Otto Rost, Badende


Price: € 28,000


‘Badende’ (‘Bathing’)
Weight 32,2 kg.

An identical bronze cast of ‘Badende’ was displayed at the GDK 1940 room 36. It was bought for 2.000 Reichsmark by the ‘Reichsjugendführung’ in Berlin, headed by Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach who became Gauleiter of Vienna on 2 August 1940. It is posibly that Schirach brought this cast to Austria, as German Art Gallery found this sculpture back in Austria (there is only one other bronze cast known to exist, which is in the possession of the city of Radebeul).

Reichsstatthalter of Vienna/ Reichsleiter Baldur von Schirach treated the Austrian capital and its outlaying areas as his own from 1940 to 1945. His concern for art, style and interior design reflected the emphasis on culture that marked his rule in Vienna. He had been transfered to Vienna with explicit orders to organise and rehabilitate the city’s flagging cultural life… Hitler created a special arrangement whereby Schirach, not Goebbels, would be responsible for the arts in that region.. (‘Art as Politics in the Third Reich, Jonathan Petropoulos, 1996).
In 1943 Schirach organised in the Künstlerhaus in Vienna the exhibition ‘Junge Kunst im Deutschen Reich’.

Otto Rost, ‘Badende’. X-ray photos (2017).

Left: Otto Rost, ‘Badende’, bronze, height 80 cm. In the possession of the village Radebeul, Dresden. The Stadtmuseum Döbeln owns a gips model.
Right: Otto Rost, ‘Badende’, bronze. GDK 1940 room 36. Bought by the ‘Reichsjugendführung’ in Berlin for 2.000 Reichsmark. The Reichsjugendführung controlled all administrative and political aspects of the Hitler Jugend movement. It was headed by the Reichsjugendführer, the national leader of the youth movement. From 1928 to 7 August 1940, this position was held by Baldur von Schirach, from 1940 to 1945, it was held by Artur Axmann.

– condition : II
– size : 65 x 37,5 x 32 cm
– signed : at the foot (‘O. Rost 38’)
– type : bronze
– misc. : weight: 33,2 kg

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Otto Rost, ‘Grosse Kniende’ (‘Large kneeling Woman’), 1938. Sandstone sculpture, height 125 cm. Still located on the river bank of the Elbe in Dresden, before the café Rosengarten. The sculpture was placed on the base of the in the war destroyed figure ‘Mädchens mit Gazelle’ by Prof. Wrba (teacher of Rost). Photo: December 2016.

Otto Rost, ‘Wehrhafte Jugend’ (‘Resileint Youth’), plaster model, over life-size. Created 1937. Design for a building of the Luftkreiskommando III in Dresden. Depicted in ‘Der Freiheitskampf’, 13 March 1938.

Left: Otto Rost, ‘Die grosse Badende’ (‘Large bathing Woman’), executed in 1960. Located on the grounds of the swimming pool of the city of Döbeln.
Right: Otto Rost, ‘Badende’, GDK 1943 room 32; depicted in the exhibition cataloge. Executed in metal, bought by the Deutsche Arbeitersfront Berlin for 3.000 Reichsmark.

Otto Rost, ‘Rugbykampf’ (‘Rugbygame’). Executed in bronze, date of creation 1935/36. At the ‘Olympic Art Exhibition’ in Berlin, held in 1936 at the same time as the Olympic Games, Otto Rost’s work ‘Rugbykampf’ received an honorable mention.

Otto Rost, ‘Fussballkampf’ (‘Football Match’). Executed in bronze, date of creation 1935/36. Displayed at the ‘Olympic Art Exhibition’ in Berlin, held in 1936 at the same time as the Olympic Games. Depicted in ‘Otto Rost, Leben und Werk’, 2006.

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.

Otto Rost, ‘Sportkameradinnen’ (‘Sportfriends’). Displayed at the ‘Grosse Dresdner Kunstausstellung’, 1942. Also depicted in ‘Otto Rost, -Leben und Werk’, 2006. Plaster.

Left: Otto Rost, ‘Tuchbinderin’, GDK 1941 room 2. Life-size. Depicted in ‘Die Kunst für alle’, 1941/42.
Right: Otto Rost, ‘Stabchef der SA Wilhelm Schepmann’ (‘Chief of Staff of the SA Wilhelm Schepmann’). Displayed at the Grosse Dresdner Kunstausstellung 1943, Dresdner Künstlerbund. Depicted in the official exhibition catalogue.

Left: Otto Rost, ‘Psyche’, plaster model in his atelier. Photo 1942/43.
Right: Otto Rost, ‘Psyche’, executed in bronze. GDK 1943 room 8.

Otto Rost, a smaller variant of ‘Psyche’, executed in metal, Presumable a war cast. Height 53 cm. Sold by a german auction house in 2019.

Left: Otto Rost, ‘Knieende Haarflechterin’ (‘Kneeling Woman braiding Hair’), created in plaster. Displayed at the ‘Grosse Dresdner Kunstausstellung’, 1941. Displayed in the exhibition catalogue.
Right: Otto Rost, ‘Badende’, 1939, height 75 cm, executed in brass. In the possession of the Kurhaus of the city of Bad Elster. The same model was displayed at the GDK 1939 room 32.

Otto Rost, ‘Bust of Karl Reissinger’. Bronze. Reissinger was a Nazi official, who managed a Dresden based cigarette manufactury (which had been confiscated in 1933). He was Staffelführer of the NSKK-Dresden (the NSKK, Nationalsozialistische Kraftfahrkorps or National Socialist Motor Corps, was a paramilitary organization of the NSDAP that officially existed from May 1931 to 1945). Depicted in ‘Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte’, 1940.

Otto Rost, ‘Diana’, on the roof of the Humboldt University, Unter den Linden, Berlin. In 1952 Rost created a copy of ‘Diana’. This was a replacement of one of the six original 2.88-meter-high sandstone figures, created in 1749/50 on the orders of the Prussian king Friedrich II, and destructed during the war.
Left: ‘Diana’, in the middle.
Right: ‘Diana’, second from the right.

Ehrenmal der Roten Armee, Dresden
In 1945, shortly after the Russians occupied Germany, Rost created the ‘Ehrenmal der Roten Armee’ (war memorial for the Russian Army), placed at the Albert Platz in Dresden. For that reason the slightly damaged, renowned fountain at that place, ‘Stürmische Wogen’ by Robert Diez, was removed (Stürmische Wogen was awarded the Gold Medal at the World Exhibition in 1900 in Paris). After the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1994, Rost’s Russian war memorial was moved to another location in Dresden (Olbrichtplatz) and the Stürmische Wogen of 1875 was reconstructed in its original location.
Left: the War Memorial at the Olbrichtplatz in 2008 (photo: December 2016).
Right: Otto Rost in his atelier, summer 1945. At the back the still unfinished model of the War Memorial. Model for the sculpture stood the son of the owner of Rost’s house and atelier, Rudolf Desiderius.

Left: Otto Rost, ‘Ehrendenkmal Freiberg’ (‘Soviet War Memorial, Freiberg’), 1947. Height of bronze: 2 meters, including flag 3,5 meters.
Right: Otto Rost, ‘Sowjetische Ehrenmal Schwedt’ (‘Soviet War Memorial, city of Schwedt’), 1949. Total height 5 meters; almost the same monument as the one in Dresden. The memorial has disappeared.

Otto Rost, ‘Gemeinnutz’ (‘Common Good’) and ‘Eigennutz’ (‘Selfinterest’), 1934. Two larger then life-size sculptures placed in the building of the Justice Department in Leipzig. In 1942 Rost was awarded the ‘Alfred Rosenberg Preis’ for these two scuptures, which are still located in the building of the Cantonal Court in Leipzig.
Left: Otto Rost, ‘Gemeinnutz’ (notice the open, giving hand).
Right: Otto Rost, ‘Eigennutz’, (notice the left hand with a small money-bag).
Below: Otto Rost, both sculptures in the cantonal Court in Leipzig, around 2005 (Justizgebäude Leipzig, Beethovenstrasse 2). At the right one of the huge reliefs, further described below.

Otto Rost, two sandstone reliefs, each 3,50 meters high, created for the Amtsgericht Leipzig in 1935 (still existing). One is depicted at the photo above.
Left: ‘Wenn die Gerechtigkeit untergeht, so hat es keinen Wert mehr, wenn Menschen auf Erden leben’.
Right: ‘Führe nicht im Munde immer die Worte: Ich und meine recht. Denke aber im geiste immer der Worte: Du ein meine Pflicht’.

Otto Rost, ‘Familie unf Arbeit’ (‘Family and Labour’), 1939. Stone-relief for the building of the Deutsche Arbeitersfront in Döblen. Still existing in the Franz Mehring-Strasse.

Left: Otto Rost, ‘Die Blüte’ (‘Blossoming’). Displayed at the ‘Agra Gartenbauausstellung’, 1951, in Markkleeberg (near Leipzig).
Right: Otto Rost, ‘Die Blüte’, plaster. Displayed at the Kunstausstellung Gau Sachsen, 1943, Sächsicher Kunstverein Dresden. Depicted in the exhibition catalogue, as well as in ’Otto Rost, Leben und Werk’, 2006, by Enst-Günter Knüppel.

Otto Rost, ‘Fechtersgruss’ (‘Saluation’), plaster. Around 1929. Displayed at the ‘Kunstausstellung Dresden’, 1936. Depicted in the exhibition catalogue and in ’Otto Rost, Leben und Werk’, 2006, by Enst-Günter Knüppel.

Otto Rost, sandstone-sculptures at the facade of the ‘Haus Altmarkt’ in the centre of Dresden, 1955.
Over life-size. Photo: Dcember 2016.

Otto Rost, reliefs (in total 16) at the facade of a residential building in the Fritz-Löffler-strasse, Dresden. Photo: December 2016.

Otto Rost, ‘Mauersberger Totentanz’ (‘Mauersberger Death-dance’), 1952. Relief of 10 meters lenght in the Kreuzkapelle Mauersberg, near Marienberg (detail).

Otto Rost, three small figures. Depicted in ‘Otto Rost, Leben und Werk, 1887-1970‘.
A few casts in bronze or iron were sold by German auction houses in recent years.
Left: ‘Flora‘. Bronze, height 23 cm. Around 1924.
Middle: ‘Kleine Venus‘ (‘Little Venus‘). Bronze, height 18,5 cm. Around 1943.
Right: ‘Nackte mit Lendentuch‘ (‘Akt with Loincloth‘). Bronze, height 14,7 cm. Around 1940.

Otto Rost, ‘Delphine’. Two dolphin sculptures, created in 1936 for the Stadtbad in Döbeln. Shown in Otto Rost, ein Döbelner Bildhauer 1887 – 1970, exhibition 2020

Otto Rost, reliefs at the façade of the former Central-Theater, city of Döbeln.

Saxon Marble
Otto Rost, ‘Kriegerdenkmal Döbeln’ (‘War Memorial on the Geyersberg, city of Döbeln’), 1922. The memorial consisted of a huge obelisk from ‘Rochlitzer Porphyr’, a red volcanic stone also called ‘Saxon Marble’. The sarcophagus was at three sides provided with a high relief of a soldier and two women. The corporal Dietze from Döblen served as modell for the solder. The two women represented ‘Grief’ respectively ‘Hope’ for Germany. The Memorial does not exist anymore.

Otto Rost, depicted in the book ‘Otto Rost 1887 – 1970’, by Ernst-Günther Knüppel.

Otto Paul Rost, the sculptor from Saxony
Otto Paul Rost (1887–1970), born in the city of Döbeln, was the son of a mill worker. Rost, who grew up in poor circumstances, was in 1901 apprenticed to a bridle-maker and, later, to a metal chaser in the  Gustav Bühnert metal-wares factory in Döbeln. In 1909 he went to the Kunstgewerbeschule in Dresden where he studied under Prof. Hugo Spieler, Prof. Richard Guhr, Johannes Turk and Prof. Karl Gross. In 1914 he went into military service. Rost, who was promoted to corporal, fought in Lithuania against the Russians and later in Verdun against the French. In the autumn of 1918 he was taken as a prisoner of war in France; he was released in November 1919. From 1920 to 1923 he studied at the Art Academy in Dresden under Prof. Wrba. During this time he was commissioned to create a huge war memorial for the city of Döbeln, a large obelisk with at three sites a high relief of a soldier and two women. In 1923 he settled in Dresden, became a member of the Dresdner Artist Association and opened his own atelier. Over the next few years he took part in exhibitions in Dresden and other Saxon cities, as well as in Berlin, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Cologne and Munich. In 1933 he became a member of the NSDAP. A year later he was commissioned to create two larger than life-size sculptures for the building of the Justice Department in Leipzig: ‘Eigennutz’ (‘Self-interest’) and ‘Gemeinnutz’ (‘Common good’).
At the ‘Olympic Art Exhibition’ 1936 in Berlin, Rost displayed two bronze reliefs: ‘Fussballkampf’ (‘Football Match’), 1935/36 and ‘Rugbykampf’ (‘Rugby Game’), 1935/36; ‘Rugbykampf’ received an honourable mention. Two years later he created ‘Grosse Kniende’ (‘Large kneeling woman’), a sandstone sculpture still located on the river bank of the Elbe in Dresden. In 1939 Rost became a teacher of sculpting at the Art Academy in Dresden, in which position he in fact succeeded Prof. Wrba. In 1942 Rost was awarded the ‘Alfred Rosenberg Preis’ for his sculptures Eigennutz and Gemeinnutz, which are still located in the building of the Cantonal Court in Dresden.
At the Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellungen, Rost was represented with 13 works including: ‘Junges Deutschland’ (GDK 1939), ‘Badende’ (GDK 1940, bought by the Reichsjugendführung), ‘Tuchbinderin’ (GDK 1941), ‘Psyche’ (GDK 1943) and ‘Badende’ (GDK 1943, bought by the Deutsche Arbeitsfront Berlin).
In 1945, shortly after the Russians occupied Germany, Rost created the ‘Ehrenmal der Roten Armee’ (War Memorial for the Russian Army), placed at the Albertplatz in Dresden. For that reason the slightly damaged renowned fountain at that place, ‘Stürmische Wogen’ by Robert Diez, was removed (Stürmische Wogen was awarded the Gold Medal at the World Exhibition in 1900 in Paris). After the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1994, Rost’s Russian war memorial was moved to another location in Dresden (Olbrichtplatz) and the Stürmische Wogen of 1875 was reconstructed in its original location. After the creation of the ‘Ehrenmal der Roten Armee’ in Dresden, the Russians commissioned Rost to create many more war memorials in Freiberg, Schwedt and in Czechoslovakia and Poland. In 1952 Rost created the well-known ‘Mauersberger Totentanz’, a relief of 10.12 meters in the Kreuzkapelle Mauersberg. In the same year, he created a copy of ‘Diana’ on the roof of Humboldt University in Berlin. This was a replecement of one of the six original 2.88-meter-high sandstone figures, created in 1749/50 on the orders of the Prussian king Friedrich II, and destructed during the war.
Otto Rost died in 1970 in the city of Döbeln.
Many sculptures, reliefs and war memorials by Otto Rost still exist in Saxony. In 2020, at the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his death, the exhibition ‘Otto Rost, – ein Döbelner Bildhauer 1887 – 1970’, was held in the Stadtmuseum of Döblen.