PAINTING BY A GERMAN P.O.W. AND ESCAPEE
A most intriguing World War II relic, an original painting, 14 1/2" x 19 3/4" (sight), an oil-on-canvas depiction of a mountainous landscape with a waterfall and footbridge, set in a simple wood frame. Most interestingly, the painting is signed at lower right: "R. Schenkel POW - Miami - Fla. 1945", indicating that it was painted by a German prisoner of war interned in the United States. Notably, the painting is executed on a piece of olive drab canvas, crudely cut and stapled over a simple piece of board. A professionally-prepared canvas would be white or off-white, and affixed to a wooden stretcher, which indicates that this canvas was assembled from found or scrounged materials in a setting where professional art supplies were not readily available. Miami was the location of at least two P.O.W. camps during the war, at Bell Haven and Kendall. Present with the painting is an article from a Florida newspaper, dated September 3, 1944, describing the escape of two prisoners from the camp at Kendall - Willi Severitt and Rolf Schenckel. Although no further information can be located regarding this incident, it can be reasonably surmised that the Rolf Schenckel described in the article is the painter of the piece presented here, and that he executed it following his recapture. The painting shows a single scuff, else very good.