Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Your Radiant Ghost




Portrait of the Actress Anni Mewes, by Edwin Scharff


In January of last year, workers excavating ground for a new U-Bahn station near Berlin's City Hall dug up a bronze sculpture. From January until October, as excavations continued, the workers found ten more sculptures.

The bust they found was by German artist Edwin Scharff. Several of the pieces had been taken by the Nazis from German museums in the 1930s and then shown as examples of "degenerate art" in the 1940s. They ended up being stored in the Reichspropagandaministerium and vanished during the chaos of the war.

How the sculptures ended up buried near City Hall is related in this New York Times article.

The pieces include the sculpture pictured above, by Scharff, and pieces by Karl Knappe, Otto Baum, Emily Roeder, and Otto Freundlich. Freundlich died in the Majdanek concentration camp in Poland. His sculpture, "Der Neue Mensch" ("The New Man") was photographed for the cover of the degenerate art exhibition program in 1937, below.

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