Back

Roman Feldmeyer, The Defeated

Roman Feldmeyer, The Defeated Roman Feldmeyer, The Defeated Roman Feldmeyer, The Defeated

Select product:

Price:€ 2100.00

Description

'Zerschlagen' ('Defeated')

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.


Zerschlagen
'Zerschlagen' depicts defeated Russian soldiers in 1942. It shows perfectly in one overwhelming view 'Der Russische Untermensch', which is how they were viewed in Nazi ideology. The Russian men are presented as miserable, poor, filthy and defeated. The Wehrmacht soldier does not even look proud to have defeated the Russian men. The face of the German soldier expresses a mixture of disbelief, horror and disgust. And apparently it takes only one German soldier to guard many of these second ranked people. In the background we see the Russian country burning.

Zerschlagen, painted in Russia in 1942, was stored (but not displayed) in the Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellung in 1943. As 25% to 50% of the art could not be displayed on the walls, it was stored in boxes (Kiste M.E., Stoss 215). Zerschlagen is signed by Roman Feldmeyer and on the front is written 'Russland 1942'.
The following are explanations of the labels on the back of the painting. The large label was filled in by the artist himself. The selling price in Reichsmark was the price asked by the artist. It is unknown when and to whom this painting was finally sold. It was probably sold to a private person (and therefore was not destroyed in 1945). The smaller, rectangular label was filled in by the Haus der Deutsche Kunst (Einlieferungsnummer und Aufbewahrungsort im Depot).
This is a painting of significant historical and cultural value.

- condition : II                    
- size : 75 x 65 cm, unframed 57 x 45 cm
- signed : right, under
- type : oil-pen (ölstift)                                             
- misc. : professional cleaned and reframed



Left: Roman Feldmeyer. ‘Die von den Franzosen zerstörte Stadt Gien’ (‘City of Gien, destroyed by the French’). GDK 1941, room 13. Bought by Hitler for 4.000 RM.
Right: Roman Feldmeyer, 'After the Battle of Smolensk', Russia, January 1941. Both paintings are in the possession of the US Army Centre if Military  History, Washington.
  


Left: Roman Feldmeyer, postcard. 'In the early morning of June 22, 1941' (Hitler invaded The Sovjet Union at June, 22, 1941). GDK 1944, room 13. Also displayed in 1944 at the exhibition ‘Deutsche Künstler und die SS’ in Breslau and Salzburg.
Right: Roman Feldmeyer, 'Panzerbekampfung im Grossen Kessel for Smolensk' ('Anti-Tank Gun in Action'). GDK 1944, room 27. Sold for 8,000 RM. In the possession of the US Army Centre of Military History, Washington.
 


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.


Left: Right: Roman Feldmeyer, 'Im Laufgraben bei Fromelles' ( 'In the trenches near Frommelles'). GDK 1940, room 13. Bought by Hitler for 4.000 RM.  
Right: Roman Feldmeyer, 'Battle of Smolensk', 1941.
  

  
Left: Roman Feldmeyer, ‘Feldweg’ (‘Sandy path’). Displayed at the Grosse Münchener Kunstausttellung in the Glaspalast, 1931.
Right: Roman Feldmeyer, ‘Im Mai’ (‘In May‘). Displayed at the Münchener Kunstausttellung 1939, Maximilianeum.
  



   
Roman Feldmeyer
Roman Josef Feldmeyer (1895 – 1950), born in Munich, studied at the Academy of Art in Munich under  the Professors Franz von Stuck, Angelo Jank and Adolf Hengeler. From 1915 to 1918 he served in the 6th Bavarian Reserve Regiment. Landscape and -later- war painter Feldmeyer had, from 1937 to 1944, twenty paintings hanging in the Great German Art Exhibitions. Nine of these paintings, most of which were military images, were bought by Adolf Hitler. Roman Feldmeyers’ paintings were sold at that exhibition for prices up to 8,000 RM. In 1944 Roman Feldmeyer took part in the exhibition ‘Deutsche Künstler und die SS’ in Breslau and Salzburg. After the war most of Hitler’s personal collection was destroyed at the Central Collecting Points in Germany. The remaining pieces are in the cellars of the Deutsche Historisches Museum and in the United States Army Center of Military History. In the archives of the Deutsche Historisches Museum in Berlin there are currently 55 paintings by Roman Feldmeyer. The U.S. Army Centre of Military History in Washington D.C. still owns the following works by Roman Feldmeyer:  ‘View of Fromelles’ (one of the three Fromelles paintings displayed at the GDK’s) , ‘Anti-tank Gun In Action’ (‘Panzerbekampfung im Grossen Kessel for  Smolensk', GDK 1944) and ‘Stretcher Bearers With Casualty' (1940). It is nearly impossible to find a painting from Roman Feldmeyer for sale anywhere.