‘Sandalenbinder’ (‘Sandal Binder’)
Bronze, created in 1910.
Single unique cast, with core still inside (see X-ray photos below).
In 1909 Fritz Röll was awarded the Great State Prize of the Prussian Academy of Art for his sculpture ‘Sandalenbinder’ (Sandal Binder): this was a life size plaster cast.
In 1910 a bronze cast (smaller than life size) was displayed at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung.
In 1911 a bronze cast of Sandalenbinder was again displayed at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung, however this time a life size cast was shown (height 140 cm). This cast was bought by Kaiser Wilhelm II.
In the same year another life size bronze cast was displayed in the Munich Glaspalast, at the ‘Jubiläums- Ausstellung der Münchener Künstler-Genossenschaft, Zu Ehren des 90. Geburtstages Sr. Kgl. Hoheit des Prinz Regenten Luitpold von Bayern’.
Later, in 1943, again a smaller than life size bronze cast was displayed at the Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellung. It was bought by the ‘Gaumuseum für Kunsthandwerk in Danzig’.
Between 1910 to 1914, when he stayed at the Villa Massimo German Academy in Rome, Fritz Röll created a life size (140 cm) Sandal Binder in marble, which was bought by Hitler in 1939 at the Great German Art Exhibition.
(source: descendant of Fritz Röll)
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.
Fritz Röll, ‘Sandalenbinder’, X-ray photos (2017). Clearly visible are the several iron wires from the core inside.
The ‘Berliner Volkszeitung’ of 12 Juni 1911, writing that the German Kaiser Wilhelm II bought ‘Sandalenbinder’ by Fritz Röll (bronze), at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung 1911.
Left: Fritz Röll, ‘Sandalenbinder I’, postcard. The text at the back of the card reads: ‘Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung 1910’.
Right: Fritz Röll, ‘Sandelenbinder’, bronze. GDK 1943 room 28. Bought for 1.500 Reichsmark by the Gaumuseum für Kunsthandwerk in Danzig.
|– condition||: II|
|– size||: height 73,5 cm incl. base|
|– signed||: at the foot ‘F Röll 1910’|
|– type||: bronze. With foundry mark ‘Guss Martin u. Piltzing/ Berlin’|
Fritz Röll, ‘Sandalenbinder’. Marble, life size (height 140 cm). Created in Rome, 1910 – 1914. Displayed under the name ‘Jünglingsfigur’ (‘Figure of Young Man’), GDK 1939 room 24 (depicted in the exhibition catalogue). Bought by Hitler for 20.000 Reichsmark. Photo taken at the Day of German Art, 16 July 1939. From left to right: Joseph Goebbels, Italian Minister Dino Alfieri, Gerdi Troost and Hitler.
This marble sculpture was also displayed at the exhibition ‘Hundert Jahre Berliner Kunst’, 1929 (‘Im Schaffen des Vereins Berliner künstler’), organized by the Verein Berliner Künstler’, Berlin.
In 1945 the marble Sandal Binder was found in the Czech Republic, in the Monastery of Hohenfurt. Decennia later, in 2008, it showed up in London. It was offered for GBP 150,000 by the London art dealer Simon Wingett. Previously, Sotheby’s offered it in 2004, but the sculpture was withdrawn before the auction. Apparently the consigner of ‘Sandalenbinder’ was an art dealer in the Czech Republic.
‘Sandal Binder‘ by Fritz Röll at the GDK 1939, 16 July 1939. Left: Rudolf Hess.
The picture is from the documentary: Entartet! Die Nazis und die Kunst (at 0.54)
Photo taken on 11/12 July 1939 during a preliminary viewing of the GDK.
From left to right: Heinrich Hoffmann, Karl Kolbe (director HddK) and Hitler.
Monastery of Hohenfurt (Vyssi Brod), Czech Republic
After 1942/43 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.
The marble ‘Sandalenbinder’ by Fritz Röll was one of the 30 sculptures hided in the Monastery of Hohenfurt in 1945. Until the 1980s it was located in Schloß Lemberk/Nordböhmen, later brought to Liberec (Reichenberg) and then in 2004 it showed up at the auction of Sotheby in London.
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: ‘Sandalenbinder’ by Roll. The marble sculpture was also displayed at the exhibition ‘Hundert Jahre Berliner Kunst’, 1929 (‘Im Schaffen des Vereins Berliner Künstler’), organized by the Verein Berliner Künstler’, Berlin. Depicted in the exhibition catalogue.
Right: ‘Sandalenbinder‘, by Fritz Röll, marble, as it was found in 1945 in the Czech Republic, Monastery of Hohenfurt. Photo: ‘Hitlerova Sbirka v Cechach’, by Jiri Kuchar.
Below: the original marble Sandalenbinder was displayed in 2008 at the International Art and Antique Fair, Olympia Exhibition Centre, London.
Fritz Röll, ‘Junglingfigur’. Bronze. Displayed at the ‘Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung’, 1927. Depicted in the official exhibition cataloge. Again displayed at the ‘Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung’, 1934.
Fritz Röll, ‘Sandel Binder’. Displayed at the exhibition ‘Ethos und Pathos’, 1990, Staatliche Museen Preussicher Kulturbesitz. This bronze copy is in the possession of Museum Folkwang in Essen. Height 135 cm.
‘Sandelenbinder‘ by Röll, bronze, life size. Located in Lietzenseepark, Berlin-Charlottenburg. Photographed in 2019.
Hermann Göring Kaserne, Berlin / Julius Leber Kaserne
In 1936 construction works of a new barracks for the German Air Force started. The first finished buildings were occupied by the Luftwaffenregiment General Göring in 1937. The huge compound was named Hermann Göring Kaserne: in 1939 the construction works were finished including 120 buildings. The barracks were captured by soviet troops in May 1945, and taking over by the French later that year. It was badly damaged, only 20% of the buildings could be used. In 1994 the German Federal Army took over the compound and it was renamed to Julius Leber Kaserne. Today, the largest barracks of the German Bundeswehr in Berlin are under monument protection.
Left: The text on the facade of the staff-building of the Hermann Göring Kaserne reads: ‘Tapferkeit, Gehorsam, Ehre, Kameradschaft sind Grundlagen des Soldatentums‘ (‘Courage, Obedience, Honour, Comradeship are the fundamentals of a Soldier‘). The inscription was removed in 1994 (….).
Right: ‘Sandalenbinder‘ by Fritz Röll, located in the officers department of the Hermann Göring Kaserne. Life size (the life-size casts have a quadrangle base).
Both photos are depicted in ‘Baugilde, Zeitschrift für die Deutschen Architekten‘, 1940, book 4/5. It is unclear wheater this is the same cast which is in the possession of the Folkwang Museum.
Nietzsche and Hitler
Fritz Röll, ‘Bust of Nietzsche’. Photo taken at 12 April 1931 in the Nietzsche Haus in Weimar. Fritz Röll created the marble bust in 1921. Currently in the possession of the Goethe-Nationalmuseum, Weimar. The bust of ‘Dolomitstein’ was displayed at the ‘Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung’, 1927. And again displayed at the ‘Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung’, 1934.
Left: Fritz Röll, ‘Nach dem Bade’ (‘After Bathing’), later also named ‘Die Schönheit’ (‘Beauty’). Bronze. Displayed at the ‘Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung’, 1924. Depicted in the official exhibition catalogue.
Right: Fritz Röll, ‘Nach dem Bade’. Bronze cast, height 65 cm, sold by a Austrian auction house in 2006.
Fritz Röll, ‘Siedzacy kot‘ (‘Sitting Cat‘). Displayed at the exhibition ‘Deutsche Bildhauer der Gegenwart’, Krakow, 1938. Created in ‘Dolomitstein’ (‘Dolomite-stone), height 44 cm. Also displayed at the GDK 1939 room 29.
Fritz Röll, ‘Mutter und Kind’, located at Am Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse, Berlin. Depicted in the exhibition catalogue ‘100 Jahre Verein Berliner Künstler’, May/June 1941, Berlin. The sculpture, supposedly in the 1950s still located at the Bahnhof, is lost.
Left: Fritz Röll, ‘Keuschheit’ (‘Chastity’). Bronze. Photo taken in 1935. Displayed at the ‘Frühjahrs-Ausstellung 1941’, Preussische Akademie der Künste, Berlin. Possibly also displayed under the name ‘Phryne’ at the ‘Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung’, 1924 and at ‘Münchener Kunst-Ausstellung, 1925, Glaspalast.
Right: ‘Keuschheit’ displayed at the GDK 1940 room 28.
Fritz Roll,’Läufer am Ziel’ (‘Runner at Finish’), 1926, bronze, life size. ‘Läufer am Ziel’ was displayed at:
– the ‘Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung’, 1934;
– the exhibition ‘Die Auslese’, organised by the NS-Kulturgemeinde, Berlin, 1934′;
– the ‘Zweiten Schlesischen Kunstausstellung’, Kulturamt der Stadt Breslau, NS-Kulturgemeinde, 1935;
– the GDK 1940 room 17 under the name ‘Marathonläufer am Ziel’.
Left: Fritz Röll, ‘Läufer am Ziel’ (‘Runner at Finish’), 1926. Bronze. Since 1949 located in the city of Halle. Photo: Dagmar Schmidt.
Middle: ‘Läufer am Ziel’, displayed at the GDK 1940 room 17 under the name ‘Marathonläufer am Ziel’.
Right: ‘Läufer am Ziel’, depicted in ‘Das Bild’, 1934. Displayed at the ‘Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung’, 1934.
Left: Fritz Röll, ‘Schreitende’ (‘Walking’), 1932. Bronze. Since 1962 located in Berlin.
Right: the same sculpture displayed at the GDK 1938 room 15, under the name ‘Zum Start’ (‘At the Start’).
A cast of ‘Zum Start’ was also displayed at the ‘Olympic Art Exihibition’, 1936 in Berlin. This was quite remarkable, as the official terms and conditions of the Olympic Exhibition determined that ‘all displayed works had to be original and not previously published’: however, ‘Zum Start’ was already displayed earlier, in 1932 at a certain Jubilee Exhibition in Berlin.
A smaller copy was again displayed at the GDK 1941 room 28.
Below: ‘Schreitende’, the original plaster-model, depicted in ‘Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte’, 1932/33.
Art competitions at the Olympic Games
The Olympic Games during its early years, from 1912 to 1948, included art competitions in addition to the athletic contests. Bronze, Silver and Gold medals were awarded for exhibits of town planning, architecture, drama, poetry, music, graphic arts and paintings as well as sculpture, reliefs and medallions. All of the entered works had to be inspired by sport, and had to be original and not previously published.
The competitions were part of the original intention of the Olympic Movement’s founder, Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin, who believed that sports and the arts were inextricably linked.
The juried art competitions were abandoned in 1954 mainly because of the idea that artists were considered to be professionals, while Olympic athletes were required to be amateurs (however, the athletic events would later radically evolve to accommodate professional athletes).
Also, a continuing subject of discussion and debate was the fact that sporting achievements can be measured in easily-understood metrics such as time and distance, but judging the arts is undeniably subjective. Finally the arts competition suffered from the guiding parameter that the works created had to be associated with sport, limiting the entries to tiresome imagery of athletes and odes to sporting achievement.
The 1936 Summer Games in Berlin, best-documented Olympic Art Competition
At the opening ceremony of 1936 Olympic Art Competition, Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels reminded his audience that each work entered in the competition was required to have been created within the last four years. This restriction, he declared, ‘enables us to derive from the Exhibition an estimate of international conditions.’
The detailed descriptions in the Official Report of the 11th Olympic Games not only provided a dazzling depiction of this charmingly peculiar Olympic-art phenomenon, but also a chilling snapshot of Germany during the emergence of the Third Reich. Home-field advantage greatly worked in Germany’s favor that year; the international jury consisted of 29 German judges and 12 from other European countries. It was also a welcome, if not surprising, spike in gold medals for the German artists, who won five of the nine gold medals awarded that year. Charles Downing Lay was the only American to win a medal in 1936, taking home silver in the Architecture category. The German brothers Werner and Walter March took home gold in that category for their design ‘Reich Sport Field.’
The 1936 art competition was one of the most successful on record. More than 70,000 people visited the accompanying exhibition over the course of its four weeks on display. Prominents like the Reich Ministers Frick, Goebbels, and Rust, the Italian Minister of Education, and the Baron Morimoura of Japan all purchased works from the exhibition.
Fritz Röll, ‘Steinmädchen’ (‘Stone-girl’), 1913. Muschelkalk. Since 1962 located in Berlin-Grunewald, Bernhard Wieck Promenade (between Hagenstrasse and Griekstrasse). The sculpture is under monumental protection.
Displayed at the:
– ‘Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung’, 1934, Berlin;
– ‘Ausstellung Berliner Kunst’, 1935;
– GDK 1937 room 19, Munich;
– exhibition ‘Deutsche Plastik der Gegenwart’, 1938, Warschau.
Left and right: ‘Steinmmädchen’ by Roll, photographed in 2019.
Left: ‘Steinmädchen’ by Röll, depicted in ‘Die Kunst im Dritten Reich’, 1938, page 105.
Right: ‘Steinmädchen’ by Röll, displayed at the GDK 1937 room 19.
‘Steinmädchen’, displayed at the ‘Ausstellung Berliner Kunst’, 1935. Depicted in ‘Die Völkische Kunst’, August, 1935.
Fritz Röll, ‘Bogenschütze‘ (‘Archer‘), bronze. Displayed at the ‘Herbst-Ausstellung‘ of the Preussische Akademie der Künste’, Berlin, 1940; again displayed at the GDK 1941 room 28.
Left: Fritz Röll, ‘Verzweifelte’ (‘Desparation’), 1912. Bronze. Since 1962 located in Berlin.
Right: Fritz Röll, the same bronze displayed under the name ‘Verlassen’ (‘Abandoned’) at the ‘Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung’, 1914. Depicted in the official exhibition catalogue.
Fritz Röll, ‘Sitzendes Kind’ (‘Sitting Child’). Bronze. Heigt 12.5 cm. Created around 1920. Sold by a German auction house in 2019.
Left: Fritz Röll, gravestone of his parents. Located at the cemetery in Kaltennordheim, Thuringia.
Right: Fritz Röll, ‘Mutter Erde mit gefallenem’ (‘Mother-earth with fallen Son’). Grave of Ernst Keilplug, 1895-1918. War Memorial, Luisenfriedhof, Berlin.
Bronze casting in Germany
After the Liberation Wars (1813–1815) sculpting in Germany was focussed on the creation of public memorials, monumental horse riders, life-size statues and bust-memorials. Huge persons placed on a base were individual examples of great achievements, functioning for collective identification purposes. Christian Daniel Rauch can be mentioned here as one of the most influential sculptors in the 19th century in Germany.
From 1890 onwards, the theme and form of sculptures changed, in line with a change in the type of commissioners. Until then, the state had been the major commissioner of statues, but increasingly the up-and-coming group of industrialists and rich civilians were asking for smaller statues which could be placed in their salons. Sculptors suddenly had to deal with their own artistic views and a demand from a broad commercial market. Demand for monumental horse rider statues declined, while statues like ‘Sieger’ and ‘Amazone’ came into fashion along with mythical-inspired figures like ‘ Venus und Amor’, ‘Bogensschuetze’ and ‘Sandalenbinder’. After World War I, German foundries started to take over original models from sculptors, or started in cooperation with artists to produce bronzes in larger series on commission. Foundries like Lauchhammer published catalogues from which clients could choose a sculpture in different sizes. Overall this did not really lead to mass production; however, the number of casts could vary substantially per artist (larger series are known by Cirrilo dell’Antonio, Friedrich Moritz Brodauf , Emil Cauer, Eberhard Encke , Gerhard Janensch, Ferdinand Lepcke, Heinrich Moshage). After World War II, sculptures often were produced in much larger series of 100, 500 or even 1000; mostly they were given numbers, which did not frequently happen before that time.
The works by Ritz Röll were made in very limited editions.
Fritz Röll (1897–1956), born in Kaltennordheim, went to the Kunstgewerbeschule in Neuremberg from 1896 to 1900. Afterwards he worked for a year and a half as an assistant in the ateliers of Gustav Eberlein and Johannes Götz in Berlin. From 1902 to 1910, Röll attended the Art Academy in Berlin, studying under Ernst Herter, Peter Breuer and, most of the time, under Gerhard Janensch. In 1909 Fritz Röll was awarded the Great State Prize of the Prussian Academy of Art for his sculpture ‘Sandalenbinder’ (‘Sandal Binder’, a life size plaster model). In 1910 a bronze cast (smaller than life size) was displayed at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung. In 1911 a bronze cast of Sandalenbinder was again displayed at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung, however this time a life size cast was shown (height 140 cm): this cast was bought by Kaiser Wilhelm II. In the same year another life size bronze cast was displayed in the Glaspalast in Munich.
From 1910 to 1914 Fritz Röll stayed in Rome and in 1912 he moved to the Villa Massimo German Academy (for five months together with Adolf von Hildebrand). During this period he created the life size (140 cm) Sandal Binder in marble, which was later bought by Hitler at the Great German Art Exhibition (this sculpture was also displayed at the exhibition ‘Ausstellung des Vereins Berliner Künstler’, 1929).
After Röll served in WWI, he went to Berlin-Dahlem where he opened his own atelier in 1919 (in 1935 he took over the atelier of August Gaul). In 1928 he was awarded the Silver Medal for German Art in Düsseldorf and he later received the Menzelpreis. Röll, who worked in stone, bronze and wood, belonged to the Berliner Bildhauerschule. His works were displayed at numerous exhibitions in Bratislava, Dusseldorf, Essen, Helsinki, Koningsberg, Munich (1904 –1941), Rome, Vienna, Warsaw, Krakow (1938), and in Berlin at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellungen (1901 –1942), at exhibitions organised by the Preussische Akademie der Künste, at exhibitions organised by the NS-Kulturgemeinde, and at the ‘Kunstausstellungen Hilfswerk für Deutsche Künst in der NS-Volkswohlfahrt.
In 1934 Röll was in charge of leading the Grosse Berliner Kunsausstellung. His style, which was significantly influenced by Adolf von Hildebrand, was appreciated by the National Socialists. In 1936 his bronze ‘Zum Start’ was displayed at the ‘Olympic Art Exhibition’ in Berlin. This was quite remarkable, as the official terms and conditions of the Olympic Exhibition determined that ‘all displayed works had to be original and not previously published’: however, ‘Zum Start’ was already displayed earlier, in 1932 at a certain Jubilee Exhibition in Berlin.
In 1938 a bronze bust of Feldmarschall Hermann Göring by Röll was displayed at the ‘Herbst Ausstellung, Verein Berliner Künstler’. Three years later he took part in the exhibition ‘100 Jahre Verein Berliner Künstler‘, Berlin, May/June 1941.
At the Great German Art Exhibitions in Munich, Röll was represented with 17 works, including ‘Schreitende’, ‘Keuschheit’ ‘Läufer am Ziel’ and ‘Adam und Eva’. Hitler bought the famous marble ‘Sandal Binder’ (also named ‘Younglingsfigur’ or ‘Youth figure’) for 20,000 Reichsmarks at the GDK 1939 room 24. Later, in 1943, a smaller than life size bronze cast was again displayed at the GDK; it was bought by the ‘Gaumuseum für Kunsthandwerk in Danzig’.
In 1943 Röll fled, ill, to his birthplace of Kaltennordheim, which after 1945 became occupied territory by the Russians.
Fritz Röll died in 1956 in Kaltennordheim.
A bronze Sandalenbinder owned by the Folkwang-Museum in Essen was displayed in 1990 at the exhibition ‘Ethos und Pathos’, Staatlichen Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin. Other still existing sculptures by Röll include:
– ‘Sandalenbinder’, life size, bronze, since 1962 located in Berlin;
– ‘Verzweifelter’ (‘Desperation’), 1912, since 1962 located in Berlin;
– ‘Steinmädchen’ (‘Stone-girl’), 1913, since 1962 located in Berlin;
– ‘Schreitende’ (‘Walking’), 1932, since 1962 located in Berlin.
All four bronze statues were bequeathed by the heirs of Fritz Röll in 1962 to the city of Berlin. Other existing sculptures: ‘Läufer am Ziel’ (‘Runners at Finish’, 1926, since 1949 in the city of Halle), a war memorial in Kaltennordheim and the marble Nietzsche bust (1921) in the Goethe-Nationalmuseum in Weimar.
In 1945 the marble Sandal Binder, previously owned by Hitler, was found in the Czech Republic, in the Monastery of Hohenfurt. Decennia later, in 2008, it showed up in London. It was offered for GBP 150,000 by the London art dealer Simon Wingett. Previously, Sotheby’s offered it in 2004, but the sculpture was withdrawn before the auction. Apparently the consigner of ‘Sandalenbinder’ was an art dealer in the Czech Republic.