View Full Version : Interview with Arno Breker
08-13-2006, 09:37 PM
I'm not a big fan of Arno Breker -- but no one can deny he was a gifted sculptor -- and he seems to be as popular today -- especially with Objectivists -- as he was 60 years ago with the National Socialists.
Here's a 1979 interview -- with a decidedly hostile interlocutor -- and I think there's a lot of interesting detail in it.
08-13-2006, 10:07 PM
Very interesting. You are right about the interviewer...he might have been a wee bit hostile. It seems like Breker might have been demonized beyond what is rational, but that is the zealousness of a Germany that wants to forget what they once accepted...I would think. It is very unlikely Breker had any idea what was going on with Hitler's "final solution' and was basically a lackey like so many others. It goes to show you that you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I'm not a fan either.
08-13-2006, 10:11 PM
Wow. I've never read such a hostile interview. I would have thrown him out of the studio.
08-14-2006, 05:11 AM
For info, there's a thread on here about a recent Breker exhibition.
08-19-2006, 04:08 AM
thanks for posting the interview.
I read it all and am still puzzling over it. I find it raises questions not just about Breker, but about the interviewer and the assumptions we make about artists and what, if anything, they represent.
If Breker were simply running an advertising agency which sold imagery to sell Nazism he would probably be forgotten, ignored if not forgiven. A talented filmaker such as Leni Riefenstahl (spelling) was, however, seen as an artist and so under the shadow of having worked for the Nazis for life.
So why the focus on artists?
Do we hold them to a higher level of responsibility? Do we fear their power to affect others?
Postwar Germany was occupied and restructured to prevent a return of the Nazis. Many things were taboo or forbidden which other countries might allow. Would an exhibition of Breker's sculpture have incited violence and Nazi activism? Symbols can have that role.
BTW, recent books have documented that many (most?) Germans did know that mass murder was taking place. From 1933 onwards trade unionists, communists etc etc were being sent to concentration camps, so their absence would be obvious.
Breker says he is addicted to the monumental, suggesting he sees himself as an opportunist who will work for anyone. I wonder if he consented to the interview to achieve what he says he wants, to have his work recognised?
So here is a question about the role of the artist. Do we believe that Breker believed in the Reich and shared its ideals, and felt them deeply in doing his work? Or was he a jobbing illustrator? Or a believer in higher ideals whose depictions of them were appropriated by the Nazis?
08-19-2006, 05:21 PM
There are very few people (in America 2006 or Germany 1933) who would let scruples stand in the way of an art career -- or any career for that matter.
Yet -- looking back in the past -- we do see some sculptors who stood for their principles and paid the price for it -- two of the greatest, Michelangelo and Tilman Riemanschnieder, come to mind.
Something about Breker smells very bad to me -- his self pity --his name-dropping -- his blatant dishonesty (concerning his Mercedes) -- and his figure sculpture after 1930.
08-20-2006, 09:54 PM
Still, for a brief moment, he must have felt he would be recognized as one of the most important sculptors in history, with major sculptures tied to major architecture in the capital of a global power.
And then it all came crashing down, the works destroyed, and the revelations of unforgiveable misdeeds.
His name forever linked in infamy.
What a letdown.
Who could blame him for being bitter?
08-20-2006, 11:51 PM
I didnt read the interview so I cant coment on it or its hostility. But I do find it interesting that this guy was tied to the reichand is still paying the price . It must be that he was high profile cause this many years later he still has stigma tied to him. I think that you need to be careful who you associate with (work for)if you are going to be in the public eye that being said i dont see anyone trying to stop hitlers dentist from practising or even know who did his dental work. And this is a far more personal relationship than being tha national sculptor or what ever. There must have been a great deal of fear involved in this sort of work ( like I dont think you wanted to piss hitler off). For that matter what about working for a pope (like mike the angelo). I dont know how often one got to say no I am not going to do this . Maby its a case of playing with the cards you are dealt. Now this being said by a guy who doesnt think art needs to make a comment is possibly conflictual but what ever
08-21-2006, 08:38 AM
years of work with no profit, then he's branded a nazi and can't find work
what a waste of a great talent
thanks for bringing him to my attention
I love his work on the females shown
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