‘Das Lied’ (‘The Song’)
August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Das Lied’, depicted in ‘August Wilhelm Goebel,-ein Meister der Plastik’, Düsseldorf, 1948.
|– condition||: II|
|– size||: 63 cm including base|
|– signed||: at base|
|– type||: bronze|
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BIOGRAPHY: AUGUST WILHELM GOEBEL
Left: August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Sinnen’. GDK 1943, room 17. Original ‘Haus der Kunst’ postcard.
Right: ‘Sinnen’ depicted in ‘Düsseldorfer Künstler im Haus der Deutschen Kunst’, 1943.
Monastery of Hohenfurt (Vyssi Brod), Czech Republic
At the end of WWII, several stolen art collections -and 46 paintings and 30 statues from Hitler’s private contemporary art collection- were hidden by the National Socialists in the Monastery of Hohenfurt (Vyssi Brod), near Linz in the Czech Republic. After the war, valuable art, such as pieces from the Mannheimer- and Rothschild collections, were confiscated by the U.S. Army and taken to the Munich Central Collection Point in an effort to return them to their original owners. Many less valuable works, like contemporary German Nazi-art works, were left behind after the 1945 liberation of Czechoslovakia and ended up scattered across the country.
‘Norne’ and ‘Sonnenaufgang’ by August Wilhelm Goebel were two of the 30 sculptures in the Monastery of Hohenfurt; the works are lost.
In 2012 sixteen paintings by German artists -that Adolf Hitler personally purchased during WWII- were found in various Czech institutions. Seven were discovered in the Zákupy Chateau, the site where items from confiscated castles, chateaus and private houses were gathered after the war. Seven other canvases were found at the convent of Premonstratensian Sisters in Doksany, near Prague. Two paintings were found at the Military Institute in Prague and at the Faculty of Law of Charles University in Prague. All the sixteen paintings are now in the possession of the ‘Czech National Institute for the Protection and Conservation of Monuments and Sites’. They will remain in the Czech Republic.
Left: August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Norne’ (marble, 170 cm high), as it was found in 1945 in the Czech Republic, -Monastery of Hohenfurt. Originaly displayed at the GDK 1940, room 21. Bought by Hitler for 12,000 RM; the sculpture is lost (photo: ‘Hitlerova Sbirka v Cechach’, by Jiri Kuchar).
Right: August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Sonnenaufgang’ (‘Sunrise’), also named ‘Schauende’ (‘Perceiving’), as it was found in 1945 in the Czech Republic, -Monastery of Hohenfurt. Marble, life size. Originally displayed at the GDK 1939 room 8, bought by Hitler for 9.500 Reichsmark; the sculpture is lost (photo: ‘Hitlerova Sbirka v Cechach’, by Jiri Kuchar).
August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Norne’ in marble, 94 cm high. Displayed at the ‘GAU-Ausstellung Westfalen-Süd, VII. Große Sauerländische Ausstellung’, Osthaus Museum der Stadt Hagen, 1944. Since 1944 in the possession of the Osthaus Museum, City of Hagen. The photo of ‘Norne’ in the 1944-Gau-exhibition catalogue shows, incorrectly, the large model of 170 cm displayed in the Haus der Deutschen Kunst (see the tiles from the Haus der Deutschen Kunst at the background). The same photo was later depicted in ‘Künstler und Werke’, Richard W. Eichler, 1962.
August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Opferbereit’. GDK 1941, room 22. ‘Haus der Kunst’ postcard.
The extreme scarcity of National Socialistic art
Massive, systematic destruction of Nazi art since 1945: the Potsdam-Agreement
From 1933 to 1949 Germany experienced two massive art purges. Both the National Socialist government and OMGUS (the U.S. Military Government in Germany) were highly concerned with controlling what people saw and how they saw it. The Nazis eliminated what they called ‘Degenerate art’, erasing the pictorial traces of turmoil and heterogeneity that they associated with modern art. The Western Allies in turn eradicated ‘Nazi art’ and forbade all artworks military subjects or themes that could have military and/or chauvinist symbolism from pictorial representation. Both the Third Reich and OMGUS utilized the visual arts as instruments for the construction of new German cultural heritages.
The Potsdam Agreement of 2 August 1945, subparagraph 3, Part III, Section A stated that one purpose of the occupation of Germany was ‘to destroy the National Socialistic Party and its affiliated and supervised organizations and to dissolve all Nazi and militaristic activity or propaganda.’ In accordance with Allied Control Council laws and military government regulations, all documents and objects which might tend to revitalize the Nazi spirit or German militarism would be confiscated or destroyed. For example, Title 18, Military Government Regulation, OMGUS stated that: ‘all collections of works of art related or dedicated to the perpetuation of German militarism or Nazism will be closed permanently and taken into custody.’ As a consequence, thousands of paintings –portraits of Nazi-leaders, paintings containing a swastika or depicting military/war sceneries– were considered ‘of no value’ and destroyed. With knives, fires and hammers, they smashed countless sculptures and burned thousands of paintings. Around 8,722 artworks were shipped to military deposits in the U.S.
OMGUS regulated and censored the art world. The Information Control Division (ICD, the key structure in the political control of post-war German culture in the American zone) was in fact a non-violent version of the Reichskulturkammer (Reich Chamber of Culture). With its seven subdivisions (i.e. press, literature, radio, film, theatre, music, and art), the ICD neatly replaced the Reich Chamber of Culture. The ICD established through its various sections a system of licensed activity, with screening and vetting by Intelligence to exclude all politically undesirable people.
‘Free’ German artists producing ‘free German art’ after 1945
In the ideology of OMGUS, painting was conceived of as a strategic element in the campaign to politically re-educate the German people for a new democratic internationalism. Modern art allowed for the establishment of an easy continuity with the pre-Nazi modernist past, and it could serve as a springboard for the international projection of Germany as a new country interacting with its new Western partners.
‘Free’ artists producing ‘free art’ was one of the most powerful symbols of the new Germany, the answer to the politically controlled art of the Third Reich. Modern art linked Western Germany to Western Europe – separating the new West German aesthetic and politics from that of the Nazi era, the U.S.S.R., and East Germany – and suggested an ‘authentically’ German identity.
Left: August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Brunnennymphe’. GDK 1939, room 21; depicted in the exhibition catalogue. Bought by Hermann Göring for 6,500 RM (now privately owned). Postcard. Also depicted in ‘Kunst dem Volk’, 1939, and in ‘Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte’, 1939.
Right: ‘Brunnennymphe’ by Goebel, executed in porcelain. Height 40,5 cm, signed A.W. Goebel.
The ‘Gudrun’-figure by Goebel was displayed at several exhibitions:
A marble cast of ‘Gudrun’ at the ‘Grosse Düsseldorfer Kunstausstellung’, Messepalast, Köln, 1924. Described in the 1924-exhibition catalog, and depicted in ‘Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte’, Edition 39, 1924.
A bronze cast at the ‘Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung’, 1928. The ‘Museum Kunstpalast Düsseldorf’ is in the possession of a bronze cast (height 53 cm, unclear whether this is the same cast).
A marble cast at the GDK 1938, room 28, and bought by Hitler for 3.000 RM.
A marble cast was again displayed in the exhibition ‘Kunst der Ruhrmark’, Mauritshuis, The Hague, 1942.
Left: a marble cast of ‘Gudrun’ by August Wilhem Goebel, displayed at the ‘Grosse Düsseldorfer Kunstausstellung’, Messepalast, Köln, 1924. Described in the 1924-exhibition catalog, and depicted in ‘Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte’, Edition 39, 1924.
Right: Gudrun in marble, the GDK-sculpture bought by Hitler for 3.000 Reichsmark. Depicted in ‘Die Kunst im Dritten Reich’, 1938.
August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Eisenhüttenmann’ (‘Blast-furnace worker’). GDK 1941, room 27.
Left: August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Wasserschöpferin’. GDK 1944, room 32. Bronze. Height 98 cm.
Right: ‘Wasserschöpferin’ by Goebel, executed in porcelain. Height 36 cm, signed A. W. Goebel.
Left: August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Blumenplückerin’, oak-wood, displayed at the GDK 1943 room 32. Sold by a German auction house in 2009. Height 82 cm including base.
Right: August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Blumenpflückerin‘, executed in porcelain by ‘Porzellanfabrik Karl Ens, Volkstedt-Rudolstadt’. Height 34 cm, modelnumber 5194. Signed A.W. Goebel.
August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Allegorien auf die Musen des Gesanges und des Tanzes’ (‘Allegory of the Muse of Singing and Dancing’). Bronze sculpture on the facade of the building of the Malkasten Art Association in Düsseldorf (until the bomb attack of 1943). Height: 110 and 115 cm.
August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Denkmal der Stadt Breyell’ (‘War Memorial of the City of Breyell’). Created 1930, located at the graveyard of Breyell.
August Wilhelm Goebel, 1938. ‘Den Gefallenen Kameraden 1914-1918’ (The Fallen Comrades 1914-1918). Kriegerdenkmal, Hassel (War Memorial in Hassel). In the war memorials created immediately after WWI the main theme was grief and remembering the dead. However, in the National Socialists time war memorials were often used as propaganda and tended to glorify war. In the example below, the strong, muscled warrior’s sword points at the dates 1914-1918. Its face is determined and grim reflecting a desire for revenge.
August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Portal-sculptures at the Tax Office Building in Neuwied, Reckstrasse 6′. Created 1928. Photo taken in the 1950s.
After 1998 the Tax Office Building houses the Police Office Department of Neuwied.
August Wilhelm Goebel at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung 1924
At the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung 1924, Goebel displayed ‘Die Zeit’ (‘The Time‘) and ‘Die Arbeit‘ (‘Labour‘).
Left: ‘Die Zeit’ by Goebel, depicted in the GBK 1924 exhibition catalogue.
Right: ‘Die Zeit’ depicted in ‘Das Werk’, 9. Jahrgang, 1923.
Below: ‘Die Arbeit‘ by Goebel, also displayded at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung 1924, depicted in ‘Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte’, 1924.
Left: August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Löwe’ (‘Lion’), bronze. In the possession of Kaiser Haile Selassie I (1892 – 1975) of the Ethiopia Empire (Abbyssinia). Depicted and described in ‘Kunstbildhauer August-Wilhelm Goebel’, 1958.
Right: August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Löwe’, executed in porcelain. Height 29 cm, signed A.W. Goebel.
Left: August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Europa auf dem Stier’ (‘Europe on Bull’). Height 52 cm, signed A.W. Goebel. Executed in porcelain by ‘Porzellanfabrik Karl Ens, Volkstedt-Rudolstadt’.
Right: August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Stier’ (‘Bull’). Length 60 cm. Executed in porcelain by ‘Porzellanfabrik Karl Ens, Volkstedt-Rudolstadt’.
August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Das Lied’, 1930. Bronze, 63 cm high, sold at Christies, UK, in 2010.
August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Tänzerin’ (‘Dancer’). Signed A.W. Goebel. Created by Porzellanfabrik Karl Ens, Volkstedt-Rudolstadt. height 33 cm.
August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Plakette für sportl. Betätigung auf der Ausst. GeSoLei in Düsseldorf’, 1926 (‘GeSoLei sports participation plaque’, 1926′). ‘GeSoLei’, the ‘Große Ausstellung Düsseldorf 1926 für Gesundheitspflege, soziale Fürsorge und Leibesübungen’ was the largest trade fair in Germany during the Weimar Republic. It attracted 7.5 million visitors. The name ‘GeSoLei’ was constructed from an abbreviation of abbreviations of the German words for public health (Ge), social welfare (So) and physical exercise (Lei). Size: 163×103 mm. Weight: 560 gram.
August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Goldmedaille der Großen Ausstellung Düsseldorf 1926 für Gesundheitspflege, soziale Fürsorge und Leibesübungen, ‘GeSoLei’. Medal of the GeSoLei, 1926. Bronze, gold-plated. Size 7 cm, 133 gram. In the possession of the Stadtmuseum Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf (SMD Stadtmuseum).
Left: August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Flora, -The Roman Goddess of Flowers and Spring’. The text on the relief reads: ‘Mit Wissen und Können Fleissig Sich Regen Bringt Ehre und Segen‘ in English: ‘Knowledge, Skills and Hardworking bring Honour and Victory‘. Bronze plaque, date of creation unknown. Size 26 x 15 cm, 900 gram.
Right: August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Medaille für Verdienste um den Landkreis Wiesbaden‘, 1916 (‘Medal for Merit, District Wiesbaden‘). Bronze, 7 cm, 94 gram.
August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘An der Olympische Feuerschale‘ (‘The Olympic Fire‘), created in bronze. Depicted in ‘Kunstbildhauer August-Wihelm Goebel‘, 1958. Sold by a German auction house in 2012 (from the artist’s estate). Height 50 cm, weight 11 kg. Likely the figure was a proposed monumental sculpture for Berlin Olympic grounds, but never realised.
Left: August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Pionier Denkmal am Wasserbahnhof‘, Mühlheim. This WWI memorial, honouring the fallen soldiers of the Transport Engeneering Division from the Rheinland and Westfalen, was revealed at 5 september 1937. For this work Goebel was awarded the First Price by the city of Mühlheim.
Right: August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Gänsebrunnchen’(‘Goose-fountain’), Nordpark-Düsseldorf. Created in lime-stone. Date of creation unknown.
August Wilhelm Goebel, ‘Faun und Nymphe’ (‘Faun and Nymph’).
Left: executed in bronze. Height 43 cm. In the possession of the Stiftung Sammlung Volmer.
Right: executed in porcelain. Created by Porzellanfabrik Karl Ens, Volkstedt-Rudolstadt.
August Wilhelm Goebel, bronze relief (date unknown). Size 44 x 35 cm.
August Wilhelm Goebel, Selfportrait in bronze. Depicted in ‘Kunstbildhauer August-Wilhelm Goebel’, 1958.
August Wilhelm Goebel, depicted in ‘Künstler und Werke’, Richard W. Eichler, 1962.
August Wilhelm Goebel
August Wilhelm Goebel (1883 – 1971), born in Wiesbaden-Kloppenheim, was a German sculptor who studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Frankfurt am Main under professor Hausmann; later he went to the art academies in Düsseldorf (‘Meisterschüler’ of professor Karl Janssen), Berlin and Munich. During his study Goebel won the first price of the City of Düsseldorf for a War Memorial; later he also created war Memorials for the cities Breyell (1930) and Düsseldorf-Hassel (1938), and at 5 september 1937 Goebels ‘Pionier Denkmal am Wasserbahnhof‘ in Mühlheim was revealed; for this WWI memorial, honouring the fallen soldiers of the Transport Engeneering Division from the Rheinland and Westfalen, Goebel was awarded the First Price by the city of Mühlheim.
After his education Goebel, who worked in bronze, marble, porcelain and wood, lived and worked (mainly) in Düsseldorf. Together with artists like Ernst Barlach, Arthur Storch, Richard Scheibe and Paul Scheurich he worked for a certain period for the famous porcelain manufacturer ‘Schwarzburger Werkstätten für Porzellankunst’ in Thüringen, and also for the ‘Porzellanfabrik Karl Ens, Volkstedt-Rudolstadt’. Many of his porcelain figures still exist. In 1916 Goebel created the ‘Medaille für Verdienste um den Landkreis Wiesbaden‘ (‘Medal for Merit, District Wiesbaden‘).
In 1924 Goebel participated in the ‘Grosse Düsseldorfer Kunstausstellung’ in Cologne with three sculptures, including a marbel cast of ‘Gudrun’. Also in 1924 Goebel took part in the Great Berlin Art Exhibition where he displayed the two bronze figures ‘Die Arbeit’ and ‘Die Zeit’ (‘Labor’ and ‘Time’); a year later he created two sculptures in National Socialist style. Because he made these NS-sculptures and publicly expressed sympathy for Hitler at that time, he was banned -for a certain period- from receiving public commissions. Goebel created in 1926 the relief ’Der Tanz’ (‘The Dance’) for the City of Düsseldorf. In the same year he designed the gold medail (and other plaques) for the GeSoLei, the ‘Große Ausstellung Düsseldorf 1926 für Gesundheitspflege, soziale Fürsorge und Leibesübungen’. This was the largest trade fair in Germany during the Weimar Republic, it attracted 7.5 million visitors. In 1928 Goebel created the portal-figures of the Tax-Office in the Village Neuwied (still existing); in the same year he displayed a bronze cast of ‘Gudrun’ at the ‘Great Berlin Art Exhibition’.
In 1928 he became a member of the paramilitary organization ‘Der Stahlhelm’; Goebel was also an early member of the NSDAP. In the early ‘Kampfzeit’ (battle time) of the NSDAP he donated the small amount of capital that he had. From 1933 onwards he was a member of the SA and in 1941 he had the ranking of SA-Obersharführer (Senior Squad Leader). August Wilhelm Goebel fought on several front lines.
In 1936 Goebel took part in the ‘Düsseldorf Exhibition Schaffendes Volk’ where he displayed a monumental iron sculpture. In the same year Goebel participated in Berlin in the exhibition ‘Lob der Arbeit’ (‘In Praise of Work’), organised by the NS-Kulturgemeinde, and in the exhibition ‘Heroische Kunst’, NS-Kulturgemeinde, Städtischen Galerie, Lenbach-Haus, Munich. He created the ‘Allegorien auf die Musen des Gesanges und des Tanzes’ (‘Allegory of the Muse of Singing and Dancing’), four bronze sculptures adorning the facade of the building of the ‘Malkasten Art Association’ in Düsseldorf (until the bomb attack of 1943); also he created a fountain sculpture for the City of Velbert.
Minister of Culture Bernard Rust recommended Goebel for a Professor title just before WWII; because there were no vacancies, the attempt failed. In 1941 SA Stabchef Viktor Lutze recommended Goebel for the second time for the Professor title, again without result. Goebel took part in the Düsseldorfer Art Exhibitions held in the ‘Kunsthalle’ in 1925, 1935, 1942 and 1944. In 1941 he displayed a bronze ‘Norne’ at the ‘Rheinische Kunstausstellung Wien’, and in the same year he took part in the exhibition ‘Malerie-Graphik-Plastik’, in Berlin from 6 December 1941 to 31 January 1942. Later in 1942, he displayed a marble cast of ‘Gudrun’ at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Ruhrmarkt, Westfälisch-Niederrheinische Kunst’ in the Mauritshuis in The Hague. In 1943 he participated in the exhibition ‘Düsseldorfer Künstler in Florence’ (‘Esposizione d’arte contemporanea di Duesseldorf, Firenze 1943’). Until 1933 Goebel was Chairman of the ‘Algemeine Deutsche Kunstgenossenschaft‘ and until at least 1970 member of the Düsseldorfer ‘Künstlerverein Malkasten‘.
August Wilhelm Goebel had 13 sculptures displayed at the Great German Art Exhibitions. Adolf Hitler bought three of his works (‘Gudrun’, ‘Sonnenaufgang’ and ‘Norne’), Hermann Göring bought ‘Brunnennymphe’. At least two life size GDK- sculptures by August Wilhelm Goebel still exist and are in private hands. A bronze Lion-cast was in the possession of Kaiser Haile Selassie I (1892 – 1975) of the Ethiopia Empire (Abbyssinia); depicted and described in ‘Kunstbildhauer August-Wilhelm Goebel’, 1958.
In 1962 Goebel moved from Düsseldorf to Neuwied.
August Wilhelm Goebel died on 2 June 1971 in Haan.
Since 1944 a cast of ‘Norne’ executed in marble is in the possession of the Osthaus Museum, City of Hagen. A cast of ‘Gudrun’ in bronze is in the possession of the ‘Städtische Kunstsammlungen zu Düsseldorf’ (now: ‘Museum Kunstpalast’, Düsseldorf). The Stadtmuseum Landeshauptstadt Düsseldorf still owes a golden GeSoLei-plaque by Goebel.