Back

Erich Mercker, Bau der neuen Reichskanzlei

Erich Mercker, Bau der neuen Reichskanzlei Erich Mercker, Bau der neuen Reichskanzlei Erich Mercker, Bau der neuen Reichskanzlei

Select product:

Price:

Description

'Bau der neuen Reichskanzlei' ('Construction of the New Reich Chancellery')

Smaller version of Merckers painting displayed at the GDK 1940 room 12 (which is in the possession of the U.S. Army Center of Military History).


Extreme scarce work of art
Art works considered as overt propaganda were massively destroyed
As described below, in accordance with the Potsdam Agreement of August 1945, the Allied Control Council laws and military government regulations, all collections of works of art related or dedicated to the perpetuation of German militarism or Nazism, were destroyed. Thousands of paintings were considered of ‘no value’ and burned. Around 8,722 artworks were shipped to military deposits in the U.S. In 1986 the largest part was returned to Germany, with the exception of 200 paintings which were considered as overt propaganda: depictions of German Soldiers, war sceneries, swastika’s and portraits of Nazi leaders.


Eric Mercker, 'Bau der neuen Reichskanzlei', also named 'Voßstraße'. GDK 1940 room 12. Bought by Hitler for 4.500 Reichsmark. In the possession of the U.S. Army Military Center of Military History (the collection falls within the public domain). Size 150 x 125 cm.



Left: Construction of the New Reich Chancellery at 4 February 1938.
Right: another work by Mercker depicting the construction of the Neue Reichskanzlei. In the possession of the U.S. Army Military Center of Military History (the collection falls within the public domain).
  


 

- condition : II                    
- size : 60,5 x 50,5 cm, unframed 51 x 40,5 cm 
- signed : right under
- type : oil on board                               




Erich Mercker, ‘Grossbaustelle der OT. I‘ (‘Large construction site of the Organisation Todt I’). GDK 1944 room 12. Bought by Albert Speer for 10.000 Reichsmark. Previously in the possession of the U.S. Army Center of Military History (collection/ depictions fall within the public domain). Nowadays owned by Deutsches Historisches Museum. Size 203 x 139 cm.


Right: Erich Mercker, ‘Grossbaustelle der OT. II’ (‘Large construction site of the Organisation Todt II’. Depicted is the construction of a U-boat bunker. GDK 1944 room 12. Previously in the possession of the U.S. Army Center of Military History (collection/ depictions fall within the public domain). Nowadays owned by Deutsches Historisches Museum. Size 203 x 139 cm.




The extreme scarcity of National Socialistic art
Massive, systematic destruction of Nazi art since 1945: the Potsdam-Agreement
From 1933 to 1949 Germany experienced two massive art purges. Both the National Socialist government and OMGUS (the U.S. Military Government in Germany) were highly concerned with controlling what people saw and how they saw it. The Nazis eliminated what they called ‘Degenerate art’, erasing the pictorial traces of turmoil and heterogeneity that they associated with modern art. The Western Allies in turn eradicated ‘Nazi art’ and forbade all artworks military subjects or themes that could have military and/or chauvinist symbolism from pictorial representation. Both the Third Reich and OMGUS utilized the visual arts as instruments for the construction of new German cultural heritages.
The Potsdam Agreement of 2 August 1945, subparagraph 3, Part III, Section A stated that one purpose of the occupation of Germany was ‘to destroy the National Socialistic Party and its affiliated and supervised organizations and to dissolve all Nazi and militaristic activity or propaganda.’ In accordance with Allied Control Council laws and military government regulations, all documents and objects which might tend to revitalize the Nazi spirit or German militarism would be confiscated or destroyed. For example, Title 18, Military Government Regulation, OMGUS stated that: ‘all collections of works of art related or dedicated to the perpetuation of German militarism or Nazism will be closed permanently and taken into custody.’ As a consequence, thousands of paintings –portraits of Nazi-leaders, paintings containing a swastika or depicting military/war sceneries– were considered ‘of no value’ and destroyed. With knives, fires and hammers, they smashed countless sculptures and burned thousands of paintings. Around 8,722 artworks were shipped to military deposits in the U.S.
OMGUS regulated and censored the art world. The Information Control Division (ICD, the key structure in the political control of post-war German culture in the American zone) was in fact a non-violent version of the Reichskulturkammer (Reich Chamber of Culture). With its seven subdivisions (i.e. press, literature, radio, film, theatre, music, and art), the ICD neatly replaced the Reich Chamber of Culture. The ICD established through its various sections a system of licensed activity, with screening and vetting by Intelligence to exclude all politically undesirable people.

‘Free’ German artists producing ‘free German art’ after 1945
In the ideology of OMGUS, painting was conceived of as a strategic element in the campaign to politically re-educate the German people for a new democratic internationalism. Modern art allowed for the establishment of an easy continuity with the pre-Nazi modernist past, and it could serve as a springboard for the international projection of Germany as a new country interacting with its new Western partners.
‘Free’ artists producing ‘free art’ was one of the most powerful symbols of the new Germany, the answer to the politically controlled art of the Third Reich. Modern art linked Western Germany to Western Europe – separating the new West German aesthetic and politics from that of the Nazi era, the U.S.S.R., and East Germany – and suggested an ‘authentically’ German identity.



The Neuremberger Congress Hal
The Congress Hall ('Kongresshalle') is the biggest preserved national socialist monumental building. Planned by the Nuremberg architects Ludwig and Franz Ruff, it was intended to serve as a congress centre for the NSDAP and would have provided 50,000 seats. It was located on the shore of and in the pond Dutzendteich and marked the entrance of the Nuremberg Rally Grounds. The building reached a height of 39 m (a height of 70 m was planned) and a diameter of 250 m. The building is mostly built out of clinker with a facade of granite panels. The design is inspired by the Colosseum in Rome. The foundation stone was laid in 1935, but the building remained unfinished and without a roof. Since 2001, the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds, with the permanent exhibition ‘Fascination and Terror’, has been located in the northern wing.

Left: Erich Mercker, the construction of the Kongresshalle in Nürnberg. Sold by a German auction house in 2018. Size 39,5 x 50 cm. A larger version of 'Kongresshalle Nürnberg' (construction phase -spring 1938), hung in the Neue Reichskanzlei.
Right: a historical photo of the construction of the Congress Hall.
  

Left: a historical photo of the construction of the Congress Hall. In the construction phase, at one point a group of columns were placed to test the sturdiness of the built structure. Later this colonnade was pulled down.
Right: the Congress Hall, photo taken after 2010.
  


Left: Erich Mercker, 'Im Reiche der Hochöfen' ('In the Realm of the Blast Furnaces'), postcard*. GDK 1942, room 12. Bought by Joseph Goebbels for 5.000 Reichsmark.
Right: Erich Mercker, 'August-Thyssen Hütte' ('August-Thyssen Steel Works'), art-print*. GDK 1939 room 12. Depicted in 'Kunst dem Volk', 1939.
 


Erich Mercker, 'Tirol baut Auf' ('Tyrol is Building'). GDK 1940 room 12. Bought for 2.500 Reichsmark by the 'Hauptamt für Technik' in Munich. 



Erich Mercker, ‘Linz, Hermann-Göring-Werke im Bau‘ (‘City of Linz, the Herman-Göring-Werke under Construction’). GDK 1941 room 12. Size 120 x 150 cm. Bought by Hitler for 5.000 Reichsmark. According to the Bundesarchiv, document R43II/1062b, the painting hung in the Führerbau in Munich. In the possession of the Deutsches Historisches Museum.



Left: Erich Mercker, postcard, ‘Statten der Arbeit’.
Right: Erich Mercker, ‘Putzig bei Danzig’ (‘Putzig, small port-town near Danzig’). GDK 1943, room 5. Sold for 5.000 RM. World War II began with the shelling by the Germans of the Westerplatte, a peninsula in Danzig, on 1 September 1939. In 1941 Mercker, together with Claus Bergen, was ordered by the Reichspropagandaminsterium to paint cities and landscapes within the ‘Generalgouvernement’, the occupied area of the Second Republic of Poland that was under colonial administration of Nazi Germany from 1939 to 1945. It included much of central and southern Poland, and modern-day western Ukraine. During his journey in 1941 Mercker painted ‘Putzig bei Danzig’.
   


Erich Mercker, ‘Märzfeld, Nürnberg’ (‘Märzfeld, Nuremberg’). GDK 1941 room 12. Size 120 x 105. Bought by Hitler for 5.000 Reichsmark. According to the Bundesarchiv, document R43II/1062b, the painting hung in the Führerbau in Munich. In the possession of the Germanische Nationalmuseum in Nürnberg.



Left: Erich Mercker, ‘Pfannlochbrücke‘, Deutsche Alpenstrasse bei gästhoff Mauthäusl ('Pfannloch-bridge, near Bad Reichenhall). Art print. Depicted in ‘Nationalsozialistische Monatshefte‘, 10 Jahrgang, 1939.
Right: 'Pfannlochbrücke' by Mercker depicted on a postcard. At the back the text: 'Die Strassen des Adolf Hitlers, -die Deutsche Alpenstrasse, -Erich Mercker, Bau der Pfannlochbrücke'. 
A work by Mercker named 'Queralpenstrasse Pfannlochbrücke' hung in the Neue Reichkanzlei, sublocation: Voss-Strasse 1 (Bundesarchiv, document R43II/1062b).
 


Erich Mercker, 'Hochofen im Bau' ('Blast furnace under construction'), art print. GDK 1943 room 12; depicted in the exhibition catalogue. Bought by Albert Speer for 5.000 Reichsmark. 



Left: Erich Mercker, ‘Schiffshebewerk Niederfinow´ (‘Ship Hoist Niederfinow'), art print. Depicted in ‘Nationalsozialistische Monatshefte‘, 10 Jahrgang, 1939. Displayed at the GDK 1937 room 12.
Right: Hitler and Joseph Goebbels looking at a model of Schiffshebewerk Niederfinow at the exhibition ‘Deutsches Volk – Deutsche Arbeit’, 1934.
 

‘Schiffshebewerk Niederfinow' by Mercker, size 500 x 400 cm, displayed at the World Exhibition, 1937, Paris, German Pavillion (at the left). Left of this work hung 'Nürnberg'.



Left: Erich Mercker, 1937, working at ‘Nürnberg’, one of the four monumental paintings -each 5 by 4 meters- created for the German Pavillion at the World Exhibition in Paris. Right on the photo is visible: ‘Schiffshebewerk Niederfinow‘; it is unclear whether this was the same work which hung in the GDK 1937.
Mercker won the 'Grosse Goldene Medaille' in 1937 at the World Exhibition in Paris for four monumental paintings: 'Nürnberg', 'Mangfallbrücke', 'Schiffshebewerk Niederfinow' and 'SS Party Rally'.
Right: 'Nürnberg' by Mercker, displayed at the the Worldexhibition 1937. Size 500 x 400 cm. Created in 1936. In the possession of the 'Germanische Nationalmuseum', Nürnberg.
 


Erich Mercker, ‘Aus Deutschlands Schmiede‘ (‘From Germany's Forge'), art-print. GDK 1940 room 12; depicted in the exhibition catalogue. Also depicted in 'Kunst dem Volk', 1940. Sold for 4.000 Reichsmark.  



Erich Mercker, 'Havelbrücker bei Werder' ('Havel-bridge near Werder'). Depicted in 'Nationsozialistische Monatshefte', 1939, Heft 110. Art-print.



'Cave di marmo a Flossenbürg’
At the XXIII Venice Biennale, 1942, Mercker displayed two works, including ‘Cave di marmo a Flossenbürg’. This painting, ‘Granitbrüche Flossenbürg’ ('Granite Quarry') was earlier displayed at the GDK 1941, room 12 and bought by Hitler for 4.000 RM. According to the Bundesarchiv, document R43II/1062b, the painting hung in the Führerbau in Munich. Size 120 x 120 cm (the depicted workers came from the nearby concentration camp Flossenbürg). In the possession of the Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin.
Displayed in 2012/13 at the the exhibition ‘Geschichten im Konflikt‘, 2012/13, held in the Haus der Kunst, Munich.
Again displayed at the exhibition ‘Artige Kunst, Kunst und Politik im Nationalsozialismus‘ (‘Compliant Art, Art and Politics in the National Socialist era’) held at Museum Situation Kunst, Bochum (November 2016 – April 2017), Kunsthalle Rostock, Rostock (April – June 2017) and at Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie, Regensburg (July –  October 2017); depicted in the exhibition catalogue.



‘Ponta sulla valle dell‘ Alm‘
Erich Mercker, ‘Ostmark, Almtalbrücke der Reichsautobahn‘ (‘Ostmark, the Almtal Bridge‘). GDK 1941 room 12. Size 120 x 120. Bought by Hitler for 3.500 Reichsmark. Displayed under the name ‘Ponta sulla valle dell‘ Alm‘ at the ‘XXIII Esposizione Biennale Internazionale d’Arte – 1942. According to the Bundesarchiv, document R43II/1062b, the painting hung in the Führerbau in Munich. In the possession of the Deutsches Historisches Museum.




The Mercker-paintings in the Neue Reichskanzlei and in the Führerbau
Between 1936 and 1940, the German government purchased for more then 97.000 Reichsmarks seventeen of Mercker's paintings to embellish Hitler's New Chancellery in Berlin; Mercker painted another 8 works that were installed in the Führerbau in Munich (Bundesarchiv, document R43II/1062b).

Placed in the Neue Reichskanzlei, Berlin:

- Haus der Deutschen Kunst (Voss-Strasse 1);
- Königlicher Platz 1, München (Voss-Strasse 1);
- Queralpenstrasse Pfannlochbrücke (Voss-Strasse 1);
- Mangfallbrücke (Voss-Strasse 2);
- Zeppelinfeld Nürnberg im Bau (Voss-Strasse 4);
- Reichskanzlei Neubau (Voss-Strasse 4, Flure);
- Reichskanzlei Neubau, Richtfest Baustadium (Voss-Strasse 4 ,Flure);
- Reichskanzlei Neubau, Baustadium Ecke Hermann-Göring-Strasse (Voss-Strasse, Flur/ Kammer);
- Reichskanzlei Neubau, Baustadium Gartenseite (Kammer);
- Westbefestigung  (Voss-Strasse 4, Flure);
- Kongresshalle Nürnberg, Baustadium Herbst 1938 (Kammer);
- Limburger Brücke der Reichsautobahn (Voss-Strasse, Flur/Kammer);
- Reichsautobahn im Pfälzerwald (Voss-Strasse, Flur/Kammer);
- Werrabrücke bei Kassel der Reichsautobahn (Voss-Strasse, Flur/Kammer);
- Aetna von Taormina (Voss-Strasse 4, Flure);
- Vorfrühling in Heidelberg (Rabe);
- Gardasee vom Monte Baldo (Voss-STrasse 4, Flure).

Placed in the Führerbau, Munich:

- Marmor für die Reichskanzlei;
- Bau der Reichskanzlei;
- Linz, Hermann-Göring Werke in Bau;
- Ostmark, Almtalbrücke der Reichsautobahn;
- Granitbrüche Flossenbürg;
- Märzfeld Nürnberg;
- Baustelle Reichskanzlei;
- Rohrbachbrücke Reichsautobahnen. 




Erich Mercker, known for his depictions of Third Reich construction projects
Erich Mercker (1891–1973), born in the city of Zabern (today the French city of Saverne in the Alsache) was the son of a high-ranking Prussian officer. In his youth, his family lived in the industrial city of Metz in Lorrain (from 1871-1918 German territory). He studied from 1910-1911 at the Technische Hochschule Bauingenieurwesen (civil engineering) in Munich and later at the Technische Hochschule Charlottenburg in Berlin. It was during this period that he developed an interest in painting, particularly in industrial landscapes; he studied briefly under Professor Martin Körte. In 1914 he had defenitly decided to become a painter. Mercker served from 1915 to 1918 in relative safety behind the lines in 'Frontwetterwarte 241', a weather observation unit. After World War I he returned to Munich, committed himself to painting and, despite being self-taught, he rapidly professionalised himself. 
In 1920 he was for the first time represented in the Münchner Glaspalast. From 1920 onwards he made study-trips to Austria, Italy, France, Sweden and Norway. Mercker painted landscapes and industrial scenes and factories in Germany, e.g., ports, iron melting fabrics, steelworks, building sites, in a neo-impressionistic style. He painted works for various town halls (i.a. Saarbrücken, Heidelberg, Frankenthal), Banks (i.a. Hansabank in Munich) and for the steamers and offices of Nord deutschen Lloyd shipping line and the Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-AG (Hapag). In 1928 he was represented with the works 'Elektrizitätswerk Essen' and 'Zentrale des R.W.E. Essen' at the exhibition 'Kunst und Technik', Folkwangmuseum, Essen.
When Hitler came to power, Mercker was asked to immortalize the immense construction projects that took place during the Nazi era. On 1 May 1933 he became member of the NSDAP. In March 1935 he created a large oil painting depicting the NSDAP-Party building in Münich; this work was hung in the Reichskanzlei in Berlin.
Mercker had eleven paintings displayed at the exhibition 'Die Strassen Adolf Hitlers in der Kunst' ('The Highways of Adolf Hilter in Art'), that travelled between Munich, Berlin and Breslau in 1936/37. At the prominent Berlin-exhibition 'Lob der Arbeit' ('In Praise of Work') in 1936, sponsored by the party's Kulturgemeinde, he displayed 'Eisenhüttenwerk' ('Iron Works').
Mercker won the 'Grosse Goldene Medaille' ('Grand Gold Medal') in 1937 at the World Exhibition in Paris for four monumental paintings of 5 by 4 metres in the German Pavillion: 'Nürnberg', 'Mangfallbrücke', 'Schiffshebewerk Niederfinow' and 'SS-Party Rally in Nürnberg' (in total only 22 paintings of German artist were displayed in the German Pavillion). 
Beginning in 1938, Erich Mercker was represented in the Great German Art Exhibitions with 34 paintings. His most well-known works from that era were: 'Die Stätte des 9. November', 1939 ('Munich, the Day of the Hitlerputsch'), 'Marmor für die Reichskanzlei', 1940 ('Marble for the Reich Chancellery'), 'Aus Deutschlands Schmiede', 1940 ('From Germany's Forge'), 'Zeppelinfield im Bau', 1937, 'Baustelle Reichskanzlei', 1939, 'Hermann Göring Werke im Bau', 1941, 'Ein Rüstungswerk ensteht', 1943, 'U-Boote noch und noch', 1942 and 'Torpedoboote in der Werft' 1942. Adolf Hitler, Albert Speer, Robert Ley and Adolf wagner bought 15 of Mercker’s works for prices of up to 5,000 RM. One of Merckers paintings, ‘Vosstrasse’ -a picture of the construction of the New Reich Chancellery in Berlin- is still in possession of the US Army Center of Military History, Washinton DC.
Between 1936 and 1940, the German government purchased for more then 97.000 Reichsmarks seventeen of Mercker's paintings to embellish Hitler's New Chancellery in Berlin; mercker painted another 8 works that were installed in the Führerbau in Munich (Bundesarchiv, document R43II/1062b).
At the XXIII Venice Biennale, 1942, Mercker displayed two works: ‘Cave di marmo a Flossenburg’ and ‘Ponta sulla valle dell‘ Alm‘ (‘Ostmark, Almtalbrücke der Reichsautobahn‘ or ‘Ostmark, the Almtal Bridge‘, GDK 1941, bought by Hitler). The painting ‘Cave di marmo a Flossenburg’ (‘Granitbrüche Flossenbürg’, or 'Granite Quarry', was earlier displayed at the GDK 1941, room 12 and bought by Hitler for 4.000 RM.
In 1944, when Mercker was bombed out of his studio in the Franz-Joseph Strasse in Munich, he moved to the Allgäu. 
After 1945 he mainly painted commissioned works for large companies like MAN, Volkswagen and Bayer. In 1954 he returned to Munich. Between 1950 and his death in 1973, Mercker participated in every one of the annual Münchner Künstlergenossenschaft (MKG)-exhibitions in Munich, all of which were held in the Haus der Kunst (formerly Haus der Deutschen Kunst); his paintings were often selected for reproduction in the exhibition catalogues. Mercker frequently served as a member of the exhibitions' juries. In the 1960s he served as the secretary of the MKG, and in 1965 he became president of the MKG. In 1971 he was appointed the Honorary President of the MKG and remained in this post until his death two years later.  
Nowadays the works of Mercker hang in several museums and institutions, including the Stadtmuseum Kiel, the Kurpfälzisches Museum in Heidelberg, the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nürnberg, the Stadtmuseum in Frankenthal, the Westpreußisches Landesmuseum Münster. In the possesion of the Deutsches Historisches Museum are: ‘Marmor für die Reichskanzlei‘ (GDK 1940 room 12), ‘Granitbrüche Flossenbürg‘ (GDK 1941 room 12), ‘Baustelle Reichskanzlei‘ (GDK 1939 room 12), ‘Märzfeld in Nürnberg‘ (GDK 1941 room 12), ‘Hermann Göring-Werke in Linz‘ (GDK 1941 room 12), ‘Ostmark-Almtalbrücke der Reichsautobahn‘ (GDK 1941 room 12), ‘Reichsautobahn Rohrbachbrücke‘ (GDK 1939 room 12),  ‘Grossbaustelle Märzfeld‘, ‘Grossbaustelle der OT. I‘ (GDK 1944 room 12) and 'Grossbaustelle der OT. II’ (‘GDK 1944 room 12). Last two works were previously in the possession of the U.S. Army Center of Military History.
In the possession of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen are: ‘Deutsche Industrie‘ and two landscapes by Mercker. The Grohmann Museum in Milwaukee, founded by the industrialst Eckhart G. Grohmann, owns 81 works of Erich Mercker.
Merckers work 'Baustelle Reichskanzlei' ('Building-site New Reich Chancellery', GDK 1939, bought by Hitler) was displayed at the exhibition ‘Aufstieg und Fall der Moderne‘, Weimar, 1999.
'Granitbrüche Flossenbürg' ('Granite Quarry Flossenbürg', GDK 1941, bought by Hitler) was displayed in 2012/13 at the the exhibition ‘Geschichten im Konflikt‘, 2012/13, held in the Haus der Kunst, Munich. 'Granitbrüche Flossenbürg' was again displayed at the exhibition ‘Artige Kunst, Kunst und Politik im Nationalsozialismus‘ (‘Compliant Art, Art and Politics in the National Socialist era’) held at Museum Situation Kunst, Bochum (November 2016 – April 2017), Kunsthalle Rostock, Rostock (April – June 2017) and at Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie, Regensburg (July –  October 2017); depicted in the exhibition catalogue.


* 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.