Karl Schlageter, Vesper

Karl Schlageter, Vesper Karl Schlageter, Vesper Karl Schlageter, Vesper

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Price:€ 320000.00


'Vesper' ('End of the Working Day') 
Large wall-painting created in 1938.
The painting goes together with 'Obsternte' by Karl Schlageter.
'Obsternte' and 'Vesper' are masterpieces of 'Blood and Soil'-art.

This monumental painting of 225 x 175 cm was commisoned by the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (the Ministry of Aviation) and it hung in the Officers Mess in the Luftfahrtforschungsanstalt Hermann Göring near Braunschweig (Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Luftfahrt); see below in 'Die Kunst', December 1939. 
The Luftfahrtforschungsanstalt Hermann Goring was one of the leading centres of top-secret developments. The research institution specializing in aviation, had at least forty secret weapons establishments, most of them devoted to the improvement of armour and the testing of ballistic projectiles.

Technical aspects of the murals
The techniques used to create the Schlageter murals are described in the Architectural Magazine ‘Baugilde, der Fachgruppe Architekten in der Reichskammer der Bildende Künste’, 1938. His works are not painted in oil, but in egg-tempera; as a binding agent Karl Schlageter often used sichol or kasëin. The finished work was not varnished, and with its matte, natural colours it fits more naturally in its environment than an oil painting would have. With this technique the works seem as if they are directly painted on a wall (like a fixed mural), whereas in practice they are painted on plywood which was seamlessly attached to the wall. This had the advantage that, in case of a renovation or demolition, the paintings could easily be removed.

How the Schlageter murals survived the war

There are two reasons why the Schlageter murals still exist. First, the works were located in the officers’ mess in the ‘Luftfahrtforschungsanstalt Hermann Göring’ near Braunschweig. Being a leading centre of top-secret developments, it was in 1944 one of the top three targets of the British Air force (next to Schweinfurt and Leipzig). The bases on the western outskirts of the city of Braunschweig consisted of 76 buildings hidden in the dense forests. These buildings included munitions storage, laboratories, and seven wind tunnels. The building complex was so carefully camouflaged that the few structures visible from the air appeared to be nothing more than innocent-looking farmsteads, endowed with the traditional stork’s nest on the roof and surrounded by gardens, which were planted and harvested as any farm garden would have been. Various buildings were covered by separate layers of thick cement, which in turn were covered with several feet of soil overgrown with plants and trees. Moreover, the Germans had constructed decoy airfields in Völkenrode-Bortfeld and Braunschwieg-Grassel, locations 5 and 10 kilometers outside Braunschweig. The decoy landing areas, dummy hangars and parked fake airplanes were bombed several times by Allied forces. In 1945, about 90% of the inner city of Braunschweig was destroyed. However, due to the elaborate concealment effort, Allied reconnaissance flights completely missed the Luftfahrtforschungsanstalt Hermann Göring.
The other reason that the murals from the ‘Luftfahrtforschungsanstalt Hermann Göring’ were not destroyed is that, unlike most other murals, they were detachable. Many Third Reich murals in Germany which survived the war were plastered over or destructed after 1945. However, the Schlageter murals were created on firm wooden plates. At some point in history, the murals were removed from the wall, but not destructed.

Left: Karl Schlageter, 'Ruhende Schnitter' ('Resting Mowers'). Depicted in the Architectural Magazine ‘Baugilde, der Fachgruppe Architekten in der Reichskammer der Bildende Künste‘, 1938.
Right: Karl Schlageter, close-up of 'Ruhendes Schnitter'. The accompanying text in 'Baugilde' reads: '…depicted are strong workers and farmers, with spirits and hearts that constitute greatness, the essence of their inner nature written on their faces. One observes for example the face of the young female farmer, a close-up of the mural ‘Ruhende Schnitter’. The woman’s face, with its harmonious, serious and deeply internal expression, is a masterwork as such.

Left: Karl Schlageter, ‘Obsternte' ('Fruit-harvest').
Right: Karl Schlageter, 'Ruhende Schnitter' ('Resting Mowers'). The text below both pictures reads: 'Forschungsanstalt für Luffahrt, Braunschweig’. Depicted in ‘Die Kunst’, December, 1939, page 64 to 68. The work ‘Resting Schnitter’ is also named 'Vesper'. 

The text below the pictures:

Left: Karl Schlageter, ‘Obesternte’. Depicted in ‘Deutsche Maler der Gegenwart’, 1938, page 153.
Right: Karl Schlageter, ‘Vesper’. The text below the picture reads: ‘Ausschnitt aus einem Wandbild für einen Standort der Luftwaffe, ausgeführt im Auftrage des Reichsluftfahrtministeriums’ ('Detail of a mural for the Luftwaffe, commisioned by the Ministery of Aviation'). Depicted in ‘Die Kunst im Deutschen Reich’, 1939.

Karl Schlageter, ‘Vesper’. Depicted in ‘Arts of the Third Reich’, Peter Adam.
The photo left, illustrating Chapter 4, shows a detail of Vesper.


Karl Schlageter, ‘Obsternte’ and ‘Vesper’ depicted in ‘Kunst in Deutschland 1933 – 1945’, Mortimer G. Davidson.

- condition : II
- size : unframed 225 x 175 cm
- signed : right, under
- type : egg-tempera on plywood 

Karl Schlageter, 'Wandbild in einer Eingangshalle eines industriellen Werkes in Berlin' ('Wall-painting in the hall of a industrial facility in Berlin'). Depicted in the Architectural Magazine ‘Baugilde, der Fachgruppe Architekten in der Reichskammer der Bildende Künste‘, 1938.

Karl Schlageter, 'Feierabend' ('After-work'). Mural commisioned by the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (Ministery of Aviation). Depicted in the Architectural Magazine ‘Baugilde, der Fachgruppe Architekten in der Reichskammer der Bildende Künste‘, 1938. 

Karl Schlageter, 'Jagdfreis' ('Hunting-frieze'). Gobelin executed by the Gobelin factory of Frau Vinecky in Berlin-Wilmersdorf; commisioned by the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (Ministery of Aviation). Depicted in the Architectural Magazine ‘Baugilde, der Fachgruppe Architekten in der Reichskammer der Bildende Künste‘, 1938. 

Left: Karl Schlageter, ‘Aprilwetter’ (‘April-weather’). Depicted in the April-folder of 'Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte', 1933.

Left: Karl Schlageter, 'Der Bergsee' ('Mountain-lake'). Depicted on the cover of 'Jugend', 1930, folder 30.
Right: Karl Schlageter, ‘Frauen im Walde’ (‘Women in Forest’). Created in 1930.

Left: Karl Schlageter, 'Arbeitergruppe' ('Group of Workers'). Created in 1932, life-size. Depicted in 'Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte', 1935/36. 
Right: Karl Schlageter, 'Mutter und Kind' ('Mother and Child'). Created in 1928. Depicted in 'Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte', 1935/36. 

Left: Karl Schlageter, 'Obsternte' ('Fruit-harvest'). Created in 1924. Depicted in Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte', 1935/36. 
Karl Schlageter, 'Näherin' ('Seamstress'). Created in 1931, life-size. Depicted in 'Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte', 1935/36. 

Left: Karl Schlageter, 'Drei Frauen' ('Three Woman'). Depicted at the cover of the weekly magazine 'Reclams Universum, Illustrierte Wochenschrift', 1928.
Right: Karl Schlageter, ‘Badende Mädchen’ (‘Girls Bathing’). Displayed at the Grosse Münchener Kunstausstellung in the Glaspalast, 1928.

Left: Karl Schlageter, ‘Vorfrühling’ (’Early-spring’). Displayed in the Glaspalast 1926, Munich. Depicted in ‘Kunst für alle’, August, 1926 and with the name 'Drei Frauen' ('Three woman') in 'Jugend', 1926, folder 27. 
Right: Karl Schlageter, ‘Landschaft mit Figuren’ (’Landscape with Figures’). Displayed at the exhibition ‘Dreissig Münchner Künstler’, 1925, Munich. The exhibition was organised by the painter Ferdinand Staeger. Depicted in ‘Kunst für alle’, August, 1925. Also depicted with the name 'Südliches Land' ('Southern country') in 'Jugend', 1925, folder 50.

Left: Karl Schlageter, ‘Sonntagmorgen‘, (‘Sunday morning‘). Displayed at the Grosse Münchener Kunstausstellung in the Glaspalast, 1921.
Right: Karl Schlageter, 'Helgoland', depicted in 'Jugend' 1920, folder 35.

Karl Schlageter
Karl Schlageter (1894 - 1990) born in Luzern -his forefathers came from the Schwarzwald- was a painter of portraits and landscapes. He studied at the Industrial School of Arts in Lucerne, and from 1913 onwards at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich under Professor Angelo Jank and Becker-Gundahl. In 1919 and 1923 Schlageter won the Swiss Federal Award, which enabled him to study for extended periods in Holland, Vienna, Rome and Paris. In 1921, Schlageter took for the first time part in the Grosse ‘Münchener Kunstausstellung’ in the Glaspalast. Many other exhibitions, also in other German cities, followed. He became chairman (1928 – 1932) of the Münchener Künstler Bundes ‘Die Juryfreien‘ and was twice awarded the Austrian State Medal (in 1923 and 1926). From 1920 onwards many of his paintings were depicted in 'Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte', 'Die Kunst für alle' and in the magazine 'Jugend'. In 1930 his work ‘Der Bergsee’ was printed on the cover of 'Jugend'. In 1935/36 ‘Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte’published a special article about Schlageter, in which 7 of his works were depicted. In 1933 Schlageter moved to Berlin; his style -until 1944- changed from romantic to realistic. Housepainters, carpenters, metalworkers, bricklayers and master-and-pupil scenes became subject of his works. The labour worker as a hero, a typical Blud und Boden theme.
Schlageter was commissioned by the German Army, political leaders, banks and industrial companies to create designs for large scale mosaic-works, frescoes and glass-painting works. For the Ministery of Aircraft (the Luftwaffe) he created i.a. the frescos ‘Fruitharvest’, ‘Vesper’, ‘After-work’ and the gobelin ‘Hunting-frieze’. For the Städtische Sparkasse Frankfurt Schlageter created a fresco depicting Frankfurt (Frankfurt-Oder) and its role as trading town towards the East in the Middle Ages.
Despite the fact that many of his frescos were sublime examples of the ‘Blud und Boden’ (‘Blood and Soil’) style, Schlageter was not represented at the GDK (we assume this was because he was not a German citizen). In 1944 he returned to Switserland and settled at Zurich (were he stayed until his death in 1990). In 1950 he created a fresco in a public building (the hall of the Telephon gebäude) in Luzern. In 1953 he exhibited at the Geneva Arts Gallery, in 1958 he displayed his works in the Kunstmuseum Luzern (just like in 1932).
Works of Schlageter can been seen in the Museum of Fine Arts in Bienne, the Museum of Fine Arts in Lucerne, Bavarian State Gallery in Munich, Municipal Gallery in Munich, New Museum in Nuremberg, University Gallery Göttingen, Public Art Collection of the City of Göttingen and in the museums of the City of Zürich and the City of Lucerne.