‘Kampfflieger’ (‘Fighter Pilot‘)
Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front 1942’, organised by the Luftgaukommando VII. The (travel) exhibition was held in Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Stuttgart and Insbruck.
With sticker on the back of the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front 1942, Luftgaukommando VII’.
Depicted on postcards.
Large format painting.
Postcard depicting ‘Kampfflieger’ by Schickardt.
Sticker on the back from the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front 1942, Luftgaukommando VII’. As adres is stated ‘Fliegerhost Mannheim-Sandhofen’.
Eugen Schickardt was with 8 works represented at the Kunst der Front 1942 exhibition.
|– condition||: II|
|– size||: 118 x 99 cm; excluding frame….|
|– signed||: right, below: ‘E. Schickardt 41’|
|– type||: oil on canvas|
============================================ § ============================================
KUNST DER FRONT EXHIBITIONS
EXHIBITION KUNST DER FRONT 1942, LUFTGAU VII
Left: Obergefreiter Georg Reisinger, ‘Stuka’s’. Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1942, Luftgaukommando VII.
Right: Unteroffizier Julius Herberger, ‘Flugwache’ (‘Air Guard’). Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1942, Luftgaukommando VII.
Left: Oberfeldwebel Martin Sternagel, ‘Landsers Sonntagsmorgen’ (‘Sunday Morning of a Soldier’), 1941. Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1942, Luftgaukommando VII.
Right: ‘Landsers Sonntagsmorgen’ by Sternagel, the orignal work, in the possession of the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. Watercolor. Size 47 x 34 cm. Displayed at the exhibition ‘Der Traum vom Museum Schwäbischer Kunst’, 2020, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart.
Gefreiter Eugen Schickardt, ‘In der Freizeit’ (‘Time Off’). Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1942, Luftgaukommando VII.
Left: Feldwebel Adolf Presber, ‘Landesschützen’ (‘Riflemen‘). Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1942, Luftgaukommando VII.
Right: Hauptman Karl Schmidt-Wolfratshausen, ‘Russische Bomber bei Brest-Litowsk, 22. Juni 1941’ (‘Russian Bomber near Brest-Litowsk, 22 June 1941’). Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1942, Luftgaukommando VII.
Gefreiter Ludwig Gruber, ‘Der endloze Zug’ (‘The Endless Line’). Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1942, Luftgaukommando VII.
EXHIBITION KUNST DER FRONT 1942, LUFTGAU VI
Obergefreiter Wilhelm Imkamp, ‘Arbeitssoldat’ (‘Working Soldier’), signed 1942. Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1942, Luftgaukommando VI.
EXHIBITION KUNST DER FRONT 1941, LUFTGAU VII
Left: Eberhard Pfeiffer, ‘Flugwache’ (‘Air Guard’). Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1941, Luftgaukommando VII.
Right: Willi Scharf, ‘Kampfbereit’ (‘Ready to Fight’). Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1941, Luftgaukommando VII.
Left: Georg Reisinger, ‘FW 200’ (Condor). Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1941, Luftgaukommando VII.
Right: Gefreiter Otto Schäfer, ‘Unser moderner Horizontal- und Sturzkampfbomber’ (‘Our modern Horizontal- and Dive Bombers’). Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1941, Luftgaukommando VII.
Gefreiter Peter feuerstein, ‘Auf Wache’ (‘Guarding’). Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1941, Luftgaukommando VII.
EXHIBITION KUNST DER FRONT 1941, LUFTGAU VI
Unteroffizier Prüfer, ‘Wacht im Westen’ (‘Guarding in the West’). Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1941, Luftgaukommando VI.
Unteroffizier Prüfer, ‘Auf Posten’ (‘On Post’). Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1941, Luftgaukommando VI.
Right: ‘Feldpostkarten’, depicting works displayed at the exhibition Kunst der Front 1941. Issued in sets of six.
EXHIBITION KUNST DER FRONT, KUNSTHALLE HAMBURG, LUFTGAU
Wilhelm Gesser, ‘Zum Arbeitseinsatz’ (‘Labor Deployment’). Displayed at an exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1941, Kunsthalle Hamburg, city of Hamburg. Organised by the Luftwaffe (date unknown).
The War Art Program in Nazi Germany
In 1942, the High Command of the Wehrmacht founded the Squadron of Visual Artists (Staffel der bildenden Künstler Propaganda Abteilung [SdbK]). The tradition of combat art went back to World War I in Germany; in his official war art report, Gilkey noted that German soldiers produced combat art for the Nazi regime prior to the war’s beginning, with artist soldiers using military subjects from World War I and exhibiting or selling their works to Nazi dignitaries. With the invasion of Poland in 1939, the number of combat artists swelled; though they were not yet officially part of their own unit, artists often tagged along as ‘war correspondents’ with magazines and newspapers. Gilkey even claimed that artists occasionally ‘cooked up’ images from the comfort of their own ateliers to illustrate the war effort, a practice that Adam later hoped to eliminate with the SdbK. According to Gilkey, war art from 1939 to 1941 was ‘over the top’ and meant to galvanize the viewing public and glorify the war effort. Gilkey implied that this situation changed at least marginally under Adam after 1942. US forces had shared this tradition of combat art (since 1917), though the program during World War II was largest and best developed in Germany. The army’s familiarity with the program and goals of combat art programs certainly contributed to the high level of interest in – and respect for – the German War Art Collection following its seizure. The man appointed head of the SdbK, Luitpold Adam, had served as a Kriegsmaler during the previous war. In June 1941, Adam was assigned to the Propaganda Center in Potsdam, where he oversaw the output of the group of ‘War Painters and Newspaper Artists.’ This group was the foundation for the SdbK. When Adam took his post in Potsdam, these artists were in dire need of equipment and space. Adam went to work, ordering the construction of an art supply depot and gathering new supplies for the artists in preparation for their deployment. He also secured a ‘safe space’ in vacated rooms of the Society of Berlin Artists, to be used as an archive and exhibition area for the paintings arriving from the front. By the spring of 1942, the nascent SdbK comprised 80 combat artists, a number that would reach 300 by the war’s end, with half of them assigned to the Heer(army) and the other half to the navy and Luftwaffe. Their art was exhibited throughout Germany and occupied Europe for ‘educational and cultural purposes’. Quick sketches produced by artists were sent back and used to produce large-scale studio paintings that adorned the walls of army museums and the offices of Nazi dignitaries. A purchase commission also met with Adam and some of the painters regularly and selected their favorite paintings to hang in the German army headquarters and museums. In the expected event of an Allied defeat, the works were designated to narrate the German victory, commemorative visual reminders of the Wehrmacht’s successful struggles over the Allied forces. The artists were enticed not only by monetary and equipment compensation but also by the promise that they would be allowed relative freedom in the expression of their ideas.
Adam initially had no control over the artists’ subject matter or output, as this was left up to the leader of each individual so-called Propaganda Company (Propaganda-Kompanie [PK]), though Adam later reviewed each piece of art as it arrived in Potsdam. This promise both combats the long-held idea that Nazi visual ideology was rigidly defined and controlled by the Reich Chamber of Culture (Reichskulturkammer [RKK]) and confirms newer research that characterizes the RKK as a trade union rather than an organization that inflexibly prescribed a specific aesthetic to artists. It also continues the tradition of relatively newer scholarship that challenges the conception of ‘Nazi artwork’ as thematically and stylistically ill-defined, varied, and malleable. Each PK employed one ‘fine artist’ and two commercial artists. Because war painters sometimes found themselves in need of new subjects if their company had been stationary for a long period of time, Adam pushed for company leaders to send their war painters to the front while battles were in progress in order to record more stirring narratives. Adam often fought with PK leaders on this point, as many of them preferred to keep their Kriegsmaler away from the front lines, instead ‘cooking up pictures’ removed from the scene. According to Gilkey’s recollection, Adam was ultimately successful in receiving authorization from higher command (of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht) for an operational procedure that allowed the artists three months in the combat area to paint or draw and then required a return to Potsdam to register their watercolors or drawings, pick up supplies, and work on finishing their paintings in the studio for another three months. Like Gilkey and the Americans, Adam viewed the role of the Kriegsmaler and their immersion on the front as vital not only to history and future audiences but also to the spirit of the troops on the front lines. In his support of embedding artists on the front, Adam emphasized that the war artists were expected to visualize ‘not just the horrible side of war, but war’s episodical [sic] and lyrical moments.’ Adam’s understanding of the Kriegsmaler as combatant and artist – as someone who not only took part in and contributed to the action and war effort but also experienced and then visually rendered the war, immortalizing it for generations to come – was echoed by war artists and, ultimately, the US occupying forces.
Combat art: between realism and immortalization
A glance at the paintings and sketches produced reveals a tension felt by the Kriegsmaler between exalting the war and documenting day-to-day horrors and malaise felt by those on the front. Adam’s artists produced art with style and subject matter that both reinforces and challenges expectations often prescribed to Nazi-era art. Stylistically, the works that Gilkey encountered in 1946 ran the gamut from portraits of noble military leaders and triumphant soldiers to melancholic and abstracted images that attempted to convey both the trauma of war and a certain degree of introspection. Importantly, the works also fit into a broader canon of war art produced during the period by other combatants. Specifically, the combat paintings of the German soldiers shared much with the art of its US counterparts. There is no written evidence that Luitpold Adam explicitly set rules to what the soldier artists could and could not record, and many of the works are typical by the standards of the 1930s and 1940s, as evidenced by analogous works of US combat art. Kriegsmaler Olaf Jordan, for example, specialized in realistic and probing portraits of volunteer Cossack soldiers as well as likenesses of German army leaders, such as his portrait of Generalmajor Helmuth von Pannwitz. Wilhelm Wessel made several heroic charcoal portraits of soldiers from the Afrikakorps. These bear a resemblance to the gallant portraits of American combat artists like Peter Hurd, who painted the famed 8th Air Force Bomber Command. The stylistic similarities challenge the notion of a monolithic ‘Nazi art,’ even among German artists, suggesting instead that the heroic realism of officer portraits was an international trend understood by artists on both sides of the Atlantic. More broadly, a survey of US war art suggests that, while there may have been a slightly greater degree of variation in terms of style and subject matter within American combat art than in German war art, the variation is not striking enough to separate them into two entirely discrete art historical traditions based simply on the political situations that produced them. The fact that there existed more similarities than differences in paintings produced by a democracy and those produced under a dictatorial regime seemed to both intrigue and trouble American officers like Gilkey. Other works, such as the melancholic watercolors of German combat artist Rudolf Hengstenberg, deviate from the figurative realism of portraiture, approximating more closely impressionistic forms also present in some US combat art. Several sketches of Herbert Agricola employ near-abstracted forms to convey the smallness of German troops seeking shelter on the face of a mountain. Heinrich Amersdorffer specialized in picturesque landscapes and townscapes, his works unfettered by the horrors of war until one notices small details – for example, a black blot approximating a battleship – that allude quietly to the ongoing violence. Still others, including Bavarian artist Otto Bloß in his eerily apocalyptic Landscape of War (undated), seem to have taken inspiration from the fetid color palette of Otto Dix to render the nightmarish deathscape of war, even if the purpose of their renderings arguable diverged. A sketchbook titled Tagebuch eines Kriegsmalers by Helmut Bibow, a combat artist on the Eastern Front in PK 693, presents grotesqueries that would not be out of place in a George Grosz exhibition: a horse, stomach bulging, dying in a trench; the metal corpse of a Panzer; a jumbled pile of Wehrmacht bodies; a disembodied hand, fingers curled unnervingly, laying in a field while storm clouds gather overhead. Admittedly, the sketchbook also contains caricatures of drunken Cossacks, sometimes contrasted with the capable bodies of Wehrmacht soldiers. Yet even the German soldiers are rendered anonymous, with inter changeable faces, swathed in darkness, suggesting the ‘heroic Aryan’ victor did not always triumph.
The sketchbook’s introductory dedication, penned by a Kriegsberichter named Hans Huffzky, emphasizes Adam’s idea of the war artist as a mythic figure whose task of visually rendering life in battle for posterity set him apart from war reporters and photographers: His [the Kriegsmaler’s] studio was a meadow, his roof a tarpaulin, stretched between the trees, or simply the empty sky, his stool, a petrol canister. … We, the other members of the Propaganda Company, wrote our reports, took photographs, shot footage, broadcast – but good God, our work was missing something, which we would not have known, had our ‘Comrades of the Palette’ not been with us. Just as they do not create their work in a fleeting instant, they also do not create their work for a fleeting instant. Here, the war artist is a humble but great servant of the German war effort, at home in nature and the company of his fellow soldiers. The dedication visualizes a nazified ‘heroic landscape’ in which the landscape – peaceful and bucolic – interacts with emblems of war or technological might. Yet, again, it would be a mistake to construe this romantic understanding of the combat artist’s role as specifically ‘German’ or of the Nazi era. US combat artists, and institutions that exhibited their work, shared this hyperbolic language lauding the importance of the war artist to the tides of history, noting that the destructive beauty of war must be immortalized. The foreword to a 1943 show of US war artists commissioned by Life Magazine expressed: ‘[I]t is inescapable to military men and civilians alike that there is also in war a certain desperate beauty’ and that ‘in these days it is not only the opportunity but the inescapable duty of the war artist to see one in terms of the other.’ Other exhibitions emphasized that the role of the war artist was not simply to ‘glorify’ war but also to portray ‘the realism of the day.’ Like the Tagebuch, which celebrated the artist as an exceptional figure grounded by the raw experience of war, exhibitions of US combat artists praised ‘courage, skill, [and] watchfulness’ as important attributes of both soldiers and artists. Ultimately, in the words and images that they produced, the combat artists of the US and German battalions were more alike than different. This is perhaps another reason that Gilkey, as well as subsequent viewers and consumers of German war art, often felt a certain closeness to the art that was seized following the war – it was familiar. And if it seemed familiar, perhaps the enemy was closer than once imagined.
From Jennifer Gramer, ‘Monument of German Baseness? Confiscated Nazi war art and American occupation in the US and postwar Germany’. Published in the International Journal of Cultural Property (2021).
The official Staffel der Bildenden Kuenstler of Oberkommandowehrmacht scorned the German combat art efforts of staffs not under their scrutiny, but within the 17 wehrkreise (military districts) and 9 Luftgaue (air districts) of greater Germany. Their war art was reproduced in domestic and military publications of a regional nature, and used as book illustrations for military campaign histories in which exploits were related of personnel of an area who made up the units (i.e., Bavarian regiments, etc.).
In 1945 the collection ‘Kunst der Front’ of Luftgaukommando VI (Münster) was shipped in freight car #10033 by Herr C. Bertelsmann of Guetersloh, 1 September 1944, and arrived at Tegernsee six days later. It was taken to Schloss Ringberg in Bavaria for safekeeping. This is the only one of the district collections to be recovered by us. The Luftgaukommando VII (HQ., Munich) collection remains concealed and intact together with many other Luftwaffe war paintings made up by OKL artists, in a buried bunker in Potsdam (Russian Zone) and watched over by Herr Walter Wellenstein, the art adviser of Oberkommandoluftwaffe.
From: Gordon W. Gilkeys ‘Report on German War Art’, 25 April 1947.
Catalogues of the ‘Kunst der Front’ exhibitions organized by the Luftgau, held in various cities (Paris, Amsterdam, Karlsruhe, Brussel, etc).
BIOGRAPHY: EUGEN SCHICKARDT
Gefreiter Eugen Schickardt, ‘In der Freizeit’ (‘Time Off’). Displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’, 1942, Luftgaukommando VII.
Eugen Schickardt, ‘Zwei Kriegsgefangene‘ (‘Two Prisoners of War‘), 1943. Size 51 x 35 cm. Ex property United States War Department. In the possession of the German Historical Museum, Berlin.
Eugen Schickardt, ‘Kampfpause’ (‘Fighting Break’), 1944, charcoal. Size 49 x 40 cm. With stamp on the back of the ‘Staffel der Bildende Künstler’. Depicted in ‘Kunst und Propaganda in der Wehrmacht, -Gemälde und Grafiken aus dem Russlandkrieg‘, 1990. Ex property United States War Department. In the possession of the German Historical Museum, Berlin.
Eugen Schickardt, ‘Porträt des Seenotfliegers Waldemar Kneffel‘ (‘Portrait of Sea Rescue Pilot Waldemar Kneffel‘), 1943. Size 34 x 27 cm. Ex property United States War Department. In the possession of the German Historical Museum, Berlin.
Eugen Schickardt, ‘Russischer Bauer mit Suppentopf’ (‘Russian Farmer with Soup’). 1942. Size 51 x 38 cm. Depicted in ‘Kunst und Propaganda in der Wehrmacht, -Gemälde und Grafiken aus dem Russlandkrieg‘, 1990.
Eugen Schickardt, ‘Russische Soldat‘ (‘Russian Soldier‘), 1942. Size 47 x 35 cm. Ex property United States War Department. In the possession of the German Historical Museum, Berlin.
Eugen Schickardt, ‘Russische Gefangener’ (‘Russion Prisoner’), 1943. Size 42 x 31 cm. Depicted in ‘Kunst und Propaganda in der Wehrmacht, -Gemälde und Grafiken aus dem Russlandkrieg‘, 1990. Ex property United States War department.
Left: Eugen Schickardt, ‘Flugmelder bei Agia Marina‘ (‘Air Guard near Agi Marina‘, Crete), 1943. Size 50 x 40 cm. Ex property United States War Department. In the possession of the German Historical Museum, Berlin.
Right: Eugen Schickardt, ‘Stellungsbau an der Beresina‘ (‘Building of a Field Position at the Berezina‘, Russia), 1943. Size 39 x 49 cm. Ex property United States War Department. In the possession of the German Historical Museum, Berlin.
Left: Eugen Schickardt, ‘Flakstellung bei Piraeus’(‘Flak Battery near the city of Piraeus’, Greece), 1943. Size 36 x 50 cm. Ex property United States War Department. In the possession of the German Historical Museum, Berlin.
Right: Eugen Schickardt, ‘Stellung mit einer 4-cm-Flugabwehrkanone am Hafen von Piräus‘ (‘Flak Battery in the port of Priraeus‘), 1943. Size 43 x 52 cm. Ex property United States War Department. In the possession of the German Historical Museum, Berlin.
Left: Eugen Schickardt, ‘Blick auf die Akropolis von Athen‘ (‘View on the Acropolis of Athens’), 1943. Size 52 x 42 cm. Ex property United States War Department. In the possession of the German Historical Museum, Berlin.
Right: Eugen Schickardt, ‘Abendstimmung im Seefliegerhorst Phaleron‘ (‘Evening at the Seefliegerhorst Phalerum’, Greece), 1943. Size 27 x 34 cm. Ex property United States War Department. In the possession of the German Historical Museum, Berlin.
Eugen Schickardt, ‘Aus der Altstadt von Rodi‘ (‘The centre of Rhodos‘, Greece), 1943. Size 52 x 38 cm. Ex property United States War Department. In the possession of the German Historical Museum, Berlin.
Eugen Schickardt (15 April 1905 – 8 January 1965) was a German painter and graphic designer. He studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Stuttgart (now the Akademie der Bildende Künste). Schickardt, who lived and worked in Stuttgart-Gaisburg, was a Drawing- and Graphic Designing teacher at the ‘Höheren Meisterschule für Lackierer und das Malerhandwerk‘.
In WWII Schickardt was assigned to the Squadron of Visual Artists of the Luftwaffe (Staffel der bildenden Künstler of the Luftwaffe Propaganda Abteilung). He served in Russia (1942, 1943), in Serbia (1943) and in Greece (1942, 1943). Works by Schickardt were displayed in 1942 at the exhibition ‘Kunst der Front’ organized by the Luftgaukommando VII. His displayed works ‘Kampfflieger’ (‘Fighter Pilot’) and ‘In der Freizeit’ (‘Time Off’) were printed on postcards. Schickardt was registered as number M9595 of the Reich Chamber of Culture (Reichskammer Mitglied).
At the end of the war, Schickardt’s house and atelier in Stuttgart-Gaisburg were bombed, and Schickardt was taken Prisoner of War by the Americans.
Eugen Schickardt died on 8 January 1965 in Stuttgart.
Some of his war drawings are described and depicted in ‘Kunst und Propaganda in der Wehrmacht’, -Gemälde und Grafiken aus dem Russlandkrieg‘, 1990.
The German Historical Museum still holds more than 50 works by Schickhardt, made during WWII in Russia, Serbia and Greece; these works were confiscated in 1945 and subseqeuntly in the possession of the US Army Center of Military History.
Schickardt had also painted frescoes in public buildings in Stuttgart and surroundings. Apparantly some of them are still existing.