, bronze, 125 x 100 cm, also cast in Paris).
The Michelangelo of the Third Reich
Arno Breker (1900 – 1991) was a German sculptor, best known for his public works in Nazi Germany, which were endorsed by the authorities as the antithesis of degenerate art. During his time in Paris in the twenties and early thirties he was influenced by Jean Cocteau, Jean Renoir, Pablo Picasso and Aristide Maillol. He maintained personal relationships with Albert Speer and with Hitler. In 1937 Breker joined the Nazi Party and was made ‘official state sculptor’ by Hitler. He was given a large property and provided a studio with forty-three assistants. As main sculptor and more or less number one on the Gottbegnadeten list, he was exempted from military service. His twin sculptures The Party and The Army held a prominent position at the entrance to Albert Speer’s New Reich Chancellery.
Arno Breker was represented at the Great German Art Exhibitions with 42 works. The neoclassical nature of his work, with titles like ‘Comradschip’, ‘Torchbearer’ and ‘Sacrifice’, typified Nazi ideals, and suited the characteristics of Nazi architecture. On closer inspection, though, the proportions of his figures, the highly colorful treatment of his surfaces (the strong contrasts between dark and light accents), and the melodramatic tension of their musculatures perhaps invites comparison with the Italian Mannerist sculptors of the 16th century.
Four works by Breker were part of the art collection of Hermann Göring and destinated for the ‘Norddeutsche Gallery’.
Breker had 10 sculptures displayed at the XXI Venice Biennale 1938 and at the XXII Venice Biennale 1940, including ‘Vincitrice’ (‘Die Siegerin’, GDK 1937), ‘Atleta’ (‘Zehnkämpfer’, GDK 1937), ‘Pronti’ (‘Bereitschaft’, GDK 1939), ‘Ricardo Wagner’ (‘Bust of Richard Wagner’, GDK 1941), and ‘Ponderazione’ (‘Berufung’, GDK 1941).
In 1942 a Arno Breker-exhibition was held in the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris. At the opening of the exhibition on 15 May, Aristide Maillol described Breker as ‘Germany’s Michelangelo’. Charles Despiau, one of the three most important French sculptors of the early 20th century (with Rodin and Maillol) wrote: ‘The early works of Breker are found to be familiar first-attempts of a gifted student in love with various historic periods, from the Egyptians to Rodin’, (‘Arno Breker par Charles Despiau’, 1942, published by Flammarion in Paris).
‘At the opening of the Breker show, Maillol had himself photographed with Breker and Despiau, having made a special trip from Banyuls to honor his former pupil’, Monuments Man Lincoln Kirstein, ‘Art in the Third Reich’, Magazine of Art, New York, October 1945.
Displayed was in the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris i.a. the relief ‘Apollo und Daphne‘ (‘bronze, cast by foundry Alexis Rudier Fondeur, size 240 x 285 x 40 cm). After the exhibition the huge bronze relief stayed in France. It was confiscated by the French state in 1944 and stored in a depot of the Musée dárt modern in Paris. In 1961 Arno Breker bought the relief back when the French state auctioned it off. It was offered by a German auction house in 2020.
While nearly all of his sculptures survived World War II, more than 90% of his public work was destroyed by the Allies after the war. In 1946 Breker was offered a commission by Joseph Stalin but he refused and stated ‘One dictatorship is sufficient for me’.
After the war he continued to receive commissions for sculptures, producing a number of works in his familiar classical style, working for businesses and individual patrons. He also produced many bronze female sculptures, in smaller sizes. Some of these were casts from original models designed before 1945. His works can be seen in the Breker Museum in Schloss Nörvenich in Germany.
An original marble relief ‘Du und Ich’, as well as three bronze life size sculptures by Breker, were displayed at the exhibition ‘Nazi Design’, Design Museum Den Bosch, The Netherlands, 8 September 2019 – 1 March 2020. This world-wide highly publicized exhibition attracted over 130.000 visitors in six months. The exhibition was covered on the front page of the New York Times and Bild, and i.a. in the Guardian, Le Monde, Le Figaro, Paris Match, Spiegel, Welt, Tagesspiegel, El Pais and all Dutch News papers. On television the exposition was covered i.a. by the ARD, ZDF, DW News, Aljazeera, AFP News Agency, SBS World News, and all mayor television chanels in The Netherlands. Because of the enormous popularity of the exhibition, the museum extended opening hours, opened its doors also on Mondays, and finally it extended the exhibition by 6 weeks.
* As also stated in our General Terms and Conditions, German Art Gallery offers the depicted postcards for sale. Prices on request.