Claus Bergen, Gegen England
'Gegen England' ('Against England')
U-Boat VII C in Heavy Seas with Junker 88 Squadron
Depiction of a U-Boat pressing onward in a stormy, blue-green sea, accompanied by Junkers bombers. The original massive version of ‘Gegen England’ (3.2 metres by 1.9 metres) hung in the GDK 1940, room 1. It was bought by Adolf Hitler for 12,000 RM; currently it is owned by Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin.
|- condition||: II|
|- size||: 126 x 96 cm, unframed 110 x 80|
|- signed||: left, under|
|- type||: oil on canvas|
|- misc. I||: sold in 2011 by auctionshaus Herman Historica, Munich|
|- misc. II||: professional cleaned and reframed|
Left: Claus Bergen, postcard, 'Against England'. GDK 1940, room 1.
Right: Claus Bergen, postcard*. 'Im Atlantik', GDK 1942, room 1. Bought by Robert Ley for 25.000 RM.
Wall painting 'Gegen England" in the Todt-bunker at Cap Gris Nez, near Calais.
(photo Arthur van Beveren, www.arthurvanbeveren.com)
Left: Claus Bergen, postcard. 'Unter Kriegsflagge' ('Under the war flag'). German propaganda postcard of 1915 aimed to support a fund raising campaign for the submarine warfare.
Right: 'Das rettingsboot Fürstin Bismarck, vor Wangerooge'. Postcard after a painting by Claus Bergen.
Claus Bergen, 'Beschiessung der Westerplatte' ('Shelling of the Westerplatte'), postcard. GDK 1940, room 27. Bought by Hitler for 5.000 RM.
The first shots of WWII were fired in Danzig by the battleship Schleswig-Holstein, built in 1906 and used against a Polish fortress in the harbor on September 1, 1939. Though old -the Schleswig-Holstein fought in both World Wars- she still overpowered the garrison and achieved some noteriety throughout the Third Reich after her victory.
Left: Claus Bergen, postcard. ‘Von Feindfahrt zurück’ (‘Returrning from the enemy’). GDK 1941, room 9. Bought by Hilter for 15.000 RM.
Right: Claus Bergen, postcard. ‘Im Kampfgebiet des Atlantiks’ (‘The Atlantic Battlefield’). GDK 1941, room 9. Bought by Hitler for 12.000 RM; currently owned by Deutsches Historische Museum, Berlin.
Left: Claus Bergen, postcard, ‘Ein heimkehrende U-Boot grüsst ein auslaufendes Kreuzergeschwader’, Wilhelmshafen, 1915 (‘Returning U-boat greats a departing cruiser squadron’, Wilhelmshafen, 1915). The original painting (97,5 x 67,5 cm) was sold at a German Auction in 2015.
Right: Claus Bergen, postcard, 'Deutsche Wacht in der Nordsee' ('German Guard at the Northsea'). GDK 1940, room 1. Painting of 270 x 150 cm, bought by Hitler for 8.000 RM. In the possession of Deutsche Historisches Museum, Berlin.
Claus Friedrich Bergen (1885 – 1964) was a German illustrator and painter, who was best known for his depictions of naval warfare in the First World War. In 1914 he was appointed Marine Painter to Kaiser Wilhelm II. After the Battle of Jutland in 1916 there was enormous demand for depictions of this battle, both from the public and from the captains of ships that had participated. In 1917 Bergen took the unprecedented step of joining the crew of the submarine U-53, under Kapitänleutnant Hans Rose, on an Atlantic combat patrol. The paintings that resulted from this are often considered to be among his finest work.
In the inter-war period he painted numerous officially-commissioned large-scale land- and seascapes, while his friendship with commanders such as Erich Raeder and Karl Doenitz continuously brought him work from the German Navy. Bergen's brother Otto was an aviator in the Great War. As children, Claus and Otto were friends with Ernst Udet, one of Germany's top fighter pilots. These associations led to Bergen painting many aviation scenes and receiving commissions from within Germany's aviation industry. Claus Bergen joined the NSDAP in 1922.
15 of his works appeared in the Nazi-sponsored Great German Art Exhibitions, which were held annually at the House of German Art in Munich from 1937 to 1944. For example: 'Im Atlantik' (1938), 'U-53 im Atlantik' (1939), 'Deutsche Wacht in der Nordsee' (1940), 'Gegen England' (1940), 'Beschiessung der Westerplatte' (1940), 'Von Feindfahrt zurück' (1941), 'Ran an der Feind' (1940), 'Erfolgreiche Rückkehr' (1942), 'Wiedererstanden U-26' (1937) and 'Schwerer Kreuzer Prinz Eugen im Gefecht in der Dänemarkstrasse' (1940). Nine of these works were bought by Adolf Hitler, 1 by Robert Ley (Head of German Labour Front) and 1 by the City Berchtesgaden for prices of up to 25.000 RM. During the Second World War Claus Bergen's name was on the 'Führerliste', an extended version of the Gotbegnadeten liste. Those listed as 'God-gifted artists', who performed jobs vital to the country and the war effort, were exempt and even forbidden from military service. They worked as 'Künstler im Kriegseinsatz'.
Deutsche Historisches Museum currently owns ‘U53 im Atlantik’, ‘Gegen England’, ‘Deutsche Wacht in der Nordsee’, ‘Von Feindfahrt zurück’, ‘Im Kampfgebiet des Atlantiks’, ‘Schwerer Kreuzer Prinz Eugen im Gefecht in der Dänemarktstrasse’.
* As also stated in our General Terms and Conditions, German Art Gallery offers the depicted postcards for sale. Allmost all of these postcards are 'Haus der Deutschen Kunst' editions. Prices on request.