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Josef Thorak, Female Torso

Josef Thorak, Female Torso Josef Thorak, Female Torso Josef Thorak, Female Torso

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Price:€ 27500.00

Description

'Weibliche Torso' ('Female Torso')

Only two casts are known to exist. This is the original model with the core still inside (clay and iron-rods are visible to the eye). See also the X-ray photo below.

The first phase of the bronze casting process: modeling the sculpture
Thorak usually began the modeling phase by first building an (iron-)armature; the support structure that serves as the skeleton of the sculpture. After forming the armature, he then added clay to the metal frame in order to form the inner core of the sculpture. Once the core was prepared, he modeled the figure in wax over the core until it reached its final form (smoothing the wax surface and adding fine details using hot metal tools). Thorak left one or two pins protruding from the base of the finished sculpture, to facilitate attaching it to the plinth.

Left and mid: the stone-plinth from the offered sculpture is removed: notice the two iron rods.
Right: Thorak creating a model in clay, around 1937. Notice the similar iron rods which attaches the model to the base (photo: Süddeutsche Zeitung).
       


Direct lost-wax casting

Unique bronze sculpture. This is a direct lost-wax casting, a casting method that produces a single cast from a single wax model (the core inside consists of clay reinforced with iron wire; the wax was melted out). In the direct lost-wax casting method the original master model is lost in the casting process: producing more copies of the master model is impossible.

X-ray photo of 'Female Torso'. Clearly visible are the two iron rods from the core inside.


 

- condition : II                    
- size : 42 cm high, excluding base 36 cm  
- signed : unsigned
- type : bronze, created around 1940                                          
- misc I : photos available of the other cast
- misc. II : original model of clay and iron-rods still inside




Left: Josef Thorak, postcard*. 'Danzinger Freiheitsdenkmal' ('Danzig Freedom Monument'). GDK 1943, room 2 (5 metres high).
Right: Josef Thorak, postcard, Fragment ‘Bekrönung, Märzfeld, Nürnberg’ (‘Crowning’), plaster model. GDK 1938, room 2.
    


Left: Josef Thorak, postcard, 'Pietà', GDK 1942, room 2. Bought by Robert Ley for 100.000 RM.
Right: Josef Thorak, postcard, 'Zwei Menschen', GDK 1941, room 15. Marble, 2,89 meters high. Displayed in the exhibition 'GegenKunst - Entartete Kunst, NS-Kunst, Sammeln nach 1945', 2015/16, Pinakothek der Moderne, München.
 


Left: Josef Thorak, postcard, ’Frauenakt’ (‘Female-nude’). GDK 1940, room 15. Bought by Hitler for 13.000 RM.
Right: postcard, Josef Thorak, ‘Leda mit dem Schwan’ (‘Leda and the Swan’). GDK 1942, room 24.
  


Left: Josef Thorak, art print*, ‘Pferd’. Displayed in 1939 in room 2, the ‘Skulpturensaal’ of the Haus der Deutsche Kunst’, Munich. In August 2015, this sculpture was discovered at the school yard of the Landschulheim Schloss Ising in Ising, Bavaria.
Right: Josef Thorak, 'Pferd' depicted on a 'Haus der deutschen Kunst'-postcard.
   

 
Right: Josef Thorak, postcard, ‘Francesca di Rimini’. GDK 1943, room 15. Bought by Albert Speer for 200.000 RM, the highest price ever paid at the GDK.



‘Death Mask of Von Hindenburg’, published in the 'St. Louis Post-Dispatch' (Missouri), 10 August 1934.
The text below the photo reads: ‘Likelyness of the late German President and Field Marshal, made by the sculptor Prof. Thorak, shortly after Von Hindenburg died at his estate near Neudeck, East Prussia’.




What is left of Thorak’s works?
Very few of the huge, monumental sculptures of Thorak have ever been finished. Most of them were only designs and models. For example, the 'Bekrönungsgruppe' (‘Crowning-group’) destined for the Märzfeld of the Reichsparteitagsgelände in Nürnberg (Nuremberg rally grounds), with the Siegesgöttin (Goddess of Triumph) in the midst, flanked by two horses. Also, the huge ‘Denkmal der Arbeit’ (‘Monument to Work’), intended for the Reichsautobahn between Salzburg and München was never finished. 
Much of his work was destroyed after the war. The two impressive bronze sculpture groups flanking the entrance of the German Pavilion of the Paris World Exhibition (‘Die Familie’ and ‘Kameraden’) were melted down in 1949 in a foundry in Landsberg in 1949. Originally the 7 metre high sculptures stood for Security, Pride, Self-consciousness, Purity, Discipline; or in other words, the New Germany. It was Thorak himself who brought them to the foundry in 1949.
In Salzburg there are still two sculptures by Thorak: ‘Paracelsus’ (displayed at the GDK 1943) and ‘Kopernikus’; both placed in Mirabellgarten, the garden of Castle Mirabell. His 1928 sculptures 'Arbeit' ('Labour') and 'Heim' ('Home') are located in Charlottenburg, Berlin. See photos below.
In 2015 the three giant horses have been found back.


Left: left of the entrance of the German Pavilion, Paris World Exhibition 1937: ‘Kameraden’ (‘Comrades’).
Right: right of the entrance of the German Pavilion, Paris World Exhibition 1937: ‘Die Familie’ (‘The Family’).
Both sculptures were 7 metres high. They were melted down in 1949 in Landshut.
  


Left: Josef thorak, ‘Arbeit’ ( ‘Labour’), 1928.
Middle: Josef Thorak, ‘Heim’ (‘Home’), 1928. Both sculptures are located in Berlin, Knobelsdorffstrasse. Photos: 2014.
Right: 'Heim', depicted in 'Die Kunst', May, 1931. 
     


Left: Josef Thorak, War Memorial WWI, located at the graveyard of Kastel (de dates 1933 and 1945 were later inscribed). Foto: 2015.
Right: Josef Thorak, 1928, early sculpture at the grave of the Franz Ullstein family at Friedhof Heerstraße in Berlin-Westend. Depicted in ‘Der Bildhauer Joseph Thorak’, by Wilhelm Bode, 1929, page 75.
  


Left: Josef Thorak, ‘War Memorial 1914-1918’ in the Wilhelmspark, Stolpmünde, Poland. Created in 1922. Thorak became famous when he created this war memorial 'Der sterbende Krieger' (‘Dying Warrior’), a statue to commemorate the 76 men of the port-town Stolpmünde who died during World War I. Later in 1945, for the coast of Stolpmünde the Gustloff was torpedoed by the Russians; almost 10.000 German refugees lost their lives in this largest shipwreck in history.
Right: This is the original War Memorial by Thorak in 1922. Notice the original German text: ‘Unsern toten Kriegern’ (‘Our dead Warriors’), which was later replaced by the Polish text: ‘To the unknown heroes of the world war, the citizens of the city of Ustka’. Apparently the stone-plague with the Polish text has disappeared.
     


‘With his last strength the warrior raises his shield’. The coat of arms of Stolpmünde is depicted on the shield, visible at the back site of the ‘Sterbende Krieger’ sculpture.



Josef Thorak, ‘Thüringisches Husaren Regiment Nr. 12‘ (‘Thüringian Cavalry Regiment‘), Torgau. World War I Memorial created in 1922. In 1919 Thorak won the State Prize from the Ministry of Culture in Berlin for his (model-) Monument to the Thüringian Cavalry Regiment.


Josef Thorak, ‘Pietà’, sculpture on the grave of Mathilde, mother of Joseph Thorak. Located at the graveyard Petersfriedhof, Salzburg.


Josef Thorak, ‘Paracelsus‘, located in the Mirabellgarten, the garden of Castle Mirabell, Salzburg. Displayed at the GDK 1943.
Josef Thorak, ‘Kopernikus‘, located in the Mirabellgarten, the garden of Castle Mirabell, Salzburg.
  


Josef Thorak, ‘Faustkämpfer’, 1936, modelled after the boxer Max Schmeling. Located near the swimmmingpool of the ‘Reichssportfeld Frauenplatz’, Olympiastadion, Berlin. Schmeling was a German boxer who was heavyweight champion of the world between 1930 and 1932. His two fights with Joe Louis in 1936 and 1938 were worldwide cultural events because of their national associations. During World War II, Schmeling served with the German Air Force as an elite paratrooper. His wife was the Czech-born actress Anny Ondra.



Left: Josef Thorak, ‘Mutter mit Kind’ (‘Mother with Child’). Created 1942. Located in the garden of a nursing-home in the village of Zaskoczyn, near Gdanks, Poland (formerly a military sanatorium of the Luftwaffe). Displayed in the GDK 1942, room 2. Bought by Robert Ley for 100.000 Reichsmark.
Right: photo of the GDK 1942-exhibition.
  


Josef Thorak, ‘Sterbende Ursula’ (‘Dying Ursula’). Memorial for the 41 civilians in Linz who died as a result of a bomattack in 1944. Created by Thorak in 1950, bought by the city of Linz in 1954. Located in the Otto-Glöckel-School in Linz, Austria.
  


Josef Thorak, exhibition in 1950, Mirabellgarten, Salzburg. Displayed were several works created between 1937 and 1945; the exhibition attracted 22.000 visitors.





Josef Thorak, 'Hitler understood me'
Josef Thorak (1889 – 1952) sun of a Salzburger master potter, was an Austrian-German sculptor. In 1906 he attended evening courses at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts, while working as a potter during the day. From 1910 to 1914 he studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, were he was u pupil of Josef Breitner, Prof. Müllner and the sculptor Anton Harnak. In these years he created the bronze relief ´Perseus mit dem Medusenhaupt´ (‘Perseus with the head of Medusa’, 1913, in the possession of the Belvedere Museum, Vienna) and ‘Rosalind Sild’ (1914). In 1914, at an age of 25 years, he was rewarded the Austrian Gold State Medal for artistic achievement. In 1915 he went to Berlin where he studied graphic art under Ludwig Manzel. In 1919 he won the State Prize from the Ministry of Culture in Berlin for his (model-)Monument to the Torgau Cavalry Regiment ('Thüringisches Husaren Regiment Nr. 12‘). From that moment on he won prizes in numerous competitions.
In 1922, Thorak became famous when he created 'Der sterbende Krieger', a World War I Memorial to commemorate the people of the port town Stolpmünde (now Poland) who died during World War I. Later the original German text on the memorial ‘Unsern toten Kriegern’ (‘Oud dead Warriors’) was replaced by a text in Polish. In 1945, for the coast of Stolpmünde, the Gustloff was torpedoed by the Russians; almost 10.000 refugees lost their lives in this largest shipwreck in history.
Josef Thorak became a permanent guest exhibitor at the Berlin Academy in 1928; in the same year a film was made of him (‘Schaffende Hände’) and a year later the book ‘Der Bildhauer J. Thorak’ was published. He exhibited in the Munich Glaspalast for the first time in 1930.
From 1933 on, Thorak joined Arno Breker as one of the two 'official sculptors' of the Third Reich. In his immense government-issued studio outside of Munich (in Baldheim), Thorak worked on statues intended to represent the folk-life of Germany under Nazi coordination; these works tended to be heroic in scale, up to 65 feet (20 meters) in height.
In 1935 works by Thorak were displayed in an exhibition in Berlin organized by  ‘Amt Rosenberg’ (Amt Rosenberg, headed by Chief Nazi Party ideologist  Alfred Rosenberg, was an official body for cultural policy and surveillance within the Nazi party, founded in 1934). A year later Thorak completed the sculpture ‘Faustkämpfer’ (modelled after the boxer Max Schmeling) for the Berlin Olympic Stadium of 1936, which earned him an Olympic medal. Thorak was well known for his 'grandiose monuments'. Albert Speer referred to him as 'more or less my sculptor, who frequently designed statues and reliefs for my buildings' and the one 'who created the group of figures for the German pavilion at the Paris World's Fair'. His 'Comradeship' stood outside the German pavilion, depicting two enormous nude males, clasping hands and standing defiantly side by side, in a pose of defense and racial camaraderie.
In 1937 Thorak was entrusted with the direction of a Meisterklasse for sculpturing at the Munich Academy.
44 works by Thorak were displayed at the GDK's from 1937 to 1944. They were bought by Adolf Hitler (5 works), Albert Speer, Joseph Goebels, Robert Ley and Martin Bormann. Robert Ley bought ‘Pietà’, GDK 1942, for 100.000 Reichsmarks and Albert Speer bought ‘Francesca da Rimini’, GDK 1943, for 200.000 Reichsmarks, the highest price ever paid for a work of art at the GDK.
Several of Thorak's works were displayed at the XXI Venice Biennale, 1938, including busts of Hitler, Mussolini, Atatürk and Hindenburg.   
Thorak was exempt from military service as he was listed in 1944 on the 'Gottbegnadetenliste'. His name was also on the Sonderliste with the twelve most important ('unersetzlichen') sculptors of that time. 
At the end of the war, a large number of Thorak’s works were destroyed. Until 1948 he was prohibited from working. In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of 26 May 1948, we read that Thorak was a acquitted by a de-Nazification court after his Jewish wife appealed in his behalf. It appeared that after their divorce in 1933, Thorak continued to live with here and their three children. She emigrated after riots against Jews, but Thorak kept sending her money. The Munich Tribunal decided that Thorak would have been a successful artist with or without Hitler.
The two impressive bronze sculpture groups flanking the entrance of the German Pavilion of the 1937 Paris World Exhibition (‘Die Familie’ and ‘Kameraden’) were melted down in 1949 in a foundry in Landsberg. Originally the 7 metre high sculptures stood for Security, Pride, Self-consciousness, Purity, Discipline; or in other words, the 'New Germany'. It was Thorak himself who brought them to the foundry in 1949.
After the war Thorak told Time Magazine: ‘Hitler understood me’, and ‘if what I do is art, he understood art’.
Josef Thorak died, resentful, in 1952 in his country seat Schloss Hartmannsberg, Bavaria.
In 2015, a marble bust of Adolf Hitler sculpted by Josef Thorak was found in the gardens of the National Museum in the city of Gdansk, Poland. The sculpture of 50 cm high (signed ‘Thorak 1942‘) was buried deep in the ground, likely in 1945, short before the Soviet army approached the city. It is conceivable that the bust was the same one which was displayed at the exhibition ‘Deutsche Künstler und die SS‘, 1944, in  Salzburg. Also in 2015 his marble sculpture 'Zwei Menschen' was displayed in the exhibition 'GegenKunst - Entartete Kunst, NS-Kunst, Sammeln nach 1945', Pinakothek der Moderne, München. 

* As 
also stated in our General Terms and Conditions, German Art Gallery offers the depicted postcards and art prints for sale. Allmost all of the postcards are 'Haus der Deutschen Kunst' editions. Prices on request.