Joseph Thorak (1889 – 1952), Austrian-German sculptor, studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts.
He was rewarded the Austrian Gold State Medal for artistic achievement, and in 1919 the State Prize
from the Ministry of Culture in Berlin.
He participated in the exhibitions organized by the Berlin Academy from 1928 onwards; in the
Munich Glaspalast for the first time in 1930. From 1933 on, Thorak joined Arno Breker as one of the
two ‘official sculptors’ of the Third Reich. In his immense government-issued studio outside of
Munich (in Baldheim), Thorak worked on giant statues intended to represent the folk-life of Germany
under Nazi coordination. He earned an Olympic medal in 1936. In 1937 he created the group of
bronze figures for the German pavilion at the Paris World’s Fair.
44 works by Thorak were displayed at the Great German Art Exhibitions from 1937 to 1944. They
were bought by Hitler, Speer, Goebels, Ley and Bormann. He displayed his works at the XXI Venice
Biennale, 1938; in 1944 he was listed on the ‘Gottbegnadetenliste’.
Joseph Thorak died, resentful, in 1952 in his country seat Schloss Hartmannsberg, Bavaria.