Bronze, displayed at the Grosse Münchener Kunstaustellung in the Glaspalast, 1922.
Single unique cast, with a part of the core still inside (see X-ray photos below).
Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Hingebung‘, bronze. Official catalogue of the ‘Muenchener Kunstausstellung’, Glaspalast, 1922
Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Hingebung’, depicted in the magazine ‘Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte’, March, 1926.
Direct Lost-Wax Casting – the Single Unique Cast
In the direct lost-wax casting process (also named ‘cire perdue’), the sculptor begins by building a roughly modelled clay-core over a metal armature. The clay-core is baked to harden it and drive off moisture, and then a relatively thin layer of wax is applied that receives the detailing of anatomy, texture, facial features and signature. A mold is formed around the wax-model, when the mold is heated the wax melts and creates a space into which molten bronze is poured. Once the bronze is cast, the clay-core and armature can be removed to lessen the weight of the finished sculpture. Occasionally the core and armature rods are -in whole or in part- left inside the bronze. On sculptures meant to be placed outdoors, the clay-core and iron-armature are generally removed in order to avoid damage from absorption of water.
The direct lost wax technique allows the artist to cast directly off of the original model, and is ideal for wax models with complex surface textures as well as large and complex compositions. This casting method produces a Single Unique Cast from a Single Model (as opposed to one that is cast from a mold of an existing model). The original master model is lost in the casting process: producing more copies of the master model is impossible.
When X-ray photos show iron armature or internal frame inside the bronze, it is evident that the direct lost wax casting technique was used and that we have to do with the original cast/model.
X-ray photos of ‘Hingebung’. Clearly visible are some remaining iron wires from the core inside (also visible to the naked eye, when lookig inside the sculpture’s torso from the bottom).
|– condition||: II|
|– size||: height 58,5 cm|
|– signed||: at the foot “Ferdinand Liebermann, ’22′”|
|– type||: bronze|
|– msic.||: created 1922. direct lost-wax casting|
Left: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Intuition’. Depicted in ‘Die Kunst für alle’, 1932, and in ‘Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte’, 1932/33. Displayed at the ‘Münchener Kunstausstellung’, Kunstpalast Düsseldorf, 1932.
Middle: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Zum Licht’ (‘To the Light’). Depicted in ‘Die Kunst für alle’, 1941, in ‘Die Kunst’, 1942, and in ‘Nationalsozialistische Monatshefte’, March 1941. Displayed at the ‘Kunstausstellung des Hilfswerken für Deutsche Bildende Kunst’, Berlin, 1941. Also displayed at the GDK 1938, room 36; bought by the City of Munich for 5.000 RM.
Right: ‘Zum Licht’, depicted in ‘Das Bild’, May 1935. Displayed at the ‘Münchner Kunstausstellung Danzig‘, 1941; depicted in the exhibition catalogue.
Left: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Ernte’ (‘Harvest’). Depicted in ‘Die kunst für alle’, 1941 and in ‘Die Kunst’, 1942.
Middle: Ferdinand Lieberman, ‘Ernte’, bronze. Sold by a German auctionhaus in 2016. Height 67,5 cm.
Right: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Der Fischfang’ (‘Fishing’). Height 66 cm, weight 28,2 kg. Also created around 1941. Together with ‘De Ernte’ sold by a German auction house in 2016.
Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Munich Freikorpsdenkmal’ (‘Freikorps monument’)
This monument was dedicated to the Freikorps, a post-World War I right-wing organization. It was also named: ‘Das Denkmal für die Befreier Münchens von den kommunistischen Horden’ (‘Memorial for the liberators of Munich from the communist hordes’). On May 3rd, 1942 it was erected at a busy traffic intersection, the Giesinger Hill (Munich), which was the site of a May 1919 battle between the Freikorps and local communists. The monumental stone structure was composed of a 10 meters high relief of a naked male figure strangling a snake symbolizing degeneration and decline. The Freikorps memorial itself was removed after the war, but its concrete base can still be seen today on Ichostraße. A smaller version of the sculpture with the name ‘Wille’ (Will) was displayed in the GDK 1940, room 7 (below).
Left: the Freikorps memorial by Liebermann.
Right: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Wille‘ (‘Willingness‘). GDK 1940, room 7, plaster. Depicted in ‘Deutsche Bildhauer der Gegenwart‘, 1940.
The Freikorps memorial by Liebermann, unveiled at 3 May 1942 by the major of Munich, Karl Fiehler, and Reichsstatthalter Ritter von Epp.
Fiehler was a German politician of the Nazi Party and Mayor of Munich from 1933 until 1945. He was an early member of the Nazi Party having joined in 1920. In 1935, he became a Reichsleiter in the party and was a member of the Reichstag.
Franz Xaver Ritter von Epp was a German general and politician who started his military career in the Bavarian Army. Successful wartime military service earned him a knighthood in 1916. After the end of World War I and the dissolution of the German Empire, von Epp was a commanding officer in the Freikorps and the Reichswehr. He joined the Nazi Party in 1928, when he was elected as a member of the Reichstag, a position he held until the fall of Nazi Germany. He was the Reichskommissar, later Reichsstatthalter, for Bavaria. Photo: Public Library of New York.
Left: 1944. At the back the Icho-school, the bombing at 13 July 1944 resulted in the deaths of 38 people, including 6 teachers.
Right: situation 2017. A memorial to commemorate the victims of the National-Socialists is located in the middel of the wall.
Left: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Kampf’ (‘Fight’). GDK 1940, room 32.
Right: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Der Sieger’ (‘The Triumphator’). Depicted in ‘Münchner Künstlerköpfe’, 1937. Also displayed as ‘Wehrhaft’ (‘Defence’) at the Grosse Münchener Kunstausstellung 1935 in the Neue Pinakothek, and depicted in ‘Die Kunst’, August 1935, Heft 11, where it was described as: ‘Figur für das deutsche Kriegerehrenmal in Nazareth’ (‘Figure for the German War Memorial in Nazareth-Israel’).
Left: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Erhebung’ (‘Elevation’ or ‘Elevatione’ ). GDK 1937, room 9. Previously displayed at the XIX Biennale 1934 in Venezia, under the name ‘Elevatione’. Depicted in ‘Die Kunst im Dritten Reich’, 1939.
Right: ‘Erhebung’ depicted under the name ‘Kniende’ on the cover of ‘Das Bild’, May 1935.
Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Tänzerin‘ (‘Dancer‘).
Left: Tänzerin depicted in the ‘Kunst für alle‘, 1926/ 27.
Right: a bronze copy of Tänzerin offered by an American auction house in 2015. Height 35 cm, 2.8 kg.
Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Kampf’ (‘Fight’). Bronze sculpture displayed in the GDK 1941, room 29. Depicted in ‘Die Kunst’, 1942.
Left: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Frisches lachen‘ (‘Fresh laughter‘), bronze. GDK 1941, room 37. In the possession of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen. Height 41 cm.
Right: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Sonnenwend‘ (‘Solstitial‘). Depicted in ‘Deutsche Bildhauer der Gegenwart‘, 1940.
Left: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Rhythmus’ (‘Rhythm’), crated in 1928. Displayed at the Grosse Münchener Kunstausstellung in the Glaspalast, 1928. In the possession of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen (bought at the Glaspalast-exhibition). Height 70 cm. Depicted in Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte, 1928, part I.
Right: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Rhythmus’, bronze, height 70 cm. Sold in 2006 by a German Auctionhaus. Probably three of these bronzes were cast in 1939/40. Liebermann gave in 1939 one to Hitler as a Christmas present for the many commissions, both private and public, he received on Hitler’s order (confirmed by Hitler’s valet, Wilhelm Schneider, who remembered having seen this figure in the first floor of the Neue Reichskanzlei, Berlin). The cast donated to Hitler is considered missing.
Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Abwehr’ (‘Defence’), bronze, created in 1932. Displayed at the Grosse Münchener Kunstausstellung in the Deutschen Museum, 1932. Also displayed at the XXI Venice Biennale, 1938 (‘Ripulso’). Depicted in ‘Münchner Künstlerköpfe’, 1937 and in ‘Die Kunst, 1942. Also depicted in ‘Das Bild’, May 1935. In the possession of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen (bought in 1932 at the exhibition in the Deutschen Museum). Height 78 cm.
Right: the cast in the possession of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, -Sammlung Moderne Kunst in der Pinakothek der Moderne, München.
Left: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Thor’ or ‘Thunar’ (‘Thunar’). Displayed at the Grosse Münchener Kunstausstellung in the Glaspalast, 1917. Depicted in the exhibition catalogue.
Right: ‘Thor’depicted in the magazine ‘Jugend’, 1919.
Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Sphära‘. Displayed at the Grosse Münchener Kunstausstellung in the Glaspalast, 1930, and at the Münchener Kunstausttellung 1939, Maximilianeum.
In the possession of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, -Sammlung Moderne Kunst in der Pinakothek der Moderne, München. Bronze, height 72 cm.
Right: cast in the possession of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen.
Ferdinand Liebermann, title unknown, depicted in ‘Jugend’, 1940, volume 45, book 7.
Lef: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Erwachen‘ (‘Wake up‘). Displayed at the Grosse Münchener Kunstausstellung in the Glaspalast, 1927. Later also displayed at the GDK 1937, room 9. Depicted in ‘Die Kunst’, September, 1937, and in ‘Westermann’s Monatshefte’, 1938.
Right: ‘Erwachen at the GDK 1937 room 9.
Left: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Sieglicht’ (‘Light of Víctory’). Plaster. Displayed at the ‘Münchener Kunst Ausstellung 1924 im Glaspalast’. Depicted in the official exhibition catalogue.
Right: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Liegender, weiblicher Halbakt‘ (‘Laying Half Nude‘). Bronze, created likely in the 1920s. Size 59 x 25 cm. Sold by a German auction house in 2018.
Left: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Deutsche Frau’ (‘German Woman’). GDK 1937 room 40. Created in Plaster.
Right: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Tänzerin’ (‘Dancer’). Depicted in ‘Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte’, 1931/32.
Left: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Brunnen Maedchen mit Seehund’ (‘Fountain-maiden with Seal’), created 1930, Munich Hohenzollernplatz, 2014.
Right: ‘Brunnen Maedchen mit Seehund’, depicted in ‘Die Kunst’, 1942 (at that time the place was named ‘Pündterplatz’).
Left: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Geli Raubal’ (‘Geli Raubal’, Hitler’s half-niece), 1932. Bronze cast by ‘G. Wagner’, Munich. Sold in 2015 at Actionhaus Herman Historica, Munich, for 56.000 euro.
Right: ‘Geli Raubal’ by Liebermann, executed in marble. Height 41,5 cm. In the possession of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, -Neue Pinakothek München.
Left: Ferdinand Liebermann‚ ‘Reichsleiter Rosenberg‘. GDK 1939, room 2; depicted in the exhibition catalogue. Bought for for 6.000 Reichsmark by the City of Munich. Depicted in ‘Jugend‘, 1939, edition 34.
Right: the bust of ‘Reichsleiter Rosenberg’ by Liebermann depicted in ‘Nationalsozialistische Monatshefte’, 1939, Heft 114.
Left: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Bust of Max Amann’. Max Amann was president of the Reich Media Chamber and Reich Press Leader with the honorary rank of SS-Obergruppenführer. Cast by Brandstetter München, height 40,5 cm.
Right: ‘Bust of Reichsleiter Amman’, displayed at the GDK 1938 room 5; depicted in the exhibition catalogue.
Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Deutschland Erwache!’ (‘Germany, Awaken!’). Created in 1924. Foundry ‘Guss Brandstetter München’, height 100.5 cm. Supposedly displayed in the Glaspalast in 1924. Sold in 2007 by a German auction house.
The phrase ‘Deutschland Erwache!’ was taken from the famous Sturmlied (‘Assault Song’) written by National Socialist poet Dietrich Eckart. ‘Sturmlied’ was de facto the anthem of the SA until it was gradually supplanted by the Horst-Wessel-Lied. The lyrics were written with the second stanza being written in 1919, the third in 1921 and finally the first in 1923. The music was composed by Hans Ganßer in 1921. ‘Deutschland Erwache’ became to be one of the most influential slogans of the NSDAP.
Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Exotischer Tanz’ (‘Exotic Dance’).
Left: ‘Exotic Dance’ depicted in ‘Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte’, 1920.
Right: a cast of ‘Excotic Dance’ sold by a German auction house in 2016. Bronze, height 57 cm, signed ‘1920’.
Left: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘Windsbraut’ (‘The Bride of the Wind’). Depicted in Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte, 1929, part II.
Right: Ferdinand Liebermann, ‘In Erwartung’ (‘Expectations’), bronze, created in 1926. Displayed in 1926 at the ‘Münchner Jahresausstellung im Glaspalast’. Height 43 cm. In the possession of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Sammlung Moderne Kunst in der Pinakothek der Moderne, München (bought at the exhibition in 1926).
Hitler as art
Thirty-six paintings and busts of Hitler were displayed at the Great German Art Exhibitions from 1937 to 1944. The first painting that people saw when they entered the exhibition was one of Der Führer in Room 1. In similar fashion, the official exhibition catalogues all started with a picture of the ‘Schirmherr (patron) Des Haus der Deutschen Kunst’.
Around 450 portraits depicting Hitler and other Nazi-officials, Nazi-symbols, German Soldiers and battle fields are currently stored in the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington. Keeping this German War Art Collection in the US is not seen by the Americans as a violation of the 1907 Hague Convention and the 1970 UNESCO Treaty on cultural property, as they don’t classify these paintings as art.
In 2004 Brigadier General John Brown, outgoing head of the U.S. Army’s Center of Military History, was interviewed about the Army’s view of the legal status of these 450 objects in the German War Art Collection that remained in the custody of the United States. When asked if the Army’s continues sequestration of these works, which had been determined to be in volation of U.S. and German laws in 1947, could not also be construed as a volation of the 1907 Hague Convention and the 1970 UNESCO treaty on cultural property, he replied, “No. That would only be true if the objects in the German War Art Collection could be defined as cultural property or art. Our position is that these paintings are no art” (‘Nostalgia for the Future’, Gregory Maertz, 2019).
This remarkable point of view leads us to the following question: is a painting depicting Angela Merkel, Joseph Stalin, Benjamin Netanyahu or Mao Zedong art or non-art? And who decides this? Respectively German left-wing extremists? Russian civilians? Palestinians or Taiwanese civilians? Can people be interested in a portrait of Napoleon (or Hitler) because of it’s historical significance? Or does their interest mean that they are automatically right-wing extremists with the aim of conquering the whole of Europe? This last point of view echoes the theory of Hannah Ahrend who states: ‘The essence of terror lies in the immediate transition from accusation to conviction’. One thing we learned very well from the tragic 1930s and 1940s is that classifying art as ‘non-art’ is a dead-end-street, just like burning and forbidding books for political reasons. No matter how much one dislikes Hitler, Napoleon, Caligula or Stalin, and no matter how much their depictions were used as propaganda, a painting or sculpture of them cannot be reclassified as ‘non art’.
Ferdinand Liebermann, working on an oversized Führerbust.
Ferdinand Liebermann (1883–1941), the son of a toy manufacturer, was a German sculptor. He studied at the Munich School of Arts and Crafts and the Art Academy.
After taking study trips to Rome and Paris, he opened a studio in 1910 in Munich. In the same year he received the Great Austrian Golden State Medal for a small bronze sculpture. Several exhibitions followed. He became one of the most important designers for the porcelain manufacturer Rosenthal AG. Liebermann’s work-spectrum encompasses bronze sculpturing, monumental sculpturing and memorials. In 1926 he received the professor title for monumental and portrait sculpturing in Munich.
After 1933, Liebermann produced at the orders of the Nazi party 32 busts of Hitler (all 1½ life size), one of which was a commission from the city of Munich for the city hall. In appreciation he was made city councillor of the Capital of the Movement, the ‘Haupstadt der Bewegung’. Liebermanns Führerbust was displayed at the XIX Venice Biennale 1934 (‘Cancelliere del Reich Adolf Hitler’) and also at the GDKs of 1937, 1938 and in the Münchener Kunstausttellungen 1934, 1940 and 1941. It is said that the busts designed by Liebermann were favoured by the German leader over all the others.
His sculpture ‘L’Abbandoro’ (‘Abandoned’) was displayed at the XIV Biennale 1924 in Venice; ‘Erhebung’ (‘Elevatione’ or ‘Elevation’) was displayed at the XIX Venice Biennale 1934 and later again at the GDK 1937, room 9. In 1938 his bronze ‘Abwehr’ (‘Defence’ or ‘Ripulso’) was displayed at the XXI Venice Biennale. Liebermann also completed a bronze bust of Hitler’s half-niece Geli Raubal, who had shot herself in Hitler’s apartment in 1931. From this bust Hitler had numerous copies made for display in his residences.
At the Great German Art Exhibitions Ferdinand Liebermann was represented with 16 works, among them the two Hitler busts, the relief ‘Wille’ (design for the Freikorps-monument), a bust of Riechsleiter Alfred Rosenberg, Reichsleiter Amann and two ‘Kampf’ sculptures.
In 1941, the year of his death, he created the massive sculpture for the Freikorpsdenkmal in Munich. In the possession of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen are the following works: ‘Eva’ (GDK 1939 room 35), ‘Abwehr’, ‘In Erwartung’, Frisches Lachen’, ‘Paolo’, ‘Rhythmus’ and ‘Knabe auf einem Waller reitend’. A copy of ‘Eva’ in bronze (72 cm high) was displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst im 3. Reich, Dokumente der Unterwerfung’; the exhibition, instigated by the Frankfurter Kunstverein, was held from 1974 to 1975 in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Ludwigshafen and Wuppertal.