Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

Lot 712

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KURT SCHMID EHMEN (1901 - 1968) German sculptor. Schmid Ehmen's monumental works came to represent Nazi Germany itself. They included the eagle installed at the Feldherrenhalle in Munich, the national eagles on the Fuehrerbau in the Koenigsplatz, and the eagles in stone at the four corners of the congress building of the German museum in Munich. Also among his works was the eagle placed on the "Haus der Deutschen Kunst" in Munich and the gilded eagle atop the German pavilion at the 1937 Paris World Exhibition. Perhaps his most famous works are the "Tribune" eagles at the parade grounds in Nuremberg which was used for the massive Nazi Party rallies, and the swastika at the grounds, famously blown to pieces for the newsreels at war's end. Schmid Ehmen joined the Nazi Party in the early 1930s and his acquaintance with the architect Paul Ludwig Troost gave him his first commissions as well as an acquaintance with Adolf Hitler. Offered here is an unequaled archive of letters, documents, photographs and a very rare copper eagle's head which together document Schmid-Ehmen's part in the creation of one of the most feared symbols the world has ever known. Most prominent in the collection is a hand-made hammered copper eagle's head, 13.25 in. high, 12.5 in. wide, the eagle bearing the typical stern expression seen in Schmid Ehmen's other works. The head is hollow, and presents a left-side view only, with two pieces of unworked copper attached at bottom rear. This head resembles all of the artist's works of this type, but most closely approximates the one seen on the bronze sculpture he created for the Reichs Chancellery. In this large archive left by Schmid Ehmen and offered here is a 13.75 x 7.25 in. section of tracing paper with front and side views of a limestone monument further adorned with a simply sketched and undefined decoration. The drawing has been initialed "AH". The lettering and numbers have been done in one hand, while "Zeichnung vom Fuhrer" ("Draft by Fuhrer") has been added in another. We cannot warrant that the sketch was indeed done but Hitler, but the adornment to the monument was done at a later time by another individual. Also present is a very detailed pencil drawing of a front view of one of Schmid Ehmin's works, 41.5 x 35 in., depicting a spread-winged eagle atop a swastika in a laurel leaf wreath, all of which rests atop a column. A smaller side view of the work is also presented, and some numerical notes and a cruder sketch are also apparent. This working sketch was most likely used for a pair of eagle statues which were made for "Valhalla," a "hall of fame" memorial in Regensburg. Two photos of those finished works are present with the sketch. Of great importance are the approx. 130 original photographs of Schmid Ehmen and his works. There are some amazing views, including dozens showing the construction and installation of the eagles at the party rally grounds in Nuremberg; Schmid Ehmen in his studio and on the scene at installations; other works in progress in the studio and on site; close-up work on the swastika famously blown-up at the Nuremberg party grounds, and much more. There are additionally 50 letters, documents, and booklets, the majority related to Schmid Ehmen and his works. These include: Schmid Ehmen's appointment as "Professor", Berlin, Jan. 30, 1937 signed by JOSEPH GOEBBELS with a lithographed signature of Adolf Hitler; his birth certificate and proof of Prussian citizenship; a one-year school attendance document, 1918; his certificate of class completion, 1928; pass to the Academy of Fine Arts; four 1939 letters from Schmid Ehmen's lawyer to another attorney concerning representation, artworks, the distribution of reproductions of his works and what molds, samples and forms should be destroyed; a 1937 letter of congratulations from the mayor of Munich; a letter naming Schmid Ehmen a member of the Prussian Academy of Art, 1937; a 1939 draft letter by Schmid Ehmen to FRANZ XAVER SCHWARZ concerning his work; a 1942 A.L.S. by Schmid-Ehmen to architect Paul Fliether; 1937 "Deutschland in Paris" book, 128pp. 8vo., with photos of the German pavilion and Schmid Ehmen's eagle at the Paris Exposition; 1935 "Das Deutsche Maedel" magazine featuring a Schmid Ehmen eagle; architectural magazine with a Schmid Ehmen eagle; additional magazine articles, brochures and newspaper clippings featuring his works, and invitations, programs, art-related form letters, ration coupons, and additional ephemera. A superb archive of material documenting a man who could well be considered Europe's "most dangerous artist".

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July 15, 2020 11:00 AM EDT

Chesapeake City, MD, US

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