Fritz Koelle, Betender Bergmann

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Price: on request

Description

‘Betender Bergmann’ (‘Praying Mine Worker’)
Signed 1934. Height 58 cm.
Single unique cast, with remains of the core still inside.

Another cast of  ‘Betender Bermann’ by Koelle with a height of 2 meter, was placed in 1934/35 in the Bismarckroom, the workroom of Adolf Hitler in the Old Reichs Chancellery (‘Fritz Koelle, Leben und Werk’, page 110 and 111 by Eva-M. Pasche, 2011). In 1939 this sculpture was still in the possession of Hitler (‘Fritz Koelle’, by Ernst Kammerer, 1939). 
Another cast of 2 meter high, in the possession of the Städtische Kunstsammlungen Augsburg, is placed in the Fritz Kölle strasse in Augsburg.
A cast of 58 cm is in the possession of the ‘Saarland Museum, Saarbrücken’.   

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.

Left: ‘Betender Bergarbeiter’, depicted in ‘Die Kunst fur Alle’, 1935/36, page 98. ‘….zur erinnerung an den Sieg der Deutsche Sache an der Saar ist der Betender Bergmann in der Reichskanzlei vor dem Arbeitszimmer des Führers aufgestellt’ (‘…in memory of the German Victory over the Saar, the Praying Mine Worker is placed in the Old Reichs Chancellery in front of the workroom of the Führer’). 
The bronze figure was also displayed in room 1 of the ‘Grosse Münchener Kunstausstellung 1935’, and again at the exhibition ‘NS.-Gemeinschaft KRAFT DURCH FREUDE’, Kunsthalle Hamburg, 1938, organized in co-operation with Amt Rosenberg.
Right: Fritz Kölle, a cast of ‘Betender Bergmann’ was displayed under the name ‘Modlacy sie Gornic’ at the exhibition ‘Deutsche Bildhauer der Gegenwart’, 1938, Krakow. Depicted in the exhibition catalogue.
   

‘Betender Bergmann’ by Koelle, depicted in ‘Adel der Arbeit’, Peter Schirmbeck, 1984.

Left: a cast of 2 meter high, in the possession of the Städtische Kunstsammlungen Augsburg, placed in the Fritz Kölle strasse in Augsburg.
Right: ‘Betender Bergmann’ depicted in ‘Die Kunst im Dritten Reich’, 1938.
   
 

– condition : II
– size : height 58 cm
– signed : at foot ‘F. Koelle 1934’
– type : bronze
   

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BIOGRAPHY: FRITZ KOELLE

Fritz Kölle and Hitler’s request for nude female sculptures
In an interview in his atelier with the Croatian writer Nada Kestercanek in 1944, Kölle said that Hitler had specifically asked him to create female sculptures. Two years later, in a letter dated May 28, 1946, Fritz Kölle wrote: ‘in 1940 I was visited by Giesler on special instructions of Adolf Hitler. I was promised large orders, but first I had to create a nude; after that, I would be allowed to sculpt workmen again. Thus I made a female-dancer (Spitzentänzerin). I thought they would like that, but no, I still had to produce a nude. Hence I made the platform-diver (Turmspringerin). Then I received orders again to create large sculptures of workmen…’ (‘Fritz Koelle, Leben und Werk’, 2011).
In the book ‘Adel der Arbeit, der Arbeiter in der Kunst der NS-Zeit‘, 1984, the son of Koelle writes at page 96: ‘…At the opening of the Great German Art Exhibition, I think it was in 1940, Hitler said to his companions, that the next year he did not want to see workers by Koelle anymore; instead he wanted Koelle to create a female nude. Shortly afterwards, Gauleiter Giesler and Robert Ley came to his atelier and notified him about the wish of the Führer….So my father created the ‘Spitzentänzerin’. However this girl was not naked, and thus not according to Hitler’s request. He made a second female sculpture which was not naked either. Both Gauleiters were greatly irritated… Then he made a third sculpture, -again not naked…. However the wish of the Führer had to be fulfilled, and finally he created the naked ‘Turmspringerin’…. By that time the Gestapo already checked his atelier, his administration and the progress of his work’.

This was the reason why Spitzentänzerin (1941), Turmspringerin (1941), Balletttänzerin (1943) and Tänzerin Nika (1943) came into existence. From 1940 to 1944, Kölle often went to the Munich Prinzregenten Theatre, where he was inspired especially by the dancers Nika Nilanowa-Sanftleben and Else Högenäuer. Else Högenäuer frequently stood as a model in his atelier for the sculpture Spitzentänzerin (GDK 1942 room 31).
At the end of 1953, shortly after Kölle’s death, a bronze was cast from Spitzentänzerin and bought by the director of MAN in Augsburg. Kölle’s son allowed an after-cast in bronze of Ballettänzerin to be made, which has stood in Grünwald since 1975 (from 1975 onwards, many large bronzes by Kölle -owned by the Städtische Sammlungen Augsburg- were given on loan to other German cities and villages). Tänzerin Nika was also cast in bronze and placed in Strasslach.
The following is an overview of all casts of these four female sculptures (excluding the two from German Art Gallery):
Spitzentänzerin: 1 bronze cast in Grünwald, another bronze cast is privately owned.
Ballettänzerin: 1 bronze cast in Grünwald. Plaster model in possession of the city of Augsburg.
Tänzerin Nika: 1 bronze cast in Strasslach.
Turmspringerin: no other bronze cast is known. Plaster model in possession of the Lenbachhaus, Munich.

Fritz Kölle, ‘Der erste Mann am Hochofen’, created 1937, height 2.25 meter.
One cast is in the possession of ‘Städtische Kunstsammlung Augsburg’, another cast is owned by the ‘Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft’ (‘University of Applied Sciences’) in the city of Saarbrücken (previously known as ‘Staatliche Ingenieurschule’).
Below: ‘Der erste Mann am Hochofen’ located in front of the ‘Staatliche Ingenieurschule’ (1962 – 1982).

Left: ‘Der erste Mann am Hochofen’ by Koelle, located at the grounds of the ‘Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft’, city of Saarbrücken.
Right: ‘Der erste Mann am Hochofen’ by Koelle, depicted on the website of the university of Applied Sciences’, city of Saarbrücken.
   

‘Der erste Mann am Hochofen’ by Koelle, displayed in 1940 at the ‘Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung’, Haus der Kunst, Hardenbergstrasse, Berlin. Depicted in ‘Arts of the Third Reich’, by Peter Adam.

Fritz Kölle, ‘Adler’ (‘Eagle’), 1937, at the façade of the Reichspostministerium in Berlin. Breadth 8 meters.

Fritz Koele, ‘Spitzentänzerin’ (‘Toe-dancer’), located in Grünwald, Munich. GDK 1942, room 31. Foto: November, 2015. The Prima Ballerina Else Högenauer -from the Prinzregententheather- stood model for the sculpture.
   

Left: Fritz Koelle, postcard*, ‘Der Bergmann von der Sahr’ (‘Miner from the Sahr’), 1927. Statue placed in front of the Nationalgalerie in Berlin, 175 cm high. A cast was also displayed at the GDK 1940, room 12. Bought by Gauleiter of Bavaria, Adolf Wagner, for 15.000 RM. Earlier a cast was displayed at the ‘Ausstellung Münchner Kunst in der Neuen Pinakothek’, 1935; depicted in ‘Das Bild’, 1935.
Right: Fritz Koelle, art print*, ‘Hochofenarbeiter’ (‘Blast-furnace Worker’), 1935, also named ‘Der Erste Mann vom Hochofen’. Size: 2 meters high. GDK 1941, room 40.
   

Left: Fritz Koelle, ‘Der Walzmeister’ (‘The Rollerman’), located in St. Ingberg (near Saarbrücken). Given by the company ‘Moeller & Neumann’ to the city. Revealed on 13 October 1956. Cast by Priessmann Bauer & Co in Munich. The original plaster model was displayed at the GDK 1940, room 2, with the name ‘Der erste Mann vom Blockwalzwerk’ (‘First Man of the Blooming Mill’).
Right: ‘Der Walzmeister’, depicted in the ‘Salzburger Volksblatt’, 15 August 1940.
  

Fritz Koelle, ‘Der Blockwalzer’ (‘Blooming Mill Worker’), 1929, Munich. Melted down by the City of Munich as ‘degenerate art’ in 1933, and re-erected in 1976. Foto: November, 2015.

‘Der Blockwalzer‘ still existing in 1940?
These pictures come from ‘Baugilde, Zeitschrift für die deutschen Architekten‘, 1940, Heft 16. Clearly, the house of Fritz Kölle in Münich is depicted, and in the garden we see a cast of ‘Der Blockwalzer‘. The question is whether this was another cast, or whether this was the original cast from 1929 (in that case it had not been melted down by the Nazis).
   

Fritz Kölle, Medal issued on the occasion of the reunification of the Saarland, 1935.
After the end of World War I, the Saar territory was separated from Germany and administered by the League of Nations. During this time, France was given control of the Saar’s coal mines. After 15 years of League of Nations administration, a referendum on territorial status was held in the Territory of the Saar Basin on 13 January 1935. Over 90% voters opted for reunification with Germany, with 9% voting for the status quo as a League of Nations mandate territory and less than 0.5% opting for unification with France.

Fritz Koelle, ‘Der Isarflößer’ (‘Isar-‘Rafter’), 1938, München (Thalkirchen). Height: 360 cm (excluding pedestral). A smaller copy of 220 cm high was displayed at the GDK 1940, room 12 and at the 1937 Münchener Jahresausstellung, Neue Pinakothek. Also displayed -and depicted in the official art catalogue- at the exhibition ‘NS.-Gemeinschaft KRAFT DURCH FREUDE’, Kunsthalle Hamburg, 1938, organized in co-operation with Amt Rosenberg. Depicted in ‘Die Kunst im Deutschen Reich’, 1938. Foto: November, 2015.
Another, smaller, cast of ‘Der Isarflösser’ is located in Augsburg-Lechhausen, Neuburger Straße/ Ecke Quellenstraße.
   

‘Der Isarflösser‘, ‘Der Erste Mann vom Block’, ‘Der Walzmeister‘ and ‘Der Bergmann’ at the GDK 1940, shown in ‘Die Deutsche Wochendschau, at 7 August 1940.
Die Deutsche Wochenschau, 7 August 1940, nr. 518 (at 2.45)

Left: Head of ‘Der Isarflösser’, 1938. Depicted in ‘Adel der Arbeit’, 1984.
Right: Head of ‘Der Steinbrecher’, 1942. Life size figure displayed at the GDK under the name ‘Der Bergarbeiter’; sold for . Depicted in ‘Adel der Arbeit’. 1984.
   

Left: Fritz Kölle, ‘Der Bergman‘, 1930. Displayed at the ‘Münchener Kunstausstellung’, Kunstpalast Düsseldorf, 1932. Located in the ‘Fritz Kölle Strasse’, Augsburg.
Right: Fritz Kölle, ‘Eisenhüttenmann’, located in Mannheim/ Neckarstadt-West. Lifesize. Photo 2012.
   

Left: ‘Betender Bergarbeiter’, depicted in ‘Die Kunst fur Alle’, 1935/36, page 98. ‘….zur erinnerung an den Sieg der Deutsche Sache an der Saar ist der Betender Bergmann in der Reichskanzlei vor dem Arbeitszimmer des Führers aufgestellt’ (‘…in memory of the German Victory over the Saar, the Praying Mine Worker is placed in the Old Reichs Chancellery in front of the workroom of the Führer’). Also depicted in ‘Die Kunst im Dritten Reich’, 1938.
The bronze figure was also displayed in room 1 of the ‘Grosse Münchener Kunstausstellung 1935’, and again at the exhibition ‘NS.-Gemeinschaft KRAFT DURCH FREUDE’, Kunsthalle Hamburg, 1938, organized in co-operation with Amt Rosenberg.
Middle: Fritz Kölle, a cast of ‘Betender Bergmann’ was displayed under the name ‘Modlacy sie Gornic’ at the exhibition ‘Deutsche Bildhauer der Gegenwart’, 1938, Krakow. Depicted in the exhibition catalogue.
Right: a cast of 2 meter high, in the possession of the Städtische Kunstsammlungen Augsburg, placed in the Fritz Kölle strasse in Augsburg.
         

Fritz Kölle, ‘Tänzerin Nika’, modelled in 1943 (cast after 1945). Height 160 cm, located in Strasslach. Depicted is the Russian dancer Nika Nilanowa-Sanftleben. Photos: October 2019.
   

Left: Fritz Kölle, ‘Der Bergmann‘, 1938. Located in front of the ‘Zechengebäude’ in Landsweiler-Reden, Schiffweiler. Commissioned by the ‘Bergwerksdirektion Saarbrücken’ (after a visit from Göring in 1935).  Revealed on 10 July 1938. Height 3 meters, excluding sockel.
Right: Fritz Koelle ‘Der saarbergmann’, 1937, located in front of the Heirich von Buz Realschule in Oberhausen.    

Left Fritz Kölle, ‘Der hockende Bergmann‘ (‘Crouching Mine-worker‘), created 1929. Bronze, GDK 1941 room 40. A cast is located at the alte Kirchplatz in the city of Neusäss, near Augsburg.
Right: Fritz Kölle, ‘Bergmannskind von der Saar mit Kohlen in der Schürze‘ (‘Child of Miner with Coal in Apron‘). Located before the kindergarten in the city of Neusäss.
Both sculptures are on permanent loan from the Städtische Kunstsammlungen Augsburg.
  

Left: Fritz Kölle, ‘Hockender Bergmann‘, 1929. Located at the inner courtyard of the Münchener Gewerkschaftshaus, Ludwigsvorstadt, Munich. Displayed at the exhibition ‘Junge Kunst im Deutschen Reich’, 1943, Wien (‘Veranstaltet vom Reichsstatthalter in Wien, Reichsleiter Baldur von Schirach’).
Right: ‘Hockender Arbeiter’ displayed at the exhibition ‘Geformte Kraft, Plastikausstellung der NS.-Kulturgemeinde’, 1936, Berlin. Depicted in ‘Das Bild’, 1936.
   

Fritz Koelle, ‘Hockender Bergmann‘, bronze, height 28 cm. Signed 1930. Sold by a German auction house in 2023.
   

Fritz Koelle, ‘Spiel der Wellen’ (‘Play of the Waves’). Shell-lime sculpture of a sitting girl, commissioned by the City of Munich, 1921. Located at the Reichenbach-Bridge, Munich. Foto: November, 2015.
   

In 2020 the exhibition ‘Der Bildhauer Fritz Koelle 1895 – 1953’ took place in the Museum of Augsburg (Grafischen Kabinett).

Fritz Koelle, ‘Standbild eines Bergmanns’ (‘Statue of a Mine Worker’), 1927. Located on the Minerva-platz in Munich.

Fritz Kölle, ‘Bergarbeiter’ (‘Mine-worker’). Depicted in ‘Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte’, 1929/30.

Horst Wessel by Fritz Kölle in the Führermuseum
The Führermuseum, also referred to as the ‘Linz Art Gallery’, was an unrealized art museum planned by Adolf Hitler for his hometown, the Austrian city of Linz, near his birthplace of Braunau. Its purpose was to display a selection of the art bought, confiscated or stolen by the Nazis from throughout Europe during World War II.
Hitler personally favored German and Austrian paintings from the 19th century, but the Linz-collection also contained many early German, Dutch, French, and Italian paintings. The collection, when it was whole, included 4,731 pieces, not just paintings but also tapestries, sculpture, furniture and porcelain.
The overall plan was to turn Linz into a cultural capital of Nazi Germany and one of the greatest art centers of Europe, overshadowing Vienna, for which Hitler had a personal distaste. The expected completion date for the project was 1950, however the Führermuseum was never build.
Beginning February 1944, the artworks destinated for Linz (‘Sonderauftrag Linz’) were relocated to the 14th-century Steinberg salt mines above the village of Altaussee, in which the holdings of various Viennese museums had earlier been transferred.
The bust of Horst Wessel by Fritz Kölle was part of the collection of the Führermuseum, which was quite extraordinary, as the collection contained very few works of contemporary art.

Fritz Kölle, ‘Bust of Horst Wessel‘, 1936. At least four casts are known to exist.
Left: the bust of Horst Wessel which probably was part of the collection of the Führermuseum; this bust is in the possession of the German Historical Museum.
Right: Fritz Kölle, ‘Horst Wessel‘, created 1936. Displayed in 2017 at the exhibition ‘Berlin 1937 – im Schatten von Morgen‘, Märkischen Museum, Berlin.
One cast was depicted in ‘Die Kunst im Deutschen Reich’, 1940.
   

Monastery of Hohenfurt (Vyssi Brod), Czech Republic
In the beginning of 1944, Dr. Hans Reger (architect in charge of the Führerbau, Munich 1938-1945) shipped in several transports 43 paintings and 52 sculptures from Hitler’s private contemporary art collection -and other stolen art collections- to the Monastery of Hohenfurt (Vyssi Brod), near Linz in the Czech Republic.
After the 1945 liberation of Czechoslovakia, 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. Art works then considered as having no value, like contemporary German Nazi-art works, were left behind. They were photographed in August 1945 by the former director of the Czech State Institute of Photometry, Antonín Friedl, along with the photographer Jan Tuháček. The bust of Horst Wessel by Fritz Kölle was one of the 52 sculptures at the Monastery of Hohenfurt. Later, the art works previously owned by Hitler, ended up scattered across the country.
Since 2012, twenty-three paintings by German artists -that Adolf Hitler personally purchased during WWII- were found back at various Czech institutions. Seven were discovered at 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. One painting was found at the Military Institute in Prague, and four works were found at the Sychrov Castle. Four other paintings were found in the building of the Faculty of Law of the Charles University in Prague.
Three larges bronzes were found back at the Aleš South Bohemian Gallery: ‘The Rower’ by Hermann Zettlitzer, ‘Aphrodite‘ by Wilhelm Wandschneider, and ‘The Sower‘ by Willi Knapp.
All the twenty-three 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: bust of ‘Horst Wessel’, by Fritz Kölle, as it was found in 1945 in the Czech Republic (Monastery of Hohenfurt). This was likley the bust of Horst Wessel which was destinated for the Führermuseum (photo: ‘Hitlerova Sbirka v Cechach’, by Jiri Kuchar).
Right: a bust of Horst Wessel by Koelle, sold by a German auction house in 2019. Height 43 cm, signed ‘F. KOELLE 1936’.
   

Friedrich List or Max Reger in the Walhalla?
In 1948 Fritz Kölle was commissioned by the Bavarian Ministry of Culture to create a bust of the leading 19th-century German-American economist Friedrich List. The bust was destined to be placed in the Regensburger Walhalla Memorial, the Hall of Fame that honors laudable and distinguished German politicians, sovereigns, scientists and artists. The neo-classical building above the Danube River, built between 1830 and 1842, displays some 65 plaques and 130 busts covering 2,000 years of history.
Kölle produced a plaster model which was approved by the Director of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen. However, before he created the model in marble, a debate started about his role in the Third Reich, and hence his contract was canceled.
Under time pressure, the decision was made to place a bust of Max Reger in the Walhalla, instead of Friedrich List. In the Munich atelier of Georg Müller, a pre-war plaster bust of Max Reger was found. Müller used this as a model to create a marble bust, which was placed nine months later in the Walhalla. Georg Müller had previously used the same plaster bust as an original model for the bronze bust of Max Reger. That bronze bust had been displayed in 1931 in the Glaspalast, in 1935 in the Neue Pinakothek, in 1937 at the Great German Art Exhibition and in 1940 at the XXII Bienalle in Vienna. The bronze Reger bust is currently in the possession of the Bayerischen Staatsgemäldesammlungen (apparently with traces of the Glaspalast fire); the marble Reger still has its place in the Regensburger Hall of Fame.
Up until now, a bust of Friedrich List has never been placed in the Walhalla.

Fritz Koelle, belonging to the first rank of German sculptors
Fritz Koelle (1895 – 1953), born the son of a factory worker in Augsburg, studied from 1909 to 1912 at the ‘Stättische Handwerkerschule’ in Augsburg and at the ‘Fachschule für Edelmetall-Industrie’ in Schwäbisch Hall (Baden-Württemberg). From 1913 to 1914 he went to the ‘Staatsschule für angewandte Kunst’ in Munich. In 1914, at the age of only 19, his first work was displayed in the Munich Glaspalast. Koelle volunteered for military service from 1914 to 1917 and was decorated several times. In 1916 the King of Bavaria, Ludwig III von Bayern (1845-1921), bought his sculpture ‘Löwen mit den drei Kugeln’ (‘Lions’). A year later the City of Munich bought a nude by Koelle. Most of his sculptures, however, were mine- and blast-furnace workers (Koelle, who’s father-in-law was a mine-worker, spent quite a lot of time together with the workers in the mines and factories). From 1917 to 1923 he studied at the Art Academy of Munich. In 1920 Koelle took part in the art exhibition of the ‘Münchener Neuen Sezession’. Commissioned by the City of Munich, he created for the Reichenbach-Bridge a shell-lime sculpture of a sitting girl, named ‘Spiel der Wellen’. In 1922 he participated in the art exhibition of the ‘Münchner Kunstverein’; in 1927 in the exhibition of the ‘Preußischen Akademie der Künste’. Shortly thereafter, the Berliner Nationalgalerie purchased his sculpture ‘Bergmann vor der Einfahrt’ and the City of Munich erected a state atelier for him. In 1928 Koelle created the bust ‘Der Walzmeister’, two years later his sculpture ‘Der Blockwalzer’ was placed at the Melusinenplatz (today: Karl-Preis-Platz) in Munich.
Also in 1928, he was represented at the XVI Biennale in Venice with the works: ‘Autoritratto’ (‘selfportrait’), ‘Testa d’operaio’ (‘Head of a Worker’) and ‘Operatio in piedi’ (‘Standing Worker’). In 1933, after the National Socialists took power, Koelle was put under surveillance and his professorship in Munich was rejected. After the NSDAP deemed Koelle’s sculpture ‘Der Blockwalzer’ to be ‘Bolschewistischer Kunstauffassung’ (degenerate art ), the City of Munich decided to melt it down. In 1934 Koelle spent nine days in a cell of the Gestapo; the City of Munich wanted to send him to concentration camp Dachau. Nevertheless, somewhat later in 1934 Koelle was allowed to continue his work and he created the ‘Betender Bergmann’, which later came into the possession of Hitler (on display at the Reichskanzlei).
A turning point in Koelle’s career was probably 1935: in connection with the Saar Referendum on 13 January 1935, Kölle had been commisioned to design a Saar-Gedenkprägung (Saar Memorial Medal) for the Bayerischen Hauptmünzamt (Bavarian State Mint). This was his first work with a national socialistic theme and probably an attempt to survive.
In 1936 Koelle was commissioned works by the City of Berlin; in the same year he created a bust of Nazi Party activist and SA-Sturmführer Horst Wessel, a martyr of the Nazi movement after his violent death in 1930. Again in 1936, he was represented at the exhibition ‘Lob der Arbeit’ (‘In Praise of Work’)’, organised by the NS-Kulturgemeinde, Berlin. For a short period Koelle travelled to London, but decided to go back to Germany. In 1937 Koelle created for the façade of the Reichspostministerium a huge 8-meter-wide eagle holding a swastika. In the same year he was represented with 4 works at the exhibition ‘NS.-Gemeinschaft KRAFT DURCH FREUDE’, Kunsthalle Hamburg, 1938, organized in co-operation with Amt Rosenberg.
In an interview in his atelier with the Croatian writer Nada Kestercanek in 1944, Kölle said that Hitler had specifically asked him to create female sculptures. Two years later, in a letter dated May 28, 1946, Fritz Kölle wrote: ‘in 1940 I was visited by Hermann Giesler on special instructions of Adolf Hitler (Giesler was, after Albert Speer, Hitler’s favorite architect). I was promised large orders, but first I had to create a nude; after that, I would be allowed to sculpt workmen again. Thus I made a female-dancer (Spitzentänzerin). I thought they would like that, but no, I still had to produce a nude. Hence I made the platform-diver (Turmspringerin). Then I received orders to create large sculptures of workmen…’ This was the reason why Spitzentänzerin (1941), Turmspringerin (1941), Balletttänzerin (1943) and Tänzerin Nika (1943) came into existence.
At the Great German Art Exhibitions Koelle was represented with 43 works, even more than Arno Breker (42). Famous works were ‘Der erste Mann am Hochofen’, ‘Der Schmied’, ‘Der erste Mann vom Blockwalzwerk’, ‘Der Bergmann’, ‘Der Isarflöter’, ‘Der Walzmeister’, ‘Bildnis Horst Wessel’ and ‘Der Bauarbeiter’. Prices went up to 15,000 RM. Hitler bought the bust of Horst Wessel, which is now in the possession of the Deutsches Historisches Museum. Hitler also bought ‘Betende Bergmann’ (‘Praying Miner’) which he placed in front of his study in the Neue Reichskanzlei (also owned by the German Historical Museum). ‘Der Bergmann’ was bought by the state of Bavaria at the GDK: it became an official gift, as the city of Munich presented it to Gauleiter Adolf Wagner on the occasion of his 50th birthday.
In 1946 Koelle created on the grounds of concentration camp Dachau the memorial ‘Inferno’. At the same time, because of his role earlier, he was rejected a job at the Munich Academy. In 1949 Koelle was appointed as professor at the ‘Staatliche Kunsthochschule’ in Dresden and in 1950 as professor at the ‘Hochschule für angewandte Kunst’  in Berlin. From 1951 onwards he designed seven sculptures for Humboldt University in Berlin. Fritz Koelle died on a train from Munich to Berlin in 1953.
In 1976 his sculpture ‘Der Blockwalzer’ was re-erected at the Karl-Preis-Platz in Munich. Works of Frits Koelle are in the possession of the following museums: Deutsches Historisches Museum, Nationalgalerie Berlin, Germansiches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg, Städtische Galerie Leipzig, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Köln, Saarlandmuseum Saarbrücken, Städel-Museum Frankfurt, Staatsgalerie München, Museum Homburg, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Deutsche Museum München, Städtische Kunstsammlung Augsburg, Städtische Galerie Munster, Staatliches Lindenau-Museum Altenburg, Deutsches Bergbau Museum, Museum Folkwang Essen, Sammlung Dr. Rudolf Schwarz. The Cities of München, Nürnberg, Augsburg and St. Ingberg also have sculptures by Fritz Koelle in their possession.
The Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlung holds four works by Kölle, including ‘Hüttenarbeiter’, ‘portrait Fritz Hahner’ and two self-portraits.
In 2020 the exhibition ‘Der Bildhauer Fritz Koelle 1895 – 1953’ took place in the Museum of Augsburg (Grafischen Kabinett).
The life-size ‘Turmspringerin’ (‘Platform-diver’, 1941) and ‘Der Erste Mann vom Hochofen’, both by Fritz Koelle, were displayed at the exhibition ‘Art in the Third Reich, Seduction and Distraction’, Museum Arnhem, The Netherlands, November 2023 – March 2024.  

* As also stated in our General Terms and Conditions, German Art Gallery offers the depicted postcards (and original art prints) for sale. Almost all of the postcards are ‘Haus der Deutschen Kunst’ editions. Prices are available upon request.