‘Sitzender akt’ (‘Sitting nude’)
‘Nazi porn’, in the view of the Americans.
After the war, a considerable number of works of art were confiscated (and/or destroyed) by the Americans because of ‘their pornographic character.’ However, despite the fact that Americans disapproved of them, the paintings from Liebermann, Ziegler and Hempfing, and certainly the sculptures from Breker, Fehrle and Thorak displayed nothing provocative or pornographic. They were certainly not intended to trigger sexual fantasies or erotic dreams. The faces of the women come across as enigmatic and there is often an aristocratic smile and a deep sense of the tragic. There is no trace of female coquetry or flirtatiousness.
|– size||: 83 x 62, unframed 68 x 49|
|– signed||: right, under|
|– type||: oil on board|
|– misc.||: professional cleaned; frame restored|
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BIOGRAPHY: WILHELM HEMPFING
Left: Wilhelm Hempfing, postcard. ‘Sitzende Blondine’ (Seated blond’). GDK 1941, room 7. Bought for 1.500 RM by SS-Gruppenführer Julius Schaub.
Right: Wilhelm Hempfing, ‘Halbakt einer Blondine’ (‘Half nude’). GDK 1939, room 4. Bought for 600 RM by SA-Obergruppenführer Wilhelm Brückner.
Left: Wilhelm Hempfing, postcard. ‘Kniender Akt auf Rot’ (‘Kneeling nude on red’). GDK 1942, room 5. Sold for 3.300 RM.
Right: Wilhelm Hempfing. ‘Jugend’ (‘Youth’). GDK 1942, room 3. Sold for 3.800 RM.
Left: Wilhelm Hempfing, postcard, ‘Der Frühling’ (‘The Spring’). GDK 1938, room 32. Sold for 2.000 RM to a private individual.
Right: Wilhelm Hempfing, ‘Der Sommer’ (‘The summer’). GDK 1940, room 40.
Left: Wilhelm Hempfing, ‘Mädchenakt’ (‘Nude Girl’). Displayed at the ‘Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung’, 1942, Nationalgalerie.
Right: Wilhelm Hempfing, postcard, ‘Liegender Akt’ (‘Lying Nude’). GDK 1944, room 21.
Wilhelm Hempfing, ‘Weiblicher Halbakt’ (‘Female half nude’). Displayed at the ‘Kunstausstellung Hilfswerk für Deutsche bildende Künst in der NS-Volkswohlfahrt’, Preussische Akademie der Künste, Berlin, 1939.
Left: Wilhelm Hempfing, ‘Badende Mädchen am Meer’ (‘Girls bathing in the Lake’). Displayed at the ‘Grosse Münchener Kunstausttellung in the Glaspalast’, 1922. Sold by a German auctionhous in 2007.
Right: Wilhelm Hempfing, ‘Balletteuse’ (‘Ballet dancer’). Displayed at the ‘Münchener Jahresausstellung’, 1916 im Königlichen Glaspalast.
Left: Wilhelm Hempfing, ‘Stehender Akt’ (‘Standing Nude’). Depicted in ‘Das Bild’, 1944.
Right: Wilhelm Hempfing, ‘Frühlingsstilleben’ (‘Spring-stillife’). Depicted in ‘Das Bild’, 1944.
Wilhelm Hempfing, ‘Mädchen mit Küchenstilleben’, postcard. GDK 1941 room 18. Sold for 2.500 Reichsmark.
Left: Wilhelm Hempfing, ‘Nach dem Bade’ (‘After Bathing’). GDK 1941 room 17; depicted in the exhibition catalogue. Sold for 2.000 Reichsmark.
Right: Wilhelm Hempfing, ‘Die Schwarze Taille’ (‘The Black Waiste’). GDK 1941 room 37; depicted in the exhibition catalogue. Sold for 3.300 Reichsmark. Also depicted in ‘Die Kunst für Alle’, 1942.
Wilhelm Hempfing, ‘Lore’, 1940. Displayed at the ‘III. Wanderausstellung der Deutschen Kunstgesellschaft’, Herzog-Anton-Ullrich Museum, Braunschweig, 1943.
Left: depicted in ‘Das Bild, -Monatsschrift für das Deutsche Kunstschaffen in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart’, January/February 1943.
Right: ‘Lore’ by Hempfing, signed ‘Hempfing 1940’. Size 25% x 57 cm. Sold by a German auction house in 2019.
Wilhelm Hempfing, selfportraits 1925 and 1944. Depicted in ‘Wilhelm Hempfing, -Der Figuren und Landschaftmaler aus Schönau im Odenwald’, 2006.
Selfportrait, depicted in ‘Das Bild’, 1936. The text on top (background) reads: ‘SO SAH ICH MICH ALS ICH IM 44 JAHRE WAR’ (‘I saw myself like this, wenn I was 44 years old).
Wilhelm Hempfing, painter of female Nudes
Wilhelm Hempfing (1886–1948), born in Schönau, was a German painter and printmaker. The son of a factory director went from 1904 to 1908 to the Kunstbewerbeschule in Karlsruhe. Then he went to the Art Academy of Karlsruhe, were he was the Meisterschüler (most talented and preferred pupil) until 1913 of Professor Friedrich Fehr; he was also trained in etching by professor Walter Conz. From 1910 onwards he made study tours to The Netherlands, Italy and France.
From 1914 to 1918 he served as Lieutenant in Russia, Ukraine and later as volunteer in a Grenzschutz Division in the West. After the war he travelled to the island Sylt, to the Bodensee, Tyrol, the French part of Switzerland, the UK, the Balkans, Spain, North Africa and the Asia Minor. Hempfing was represented at several ‘Grosse Berliner Kunsausstellungen’ (1912 onwards), at exhibitions in Vienna, at ‘Glaspalast-exhibitions’ in Munich (1911 onwards), and at exhibitions organised by National Socialist departments, like the exhibition ‘Blut und Boden’, 1936, organised by the NS-Kulturgemeinde im Kunstverein in Karlsruhe, and the exhibition ‘Kunstausstellung Hilfswerk für Deutsche bildende Künst in der NS-Volkswohlfahrt’, Preussische Akademie der Künste, Berlin, 1939. Towards the end of 1941 he took part in the exhibition ‘Malerie-Graphik-Plastik’, in Berlin from 6 December 1941 to 31 January 1942. An atelier was put at his disposal by the city of Karlsruhe.
Wilhelm Hempfing is best known for his impressionist style landscapes, portraits and his numerous painted nudes. Especially Hempfing’s nudes became very popular among the National Socialist elite (later the Americans called this art ‘Nazi-porn’). He did not use professional models, he painted girls who ‘he had found on the streets’.
Between 1938 and 1944 twenty-three of his works hung in the Great German Art Exhibitions, most of them nudes and half nudes. Buyers of his paintings include Joseph Goebbels, Wilhelm Brückner (Hitler’s Chief Adjutant), Julius Schaub (later Hitler’s Chief Adjutant) and private individuals. Schaub probably bought ‘Sitzende Blondine’ on behalf of Hitler. Works by Hempfing were distributed on a large scale on Haus der deutschen Kunst postcards, inter alia: ‘Sitzende Blondine’, ‘Jugend’, ‘Der Frühling’, ‘Liegender Akt, ´Mädchen mit Küchenstilleben’ and ‘Kniender Akt auf Rot’.
Wilhelm Hempfing died in 1948 in Karlsruhe.
In 1986, on the ocassion of his 100th birthday, the ‘Verein Alt-Schönau e.V.’ displayed a sereis of works by Wilhelm Hempfing.