‘Stilleben mit Flieder in Krug und Stiefmütterchen’
‘Still life with lilac and violets’
|– condition||: II|
|– size||: 75 x 65 cm, unframed 59 x 51 cm|
|– signed||: left on top|
|– type||: oil on board|
|– misc.||: frame restored|
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BIOGRAPHY: THEODOR BOHNENBERGER
Theodor Bohnenberger, ‘portrait of Adolf Hitler’, August 1936 (lost)
Left: this photograph -taken in August 1936- is of a corner of Eva Braun’s living room at the Berghof, showing her favourite portrait of Adolf Hitler painted by Theodor Bohnenberger (photo: ‘Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division’).
Right: the same photograph is depicted on the cover of the book ‘Hitler at Home’, 2016, by Despina Stratigakos.
Eva Braun was especially impressed by his eyes in the portrait. Staring at the portrait, she once said to her maid, ‘aren’t his blue eyes hauntingly beautiful?’ This portrait had been Hitler’s present to Eva on her birthday. For Hitler’s next birthday Eva planned to give Hitler a portrait of herself, also painted by Bohnenberger and she was having herself driven to Bad Tölz to sit for the artist (below).
On October 26, 1944, Eva Braun drew up her will in Munich. She divided up her property, including her paintings of Hermann Gradl, Hugo Wilhelm Kauffmann, Theodor Bohnenberger, Oskar Mulley, Heinrich Knirr, and Fritz Halberg-Krauss. All were members of the Munich School of genre and landscape painters, Hitler’s favourite artists. Eva bequeathed the Adolf Hitler portrait of Bohnenberger to her older sister Ilse Fucke-Michels (photo left: Bayerische StaatsBibliothek).
In 1933 Heinrich Hoffmann made a photo of the painting of Theodor Bohnenberger. This photo was put on the cover of the magazine ‘der Illustrierter Beobachter’, Sonderausgabe 1936.
Left: the original photo by Heinrichh Hoffmann, 1933 (Hoffmann Archives). The text below the photo reads: ‘After a painting by Theodor Bohnenberger’.
Middle: a ‘Führerbildniss’ by Karl Truppe. Large framed period print after a painting by Truppe, signed 1939. Size 1,6 x 1 meter. With the text at the backside: ‘Bohemia Moravia’ (in private possession). The head is also a copy of Hoffmanns photo.
Right: detail of the depiction by Karl Truppe.
Theodoor Bohnenberger, ‘portrait of Eva Braun’ (lost)
This painting, signed Th. Bohnenberger, hung in the bedroom of Eva Braun’s sister Gretl (who lived with her). In 1945 it was found by American solders in Eva Braun’s house in the Wasserburgerstrasse 12 in München. Photo’s depicted in the American magazine ‘Life’, May 28, 1945. It is credible that this portrait was the well known ‘return birthday gift’.
According to her testament, Eva Braun left her house in Wasserburgerstrasse 12, including the Bohnenberger portrait, to her older sister Ilse Fucke-Michels (apparently Ilse was not in Munich, when the US forces arrived).
Eva Braun, photo of the painting by Bohnenberger, around 1937, by Heinrich Hoffmann. Fotoarchiv Hoffmann, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, München.
Detaill of another photo of Eva Braun’s portrait by Bohnenberger in the house of Eva Braun. Published in the UK Voque July, 1945, page 72.
Left: Theodor Bohnenberger, ‘Diana’. GDK 1940, room 26. Bought by Hitler for 6.000 RM. Size: 213 x 188 cm. In the possession of the German Historical Museum, Berlin.
Displayed at the exhibition ‘Aufstieg und Fall der Moderne‘, Weimar, 1999.
Right: Selbstporträt, ‘Frontkämpfer’ (‘Front-soldier’), 1920. GDK 1937, room 13. It is said the painting had been in the possession of Hitler.
Theodor Bohenberger in the Reichskanzlei: the 144-List
Left: Theodor Bohnenberger, ‘Kriegskameraden vor dem Krieg’ (‘War comrades before the war’), GDK 1938, room 15 (self portrait in Hussar-uniform). Bought by Hitler for 10.000 Reichsmark and placed in the Neue Reichszkanzlei (‘für die Inneneinrichtung des Erweiterungsbaues der Reichskanzlei’). The painting is on the 144-List, see below.
Also displayed under the name ‘Sebstbildnis’ at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung 1913 and at the Jahresausstellung 1912 im königlichen Glaspalast, München.
Right: Adolf Hitler visiting the Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellung 1938. Next to Hitler, Prof. Karl Kolb, director of the Haus der Deutschen Kunst, Adolf Ziegler, president of the Reichskammer of the visual arts and Heinrich Himmler. At the background, right, ‘Kriegskameraden vor dem Krieg, by Theodor Bohnenberger.
The ‘144- list’ with 144 paintings, sculptures and graphic works which were bought by Hitler in 1938; they were transported to Berlin and placed in the Neue Reichskanzlei under construction, which was completed in January 1939. The list of 144 works is not exhaustive. Hitler did buy more works at the GDK in 1938, and in later years, which were also placed in the Reichskanzlei.
At page 2 is listed ‘Kriegskameraden vor dem Krieg’, by Bohnenberger.
What happened to the art Hitler purchased at the Great German Art Exhibitions?
With his insatiable passion for collecting art, Hitler was the most important purchaser of works from the GDKs. Every year, several times, he visited the Haus der Deustchen Kunst. From 1937 to 1944 he bought in total 1316 works at the GDKs.
Hitler’s mass art purchases were mostly undertaken without a plan regarding the future location of the works. He only had a specific usage in mind from the start for a few of these works of art. The majority of the paintings and sculptures acquired at the GDKs faced an uncertain future. They were stored at the Haus der Deutschen Kunst until further notice (some were eventually taken to the Führerbau).
Below we describe the fate of a limited number of artworks which were – as an exception- given a special destination by Hitler:
1. 144 paintings, sculptures and graphic works were bought by Hitler in 1938; they were transported to Berlin and placed in the Neue Reichskanzlei under construction, which was completed in January 1939. The list of 144 works (in our possession) is not exhaustive. Hitler did buy more works at the GDK in 1938, and in later years, which were also placed in the Reichskanzlei.
2. In 1939 Hitler gave 10 works of art to the Jagdmuseum in Munich: works by Carl von Dombroswki, Ludwig Eugen, Felix Kupsch, Friedrich Reimann (5), Karl Wagner and Renz Waller.
3. A few pieces were used to decorate Hitler’s various offices and private residences; for example, Adolf Ziegler’s ‘Die Vier Elemente’ was famously placed over the fireplace in a salon of the Führerbau in Munich.
4. In April 1943 Hitler had 21 paintings from the GDK delivered to his Munich apartment in the Prinzregentenstrasse. This delivery included works by Anton Müller-Wischin, Franz Xaver Wolf, Freidrich Schüz, Hermann Urban, Ludwig Platzöder, Sep Happ and Sepp Meindl.
5. In 1939 Hitler bought two works, explicitly meant for his own personal use: ‘Beethoven’ by Josef Jurutka and ‘Bauernkrieg’ by Franz Xavier Wolf.
Theodor Bohnenberger, ‘Die kinderfrohe Deutsche Mutter’ (‘Happy German mother with children’). Depicted in ‘Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte’, Mai 1939.
Theodor Bohnenberger send this work to the 1938 Rosenberg Exhibition ‘Das Familienbild’ (see below).
The 1938 Rosenberg Competition: The Pure German Family
Theodor Bohnenberger send his work ‘Familienbildniss’ also to the 1938 Rosenberg Exhibition ‘Das Familienbild’ (‘Family’). Earlier the ‘Rassenpolitische Ambt der NSDAP’ had complained that too many paintings depicted German families with only one or two children: ‘and it is known that a Two-Children-System will lead to the downfall of the German Race’. After this announcement in the Mitteilungsblatt of January 1937, the Reichskammer der Bildende Künste published the guideline ‘Die Kunst hilft der Bevölkerungspolitik’, in which artists were required to show at least four children when a family was depicted. The exhibition ‘Das Familienbild’ was planned and executed by the Rechsleitung NSDAP, the highest political level. Alfred Rosenberg, the Chief Nazi Party ideologist, was ultimately responsible for the organization. He was the head of ‘Amt Rosenberg’, an official body for cultural policy and surveillance within the Nazi party, founded in 1934 (other names for the ‘Amt Rosenberg’ were ‘Amt des Beauftragter des Führers für die gesamte geistige und weltanschauliche Erziehung der NSDAP’, or ‘Dienststelle Rosenberg’ or the ‘Reichsüberwachungsamt’). Co-organisers were the culture department of ‘Kraft durch Freude’ (KdF), the ‘Reichsbund der kinderreichen Deutschlands e.V.’ and the culture section of the Deutschen Arbeiterfront (DAF). The instructions for the selected group of prominent artists were to create an outstanding work which would be an allegory of a pure German family with healthy children and a happy mother. At least three or four children should be depicted and the painting should measure at least three square meters.
Participants at the competition included: Adolf Wissel, Thomas Baumgartner, Bernhard Dörres, Georg Ehmig, Constantin Gerhardinger, Fritz Mackensen, Wilhelm Petersen, Georg Siebert, Karl Storch, Hermann Tieberth, Hans Schmitz-Wiedenbrück and Wolgang Willrich. Hans Schmitz Wiedenbrück was awarded the second prize. As the jury was not fully pleased with the results of the competition, the first prize was not awarded. However, eight of the submitted works were later displayed at the GDK in 1938 and 1939. Three painters were given a shared third prize: Thomas Baumgartner, Bernhard Dörres and Constantin Gerhardinger. Georg Siebert and Adolf Wissel were awarded a ‘Recognition Prize’.
Theodor Bohnenberger, ‘Tiroler Pferde im Schweren Zug‘ (‘Tyrol Horses Pulling Heavy Load‘). Displayed at the ‘XI Internationale Kunstausstellung im Münchener Glaspalast‘, 1913. Depicted in ‘Die Kunst für Alle‘, 1913. Displayed again under the name ‘Oberländer‘ at the GDK 1939 room 19. In the possession of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.
On top: ‘Tiroler Pferde im Schweren Zug‘, displayed at the ‘XI Internationale Kunstausstellung im Münchener Glaspalast‘. Depicted in the exhibition catalog.
Below: ‘Oberländer‘ at the GDK 1939 room 19.
‘Oberländer‘ by Bohnenberger, in the possession of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. Donated by Johanna Bohnenberger in 1942.
Theodor Bohnenberger, ‘Ruhende‘ (‘Resting‘), Stategalerie Stuttgart. Size: 96 x 73 cm, sold in 2009 by a German Auctionhaus.
Theodor Bohnenberger, ‘Nach dem Bade’ (‘After Bathing’). In the possession of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. Donated by Johanna Bohnenberger in 1943. Size 114 x 79 cm.
Theodor Bohnenberger, ‘Ritter des Deutschen Orden‘ (‘German Crusador, Teutonic Order of Knights‘). Signed 1894. Size 80 x 64 cm (with frame: 124 x 76 cm). Depicted might be Erzherzog Eugen von Österreich-Teschen, the last ‘Hochmeister des Deutschen Ordens‘ (‘Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights‘). Sold by a German auction house in 2020.
Left: Theodor Bohnenbegrer, ‘Akt‘ (‘Nude‘). Displayed at the Jubiläums-Ausstellung der Münchener Künstler-Genossenschaft zu Ehren des 90. Geburtstages Sr. Kgl. Hoheit des Prinz Regenten Luitpold von Bayern, München, Glaspaast, 1911.
Right: Theodor Bohnenberger, ‘Erbprinz Albrecht von Bayern auf einem Berberhengst (‘Prince Hereditary Albrecht of Bavaria on a Berber stallion’). Displayed at the Münchener Jahresausstellung im Königlichen Glaspalast 1916. Depicted in ‘Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte’, 1916/17.
Left: Theodor Bohnenberger, ‘Weisse Azalee’ (‘White azalea’), around 1900. Later displayed at the GDK 1940, room 16.
Right: Theodor Bohnenberger, ‘Weiblicher Rückenakt’ (‘Siting nude from the back’). Created around 1927.
Theodor Bohnenberger, ‘Geranien in gelber Vase a. dunkelrot’ (‘Geraniums in yellow vase’). Displayed at the Grosse Münchener Kunstausstellung in the Glaspalast, 1917.
Theodor Bohnenberger, ‘Badische Leibdragoner im Gelände’ (‘Soldiers of the Leibdragoner Regiment from Baden in the Field’). In the possession of the Staatsgalerie Stuutgart. Donated by Johanna Bohnenberger in 1943. Size 54 x 50 cm.
Theodor Bohnenberger, ‘Husarenpatrouille’ (‘Hussar patrol’). Creatad in 1901.
Theodor Bohnenberger (1868–1941) born in Stuttgart, studied at the Kunstschule in Stuttgart with Jakob Grünenwald and Carl von Häberlin, and in Munich with Johann Herterich and Carl von Marr. He made several journeys to Italy, France, Spain and England. Starting in 1895 Bohnenberger took part in exhibitions in Munich (the Grosse Müchner Kunstausstellungen in the Glaspalast), Düsseldorf and Vienna. He was a member of the Luitpoldgruppe in Munich, which was founded in 1892, and later of the Münchener Künstlergenossenschaft. During World War I he served as major in the Officer’s Reserve Corps.
Bohnenberger, who later lived at Bad Tölz, was a genre, portrait and nude painter. He became well known for his horsemen depictions, which also depicted men from the military sector, and for his paintings of flower bunches. A part of his work consists of portraits of men, woman and children from the aristocracy and high society.
Theodor Bohnenberger painted Adolf Hitler, who gave this portrait to Eva Braun on her birthday (see pictures above). A photo by Heinrich Hoffmann of this painting was put on the cover of the magazine ‘der Illustrierter Beobachter’, Sonderausgabe 1936.
Some years later Eva Braun let herself be painted by Bohnenberger in Bad Tolz (not far away from Berchtesgaden) and gave this portrait to Hitler on his birthday (the ‘return-gift’). It is credible that the painting which the American solders found in Eva Braun’s house in München -which was depicted in the American magazine ‘Life’, May 28, 1945- is this so-called ‘return birthday gift’.
In the Great German Art Exhibitions Theodor Bohnenberger was represented with 10 works, until he died in 1941. Three paintings were bought by Hitler for prices of up to 10.000 RM: ‘Kriegskameraden vor dem Krieg’ (‘War comrades before the war’), GDK 1938, room 15, was placed in the Neue Reichszkanzlei (‘für die Inneneinrichtung des Erweiterungsbaues der Reichskanzlei’). The painting is on the ‘144-List’.
Theodor Bohnenberger died in 1941 in Bad Tölz.
The Deutsches Historisches Museum is in the possession of ‘Klara’ (GDK 1939 room 26; bought by Hitler), ‘Bildnis Meiner Schwester’ (GDK 1937 room 26) and ‘Diana’ (GDK 1940, room 26; bought for 6.000 Reichsmark by Hitler). The Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen is in the possession of ‘Junger Italiener’ and ‘Malven’. Several other works by Bohnenberger are in the possession of the Stategalerie Stuttgart.
‘Diana’ was displayed at the exhibition ‘Aufstieg und Fall der Moderne‘, Weimar, 1999.