‘Halbakt’ (‘Half nude’)
Style and pose of the depicted girl indicate a date of creation somewhere in the Roaring Twenties, the turbulent time of the Weimar Republic. The nudes later depicted in the Third Reich were much less abundant, less extravagant; they were more humbled, focused on motherhood, fate, and often represented as allegories of honor, purity and faith.
Nudes and half nudes
From year to year akts (nudes) gained popularity in National Socialist art, both in painting and sculpture. Finally about a tenth of the GDK-paintings shown were nudes. The increasing number of nudes was a reflection of the new feeling of the human body. Nudes were part of the Nature culture. The demand for naturalness, vitality, and sensualism found its visual counterpart in the presentation of the naked body. Here too it was antiquity, the Renaissance, and the old Masters that provided the models: the nudes of Titian, Tintoretto, Michelangelo, Rubens, and Rembrandt. The nudes of the Impressionists, especially Edouard Manet’s Olympia, were rejected as a mere experience of the eye, the body painted for its own sake, the carrier of colours. They were not the expression of a moral, sociological, and religious attitude, which determined the nudes of the Third Reich. The presentation of the devil woman, the prostitute, as modern artists often depicted her, was not only unthinkable but was considered an insult to German womanhood. If man was shown as the dominator of Nature, woman was represented as Nature herself. She was the beauty of Nature, or the playfulness of Nature, and of course was as fertile as Nature. She was shown over and over again in a state of ripeness.
Women were described with soft lines and gentle contours, the image of devotion and cooperation. They were an object; their role was subservient, to be looked at, to be fertilised. Her own sexuality was minimised. She was usually seen facing forward, without pubic hair. In the past, nudes often cowered, hiding their breasts. The new woman, as in Ivo Saliger’s Diana’s Rest, stood upright, proudly displaying her naked body to the viewer, who, in certain pictures, was also the male judge of its attractions, as in Adolf Ziegler’s Judgment of Paris (source: Peter Adam, Art of the Third Reich).
|– size||: 83 x 74 cm, unframed 54 x 45 cm|
|– signed||: right, on top|
|– type||: oil on board|
|– misc.||: professional cleaned; frame restored|
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BIOGRAPHY: LEOPOLD SCHMUTZLER
Leopold Schmutzler, ‘Arbeitsmaiden vom Felde heimkerehrend’ (‘Farm Girls Returning From the Fields’). GDK 1940, room 32. Bought for 7.000 Reichsmark by Adolf Hitler. In possession of Deutsches Historisches Museum. Size: 157 x 130 cm.
Displayed at the exhibition ‘Aufstieg und Fall der Moderne‘, Weimar, 1999. Also displayed under the name ‘Jeunes filles revenant des champs’ at the exhibition ‘Le IIIe Reich et la Musique’ in the Musée de la Musique, Paris, October 2004 – January 2005.
‘Arbeitsmaiden vom Felde heimkerehrend’ displayed at the exhibition ‘Artige Kunst, Kunst und Politik im Nationalsozialismus‘ (‘Compliant Art, Art and Politics in the National Socialist era’) held at Museum Situation Kunst, Bochum (November 2016 – April 2017), Kunsthalle Rostock, Rostock (April – June 2017) and at Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie, Regensburg (July – October 2017). Depicted in the exhibition catalogue.
Left: Leopold Schmutzler, ‘Mutterglück und Arbeit’ (‘Mother Happiness and Work’), GDK 1939, room 19.
Right: Schmutzlers’ ‘Mutterglück und Arbeit’ depicted on a art-propaganda poster around 1937: ‘Die Kunst eines Volkes ist der Gradmesser seiner Kultur!’ (‘The art of a nation is the reflection of its level of culture!’).
Left: Leopold Schmutzler, ‘Blumenmädchen’ (‘Flower girl’). Created around 1940. Sold by a Swiss auction house in 2013.
Right: Leopold Schmutzler, ‘Walküre’ (‘Valkyrie’), 1920s.
Left: Leopold Schmutzler, ‘Potrait of Mrs. Walker, wife of New York’s Mayer. Depicted in ‘The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (New York)’, 31 March, 1927.
The text under the photo reads: ‘Mrs. James J. Walker, wife of of New York’s Mayor, is shown posing for portrait by Prof. Leopold Schmutzler of Munich. The painting of Mrs. Walker, who christened the S.S. New York while in Germany, will hang in the salon of the ship. Schmutzler has painted portraits of many reigning European families.’
Right: The Daily Messenger (New York), 7 March 1927 writes: ‘Professor Leopold Schmutzler of Munich, one of the most famous of German portrait painters’.
Left: Leopold Schmutzler, ‘Herrnbildnis’ (‘Man portrait’). Displayed at the Grosse Münchener Kunstausstellung in the Glaspalast, 1917.
Right: Leopold Schmutzler, ‘Sommer’ (‘Summer’). Displayed at the Grosse Münchener Kunstausttellung in the Glaspalast, 1922.
Left: Leopold Schmutzler, postcard, ‘Portrait of Crown Prince Rupprecht von Bayern‘. Around 1914.
Right: Leopold Schmutzler, ‘Herbst‘ (‘Autumn’). Displayed at the Grosse Münchener Kunstausstellung in the Glaspalast, 1926.
Leopold Schmutzler, ‘Der Sieger’ (‘The Victor’). German solder with pickelhaube and flag of the Kaiserreich. Created before 1916.
Left: Leopold Schmutzler, ‘Sklavin‘ (‘Slave‘). Displayed at the Jubiläums-Ausstellung der Münchener Künstler-Genossenschaft zu Ehren des 90. Geburtstages Sr. Kgl. Hoheit des Prinz Regenten Luitpold von Bayern, München, Glaspalast, 1911.
Right: Leopold Schmutzler, ‘Liebessehnen‘ (‘Longing for Love‘). Displayed at the X. Internationalen Kunstausstellung im Kgl. Glaspalast zu München, 1909.
Left: Leopold Schmutzler, ‘S.K.H. Prinz Rupprecht von Bayern‘ (‘H.R.M. Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria‘). Displayed at the Münchener Jahresausstellung 1908 im Glaspalast.
Right: Leopold Schmutzler, ‘Serenenruf‘ (‘Call of the Siren‘). Displayed at the IX Internationalen Kunstausstellung im Kgl. Glaspalast zu München, 1905.
Leopold Schmutzler, ‘Sirenruf’ (‘Siren Call’). Oil on wood, 154 x 108 cm. Previously in the possession of the German art historian Lothar Meilinger. Sold at an auction on 15 October 1913 in the city of Königsberg, Prussia (after 1945 Kalinggrad, Russia).
Leopold Schmutzler, ‘Johanna Terwin, Mitglied des Deutschen Theaters in Berlin, als Kleopatra (‘Johanna Terwin, member of the German Theatre in Berlin, as Cleopatra’). Depicted in a German art magazine in 1911 (likely Velhagen & Klasings).
Leopold Schmutzler in his atelier, July 1908.
The jury of the Jahresausstelling im Münchner Glaspalast, depicted in the Münchner Illustrirte Zeitung, April 1912. Leopold Schutzler sitting in the front line of chairs, third from the right.
Leopold Schmutzler (on the foreground), photographed in 1900 with members of the Cabaret Simplizissismus in Munich.
Leopold Schmutzler (date unknown).
Leopold Schmutzler, one of the most famous German portrait painters
Leopold Schmutzler (1864 – 1941), son of a Bohemian saddle-maker and innkeeper, initially planned to go the Music-school of the Navy in Pula (Croatië), but was rejected because of athenopia (‘Augenschwäche’). Subsequently he went to the Wiener Academy where he studied from 1880 to 1882 under Chr. Griepenkerl, A. Eisenmenger and C.L. Muller. From 1882 to 1885 he studied at the Art Academy in Munich under Otto Seitz. He worked for some short periods in Rome and Paris, and finally settled in Munich. His works from the late 19th century treat contemporary and ‘frock coat genre’ subjects like ‘An Overheard Conversation’, ‘The Eager’, ‘The Suitor’s Arrival’ and ‘At the Ball’. They were painted in a realistic style recalling the gallant, extraordinary, and almost decadent subjects that were fashionable in the 18th century; often ‘salon-sceneries’ in Rococo- and Empire style, which were frequently depicted in flashy society magazines.
Around 1900 he was one of the most wanted portrait painters in Germany. He was commissioned important works by the royal family of Bavaria but he also painted actresses and dancers. His depiction of Lili Marberg (1878-1962) in the role of ‘Salome’ became famous. In the early 20th century Leopold Schmutzler exchanged his genre for a broader style in line with the fashion of Art Deco, including portraits of semi-erotic female figures, for example ‘The Walkyrie’; his depictions of women were characterised by abundant, colourful clothing.
Leopold Schmutzler participated numerous times in the ‘Grosse Münchener Kunst Ausstellungen’; the corresponding catalogues of 1917, 1922, 1925, 1926 and 1929 contain photos of his works. Very often his paintings were depicted on postcards.
In 1927 he portrayed Mrs. Walker, wife of the Mayor of New York. A photo was depicted in ‘The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (New York)’, 31 March, 1927. The newspaper writes: ‘Mrs. James J. Walker, wife of of New York’s Mayor, is shown posing for portrait by Prof. Leopold Schmutzler of Munich. The painting of Mrs. Walker, who christened the S.S. New York while in Germany, will hang in the salon of the ship. Schmutzler has painted portraits of many reigning European families’. The Daily Messenger (New York) of 7 March 1927 writes about the event: ‘Professor Leopold Schmutzler of Munich, one of the most famous of German portrait painters’.
Later Leopold Schmutzler embraced the ideals of the National Socialists Party. His paintings were exhibited in 1938, 1939 and 1940 in the Great German Art Exhibitions. His work ‘Arbeitsmaiden vom Felde Heimkehrend’ (‘Farm Girls returning from the Fields’, GDK 1940, room 32) became famous. This painting, bought by Hitler for 7,000 RM, is currently in the possession of the Deutsches Historisches Museum. One of his other works, ‘Bauerntanz’, was bought by Hitler for 8,000 RM.
Leopold Schmutzler died at an age of 76 in 1940 in Munich. His works hang in the Augsburger Rathaus, the Kunsthalle Nürnberg, the Szépművészeti Múzeum in Budapest and in the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. This last museum owns several works by Schmutzler which are from the art collector Charles Frye (1858-1940), who was a great admirer of Leopold Schmutzler.
‘Arbeitsmaiden vom Felde Heimkehrend’ was displayed at the exhibition ‘Aufstieg und Fall der Moderne‘, Weimar, 1999. Also displayed under the name ‘Jeunes filles revenant des champs’ at the exhibition ‘Le IIIe Reich et la Musique’ in the Musée de la Musique, Paris, October 2004 – January 2005. And again displayed at the exhibition ‘Artige Kunst, Kunst und Politik im Nationalsozialismus‘ (‘Compliant Art, Art and Politics in the National Socialist era’) held at Museum Situation Kunst, Bochum (November 2016 – April 2017), Kunsthalle Rostock, Rostock (April – June 2017) and at Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie, Regensburg (July – October 2017).