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Johann Kluska, Venus

Johann Kluska, Venus Johann Kluska, Venus Johann Kluska, Venus

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Price:€ 37500.00

Description

'Venus'
Displayed at the Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellung 1941, Saal 22.

'Healthy Aryan flesh'

'There were the sensual and lingering nudes of Karl Truppe, Gerhardinger, Graf, Ernst Liebermann, Johann Kluska, Schult, Richard Klein, and many others furnushed the exhibition with 'healthy Aryan flesh' (Peter Adam, 'Art of the Third Reich').

Large painting of a nude (supposedly his wife), by Johann Kluska. Created in 1940. 
Displayed at the GDK 1941.

'Venus' by Johann Kluska, displayed at the GDK 1941 room 22.



Johann Kluska, 'Venus', depicted in 'Die Kunst im Deutschen Reich', March 1942, page 80.




- condition : I-II             
- size : 143 x 120 cm, unframed 130 x 105 cm  
- signed : left, under (1940-1961)
- type : oil on canvas. Frame also original from 1940                                
- misc. I : bought from the heirs
- misc. II : professional cleaned, re-varnished; frame restored





Kluska and 'Die Göttliche Kommödie' ('Divine Comedy') by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)
The Divine Comedy is a long narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed in 1320. It is widely considered to be the preeminent work in Italian literature and one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem's imaginative vision of the afterlife is representative of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church by the 14th century. The narrative describes Dante's travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise or Heaven while allegorically the poem represents the soul's journey towards God. Inferno tells the journey of Dante through Hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine concentric circles of torment located within the Earth. Purgatory (Purgatorium) is an intermediate state after physical death in which some of those ultimately destined for heaven must first ‘undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven’. Paradise is the location of the throne of God as well as the holy angels.

Left: Johann Kluska, 'Diebe mit Schlangen, Inferno XXIV' ('Thieves with Snakes, Inferno XXIV'). In the Eight Circle of Hell (‘Canto XXIV’) Dante and Virgil cross the bridge of the Seventh Bolgia to the far side to observe the next chasm. The pit is filled with monstrous reptiles: the shades of thieves are pursued and bitten by snakes and lizards, who curl themselves about the sinners and bind their hands behind their backs. The full horror of the thieves' punishment is revealed gradually: just as they stole other people's substance in life, their very identity becomes subject to theft here .
Size: 2,70 x 1,35 meter. Described and depicted in 'Das Bild, Monatsschrift für das Deutsche Kunstschaffen in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart', 1944.
Right: the same painting, in the possesion of an art gallery in Mallorca (2019). 
  

Johan Kluska, 'Paul und Francesca, Inferno V'. In the first volume of The Divine Comedy ('Canto V') Dante and Virgil meet Francesca and her lover Paolo in the second circle of hell, reserved for the lustful/ adulturers. Here, the couple are trapped in an eternal whirlwind, doomed to be forever swept through the air just as they allowed themselves to be swept away by their passions.
Size: 2,35 x 1,50 meter. Described and depicted in 'Das Bild, Monatsschrift für das Deutsche Kunstschaffen in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart', 1944.


'Paul und Francesca, Inferno V' by Kluska, depicted in 'Berlin Rom Tokio', -Monatsschrift für die Vertiefung der Kulturellen Beziehungen der Volker des Weltpolitischen Dreiecks', December 1942.   
A section of the text at the left reads:
'...Warum schenkt die Gottheit dem Menschen die Liebesleidenschaft, um ihn dann zu vernichten? -Immer wieder haben sich die Künstler bemüht, die grossartige Szene, die Schönheit der Verse, im Bilde zu formen. -Es sei bei uns nur an Anselm Feuerbach, Arnold Böcklin, Josef Anton Koch und andere erinnert. -Der Berliner Maler Johann Kluska bringt in dem nebenstehende Gemälde dazu einen interessanten Beitrag unsere Zeit' (Prof. Dr. Freidrich Schneider, Jean).
'Why does God give us first the Passion of Love, and then destroys it all? -Over and over artist have tried to depict this great scene, the beauty of the Verse; we think here especially at Anselm Feuerbach, Arnold Böcklin and Josef Anton Koch.  –The Berlin artist Johann Kluska brings, with the depicted painting here, a special contribution to our present time’ (Prof. Dr. Friedrich Schneider, city of Jena).
  


Johan Kluska, 'Büssende mit Steinen, Purgatorium X' ('Penitents with Stones, Purgatorium X'). Purgatorio is the second part of the Divine Comedy. After passing through the gate of Purgatory proper, Virgil guides the pilgrim Dante through the mountain's seven terraces. The first three terraces of Purgatory relate to sins caused by a perverted love directed towards actual harm of others. The first of the sins is Pride. On the terrace where proud souls purge their sin, Dante and Virgil see beautiful sculptures expressing humility, the opposite virtue. Dante and Virgil meet the souls of the proud, who are bent over by the weight of huge stones on their backs. As they walk around the terrace, they are able to profit from the sculpted examples of humility.
Described and depicted in 'Das Bild, Monatsschrift für das Deutsche Kunstschaffen in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart', 1944.


Johan Kluska, ‘Fegefeuer’ (‘Purgatorium'), created in 1937.



Johann Kluska, 'Golgotha', signed 1933. Size 247 x 180 cm. Sold by a german auction house in 2009. 



Left: Johann Kluska, 'Bergmannsbildnis' ('Portrait of a mine-worker from Niederlausitz'). Created 1935, depicted in 'Das Bild', 1944.
Right: Johann Kluska, cover-illustration of the Olympics Special of the ‘Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung’, 1936.
  



'Galerie der Bunsdespräsidenten im Rathaus Tiergarten', Berlin.
Left: Johann Kluska, 1954, German president Theodor Heuss (1949–1959).
Mid: Johann Kluska, 1960, German president Heinrich Lübke (1959 – 1969).
Right: Johann Kluska, 1970, German president Gustav Heinemann (1969–1974).
All three portraits hang in the ‘Galerie der Bunsdespräsidenten im Rathaus Tiergarten', Berlin (‘Gallery of the German presidents in the City Hall-Tiergarten, Berlin’).
     


Johann Kluska, ‘Verkündigung’ (‘Proclamation’), cretaed 1964. Size: 70 x 50 cm.
   


Left: Johann Kluska, ‘Woman’s nude’, created 1954.
Right: Johan Kluska, ‘Schlafende’ (‘Sleeping’), created 1946.
  


Left: Johann Kluska, ‘Jünglich mit Krug und Weinrömer’ (‘Younman with Jar and Wineglass’), created 1951. Size 175 x 128 cm.
Right: Johann Kluska, ‘Stehender weiblicher Rückenakt’( ‘Standing Nude from teh back’), created 1969. Size: 61 x 46 cm.
  


Johann Kluska, ‘Eva’, created in 1963. Size: 150 x 61 cm. Sold by a German auction house in 2006.


Left: Johann Kluska, ‘Mädchen am Fluss’ (‘Girl at River’). Sold by a German auction house in 2018. 
Right: Johann Kluska, ‘Weibliche Akt in Lorbeerkartusche’ (‘Female Nude in Laurel Wreath’). Sold by a German auction house in 2018.
  


         
Left: Johann Kluska, 'Selbstbildnis mit Töchter' ('Selfportrait with Daughter'). depicted in 'Das Bild, Monatschrift für das Deutsche Kunstschaffen in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart', 1944.
Right: exhibition about Johann Kluska and Heinz Schmidt in the 'Galerie Das Bild', Berlin, 1965; at the background typical Kluska depictions.
 




Johan Kluska, painter of Nudes
Johann Kluska (1904–1973), born in Berlin as the son of tailor, was a German painter and illustrator. He studied from 1916 to 1918 at the Kunstschule in Berlin and from 1918-1920 at the Staatlichen Kunstgewerbe- und Handwerkerschule in Berlin; in this period he studied Old Masters and copied several works in the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum. In 1920 he went to the Berlin Academy where he became ‘Meisterschüler’ of Max Koch. In 1929, Kluska a Protestant by birth, converted to Catholicism; a happening which might explain his later fascination for Dantes. Kluska opened an  atelier in Berlin, but for a certain period he also worked at a Berlin printing company, responsible for the photomontage.
Kluska mainly painted nudes, male and female, often depicted in a realistic style, but also in a mythical-impressionistic way. He was heavily inspired by Christian motives and since 1935 especially by Dante’s Devine Comedy (‘Der Göttlichen Komödie’); he produced numerous large format depictions of sceneries of the Devine Comedy, in particular from the parts ‘Inferno’ and ‘Purgatorium’.
As the Nazi’s were not keen on ecclesiastical depictions, and certainly not on sceneries with penitents, Kluska was hardly represented at exhibitions in the Third Reich (he only displayed a few minor portraits at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung, in Munich and at the ‘Internationalen Kunstausstellung der Florentiner Akademie’ in 1939). A remarkable exception however was his work ‘Venus’, which was displayed in 1941 in the Great German Art Exhibition in Munich. Peter Adam would later -in 1992- write in ‘Art of the Third Reich’ about the Healthy Aryan flesh at the Great German Art Exhibitions:There were the sensual and lingering nudes of Karl Truppe, Gerhardinger, Graf, Ernst Liebermann, Johann Kluska, Johann Schult, Richard Klein, and many others furnushed the exhibition with 'healthy Aryan flesh'. Then in September 1943, when Leipzig was already bombed several times and more and more Germans realized that the war would be lost, Kluska had his exhibition: the Leipziger Kunstverein displayed in the Stätischen Museum zu Leipzig a large amount of his works, all depicting sceneries from the Divine Comedy. In January/March 1944, a special in ‘Das Bild, Monatsschrift für das Deutsche Kunstschaffen in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart’ was published about Kluska’s displayed Divine Comedy-paintings; the following works were described in the magazine:
- ‘Paul und Frencesca, Inferno V’ (2,35 x 1,50 meter and another version of 2,95 x 1,50 meter);
- ‘Inferno XXIV, Diebe mit Schlangen’ (‘Thieves with Snakes’, 2,70 x 1,35 meter);
- ‘Inferno XXII, der Pechsee‘ (‘The Lake of Boiling Pitch’, created 1936);
- ‘Purgatorium, Canto X’ (created in 1933 and 1943);
- ‘Büssende mit Steinen, Purgatorium X' ('Penitents with Stones, Purgatorium X');
- ‘Inferno Canto XVIII’;
- ‘Canto XIX’.
Only three months later at 4 December 1943 Leipzig was fatal bombed: more than 1,800 people died and large parts of the city were destroyed. Kluska himzelf survived the war: from 1942 until the end he served as reserve-paramedic.
In 1948 Kluska was represented at an exhibition by the Kunstmagazin Schöneberg in Berlin, in 1954 at an exhibition by the Kunstkabinett Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, in 1968 at the Concorso Internationale di Pittura, Italy and in 1965/1970/1972 at the Galerie 'Das Bild-Berlin'. 
After WWII Kluska gained renown as the official portrait painter of several presidents of Germany. Johann Kluska painted, amongst others, in 1954 Bundespräsident (Head of State) Theodor Heuss, in 1960 Bundespräsident Heinrich Lübke (1959–1969) and in 1970 Gustav Heinemann (1969–1974). These portraits hang in the ‘Galerie der Bunsdespräsidenten im Rathaus Tiergarten', Berlin (‘Gallery of the German presidents in the City Hall-Tiergarten, Berlin’).
Johann Kluska died in 1973 in Berlin.